Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Key Components of Islam

The RAmadan and Hajj

*Ramadan- is a month-long Islamic religious observance commemorated by over one billion Muslims worldwide, marked with fasting, prayer and reflection. The term Ramadan was coined from the name of the ninth month -- which means "intense heat" or "scorched ground" -- in the Islamic calendar.It is also one of the holy months in the Islamic calendar. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. The name came from the time before the Islamic calendar, when the month of Ramadan fell in the summer. Fasting during this month is often thought figuratively to burn away all sins.Ramadan is a time for spiritual purification achieved through fasting, self-sacrifice and prayers.It is concludes with a 3-day festival known as "Eid" or "Eid ul-Fitr," which literally means "the feast of the breaking/to break the fast." The holiday marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and is a culmination of the month-long struggle towards a higher spiritual state.

*Hajj- or pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj was made obligatory in the 9th year of Hijra. It is also an act of worship just like Salat (five daily prayers) and Sawm (fasting in the month of Ramadan). Muslims from all over the world gather in Mecca in the last month of Muslim calendar and worship Allah. Hajj is a special worship that lasts for several days. This is an occasion that brings Muslims of all countries, colors, and races to one place – the Ka’ba. This is a unique opportunity of worshiping Allah collectively in a large gathering at one place. It is currently the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam,a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslims who can afford to do so. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah in the Arabic language).The pilgrimage occurs from the 7th to 13th day of Dhual-Hijja, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Ibrahim(Abraham).

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