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The Blessings of Fasting the Month of Ramadan

August 23rd · No Comments · Ramadan

“Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians — any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” — Qur’an 2:62, Yusuf Ali translation

That is the first of many verses that I hope to share on each of the remaining 30 days of Ramadan — the month of fasting, renewal and rededication to the service for which humanity, and all that we know, were created by our Maker.

My most recent speaking engagement, on an interfaith panel last week, confirmed that this exercise might be of interest for those of other faiths who would like to more about Ramadan, and Islam.

Interfaith panel at Abbey Delray South (R-L): Chaplain Ron Arflin, host; Rabbi Meridy of Abbey South; Rev. Hawkins; Dr. Mike; C.B. Hanif.

Interfaith panel at Abbey Delray South (R-L): Chaplain Ron Arflin, host; Rabbi Meridy of Abbey South; Rev. Hawkins; Dr. Mike; C.B. Hanif.

I was privileged to join Rabbi Howard Meridy, Rev. Charles E. Hawkins, pastor at Ascension Catholic Church in Boca Raton, and  Dr. John M. Mike of the Baha’i faith, before an attentive senior audience at Abbey Delray South in Delray Beach. I hope to share more later from that session during which I learned much about my colleagues’ traditions and the values we share.

Through the years I wrote occasional columns regarding Islam, such as on Ramadan, for which my Palm Beach Post readers expressed appreciation. But folks in Thursday’s audience urged me to share more. It was a reminder that Muslims should do more to share information, dispel misinformation, and to inform better understanding when invited.

In Islam, fasting in Ramadan means abstention from such natural urges as food, drink and lawful sexual relations, but also avoidance of excesses, ill-nature and such evils such as backbiting. This voluntary self-restraint, to focus instead on greater acts of charity and other good deeds, not to mention reflection and prayer, helps strengthens one to be more regardful of and obedient to our Maker, and more sensitive toward and patient with our fellow human beings.

These days, many of our friends of other faiths fast with us to some degree, recognizing Ramadan’s myriad health and spiritual benefits, or simply out of soulful solidarity.

Muslims also try each day during Ramadan to read 1/30th — in Arabic, a juz, or part — of the Quran, the compiled revelations to the Prophet Muhammad, upon whom Muslims pray peace as they do with Jesus, Moses, Abraham and all the servants of the Creator — Allah in Arabic, the language in which the Quran was revealed.

The verses I’ll share will be some that resonated with me.

I hope too to share some commentary from the translators of the verses, from knowledgeable imams and other Muslims, along with some of my own thoughts and, best of all, insights from the eminent contemporary Muslim American leader, beloved the world over by Muslims and non, the late Imam W. Deen Mohammed.

I’ll also try to introduce helpful websites and and other tools I use such as Search. There, one can use keyword searches, or compare translations such as Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall’s.

Another informational tidbit: Ramadan began in the U.S. with the sighting of the new moon on Friday night. That made Saturday the first day of fasting.

It also means I’m already late with a second juz installment.

Along the way I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions, as I try to share not only what the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are doing, and why, but what the experience is like during these blessed 30 days.

With Director of Spiritual Services Dick Lewellan of the sister facility Abbey Delray North.

With Director of Spiritual Services Dick Lewellan of sister facility Abbey Delray North.

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