By Nedal Mefleh
July 14, 2012
The Islamic community at Clemson and Muslims all over the world will celebrate the start of the holy month of Ramadan on or about July 20.
Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory on every responsible and fit Muslim. Fasting during Ramadan is a pillar of Islam, and any failure to observe it without reasonable excuses is a grave sin in the sight of Allah (God). Fasting is a unique moral and spiritual characteristic of Islam. Fasting means abstaining completely from foods, drinks, intercourse and smoking from dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year
Muslims believe that during this month the gates of hell close — meaning the devil is unable to tempt them during a month of discipline, charity and self-control. The objective of the fast is to diminish believers' dependence on material goods, purify their hearts and establish solidarity with the poor to encourage charitable works during the year. It's as much a period of self-growth as of self-denial.
Like in all other Islamic actions, the intention must be made to fast the month of Ramadan for the sake of Allah. The days are punctuated by prayers. Muslims try to read the entire Quran (Islam holy book) at least once during this month. The Islamic community at Clemson offers daily dinners for singles and a weekly dinner for the entire community.
Many Muslims, unfortunately, don't enjoy the real privileges of fasting because they do not observe the fast. Yet many of those who observe it do not realize its true meaning and, as a result, derive very little or no benefit from it. The Prophet Muhammad reportedly said, "He who does not abandon falsehood in word and action in accordance with fasting, God has no need that he should abandon his food and drink."
Children younger than the age of puberty and insane people are exempt from fasting without any compensation or substitution. Men and women who are too old and weak to fast are exempt from fasting but they must feed a poor Muslim an average full meal or its value each day. The sick may postpone their fast till they recover and make up for it, a day for a day. Travellers, pregnant women, nursing women and menstruating women may break the fast but they must make it up in later days, a day for a day.
The fast becomes void by intentional eating, drinking, smoking or intercourse. If anyone, through forgetfulness, eats, drinks or smokes, the fast is not nullified, and his fast stands valid, provided he stops the action the moment he realizes what he is doing.