RAMADAN BEGAN SATURDAY INRYAD - The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan began Saturday in most Arab countries and Iran, Mecca is preparing to welcome thousands of pilgrims on this occasion despite the threat of swine flu. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan has begun across most of the Muslim world, ushering in 30 days of dawn to dusk fasting and extra prayer. The timing of Ramadan varies according to the first sighting of the New Moon. The ninth month of the Muslim calendar, Ramadan marks the time more than 1,400 years ago when the first words of Islam's holy book, the Koran, are believed to have been revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. During this month, the gates of heaven are said to open and the gates of hell are closed.
MOST ARAB COUNTRIES AND IRAN
MOST ARAB COUNTRIES AND IRAN
Religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, birthplace of the Sunni rite, and in Shiite Iran set from astronomical observations Saturday the start of Ramadan. This holy month, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, began the same day in Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen , Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan and the Palestinian territories. During this month, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations from sunrise to sunset. Ramadan, during which the Koran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad, is supposed to be a month of fasting and charity. During this month, Mecca, first holy place of Islam in Saudi Arabia, traditionally brings together hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts for the small pilgrimage of Omra. And this year, pilgrims continue to visit even if the inflow is declining due to the risk of spread of swine flu among pilgrims and the restrictions imposed by some countries. Iran has banned all travel to Saudi Arabia during Ramadan and Egypt has decided to prohibit the Omra for people aged over 65 and under 25. The representatives of Muslims in France have also advised not to perform this year Omra. The world's estimated one billion observant Muslims will abstain from food, smoking and sex during the daylight hours and hold extra prayers at night. Ramadan ends with the first sighting of the new moon and culminates in the three-day festival of fast-breaking - Eid-ul-Fitr.
"These are the general principles to be followed by all human beings: truthfulness, mercy, austerity (observing fasts on certain days of the month), bathing twice a day, tolerance, discrimination between right and wrong, control of the mind, control of the senses, nonviolence, celibacy, charity, reading of scripture, simplicity, satisfaction, rendering service to saintly persons, gradually taking leave of unnecessary engagements, observing the futility of the unnecessary activities of human society, remaining silent and grave and avoiding unnecessary talk, considering whether one is the body or the soul, distributing food equally to all living entities (both men and animals), seeing every soul (especially in the human form) as a part of the Supreme Lord, hearing about the activities and instructions given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead (who is the shelter of the saintly persons), chanting about these activities and instructions, always remembering these activities and instructions, trying to render service, performing worship, offering obeisances, becoming a servant, becoming a friend, and surrendering one's whole self. O King Yudhishthira, these thirty qualifications must be acquired in the human form of life. Simply by acquiring these qualifications, one can satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?
"The Srimad Bhagavatam : 7 . 11 . 8-12"