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The Fourth Pillar of Islam - A Research into Sawm

Enclosed is my 12 months of research on the fourth pillar of Islam, Sawm. The effort is mine, but any praise belongs to Allah

Introducing The Fourth Pillar of Islam - Sawm

Sawm literally means ‘abstinence’ - and in the Islamic sense - Sawm is to abstain from food, drink and marital sex - from dawn till sunset - in the Islamic month of Ramadan. The ultimate reason Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan, is to attain Taqwa. And Taqwa, is to become aware of your conscience. And your conscience, is ‘the voice in your head that governs right and wrong’.

Fasting per se is not unique to only Muslims, people of other faiths – belonging to religions that predate Islam (such as Hinduism) also have fasting. However, certain acts such as the suhur, which is the predawn meal – distinguishes our fasts from that of others. Historically, Ashura and fasting three days per month were the first mandatory fasts of the Muslims, which was subsequently superseded by the development of fasting in Ramadan.

Ramadan throws up the annual moon sighting dispute in which two sides disagree on two points: (1) when does fasting begin and, (2) when is Eidul-Fitr. Both of these events occur at the beginning of two new months of the Islamic lunar calendar: namely the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. All lunar months of the Islamic calendar begin with the sighting of the ‘new-moon’. And, one group believes the new-moon must physically be sighted, and another group believes astronomy can be used.

Ramadan is best remembered as the Muslim holy month of fasting. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and it is significant for a number of reasons. Ramadan consists of Laylatul Qadr, which is the night on which the first verses of the Quran were revealed and, is the night on which Allah unveils to the Angels, all that God has ordained for the following year. Ramadan is also remembered for the famous battle of Badr, in which a small Muslim army defeated a large Polytheist foe. The month also consists of special acts of optional worship that are emphasised upon in Ramadan. The month concludes with a donation to charity and the festival of Eidul-Fitr.

In short: Sawm is to fast in the month of Ramadan so as to become aware of your conscience. The Muslim tradition of fasting is similar to that of other faiths, but with some distinguishing factors such as a predawn meal. Ramadan and Eidul-Fitr are not celebrated on the same day across the world – because of a dispute; even though there are ways to overcome. Ramadan is best remembered as the Muslim holy month of fasting; and consists of Laylatul Qadr, which is the night on which the first verses of the Quran were revealed and, is a night which is better than a thousand months. The month also consists of special acts of optional worship that are emphasised upon in Ramadan. And, the month concludes with a charity donation and the festival of Eidul-Fitr.

Table of Contents

1.0 What Are The Expert Definitions Of Sawm?

2.0 What Is Sawm

3.0 Why Do Muslims Fast

4.0 What Are the Historical Origins of Fasting

5.0 What Differentiates The Fast Of The Muslims From Others

6.0 The Historical Origins of Sawm

7.0 What Are the Optional Fasts

8.0 Ramadan

9.0 What Act Is Potentially Greater Than Fasting

10.0 What Is The Annual Moon Sighting Dispute

11. The Fast Of The Prophet (s)

12. Concluding The Fourth Pillar of Islam - Sawm

13. References

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1.0 What Are The Expert Definitions Of Sawm?

  • Sawm: (pl. Siyam) Fasting. The daily fasts Muslims undertake during the month of Ramadan, and is one of the 'five pillars' of Islam. For Muslims, fasting means total abstinence from all food, drink, and marital sexual relations from dawn to sunset. Muslims fast for many reasons, including to build a sense of willpower against temptation, to feel compassion for less fortunate persons, and to re-evaluate their lives in spiritual terms. Fasting is also a training process to attain self-restraint, self-control, self-discipline, self-obedience, and self-education. Few people are excused from fasting during Ramadan. Some are required to make up later for the days they did not fast such as the travellers (over 50 miles by any means), sick, pregnant women, women nursing babies, and women during their periods. Other excused people are required to feed a poor person one meal for each day they do not fast if they can afford it, such as the elderly people and the ones who have permanent diseases like ulcers.[1]
  • Sawm: or siyam, fasting from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, particularly for the month of Ramadan which is one of the pillars of Islam.[2]
  • Sawm or Siyam (an Arabic infinitive) means abstinence. As an Islamic term it means fasting – a special act of devotion – in which a believer, in obedience to the command of Allah, abstains, from dawn to sunset, from all things that would invalidate his fast, such as food, drink, and sexual activity. These things are normally permitted in life but prohibited during the fast.[3]

2.0 What Is Sawm?

Sawm literally means ‘abstinence’ – and in the Islamic sense - Sawm is to abstain from food, drink and marital sex in the Islamic month of Ramadan. Food, drink and marital sex are things that are normally permitted; but in the Islamic month of Ramadan - from dawn till sunset, it is prohibited. In simple terms, Sawm means fasting - thus abstaining from food, drink and marital sex - from dawn till sunset in the month of Ramadan.

3.0 Why Do Muslims Fast?

The reason Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan, is to attain ‘Taqwa’.

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may acquire Taqwa.”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:183 TRANSLATED BY: SAFIUR-RAHMAN AL-MUBARAKPURI [4]

3.1 What Are The Expert Definitions Of Taqwa?

Below are some expert definitions of ‘Taqwa’.

“… self-restraint.”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:183 TRANSLATED BY: YUSUF ALI [5]

“… ward off (evil).”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:183 TRANSLATED BY: MARMADUKE PICKTHAIL [6]

“… godfearing.”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:183 TRANSLATED BY: ARTHUR J. ARBERRY [7]

“… conscious of God.”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:183 TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD ASAD [8]

“… become pious.”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:183 TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI [9]

“… mindful of God.”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:183 TRANSLATED BY: SAFI KASKAS & DAVID HUNGERFORD [10]

“… be reverent.”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:183 TRANSLATED BY: SEYYED HOSSEIN NASR [11]

In short: Taqwa has many definitions relating to a state of mind; it is an attitude, and this mental state is illustrated via the numerous available translations of the word, ‘Taqwa’.

3.2 How To Attain Taqwa

To attain ‘Taqwa’ – one must become conscious and aware of their subconscious and conscience; whereby a definition of conscience is - ‘the sense of right and wrong that governs a person’s thoughts and actions’.[12] And a definition of subconscious is – ‘that part of the mind which is on the fringe of consciousness and contains material of which it is possible to become aware - by redirecting attention'.[13] In other words, recognise that there is a voice in your head that never stops speaking, and when you observe and ponder upon that voice, you enter into the early stages of Taqwa. And when you distinguish the three characters whom discuss matters in your mind, the three being your guardian Angel who is good, the Jinn whom is bad, and you whom decides between the two; that is when you attain, Taqwa.

“…There is no one among you who does not have his companion from among the angels and from among the jinn…”

— MUSNAD AHMED, HADITH NUMBER: 3779, GRADED: SAHIH [14]

During the month of Ramadan, whilst in a state of fasting, the voice in your head (i.e. your subconscious and conscience) becomes clear, and loud – to the point with a bit of focus - you are able to hear and notice the sound of your own voice, within your own mind with clarity. The reason you are able to notice your subconscious and conscience - more so in Ramadan, is because you are hungry and thirsty; but restraining yourself from food, drink and marital sex, things that you would otherwise say ‘yes’ to – but are now being compelled to say ‘no’. The voice saying ‘no’ to food, drink and marital sex - is your Guardian Angel, and/or you. In essence, you are going against your natural craving for food, drink and marital sex – because a voice in your head is opposing your desire and saying, ‘no’.

A part of your mind that is saying ‘no’ – is your guardian Angel. If you conform and agree and restrain yourself from food, drink and marital sex whilst fasting in Ramadan, then you have heard and obeyed that part of your subconscious or conscience that is governed by your guardian Angel. If you refuse to listen to your guardian Angel, thus partake in food, drink or marital sex between dawn and sunset - in the month of Ramadan, then know that it is you - in that moment - whom has disobeyed your guardian Angel.

In Ramadan, you cannot blame the Jinn for influencing your decisions, as the Jinn are locked away in shackles - thus not present with you during the holy month. Notwithstanding, the Jinn spend 11 months every year – teaching and corrupting which inevitably has a lasting legacy and influence upon you. Nonetheless, any decisions and thoughts you conjure within your mind - in Ramadan, albeit good or bad is a product of your mind – influenced in that moment by your guardian Angel, and you. To notice the voice in your mind, and to distinguish the advice of your guardian Angel - from that of your own input, is Taqwa in the month of Ramadan. Every other month par Ramadan, Taqwa is to distinguish the advice of your guardian Angel from that of your own input, and that of your Jinn.

…” When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of the (Hell) fire are closed, and the devils are chained.”

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 3277 [15]

In short: to attain Taqwa – one must become conscious and aware of their subconscious and conscience, the conscience being ‘the voice in your head that governs right and wrong’ and, the subconscious being ‘that voice in your head which you haven’t yet noticed’. In Ramadan, listen for the voice that says ‘no’ - thus prevents you from eating, drinking and having marital sex; for that is your Guardian Angel, and/or you. Notwithstanding, during the month of Ramadan, your Jinn is not present, but his/her evil teachings may still impact you. Nonetheless, in Ramadan within your mind – focus on your subconscious and conscience and search for your Guardian Angel - hidden within you; and if you find it, you’ve attained, Taqwa.

“And Paradise will be brought near to those who had Taqwa.”

— QURAN, SURAH ASH-SHUARA, 26:90 TRANSLATED BY: SAFIUR-RAHMAN AL-MUBARAKPURI [16]

3.3 Techniques To Attain Taqwa

There are many techniques to attaining Taqwa – some of which I have described below. The common theme amongst the various techniques is to momentarily ‘blank the mind’ of all thoughts and ideas and, upon completion of the blanking process – it is to become aware and hear - the first thought and idea within your mind and note it down – for awareness of the subconscious and conscience mind, is Taqwa.

  1. Dig your right toe into the ground whilst standing or sitting, preferably whilst in Salah. Digging your right toe into the ground - will blank your mind of all thoughts - as your focus should be on your toe. After you release your toe and finish Salah, hear the first thought in your mind and note it down. To be aware of such thoughts, is Taqwa.
  2. Breath in via your nose and, breath out via your mouth; and concentrate on your breath whilst in Salah. Again, this technique should have the effect of muting and quietening your thoughts, because your focus should be on your breath. After Salah, breathe normally and hear the first thought in your mind and note it down. To be aware of such thoughts, is Taqwa.
  3. Pray Salah in silence - in your head - without moving your mouth. And consider closing your eyes or focusing your vision on one-spot. Praying Salah in silence – in your head - without moving your tongue or lips, allows for you to focus the mind on the words you are ushering – leading to a steady slow-pace recitation. And, as your brain is unable to wonder, it is forced to focus on the words you are ushering. Whereas praying Salah out loud, enables you to recite rapidly, whilst your mind is also able to wonder on numerous other topics – due to the brains fascinating ability to multitask. Thus, pray Salah in your head - in silence - without moving your mouth, as this helps to stop the brain from multi-tasking towards other thoughts. And after Salah, hear the first thought in your mind and note it down; for awareness of such thoughts, is Taqwa.
  4. Carry out a trade whereby you are the seller and ask yourself - ‘what should a Muslim trader do?’. Do you trade fairly and honestly or, do you con and be greedy? The voice telling you to be ‘fair and honest’ is your Guardian Angel; whereas the voice telling you to ‘con and be greedy’ is the Jinn. Ultimately, you choose between the two; but noticing the good advice from the bad, is Taqwa.

In short: I have described four techniques to attaining Taqwa – all of which involve – momentarily blanking the mind from all thoughts and ideas. And once awareness of one’s own thoughts and ideas return, it is to take note ‘of the first thought that came to mind’, because becoming aware of such thoughts, is Taqwa. The techniques I have mentioned, vary, ranging from digging your right toe into the ground, to questioning yourself when trading. All such techniques have a common factor, and that is to become aware of the subconscious and conscience compartment of the mind.

3.4 Other Reasons As To Why Muslims Fast

Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan for a number of other reasons, some of which I have outlined below:

  • It is an explicit commandment of Allah to fast in the month of Ramadan, thus Muslims blindly obey in the hope of earning a good deed and atoning for previous sins.

…Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, says: “Every deed of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting. It is for Me, and I shall reward for it…”

— SAHIH MUSLIM, HADITH NUMBER: [2704] 161 [17]

  • Muslims also fast in the month of Ramadan - so as to empathise with the destitute. Empathy for the destitute, leads one to become charitable and grateful for the blessings and mercy which Allah has endowed upon the fortunate.
  • Some Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan in order to learn, patience. For it is through patience – ‘that one learns to let go’ of those aspects in life - that are outside of your sphere of influence and control; but are or were, always in Allah’s hand.

“…Fasting is half of patience…”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 3519, GRADED: HASAN [18]

  • Some Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan for health reasons – believing it to be an excellent opportunity to detox and, give up on bad habits such as smoking tobacco etc. Others see Ramadan as an opportunity to control their diet, also leading to better health.

In short: the ultimate purpose of fasting is to become aware of your conscience. However, there are numerous other benefits to fasting - such as learning patience, earning good deeds & atoning for sins, and learning empathy for the destitute, and last but not least – an excuse to give-up bad habits and having a good diet – thus leading to better health. The reasons I have cited - can all in some way – be linked to Taqwa and the meaning of Sawm. For example, reasons 1-3 relates to an awareness of the subconscious and conscience (i.e. Taqwa); whereas reason 4 relates to the literal definition of Sawm, which is ‘abstinence’.

4.0 What Are the Historical Origins of Fasting

Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years.[19] And in India, Hindu sadhus (holy men) are admired for their frequent personal fasts for various reasons.[20] Point being: the act of fasting can be found in ancient civilisations; therefore perhaps, fasting was taught by the Messengers of old - those Prophets that Allah sent to bygone nations; and Allah knows best.

…Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you…

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:183, TRANSLATED BY: SAFIUR-RAHMAN AL-MUBARAKPURI [21]

… And there never was A people, without a warner Having lived among them (In the past).

— QURAN, SURAH FATIR, 35:24 TRANSLATED BY: ABDULLAH YUSUF ALI [22]

5.0 What Differentiates The Fast Of The Muslims From Others

The fast of the Muslim is distinguished by the following four characteristics:

  • Intention to fast,
  • Suhur – Predawn meal,
  • Behaviour and Etiquette,
  • Iftar – Breaking of the Fast.

5.1 Intention To Fast

Prior to dawn – during the day or night before the commencement of a fast; one is to make the intention to fast. The purpose behind making ‘an intention to fast’ is to psychologically prepare and trigger the conscience compartment of your mind. The triggering of the conscience compartment of your mind - done via your intention to fast, should lead to a heightened awareness of your conscience. The conscience being ‘that voice in your head that governs right and wrong’. Furthermore, the intention to fast should also initiate some awareness of your subconscious mind; the subconscious being ‘that voice in your head which you haven’t yet noticed’. The intention to fast should also trigger some mixed emotions and feelings, feelings such as anxiousness, excitement, happiness and calm. In short: the intention to fast is to trigger the conscience and subconscious compartment of your mind – so as to enable you to become aware of the voice in your head. The intention to fast should also coincide with mixed feelings and emotions.

“…There is no fast for one who does not intend (to fast) before dawn”

— SUNAN AN-NASAI, HADITH NUMBER: 2339, GRADED: SAHIH [23]

5.2 Suhur – Predawn Meal

‘Suhur’ is the predawn meal - taken before Fajr salat - in the month of Ramadan to commence fasting.[24] The reason Muslims partake in a predawn meal to commence fasting, is because there are blessings from Allah to do so. And, the predawn meal is a distinguishing factor from that of the fasts of Judaism and Christianity. In short: Muslims participate in the predawn meal so as to earn blessings from God, and, to distinguish ourselves from the fasts of Judaism and Christianity.

"…Take Sahur, for in Sahur there is blessing.”

— SAHIH MUSLIM, HADITH NUMBER: [2549] 45 – (1095) [25]

"…The difference between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating As-Sahur (the meal before dawn).”

— SAHIH MUSLIM, HADITH NUMBER: [2550] 46 – (1096) [26]

5.3 Behaviour & Etiquette Of Fasting

During the fast, one is to avoid sex, as well as avoiding foolish and disrespectful behaviour. One is to also avoid confrontation, albeit physical or verbal; and should one be confronted – he/she is to twice say: ‘I am fasting’ - so as to diffuse and de-escalate a conflict. However, if one is being continuously harassed – then he/she has the right to self-defence against aggression. In essence, fasting is like a shield – that acts as a defence against bad behaviour, whilst simultaneously acting as an excuse for good moral conduct.

“…The person observing Saum (fast) should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should say to him twice. ‘I am observing Saum (fast)…”

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 1894 [27]

“…Observing Saum (fast) is a shield or protection (from the Hell-fire and from committing sins) …”

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 1904 [28]

Furthermore, if food is consumed by others in the presence of a fasting person, then angels send blessings upon the one who continues to fast. Therefore, a fasting person should feel glee - if in the presence of others who are eating and/or drinking. And, should a fasting person forgetfully eat or drink, then that too should bring happiness – for it was Allah that provided you with momentary respite by way of nutrition. Lastly, if a person is participating in an optional fast, thus not the mandatory fasts of Ramadan, then one has the option to accept a breakfast / lunch / dinner invitation to eat & drink – so as not to cause any undue offence to a host.

“…If food is eaten in the presence of one who is fasting, the angels send blessing upon him...”

— SUNAN IBN MAJAH, HADITH NUMBER: 1748 GRADED: HASAN [29]

“…Whoever eats or drinks forgetfully, then he has not broken (the fast), for it was only a provision that Allah provided for him…”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 721, GRADED: SAHIH [30]

“…Whoever is invited to eat when he is fasting, let him accept the invitation; and if he wants let him eat, and if he wants let him not eat...”

— SUNAN IBN MAJAH, HADITH NUMBER: 1751 GRADED: SAHIH [31]

Additionally, the period between dawn until sunset is a monumentous moment for a fasting person to supplicate to Allah. For it is believed, that the supplication of a fasting person is not turned back during the fast. Therefore, during the fast, is a moment to ask Allah for forgiveness, guidance, protection and to guard us all from our fears and evil desires.

“…There are three whose supplication are not turned back: [1] … [2] a fasting person until he breaks his fast... [3] …”

— SUNAN IBN MAJAH, HADITH NUMBER: 1752 GRADED: HASAN [32]

In summary: during the fast one is to avoid sex, as well as foolish and disrespectful behaviour; as well as avoiding verbal or physical violence. Fasting is to be viewed as a ‘shield’ - that protects against bad behaviour, and encourages good moral conduct. Also, there are blessings to be had - if the fasting person can avoid the temptation of food and drink in the presence of those dining. Notwithstanding, forgetfully eating or drinking whilst in a state of fasting – is a blessing. Finally, the supplication of a fasting person is not turned away by Allah; so, one should take this opportunity to ask of Allah for ‘that which is good’ - and to remove ‘that which is bad’.

5.4 Iftar – Breaking Of The Fast

‘Iftar’ is the breaking of the fast immediately after sunset at Maghrib as soon as the Call to Prayer (Adhan) is called.[33] One should rush to break the fast, because according to our Prophet (s): ‘the people will remain upon goodness as long as they hasten to break the fast’. And, it is a practise of the Jews and Christians (not Muslims) to be overly cautious. Therefore, as soon as the sun-sets, rush to break the fast - because there is wisdom in Muhammad (s) words, wisdom I do not understand but words I believe to be true: ‘the people will remain upon goodness as long as they hasten to break the fast’.

“…The people will remain upon goodness as long as they hasten to break the fast…”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 699 GRADED: SAHIH [34]

“…The religion (of Islam) will continue to be manifest as long as people hasten to break their fast (at its earlier time) because the Jews and Christians delay it…”

— SUNAN ABU DAWUD, HADITH NUMBER: 2353 GRADED: HASAN [35]

The Prophetic tradition is to break the fast with dried-dates and water; because there are blessings in dried-dates, and purification in water. The science behind eating dried-dates at iftar - is primarily due to its natural sugar content (more than 50% of the date is made of natural sugar).[36] And the nutritional value of sugar, is to provide energy.[37] As for the science behind drinking water at iftar, it is to re-hydrate from dehydration. And the nutritional value of water is that it lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps the skin healthy.[38]

“…When one of you breaks his fast, then let him do so with dried dates, for they are blessed. Whoever does not find dates, then water, for it is purifying…”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 658, GRADED: SAHIH [39]

If one can not find or dislikes dates at the time of iftar, other such fruits with natural sugars will suffice.[40] Because it is the energy from natural sugar that Muhammad (s) was trying to instil at iftar, and natural sugar exists in many fruits other than dates. But a widely available fruit, that is both staple and grew in the irrigable deserts of Arabia, was the date palm.[41] Hence, Muhammad (s) recommended dates - because it was widely available in Arabia. In other lands - if dates are unavailable or disliked – then any fruit, so as long as it contains natural sugar, will suffice. Also, if one dislikes water at the time of iftar, then natural fruit juice will suffice – so as long as it re-hydrates the body from dehydration. The point being: at the breaking of the fast, the Prophet (s) was encouraging the consumption of natural sugar (found in dates and other fruits) so as to re-energise the body; as well as drinking fluid (such as water) to re-hydrate.

Furthermore, over-eating at meal times is gluttony and ungodly. Gluttony in Christianity is one of the seven major sins[42], however in Islam the seven major sins are different (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English - Hadith 2766),[43] nonetheless one should still seek to eat a healthy portion without over-indulging. A healthy portion would be to fill 1/3 of the stomach with food, 1/3 with water, and leave 1/3 for air.

“…It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, then a third for food, a third for drink, and a third for his breath”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 2380 GRADED: SAHIH [44]

Finally, the breaking of the fast is a joyous occasion - due to the quenching of thirst and satisfaction from hunger. And, a further joyous occasion will be - when one meets their Lord, who has reserved the gift of heaven – through the gates of Ar-Raiyyan - for the one who fasted. Amen.

“…The fasting person has two joys, one when he breaks his fast and another when he meets his Lord…”

— SUNAN IBN MAJAH, HADITH NUMBER: 1638, GRADED: SAHIH [45]

“…There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyyan, those who fast shall be invited into it…”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 765, GRADED: HASAN [46]

In summary: one should rush to break the fast after sunset, because rushing to break the fast - will keep the Muslim community upon goodness. The fast is to be broken with dried dates and water, or any other fruit or drink that contains natural sugar. The objective of the iftar is to re-energise and re-hydrate the body. Over-eating is ungodly; therefore, one should eat a healthy portion. And finally, the breaking of the fast is a joyous occasion – due to the quenching of thirst and satisfaction from hunger, coupled with the knowledge - that fasting is a pathway to heaven. Amen.

5.5 Summarising The Fast Of The Muslim

The fast of the Muslim is distinguished and characterised by:

  1. The intention to fast,
  2. A predawn meal,
  3. Behaviour & Etiquette, and
  4. The breaking of the fast.

The intention to fast is intended to psychologically prepare oneself for the fast ahead, by triggering the conscience and subconscious compartment of the mind; coupled with mixed emotions. Following on from ‘the intention to fast’, is the matter of Suhur – which is a predawn meal. The predawn meal is an opportunity to earn blessings, and is a distinguishing factor from that of other religions. Furthermore, one’s behaviour and mannerism during the fast - is to be noble. Lastly, the ‘iftar’ is the breaking of the fast - immediately after sunset at Maghrib. It is a meal ‘to which one is to hurry towards’, but not a meal in which - one should over-eat. The fast should be broken, ideally, with dried-dates and water. But in the absence of dried-dates, any fruit with natural sugar will suffice. Finally, the breaking of the fast is a joyous occasion – partly due to the quenching of thirst and satisfaction from hunger; but also, fasting is a means to enter heaven. Amen.

6.0 The Historical Origins of Sawm

Prior to Muhammad (s) prophet-hood, and historically, the tribe of Quraish observed fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’. Ashura being the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic year.[47] Muhammad (s) prior to and after his prophet-hood, and in-line with the customs and traditions of his tribe, would also fast on the Day of Ashura. And during the days of Jahiliyyah, I do not know ‘why’ the Quraish observed fasting on the Day of Ashura.

…” The Day of Ashura was a day that the people of Quraish used to fast during Jahiliyyah (the days of pre-Islamic Ignorance), and the Messenger of Allah (s) used to fast it in Jahiliyyah…”

— SUNAN ABU DAWUD, HADITH NUMBER: 2442, GRADED: SAHIH [48]

When Muhammad (s) migrated to Medina on Friday 12th Rabiul-Awwal 1 A.H [27th September 622 A.D];[49] he took up governance and residency within the city; he later learnt, that the local Jewish community of Medina also fasted on the Day of Ashura (10th Muharram). The Prophet (s) enquired and asked the Jewish community - ‘what is this day on which you fast?’ – to which the Jewish community replied: ‘this is a good day, it is the day on which Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy, so Moosa fasted on this day’ (English Translation of Musnad Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal - Hadith 2644, Sahih).[50] In solidarity with the Jewish community, Muhammad (s) continued with his regular fast on Ashura - and instructed the Muslims to also fast on this day. However, towards the end of Muhammad (s) lifetime, the Prophet (s) allowed the Muslims to fast on the 9th & 10th of Ashura – so as to perhaps distinguish themselves from Judaism (English Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud - Hadith 2445, Sahih)[51].

Shortly before the famous battle of Badr[52] that took place on the 17th Ramadan 2 A.H[53] [13th March 624 A.D][54]; fasting in the month of Ramadan became obligatory and, Ashura was abandoned. But one could still optionally fast on Ashura if he/she wished to do so. Point being: when fasting in the month of Ramadan became obligatory, fasting on the Day of Ashura became voluntary.

…” When fasting in Ramadan was enjoined, it became the obligation, and Ashura was abandoned. Whoever wanted to, he would fast, and whoever wanted to, he would leave it”

— SUNAN ABU DAWUD, HADITH NUMBER: 2442 GRADED: SAHIH [55]

Furthermore, it is also said that the Muslim community in Medina - would fast three days per month in addition to Ashura. Therefore, prior to the obligatory fasts of Ramadan, and upon Muhammad (s) arrival in Medina - the Muslim community fasted three days of every month together with the fast of Ashura.[56] Notwithstanding, there is scholarly disagreement regarding whether these three days per month, or Ashura, or any other fast for that matter – was obligatory prior to Ramadan.[57]

“…The Messenger of Allah commanded us to fast the three days of Al-Bid, the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth...”

— SUNAN AN-NASAI, HADITH NUMBER: 2424, GRADED: HASAN [58]

Lastly, the obligatory fast of Ramadan underwent three phases of development.

  • Phase one: Muslims had the option to either fast in the month of Ramadan, or feed a poor person instead.
  • Phase two: the option to feed a poor person in lieu of fasting was revoked.
  • Phase three: one was permitted to eat, drink and cohabit until dawn - after awakening from sleep. Prior to phase 3 – a person was only permitted to eat, drink and cohabit until the time he/she fell asleep.

Notwithstanding, flexibility and concession and ease for travellers or those who are sick during Ramadan - has always been maintained.[59]

…” (the fasting) went through three stages…”

— SUNAN ABU DAWUD, HADITH NUMBER: 507, GRADED: DAIF [60]

In summary: The Quraish had a tradition of fasting on the Day of Ashura, a custom which pre-dates Islam. Muhammad (s) himself, before receiving prophethood - would also fast on the Day of Ashura - inline with the tradition of his tribe. When Muhammad (s) migrated to Medina, he noticed the Jewish community also fasting on the Day of Ashura, and in harmony with the Jewish community – the Prophet (s) continued to fast on Ashura, and instructed others to also follow suit. Furthermore, it is said that the Muslim community would also fast three days per month in addition to Ashura. And, towards the end of Muhammad (s) life, the Prophet (s) gave the option to fast an extra day - adjoined to Ashura – so as to perhaps distinguish Muslims from Jews. However, when fasting in the month of Ramadan became obligatory, the fast(s) of Ashura and fasting three days per month became optional. In short: it appears that Ashura and fasting three days per month were the first mandatory fasts of the Muslims, which was subsequently superseded by the development of fasting in Ramadan.

7.0 What Are the Optional Fasts

The optional fasts are as follows:

7.1 The fast of Prophet Dawud (as)

The fast of Prophet Dawud (as) was to fast every other day. The fast of Dawud (as) was described as the best of fasts.

…The most beloved fasting to Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, is the fast of Dawud, peace be upon him. He used to fast one day and not the next...

— SUNAN AN-NASAI, HADITH NUMBER: 2346 GRADED: SAHIH [61]

7.2 Fasting on the 13th, 14th and 15th of Every Islamic Lunar Month

The 13th, 14th and 15th are the three days of the full moon. The three days of the full moon in Arabic is known as ‘Al-Bid’[62]. The wisdom behind ‘why’ Muslims specifically fast on the three days of the full moon - is unknown,[63] other than it being a commandment of Muhammad (s) and, a source of good deeds and atonement for sins.

“…The Messenger of Allah commanded us to fast the three days of Al-Bid, the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth...”

— SUNAN AN-NASAI, HADITH NUMBER: 2424 GRADED: HASAN [64]

Notwithstanding, there is also evidence that suggests – fasting any three days of a month – cleanses the heart from impurity, impurity by way of restlessness or agitation.[65] Furthermore, fasting three days each month is equivalent to fasting a whole month, because a Kind Rule of Allah is that the reward of every good deed is ten-fold.[66]

“…The Messenger of Allah (s) used to fast three days of each month… He did not care which days they were.”

— SUNAN IBN MAJAH, HADITH NUMBER: 1709 GRADED: SAHIH [67]

“…Shall I not tell you of that which will take away impurity from the heart?... Fasting for three days each month…”

— SUNAN AN-NASAI, HADITH NUMBER: 2388, GRADED: SAHIH [68]

7.3 Fasting on Monday and Thursday

Fasting on Monday and Thursday are optional fasts – and the reasoning behind these days are:

  • Muhammad (s) was born on a Monday and Revelation first came to the Prophet (s) on this day.
  • Mondays and Thursdays are days on which Allah forgives every Muslim – except for those who have forsaken one another
  • Mondays and Thursdays are days on which deeds are shown to Allah. Notwithstanding, there is other evidence that suggests – deeds are presented to Allah daily (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English - Hadith 555) and, during the month of Shaban (English Translation of Sunan An-Nasai - Hadith 2359, Hasan). Allah knows best.

…The Messenger of Allah (s) was asked about fasting on Mondays and he said: “On it I was born and on it Revelation came to me”

— SAHIH MUSLIM, HADITH NUMBER: [2750] 198 [69]

“…Why do you fast on Mondays and Thursdays?” He said: “On Mondays and Thursdays Allah forgives every Muslim except two who have forsaken one another…”

— SUNAN IBN MAJAH, HADITH NUMBER: 1740 GRADED: HASAN [70]

“…The deeds are presented on Monday and Thursday, so I love that my deeds be presented while I am fasting”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 747, GRADED: HASAN [71]

7.4 Fasting the Month of Shaban

Fasting during the month of Shaban - is a month in which deeds are shown to Allah. Notwithstanding, other evidence also suggests – deeds are presented to Allah daily and, on Mondays & Thursdays. Allah knows best.

“…’O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Shaban.’ He said: … It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds to be taken up when I am fasting.”

— SUNAN AN-NASAI, HADITH NUMBER: 2359 GRADED: HASAN [72]

7.5 Fasting The Six Days of Shawwal

Fasting the six days of Shawwal – is equivalent to fasting everyday. This is because, the six days of Shawwal comes after the thirty (approx.) days of Ramadan. This gives us thirty-six days, and a Kind Rule of Allah is that the reward of every good deed is ten-fold. So, according to this rule, thirty-six multiplied by ten makes three hundred and sixty, and the total days of the lunar year are less than that.[73]

“…Whoever fasts Ramadan, then follows it with six from Shawwal, then that is (equal in reward) to fasting everyday…”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 759 GRADED: SAHIH [74]

7.6 Fasting on the Day of Arafah

Fasting on the day of Arafah, during Hajj – potentially expiates the sins of the previous year, and the following year; subject to Allah accepting your supplication. Notwithstanding, the Day of Arafah is a day of Eid for the pilgrims, therefore fasting is not incumbent upon those doing hajj. Furthermore, the Prophet (s) would also fast the nine days of Hajj.

"…Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, I ask Allah that it may expiate for (the sins of) the year that comes before it, and the year that comes after it…”

— SAHIH MUSLIM, HADITH NUMBER: [2746] 196 – (1162) [75]

“…The day of Arafat…are our Id…and they are days of eating and drinking…”

— SUNAN AN-NASAI, HADITH NUMBER: 3007, GRADED: HASAN [76]

“…The Messenger of Allah (s) used to fast nine days of Dhul-Hijjah…”

— SUNAN AN-NASAI, HADITH NUMBER: 2419, GRADED: SAHIH [77]

7.7 Fasting on Ashurah

Please refer to 6.0 The Historical Origins of Sawm.

Table 1 - Optional Fast Summary

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8.0 Ramadan

Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the following events occur / occurred in the month of Ramadan.

  1. Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan from dawn till sunset and, is a period in which one abstains from food, drink and marital sex.
  2. The first verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad (s) - in the month of Ramadan[78] on Laylatul-Qadr.[79] Laylatul-Qadr is concealed in one of the last ten (odd) nights of Ramadan. This night is better than one thousand months, and is the night on which Allah reveals our destiny for the coming year.
  3. The famous battle of Badr took place on the 17th Ramadan 2 A.H[80] [13th March 624 A.D][81]
  4. During the month of Ramadan – the devils (i.e. jinn) are chained and the gates of hell are closed. And those bound for hell but earn Allah’s mercy, are redirected towards heaven.
  5. Tarawih prayers is an optional prayer offered after the ‘Isha’ prayer on the nights of Ramadan.
  6. Umrah is a minor pilgrimage to Mecca, and in the month of Ramadan, – such a pilgrimage is the equivalent to hajj; for one who intended and readied themselves to do hajj - but was unable to do so because of a self-sacrifice.
  7. Itikaf is to seclude oneself in the mosque for the purpose of worshipping Allah – during the last ten days of Ramadan.
  8. Eidul-Fitr and Zakatul-Fitr takes place at the end of Ramadan. There is a donation to charity followed by a festival and celebration to commemorate the end of fasting.

8.1 Fasting – In The Month of Ramadan

Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan, because the Quran decrees one to fast in the month of Ramadan - in order to attain Taqwa.

The month of Ramadan (is the month) in which the Quran has been sent down as guidance for mankind containing clear signs which lead (to the straight road) and distinguishing (the truth from falsehood). Therefore, he who witnesses this month must fast it…

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH 2:185 TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI [82]

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may acquire Taqwa.”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:183, TRANSLATED BY: SAFIUR-RAHMAN AL-MUBARAKPURI [83]

8.2 Who Is Exempt From Fasting

Few people are excused from fasting during Ramadan. Some are required to make up later for the days they did not fast - such as travellers (over 50 miles by any means), sick, pregnant women, women nursing babies, and women during their periods. Elderly people or those who have permanent diseases like ulcers; are also excused from fasting, but must feed a poor person - one meal for each day they do not fast – if they can afford to do so.[84]

In short: some people are excused from fasting in the month of Ramadan, but must make up for the missed fast(s) at a later date. Other people that are excused from fasting in the month of Ramadan - must feed a poor person in lieu of fasting – if they can afford to do so.

“…if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day) …”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH 2:184, TRANSLATED BY: MOHSIN KHAN [85]

8.3 Laylatul-Qadr – The Night Of Power

Laylatul-Qadr – The Night of Power is a significant evening. The special night is concealed – ‘in one of the last ten’ odd nights of Ramadan.[86] The night is significant due to a number of reasons as listed below:

  1. It was the night on which the Quran was first revealed by the Angel Gabriel (as) to the Prophet Muhammad (s) on the 10th August 610 A.D.[87]
  2. The night is better than one thousand months. Thus, prayers on this night are equivalent to 83 years and four months (i.e. one thousand months) of worship.[88]
  3. Laylatul Qadr is the night on which Allah unveils to the Angels, the destiny of mankind (and perhaps that of the universe) for the coming year.[89]

The Night of Power is concealed ‘in one of the last ten odd nights’ of Ramadan. And, the exact date is unknown. The reason the exact date of Laylatul Qadr is unknown, is because Muhammad (s) was informed of the night in a dream,[90] but awoke to two people quarrelling - and the bickering caused the prophet (s) to forget. And there is perhaps hidden wisdom here in not knowing the exact night of Laylatul-Qadr; as it causes one to seek The Night of Power, thus causing one to become more mindful ‘throughout the entire last ten odd nights of Ramadan’. Even though the exact night of Laylatul-Qadr is unknown beforehand, it is possible to determine the night the next day; because the sun rises the day after without rays.

“…I came out to inform you about (the date of) the night of Al-Qadr, but as so-and-so quarrelled, its knowledge was taken away (I forgot it) and maybe it was better for you…”

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 49 [91]

…” The sun rises on the day after it like a shield, having no rays until it has risen”

— SUNAN ABU DAWUD, HADITH NUMBER: 1378 GRADED: SAHIH [92]

And it was in the month of Ramadan - on the night of Al-Qadr in 610 A.D; that the first verses of the Quran were revealed.[93] The first verses of the Quran to be revealed were:[94]

Read with the name of your Lord who created (every thing), He created man from a clot of blood. Read, and your Lord is the most gracious, who imparted knowledge by means of the pen. He taught man that what he did not know.

— QURAN, SURAH AL-ALAQ, 96:1-5, TRANSLATED BY: MUFTI MUHAMMAD TAQI UTHMANI [95]

Lastly, The Night of Power is better than one thousand months and, is the day on which Allah unveils to the Angels - everything that God has ordained for the following year. [96] An important note here is: Allah already knows everything that will happen in the future, and God decided all that will happen in the universe at the beginning of creation. However, Allah unveils His knowledge of the coming year - to the Angels on Laylatul-Qadr.[97]

“We have sent it (the Quran) down in the Night of Qadr. And what may let you know what the Night of Qadr is? The Night of Qadr is much better than one thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend in it, with the leave of your Lord, along with every command. Peace it is till the debut of dawn.”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-QADR, 97:1-5 TRANSLATED BY: MUFTI MUHAMMAD TAQI UTHMANI [98]

In summary: Laylatul-Qadr – The Night of Power is concealed ‘in one of the last ten’ odd nights of Ramadan; and the exact date is unknown, because the Prophet (s) was made to forget - due to the bickering of two people. And, there is perhaps hidden wisdom in not knowing the exact date of Laylatul-Qadr – as it causes one to be more mindful throughout the last ten days of Ramadan – due to seeking The Night of Power. However, it is possible to determine The Night of Power after it has passed – if you notice the sun rising the next day without rays. More importantly, Laylatul-Qadr, in the month of Ramadan, was the night in which the first revelations of the Quran came to be. The night is believed to be better than a thousand months, and it is on this night, that Allah unveils to the Angels – the destiny of mankind and that of the universe – for the year ahead.

8.4 The Battle of Badr

The famous battle of Badr took place on the 17th Ramadan 2 A.H[99] [13th March 624 A. D][100] - and the battle occurred after the Prophet (s) migration from Mecca to Medina. Coincidentally, the first obligatory fasts of Ramadan were also established in 2 A.H.[101] The battle of Badr was also the first decisive battle between the Muslims and Polytheists. It was a decisive battle that gained the Muslims ‘notoriety’ in Arabia, and dealt a heavy blow to the religious and economic interests of the polytheists.[102] The battle of Badr was an epic encounter in which a relatively small Muslim army of 300 – 317 [103] soldiers, accompanied by 1000 angels,[104] were able to outwit, outmanoeuvre and out-muscle – a seemingly superior foe of a thousand [105] men.

8.5 Background To The Battle of Badr

After prophethood, Muhammad (saw) spent approximately thirteen years in Mecca. The first three years of prophet-hood - Muhammad (s) spent preaching in secret. In the fourth year of prophet-hood – Muhammad (s) went public with his message but only within the confides of Mecca. In the tenth year of prophet-hood, Muhammad (s) began propagating outside of Mecca.[106]

Thus, Muhammad (s) period of prophethood in Mecca can be divided into there stages:

  • Secret Preaching: three years
  • Open Preaching within Mecca: seven years
  • Open Preaching outside of Mecca: three years

Whilst Muhammad (s) was in Mecca, from the fourth year of prophet-hood onward - during the phase of ‘openly preaching Islam in Mecca’; news of a new religion (i.e. Islam) began to spread and generate public interest across Arabia.[107] Mecca at this time (i.e. approx 610 A.D) was the heartland for the religion of Polytheism in Arabia. Thus, the dominant and majority religion in Mecca and Arabia during the early part of the 7th Century A.D, was Polytheism.

In the beginning, when open preaching of Islam commenced in Mecca - the Polytheist leaders, who held both religious and political power in the city; did not care much about Muhammad (s) and took no heed of his teachings. For they considered - Muhammad (s) to be a mere philosopher, philosophising on god-ship and religious obligations.

However, this attitude of indifference soon changed into apprehension, when the Polytheists became fearful of Muhammad (s) message[108] – because this new religion that Muhammad (s) brought, was monotheistic. And monotheism is the opposite of polytheism. Thus, Muhammad (s) new religion was in direct conflict with the religious views of the establishment and that of the people in Mecca. And, the Polytheist establishment in Mecca - feared and realised, that if a monotheistic religion such as Islam took hold in Mecca – it could disrupt trade and eventually destroy their economy. Because, Meccans profited from selling their ‘handcrafted gods’ to pilgrims visiting Mecca: pilgrimage being a form of tourism in the ancient world and an income generator.

Pilgrims would visit Mecca from across Arabia – to circumnavigate the Kabah and pay homage and buy the polytheist gods of Polytheism. But, Muhammad (s) new monotheistic movement and religion - sought do away with venerating or worshipping the ‘false gods’ of Polytheism that were being revered in Meccan society. Thus, Muhammad (s) new religion - threatened the livelihood and economy of Mecca - because the Prophet (s) discredited polytheist gods. Polytheist gods that were false deities carved from rock - that the Meccans sold to pilgrims in exchange for profit, sold to the pilgrims who visited Mecca from across Arabia. In short: The Polytheist leaders of Mecca, felt threatened by Muhammad (s) new religion; because Islam was a monotheistic movement that threatened the economy of Mecca – which profited from pilgrims (i.e. tourists) who would come to the city to circumnavigate the Kabah and pay homage and buy ‘Polytheist gods.

Monotheism:

Monotheism is the belief that there is only one God.

— COLLINS DICTIONARY [109]

Polytheism:

The worship of or belief in more than one god.

— COLLINS DICTIONARY [110]

Polytheist opposition to Muhammad (s) and his new religion and followers was at first, verbal and non-violent. At first, the Polytheist spread slur against Muhammad (s) and mocked the early converts; this was an attempt to tarnish the noble character of the Prophet (s) and dissuade new converts. Thus, the polytheist’s accused Muhammad (s) of being insane, a magician, a liar and meted general ridicule and mockery towards the early Muslims.

And (the disbelievers) say (insolently): ‘O man on whom this Quran has been revealed, indeed you are insane.

— QURAN, SURAH AL-HIJR 15:6, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI [111]

…the disbelievers said: ‘He is a magician, a great liar.

— QURAN, SURAH SAD 38:4, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI [112]

The sinners had been laughing at the believers. When passing by them, they would wink at one another and, on returning to their people, boast about what they had done.

— QURAN, SURAH AL-MUTAFFIFIN 83:29-31, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD SARWAR [113]

Verbal opposition towards the early Muslims in Mecca - lasted for a period of some months[114] until physical violence and persecution ensued. During the period of physical violence, the Prophet (s) and his followers were subjugated to ‘religious persecution’ and brutality - at the hands of those who followed the dominant religion of, Polytheism.

It is common throughout history, that at the birth of a new religion, the earliest adherents of that new faith - suffer persecution - at the hands of their former coreligionists. Thus, the early Muslims in Mecca were being punished by the Polytheists for ‘abandoning their former religion’.[115] In other words: Muhammad (s) and the early Muslims in Mecca - were subjugated to religious persecution and punished by the Polytheists, for abandoning Polytheism.

“…The first people to declare their Islam publicly were seven: The Messenger of Allah (s), Abu Bakr, Ammar and his mother Sumayyah, Suhaib, Bilal and Miqdad. With regard to the Messenger of Allah, Allah protected him through his paternal uncle Abu Talib. With regard to Abu Bakr, Allah protected him through his people. As for the rest, the idolaters seized them and made them wear coats of chain-mail and exposed them to the intense heat of the sun…”

— SUNAN IBN MAJAH, HADITH NUMBER: 150, GRADED: HASAN [116]

“…Indeed, I have feared for the sake of Allah, such that no one has feared, and I have been harmed for the sake of Allah, such that no one has been harmed. Thirty days and nights have passed over me, and there was no food with Bilal and I … except what Bilal could conceal under his armpit.”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 2472, GRADED: SAHIH [117]

The persecution of Muslims continued throughout the years in Mecca - once the new religion had become public knowledge. And, the Muslims endured hardship and persevered and gained new followers. The Prophet (s) would council and give comfort to his early followers who would complain of hardship, by advising them to conceal their new faith.[118] And, reminding them that the persecution and torture being meted on them is minor - in comparison to that experienced by previous nations.

We complained to Allah’s Messenger (s) [of the persecution inflicted on us by the infidels]…He said, ‘Among the nations before you a (believing) man would be put in a ditch that was dug for him, and a saw would be put over his head and he would be cut into two pieces; yet that (torture) would not make him give up his religion. His body would be combed with iron combs that would remove his flesh from the bones or nerves, yet that would not make him abandon his religion… but you (people) are hasty

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 3612 [119]

The series of physical abuse that began late into the fourth year of Prophet-hood, began slowly at first, but steadily accelerated and worsened until the persecution became grave and intolerable. Thus, in the middle of the fifth year of Prophet-hood, some Muslims secretly fled Mecca to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) - so as to escape persecution. In other words: some Muslims were forced to seek asylum and became refugees in Ethiopia; Ethiopia at this time was a Christian Kingdom ruled by the righteous King, Ashamah Negus.[120]

…Allah’s earth is spacious (so if you cannot worship Allah at a place, then go to another)!...

— QURAN, SURAH AZ-ZUMAR 39:10, TRANSLATED BY: MOHSIN KHAN [121]

Once the Polytheists had learnt - that some Muslims had escaped to Ethiopia; they chased and hunted the early Muslims that had sought refuge in Abyssinia. Thus, the Meccan’s sent envoys to Ethiopia – seeking the extradition and return of those Muslims that had escaped persecution. The Polytheist grievance presented to the Ethiopian courts, centred on: ‘these Muslims have abandoned the religion of their forefathers, and their leader (Muhammad [s]) was preaching a religion different from theirs and from that of the king’. King Negus of Ethiopia - summoned the Muslims to court, and asked the Muslims to explain the teachings of their new religion, to which Jafar Bin Abi Talib (ra) spoke on behalf of the Muslims and said:

“O king! We were plunged in the depth of ignorance and barbarism; we adored idols, we lived in unchastity, we ate dead bodies, and we spoke abominations, we disregarded every feeling of humanity, and the duties of hospitality and neighbourhood were neglected; we knew no law but that of the strong. Then, Allah raised among us a man, of whose birth, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we were aware; and he called to the Oneness of Allah, and taught us not to associate anything with Him. He forbade us the worship of idols; and he enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful and to regard the rights of neighbours and kith and kin; he forbade us to speak evil of women, or to eat the substance of orphans; he ordered us to fly from the vices, and to abstain from evil; to offer prayers, to render alms, and to observe fast. We have believed in him, we have accepted his teachings and his injunctions to worship Allah, and not associate anything with Him, and we have allowed what He has allowed, and prohibited what He has prohibited. For this reason, our people have risen against us, have persecuted us in order to make us forsake the worship of Allah and return to the worship of idols and other abominations. They have tortured and injured us, until finding no safety among them, we have come to your country, and hope you will protect us from oppression.”

King Negus of Ethiopia was very much impressed by these words and asked the Muslims to recite some of the Quran. Jafar Bin Abi Talib (ra) - on behalf of the migrant community - recited the opening verses of Surah Maryam (Quran, Chapter 19). Thereupon the king, along with the clergy of his realm whom were present in court, were moved to tears; and the king turned to the Meccan envoys and said: “I am afraid, I cannot give you back these refugees. They are free to live and worship in my realm as they please”. Thus, some of the early Muslims fled Mecca and lived in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) - freely for a number of years.[122]

In the seventh year of Prophet-hood, the Polytheist’s of Mecca – exiled Muhammad (s) and his followers along with his clan. And, the Polytheists also economically and socially boycotted the Prophet (s) tribe, along with the Muslims. Thus, the Muslims along with Muhammad (s) tribe – were forced to live in exile, with little access to food - on the outskirts of Mecca for three years.

In the tenth year of Prophet-hood, the economic and social embargo was lifted[123] but, the torture and oppression upon the Muslims – at the hands of the Meccan Polytheists - continued and intensified. The tenth year of Prophethood was also a year of much sorrow & grief for Muhammad (s), for it was the year in which he (s) lost his wife Khadijah (ra) and, lost his uncle and protector, Abu Talib (ra).[124] It was at this point – in the tenth year of prophet-hood, that Muhammad (s) decided to find a safe haven away from Mecca; a land that could be the seed of his social and economic vision and justice, and a land free from religious persecution.

In the eleventh year of Prophethood, during the pilgrimage season, Muhammad (s) stumbled upon six pilgrims from Medina. Muhammad (s) fame had already spread to Medina, and the pilgrims were curious to see the Prophet (s) – a man who had caused much stir across Arabia. Muhammad (s) presented to the pilgrims – an expose of Islam and, at its conclusion, the six men from Medina became Muslim. The six men returned to Medina and began preaching Islam, and steadily succeeded in winning many new followers - from amongst their own citizens.[125]

By the thirteenth year of Prophethood, Madinese society was ripe and ready to accept Muhammad (s) as its religious and political leader. Thus, the Prophet (s) gave orders to his followers to migrate from Mecca to Medina; and migration of the early Muslims (from Mecca to Medina) was met with polytheist obstruction.[126] And, Polytheist obstruction of the Muslims centred on a genuine and sincere belief, that the Muslims were apostates whom had been misguided by Muhammad(s).

And the disbelievers say: ‘This (Quran) is but a lie which this (claimant of Prophethood) has fabricated and other people have helped him in (inventing) it.’…

— QURAN, SURAH AL-FURQAN 25:4, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI [127]

Nonetheless, within months of Muhammad (s) decree, which instructed the Muslims to evacuate Mecca for Medina, entire quarters of Mecca became deserted – due to successive groups of Muslims escaping to Medina. Furthermore, most of the Muslims who had previously migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) – returned to Arabia – and headed towards Medina. And, in the fourteenth year of Prophethood, the Polytheist government deliberated and passed an edict to assassinate Muhammad(s).[128] And, this was the final straw for all hope of talk had now failed; and it was at this point - that Muhammad (s) left for Medina. And, Muhammad (s) with help of Allah - was able to miraculously elude assassination; thus, in September 622 A.D [Rabi’ Al-Awwal 1 A.H][129] the Prophet (s) arrived safely in Medina.

The unbelievers planned to imprison, murder or expel you (Muhammad) from your city. They make evil plans but God too plans and God’s plans are the best.

— QURAN, SURAH AL-ANFAL 8:30, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD SARWAR [130]

Figure 1 - Ancient Arab Trade Routes [131]

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Medina was strategically positioned along major commercial routes leading to Mecca. In other words, trade to and fro Mecca would need to pass through Medina[132] - in order to ‘get to and from’ Mecca. Thus, Muhammad (s) began military action against the polytheists of Mecca – by attacking Meccan caravans, caravans that carried goods along commercial routes adjacent to Medina. The battle of Badr was one such incident in which a Meccan caravan ‘carrying immense wealth’[133] was spotted adjacent to Medina. Muhammad (s) readied 300-317 soldiers to intercept this caravan but, the caravan was able to elude the Muslim army and avoid an ambush.[134] However, before eluding the Muslim ambush, Abu Sufyan (who was with the Meccan caravan) – was able to send a rider - with a message and frantic plea for help to the Polytheists in Mecca. The polytheists in Mecca, readied a force of 1,300 soldiers to defend the Meccan caravan, but this number reduced to a 1,000 when news of the caravan’s escape reached the polytheists near Mecca.[135]

Figure 2 - Battle of Badr [136]

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Nonetheless, the polytheist army from Mecca - now numbering a thousand troops – continued their march towards Medina. The intention was to punish the Muslims of Medina, and deter any future attack on Meccan caravans; as well as demonstrating polytheist supremacy in the region. Meanwhile, the Muslim army remained camped at Badr – momentarily unaware, that the Meccan caravan had escaped, and a polytheist army marching towards them. Eventually, news of a polytheist army marching towards Medina and, the escape of the caravan – reached the ears of Muhammad (s); who immediately consulted with his military and drew up battle plans.[137] The battle plan was to destroy all but one of the water-wells at Badr, - thus depriving the enemy of water.[138] The Muslims would then take up defensive positions around the only remaining water-well. The plan worked, and the polytheist army - driven by thirst, attacked the Muslims and were defeated.

In summary: In the fourth year of prophethood whilst in Mecca, Muhammad (s) went public with his new message and religion. And, the response of the polytheist government towards Muhammad (s) new message, was to persecute the Muslims. The reasoning behind the polytheist persecution of the early Muslims was due to:

  1. The Muslims were monotheist; and monotheism is the opposite of polytheism, and polytheism was the dominant religion in Mecca and Arabia in the early 7th Century A.D. The monotheist Muslims posed a social and economic threat to Mecca because, the polytheist majority in Mecca - enjoyed economic prosperity and social nobility in Arabia; due to the many polytheist pilgrims that visited Mecca from across Arabia. In other words: the monotheist Muslims who believed in only Allah, threatened the sale and veneration of the ‘many gods of polytheism’ - that were frequently visited in Mecca and venerated by Arabs who came from across Arabia. Thus, the polytheists in Mecca - feared monotheism because it sought to do away ‘with the many gods of polytheism’ that were sold, visited and venerated by Arabs who visited Mecca, from across Arabia.
  2. The polytheists genuinely believed, that Muhammad (s) was either a liar or misguided; and in turn – he (s) was misguiding other polytheists into leaving polytheism for Islam. Thus, the polytheists believed, Muslims were misguided and apostates who had abandoned polytheism; therefore, the Muslims ought to be punished for apostasy or, forced to revert back to the religion of polytheism.

Initially, the polytheist government in Mecca - on becoming aware of Muhammad (s) new message - ignored the Prophet (s). However, indifference soon turned to verbal opposition, and verbal opposition eventually turned to physical violence and persecution. The severity of persecution meted upon the Muslims - led some Muslims to seek the safety of asylum in Ethiopia. The Prophet (s) too was forced into exile, thus compelled to live on the outskirts of Mecca along with his tribe and followers. And, during this period of exile, the polytheists - economically and socially boycotted all those they had coerced into exile. After some years - the boycott and exile were lifted, but the physical violence and religious persecution upon the Muslims continued.

Thus, after experiencing years of hardship and suffering in Mecca; Muhammad (s) and the early Muslims found a new abode in Medina. Medina was strategically posed north of Mecca – along an important trade route. And, in Ramadan 2 A.H [March 624 A.D], Muhammad (s) sent his Medinian army to attack a Meccan caravan (carrying goods). A Meccan caravan that was spotted traversing close to Medina. The Meccan caravan managed to escape, but the polytheists still sent 1,000 soldiers to punish the Muslims for daring to attack their caravan. The polytheist forces – met the outnumbered Muslim foe at Badr; but the 300 – 317 brave warriors of Muhammad (s) army, accompanied by a thousand angels, defeated the polytheist army and sent shock-waves across Arabia.

“…Do you know what is meant by Al-Fitnah? Let your mother bereave you! Muhammad (s) used to fight against Al-Mushrikun, for a Muslim was put to trial in his religion (Al-Mushrikun will either kill him or chain him as a captive). His fighting was not like your fighting which is carried on for the sake of ruling.”

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 7095 [139]

8.6 What Lessons Can Be Learnt From The Battle Of Badr

There are a number of lessons that can be gained from the Battle of Badr itself, such as the need for careful planning and faith in Allah. Much too can also be said about the background to war. Conflict is often a battle of two virtues – with each side believing itself - to be more righteous than the other. The early Muslims believed in religious freedom and, fought against religious persecution. The polytheists of Mecca believed in conservatism, and fought against change and cultural-annihilation. At the end of Muhammad (s) struggle for religious freedom, and at the end of the polytheist struggle against change; Islam morphed into a middle-ground between polytheism and monotheism, as well as becoming a middle-ground between conservatism and liberalism.

Figure 3 - Political Spectrum in 7th Century Arabia

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The polytheists of Mecca were politically right-wing and conservative in their views; because they were determined to uphold the status-quo, thus wanted the Muslims to continue respecting and venerating the gods of polytheism. Whereas the Muslims aimed for the middle-ground, because they believed in co-existence and religious freedom.

“… (O Muslims,) We made you the best Umma (Community – fair to all with a tolerant, moderate and balanced outlook) …”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:143, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI [140]

“Say: ‘O disbelievers! I do not worship those (idols) that you worship. Nor do you worship (the Lord) Whom I worship. And I shall never worship those (idols) that you worship. Nor will you (ever) worship (the Lord) Whom I worship. (So) you have your din (religion), and I have my Din (Religion).’

— QURAN, SURAH AL-KAFIRUN, 109:1-6, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI [141]

It is a noble concept, that wherever there is religious persecution – albeit of Muslims or non-Muslims; a Muslim must fight for the rights of the oppressed - and uphold religious freedom. I say this because: Muhammad (s) fought against persecution of Muslims, and when he (s) gained power in Medina, he (s) created a State in which he intended for different religious communities to co-exist.[142] Co-existence does not infer the ‘cultural-annihilation’ of other communities, to co-exist: is to live together without hostility or conflict despite differences.[143] And, the sign of a progressive society, is one that can share diverse opinions, and adopt new ideas and adapt to change.

The resistance to change in society is often a cause for conflict between conservatives and liberals. The polytheists of Mecca resisted change, and the Muslims pushed boundaries for change. However, generally speaking; not all societal change is good, nor is all societal change, bad. Muhammad (s) was an exceptional reformer whom was able to recognise & distinguish between the good and bad traits of Arab society. And, he (s) successfully identified and challenged those practises that were deemed immoral. For example:

  1. Muhammad (s) opposed infanticide.
  2. Muhammad (s) opposed White Slave Traffic.[145]

“And do not kill your children due to fear of poverty. We alone provide for them and for you (as well). Indeed, killing them is a major sin”

— QURAN, SURAH AL-ISRA, 17:31, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD TAHIR-UL-QADRI [144]

…Do not force your girls into prostitution to make money if they want to be chaste…

— QURAN, SURAH AN-NUR 24:33, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD SARWAR [146]

The point I am trying to make: is that any suggested change to society, must be moral. And, one must tread carefully between liberalism and conservatism – without becoming overly conservative nor overly liberal. Lastly, Muslims must stand firmly against religious persecution; and defend the religious rights of all.

8.7 Devils Are Chained

In the month of Ramadan, the gates of hell are closed, and the gates of heaven are open. And, your companion amongst the jinn i.e. the devil – is gone. Therefore, any bad intentions or actions you commit in the month of Ramadan – is your own doing, and you can not blame matters on the devil. Par the belief and blame upon the devil - that the jinn’s teachings have an influence upon me, and that is something I must change.

And, if you are successful in making that positive change to your life, in the month of Ramadan, then he/she whose soul was heading towards hell – is freed from the fire and redirected towards heaven. Thus, subconsciously or consciously - some feel the desire for positive change in the month of Ramadan; due to the removal of jinns, and the redirection of our soul, that was otherwise heading towards hell, but is now realigned towards heaven.

“…When the first night of Ramadan comes, the satans and mischievous jinns are chained up, and the gates of the Fire are closed… The gates of Paradise are opened… And Allah has necks (people) whom He frees (from the Fire), and that happens every day”

— SUNAN IBN MAJAH, HADITH NUMBER: 1642, GRADED: HASAN [147]

8.8 Tarawih

Tarawih is an optional prayer offered after the ‘Isha’ prayer on the nights of Ramadan. This prayer may be performed individually or in congregation.[148] The benefit of this prayer is the atonement for previous sins.

“…Whoever fasts Ramadan and stands (in the night prayer) for it out of faith and seeking a reward (from Allah), he will be forgiven what preceded of his sins...”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 683, GRADED: HASAN [149]

8.9 What Are The Origins Of Tarawih

During the blessed month of Ramadan, the ‘Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr’ prayer is called ‘Tarawih’, and outside of Ramadan, ‘Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr’ is called ‘Tahajjud’. Thus, Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr, along with Tarawih and Tahajjud is the same prayer but with differing and interchangeable names.[150]

Prior to the obligatory five daily prayers, and in the very early years of Muhammad (s) prophethood,[151] Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr was an obligatory prayer. Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr remained an obligatory prayer for one year, after which it became, voluntary.

Worship (God) for a few hours at night

— QURAN, SURAH AL-MUZZAMMIL 73:2, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD SARWAR [152]

“…Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, made Qiyam Al-Lail obligatory at the beginning of this Surah [Al-Muzzammil 73], so the Messenger of Allah (s) and his Companions prayed Qiyam Al-Lail for one year. Allah withheld the latter part of this Surah for twelve months, then He revealed the lessening (of this duty) at the end of this Surah, so Qiyam Al-Lail became voluntary after it had been obligatory…”

— SUNAN AN-NASAI, HADITH NUMBER: 1602, GRADED: SAHIH [153]

In the later years of Prophethood, during Ramadan, for a few nights, Muhammad (s) prayed Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih] in the mosque. And, people began to follow him. And, each night that the Prophet (s) prayed, more and more people gathered.

Until the third or fourth night, as people gathered, Muhammad (s) did not appear. In the morning, Muhammad (s) explained: that had he appeared, he feared that Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih] may become obligatory upon his followers. Thus, the Prophet (s) took it upon himself, to remove a potential burden from the shoulders of his followers - by either missing the prayer himself, or not praying it in congregation.

“…One-night Muhammad (s) offered the Salat in the mosque and the people followed him. The next night he also offered the Salat (prayer) and a great number of people followed him. On the third or the fourth night more and more people gathered, but Allah’s Messenger (s) did not come out to them. In the morning he said, “I saw what you were doing and nothing stopped me from coming out to you, but the fear that it (i.e. the Salat) might be enjoined on you.” And that happened in the month of Ramadan.

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 1129, [154]

During the caliphate of Umar (ra) - who reigned between 634 A.D[155] [13 A.H][156] till 3rd November 644 A.D[157] [26th Dhul-Hijjah 23 A.H][158]; Umar (ra) noticed that people in the mosque, during Ramadan, prayed Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih] in different groups or individually. Umar (ra) decided, rather than being disjointed, it would be better for all the different groups and individuals to come together – and pray Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih] behind one imam in congregation at the mosque. Thus, the congregational Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih] prayer was born; and has remained an integral part of Ramadan ever since.

“…I went out in the company of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the people performing Salat (prayers) in different groups. A man performing Salat (prayers) alone, or a man performing Salat (prayers) with a little group behind him. So, ‘Umar said, ‘In my opinion I would better collect these (people) under the leadership of one Qari (reciter) [i.e., let them perform Salat (prayers) in congregation!] …”

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 2010 [159]

In terms of the number of Rakats to be offered during the Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih] prayer; there are varying opinions and I am unsure. Qiyam Al-Lail can be a minimum of two Rakats followed by one Rakat of Witr; or, it can be an average of eight or, any number of Rakats you can muster.[160] Allah knows best.

In summary: Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr, along with Tarawih and Tahajjud is the same prayer but with differing and interchangeable names. In the early years of Muhammad (s) prophethood - Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr was an obligatory prayer, but it later became, voluntary. Towards the end of Muhammad (s) life,[161] during Ramadan, the Prophet (s) led the Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih] prayer in the mosque for a few nights. But, on the third or fourth night, as people gathered at the mosque to pray Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih], Muhammad (s) did not appear. The Prophet (s) later explained, that had he appeared, he feared that Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih] may become obligatory upon his followers.

During the reign of Umar (ra), in the month of Ramadan, he noticed people praying Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih] at the mosque - in small groups or individually. Umar (ra) took the decision, to bring all the small groups and individuals together, to pray Qiyam Al-Lail & Witr [Tarawih] under one imam. Thus, to this day, Muslims in the month of Ramadan - pray Tarawih in congregation at a local mosque.

8.10 Umrah In Ramadan

Umrah is a minor pilgrimage to Mecca. Umrah is a minor pilgrimage because it need not be performed at a particular time of the year, and Umrah has fewer ceremonies and rituals than those performed during the actual Hajj.[162] The minor pilgrimage of Umrah, performed in the month of Ramadan, is a deed that is equivilant to Hajj.

However, for the deed of Umrah, in the month of Ramadan, to be truly equivalent to Hajj; it must be done by one - ‘who intended and readied themselves to do the actual Hajj’ – but was unable to do so, because he/she sacrificed his/her Hajj - for the happiness of others. I say this because: Muhammad (s) undertook one Hajj during his lifetime, a momentous Hajj at the very end of his life. And, Umm Sinan (ra) intended to do Hajj with Muhammad (s), but she was unable to do so because, she sacrificed her Hajj for the happiness of her husband and son, so that they could do Hajj with the Prophet (s). To this, Muhammad (s) said to Umm Sinan (ra): “Umrah in Ramadan is equivalent (in reward) to Hajj with me.” Thus, for Umm Sinan (ra): Umrah in Ramadan was an actual Hajj.

"…The Prophet (s) said to a woman from among the Ansar, whose name was Umm Sinan: “What kept you from performing Hajj with us?” She said: “Abu Fulan” – her husband – “has two camels; he and his son went for Hajj on one of them, and our slave uses the other one to bring water.” He said: “Umrah in Ramadan is equivalent (in reward) to Hajj” or he said: “to Hajj with me.”

— SAHIH MUSLIM, HADITH NUMBER: [3039] 222 – (…) [163]

“…How many times did he (Muhammad [saw]) perform Hajj?” He (Anas [ra]) replied, “Once.”

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 1778 [164]

To others performing Umrah in Ramadan, without having intended to do Hajj - nor sacrificed their Hajj for the happiness of others; may earn good deeds to that of Hajj. Also, an Umrah in Ramadan for those who did not intend to do Hajj, nor sacrificed their Hajj for the happiness of others; will not negate the obligation of an actual Hajj. Whereas in the case of Umm Sinan (ra) – who intended to do Hajj - and sacrificed it for the happiness of others (namely her husband and son) – Umrah in Ramadan was an actual Hajj.

In summary: Umrah in Ramadan is the equivalent of Hajj - for someone who intended and readied themselves to do the actual Hajj, but was unable to so - because he/she sacrificed his/her Hajj for the happiness of others. For anyone else who performs Umrah in Ramadan, he/she will earn good deeds to that of Hajj; but it will not negate the obligation to one-day do an actual Hajj.

8.11 Itikaf

Itikaf is to seclude oneself in the mosque for the purpose of worshipping Allah alone. It refers to the religious practise of spending the last ten days of Ramadan (either wholly or partly) in a mosque so as to devote one-self exclusively to worship.[165]

8.12 Zakatul Fitr

Zakatul-Fitr – is an annual tax paid at the end of Ramadan by Muslim citizens living within an Islamic State. Outside of an Islamic State, Zakatul-Fitr is a charity donation - that is incumbent on every adult person to pay, preferably ‘before’ the Eid prayer.[166] The sum to be paid, is up to the value of 3 kilograms of dates or barley or any other staple food. The poor are exempt from paying this Zakat.[167]

… Allah’s Messenger (s) made it obligatory on all the slave or free Muslims, male or female, to pay one Sa’ of dates or barley as Zakutul-Fitr.

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 1504 [168]

8.13 Eidul-Fitr

Eidul-Fitr: Literally means ‘the Feast of breaking the Fast’. A three-day celebration after fasting the month of Ramadan as a matter of thanks and gratitude to Almighty Allah. It takes place on the first of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar.[169] Coincidentally, the first Eidul-Fitr coincided with the military victory at Badr. Thus, the first Eidul-Fitr celebration was a spectacular spectacle of Muslims leaving their houses praying, acclaiming Allah’s Name and entertaining His praise at the top of their voices - in recognition and thankfulness at the favour and victory which Allah bestowed upon them – at the battle of Badr.[170]

Narrated Aishah (ra): It was the day of Eid, and the black people were playing with shields and spears; so, either I requested the Prophet (s), or he asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative. Then the Prophet (s) made me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheeks and he was saying, “Carry on! O Bani Arfida,” till I got tired. The Prophet (s) asked me, “Are you satisfied?” I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave"

— REFERENCE: SAHIH BUKHARI , HADITH NUMBER: 950 [171]

Furthermore, the Prophet (s) wanted his community to celebrate Eid to their hearts content, and he wanted the people to be happy – and he even reprimanded his good friend Abu Bakr (ra), for not relaxing on the day of Eid.

Narrated Aishah (ra):

Abu Bakr came to my house while two small Ansari girls were singing beside me the stories of the Ansar… and they were not (professional) singers. Abu Bakr said protestingly, “Musical instruments of Satan in the house of Allah’s Messenger (s)!” It happened on the Eid day and Allah’s Messenger (s) said, “O Abu Bakr! There is an Eid (festival) for every nation and this is our ‘Eid (festival).”

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 952 [172]

In summary: Eidul-Fitr is a three-day celebration and festival that celebrates the passing of Ramadan, and the end of fasting. The first Eidul-Fitr occurred on the 1st Shawwal 2 A.H [27th March 624 A.D], [173] and coincided with Allah’s famous victory at the Battle of Badr (which occurred in the previous Islamic month of the same year). Thus, the first Eidul-Fitr was a momentous occasion in Islamic history, for it was a day in which a small community from Medina - celebrated a decisive military victory, against their arch-enemy and foe from Mecca. In short: The first Eidul-Fitr was celebrated in a carnival mood, and with a funfair of entertainment for the community to enjoy.

8.14 What Are The Historical Origins Of The Two Eids

The historical origins of the two Eid’s are not certain. There is a historical account that infers: when Muhammad (s) arrived in Medina, the indigenous population had two preexisting pagan festivals. And, Muhammad (s) replaced the two preexisting pagan festivals with, Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr. The reason Muhammad (s) replaced the two preexisting pagan festivals, was because paganism was being rooted out.

The reason the origins of two Eid’s are uncertain, is because the hadith that mentions the history of the two Eids, is ‘unclassified’. Thus, the authenticity of the evidence is questionable. The evidence is found in Sunan Abu Dawud, and the author, Imam Hafiz Abu Dawud (rh) – did not clarify ‘unclassified’ hadiths because he assumed them to be, true. However, some of the hadiths not clarified by Imam Hafiz Abu Dawud (rh) are weak, whilst he did not consider them to be severely weak.[174] Thus, the hadith that mentions the history of the two ‘Eids’ has not been clarified by Imam Hafiz Abu Dawud (rh); therefore, it is either true or untrue. And Allah knows best as to whether the hadith is true or not; and, to the best of my knowledge, the hadith found in Sunan Abu Dawud (and possibly in other sources) is the only available evidence-based theory on the origins of the two Eids.

“…When the Messenger of Allah (s) came to Al-Madinah, its (inhabitants) had two days they would play in (and be merry on). He asked them: ‘What are these two days?’ They replied: ‘We used to play on these days during Jahaliyyah.’ So, the Messenger of Allah (s) replied: ‘Indeed, Allah has replaced you with two days that are better than them: The Day of Al-Adha, and the Day of Al-Fitr.’”

— SUNAN ABU DAWUD, HADITH NUMBER: 1134, GRADED: UNKNOWN / UNCLASSIFIED [175]

Similarly, the Christian festival of Christmas, celebrating the birth of Jesus (as) on the 25th December – also replaced pagan holidays. The true date of Jesus’s birth is unknown. However, Emperor Constantine decreed that the 25th December 336 A.D - was to be Christmas.

Pagan:

Beliefs and activities do not belong to any of the main religions of the world and take nature and a belief in many gods as a basis. They are older, or believed to be older, than other religions.

— COLLINS DICTIONARY [176]

The 25th December was initially a popular pagan holiday in the Roman Empire. It was a day in which the pagans of Rome - celebrated a festival called, ‘Sol-Invictus’. Sol-Invictus was a day in which the pagans of Rome - celebrated the rebirth of the sun i.e. the days becoming long again.

Furthermore, the pagans of Rome also celebrated a festival called ‘Saturnalia’, which was a time for gifts and feasts. And, the pagans also celebrated the birth of a god called, ‘Mithras’. Mithras was a popular god of light and loyalty. Thus, the pagans of Rome celebrated a festival called Sol-Invictus on the 25th December; and Saturnalia and the birth of Mithras around this date.

Emperor Constantine decreed, that the 25th December 336 A.D was also to be a day - in which the Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus (as).[177] And, when Emperor Theodosius declared Christianity to be the state religion of the Roman Empire in 380 A.D;[178] the pagan festivals of Sol-Invictus, Saturnalia and the birth of Mithras - evolved into the birth of Jesus (as) and Christmas.

In summary: the historical origins of the two eids are not certain, because the only available evidence - pertaining to the origins of the two eids, is a questionable hadith. However, due to the absence of any other ‘evidence-based’ theory, a questionable Hadith forms the basis of our only evidence, thus our best guess on the origins of the two eids. The evidence pertaining to the origins of the two eids suggest; Muhammad (s) replaced two pagan festivals with Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr. The in-depth details of the two pagan festivals are unbeknown to me, other then being days of celebration in Medina prior to Islam. In essence: Muhammad (s) on arriving in Medina, replaced two preexisting pagan festivals with Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Fitr.

Similarly, the Christian festival of Christmas, replaced the pagan holidays and traditions in the Roman Empire. The 25th December was initially a pagan holiday called Sol-Invictus. The pagans of Rome also had a festival called Saturnalia, and celebrated the birth of Mithras around this date. When Emperor Constantine decreed the 25th December 336 A.D to be Christmas, followed by Emperor Theodosius declaring Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire in 380 A.D; pagan festivals were replaced and evolved into Christmas.

8.15 Summarising The Month Of Ramadan

Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting, and is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan - in order to attain Taqwa; and Taqwa is to become aware of one’s conscience.

Hidden in ‘one of the last ten odd nights of Ramadan’ - is Laylatul-Qadr / The Night of Power. On this night in 610 A.D – the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad (s), and the first verses of the Quran to be revealed can be found in Surah Al-Alaq (Quran 96:1-5). Laylatul-Qadr is an exceptional night - in which any good deed is amplified; thus, may you say a pray for me? Laylatul-Qadr is also the night in which, Allah unveils to the Angels, all that God has ordained for the following year.

The famous battle of Badr also took place in Ramadan; and it was the first decisive battle between the Muslims and Polytheists. And, this small outnumbered Muslim army, with the help of a thousand angels, was able to defeat a seemingly superior foe. The cause of this war, was due to years of persecution that the Meccan Polytheists meted on the Muslims. The Muslims eventually fled persecution, and migrated to Medina. And, in Medina, Muhammad (s) was given both political and religious leadership. On the 17th Ramadan 2 A.H [13th March 624 A.D] – the Prophet (s) set out with his army - with the intention of attacking a Meccan caravan that was transporting immense wealth. The caravan escaped but, the Muslim army came face-to-face with their Polytheist foe - who had dispatched an army from Mecca. At the battle of Badr, the Muslim army defeated the Polytheists.

There are particular acts of worship that are emphasised upon in the month of Ramadan. Particular acts of worship such as ‘Tarawih’, ‘Umrah’ and ‘Itikaf’. Tarawih in Ramadan is an optional prayer offered during the night. And Umrah in Ramadan is a minor pilgrimage to Mecca, that is potentially the equivalent of Hajj - for some. For most, Umrah in Ramadan does not negate the obligation to one-day perform an actual Hajj, but one may earn deeds equivalent to that of an actual Hajj. Itikaf also takes place in Ramadan, and Itikaf is to seclude oneself in the mosque – for the purpose of worshipping Allah alone. Finally, Ramadan concludes with a small donation to charity and the festival of Eidul-Fitr.

In short: Ramadan is the holy month of fasting, and Muslims fast in order to attain ‘Taqwa’, and Taqwa is to become aware of your conscience. Ramadan also consists of Laylatul Qadr, which is the night on which the first verses of the Quran were revealed and, is the night on which Allah unveils to the Angels, all that God has ordained for the following year. Ramadan is also remembered for the famous battle of Badr, in which a small Muslim army defeated a large Polytheist foe. Finally, the month consists of special acts of optional worship that are emphasised upon in Ramadan. Lastly, month concludes with a charity donation and the festival of Eidul-Fitr.

9.0 What Act Is Potentially Greater Than Fasting

There is a ‘weak’ hadith that stipulates: making peace between each other, is better than fasting. However, as the hadith is ‘weak’ – it could be true or untrue. Allah knows best. I have only included it because, there may be some truth to this hadith – particularly for those that are considering and ought to mend severed relations with loved ones this Ramadan.

“…Shall I not inform you of what is more virtuous than the rank of fasting, Salat, and charity?” They said: “But of course!” He said: “Making peace between each other…”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 2509, GRADED: DAIF [179]

10.0 What Is The Annual Moon Sighting Dispute

The annual moon sighting dispute is a disagreement that frequently occurs in Ramadan across the Muslim world. The disagreement centres on two points:

  1. When does Fasting begin?
  2. When is Eidul-Fitr?

10.1 Why Is There An Annual Moon Sighting Dispute?

Both the start of Fasting and Eidul-Fitr are events based on the sighting of the ‘new moon’. The ‘new moon’ signals the beginning of a new month in a lunar calendar, and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is different to that of a standard solar calendar.

Figure 4 - Lunar Moon Cycles

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Muslim Calendar:

The lunar calendar used by Muslims and reckoned from 622 A.D: the calendar year consists of 354 days and contains 12 months: Moharram, Safar, Rabi I, Rabi II, Jumada I, Jumada II, Rajab, Shaban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhu ’l-Qa”da, and Dhu ’l-hijjah. In leap years the month Dhu ’l-hijjah contains one extra day

— COLLINS DICTIONARY [180]

New Moon:

A new moon is the moon when it first appears as a thin curved shape at the start of its four-week cycle.

— COLLINS DICTIONARY [181]

Ramadan and Shawwal are two months in the Islamic calendar. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and Shawwal is the tenth month of the Islamic calendar. Fasting begins on the 1st Ramadan of the Islamic calendar, and Eidul-Fitr begins on the 1st Shawwal of the Islamic calendar. And, the beginning of a new month in the Islamic calendar - is dependent on the sighting of the new moon – as the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. Thus, at the sighting of the new moon, all new Islamic months begin. In other words: at the sighting of the new moon, Fasting begins on the 1st Ramadan of the Islamic calendar, and Eidul-Fitr begins on the 1st Shawwal of the Islamic calendar.

The annual moon sighting dispute that occurs in the Muslim world, pertaining to the ‘start of Fasting’ and the ‘start of Eidul-Fitr’; centres on ‘how’ is the new-moon to be sighted? Remember, it is the new moon that signals the start of Fasting on the 1st Ramadan of the Islamic calendar, and the new moon signals the start of Eidul-Fitr on the 1st Shawwal of the Islamic calendar. Below I have set out the dispute:

GROUP A: believes the new-moon ‘must’ physically be sighted ‘locally’ with the naked eye (albeit through a telescope). And, physically sighting the new-moon in one town, city or country - does not become binding on other areas. Thus, this group believes: each town, city or country are responsible for their own new-moon sighting - which signals the start of Fasting and Eidul-Fitr within a defined area in the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. For example: if the new-moon is sighted in Mecca, it does not become binding upon those in London.

GROUP B: believes that moon cycles such as the new-moon, and lunar dates, can be mathematically calculated - years in advance - to create fixed calendars through astronomy. Thus, there is no need to physically sight the new moon with the naked eye or through a telescope in the 21st century; because, astronomy can accurately forecast the beginning of Fasting and Eidul-Fitr in the Islamic months of Ramadan and Shawwal. And, through astronomy and the creation of fixed calendars - it is therefore possible to start Ramadan and celebrate Eidul-Fitr ‘globally’ on the same day.

In summary: the start of Fasting and, the start of Eidul-Fitr are events based on the sighting of the ‘new-moon’. The ‘new-moon’ signals the beginning of new months in the Islamic calendar. And, as Fasting falls on the 1st Ramadan of the Islamic calendar, and Eidul-Fitr falls on the 1st Shawwal of the Islamic calendar; the sighting of the new moon is necessary to forecast the beginning of these new months. Group A believes: the new-moon heralding the beginning of Ramadan and Shawwal must be sighted locally with the naked-eye. And, any sighting of the new moon locally, is only applicable to that region. Group B believes: 21st century advancement in technology has made it possible to calculate the date of the new-moon through astronomy. Thus, adhering to the Islamic calendar will enable Muslims to commence the fast of Ramadan, and celebration of Eidul-Fitr on the same date, globally - due to the availability of calendars with dates that are fixed with the help of astronomy.

10.2 What is the Theological Argument to Physically Sight the Moon, Locally?

The theological evidence for those that believe, in physically sighting the new-moon, locally; - stems from an incident in which Kuraib (ra) travelled to Syria. Khuraib (ra) travelled to Syria and saw the new-moon that signalled the beginning of Ramadan on Friday (in Syria). However, when Khuraib (ra) travelled to Medina at the end of Ramadan, Abdullah bin Abbas (ra) informed him - that the people of Medina saw the new-moon a day later on Saturday. Thus, Khuraib (ra) eye witness account of seeing the new-moon on a Friday whilst stood in Syria, did not sway Abdullah bin Abbas (ra) who stood in Medina, who also saw the new-moon - but a day later on a Saturday. In essence, the new-moon was visible in Syria on Friday, but not visible in Medina until Saturday; therefore, the Syrians begun fasting a day earlier than those in Medina – even though it was the same moon that both communities sought to see on Friday. It is from this incident that some advocate: that the new-moon ‘must’ physically be sighted ‘locally’, and locally sighting the new-moon in one area - does not become binding on other areas.

"…Narrated from Kuraib…the crescent of Ramadan appeared while I was in Ash-Sham, where I saw the crescent moon on the night of Friday. Then I came to Al-Madinah at the end of the month… Abdullah bin Abbas (ra) said: ‘But we saw it on the night of Saturday, and we will keep fasting until we complete thirty days, or we see it.’ I said: ‘Is the sighting and fasting of Muawiyah not sufficient for you?’ He said: ‘No, this is what the Messenger of Allah (s) enjoined upon us.’”

— SAHIH MUSLIM, HADITH NUMBER: [2528] 28 – (1087) [182]

10.3 What is the Theological Argument to Sight the Moon, Astronomically?

There are those who argue:

‘Moon cycles such as the new-moon, and lunar dates, can be mathematically calculated - years in advance to create fixed calendars through astronomy. Thus, there is no need to physically sight the new moon with the naked eye or through a telescope in the 21st century; because, astronomy can accurately forecast the beginning of fasting and Eidul-Fitr in the Islamic months of Ramadan and Shawwal. Astronomy, and the creation of fixed calendars has made it possible to start Ramadan and celebrate Eidul-Fitr ‘globally’ on the same day.’

Detailed knowledge of astronomy was not available to Muhammad (s) and the Arabs in the 7th century. Therefore, the first point in support of astronomical calculations, centres on technology and an understanding of ‘why did Muhammad (s) instruct the Muslims to physically sight the new-moon’? The reason ‘why’ Muhammad (s) instructed his followers to physically sight the new moon, locally, with their naked-eye, was because the early Muslims did not have knowledge of astronomy. Hence, they were unable to fix the dates of Ramadan and Shawwal. In other words, the early Muslims did not have calendars with fixed days and dates. Whereas today, astronomy has led to the creation of calendars - with days and dates that are both accurate and fixed. Therefore, the creation of calendars with the help of astronomy - has negated the need to physically sight the new-moon to herald in new months.

Figure 5 - Islamic & Gregorian Calendar

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To give an example on the advantages of astronomy and fixed calendars to determine dates: See Figure 5 above and imagine today is Tuesday 5th July 2016 A.D, you can be certain that tomorrow will be Wednesday 6th July 2016. Right? Good. However, using a lunar calendar and without knowledge of astronomy, hypothetically speaking, the early Muslims could not determine whether tomorrow is Wednesday 30th Ramadan 1437 A.H or, Wednesday 1st Shawwal 1437 A.H – unless they physically sighted the ‘new-moon’ with their naked-eye. Point being: knowledge of astronomy led to the creation of calendars with fixed dates; calendars that the early Muslims did not have. And had the early Muslims gained mastery in astronomy to develop accurate calendars, then physically sighting the new-moon would become pointless.

This brings me onto a theological point of ‘not blindly continuing traditions that once served a purpose’ but today, no longer serves the same purpose or any real purpose. The early Muslims sighted the new-moon because it served a purpose, the purpose was that it enabled them to determine the start of a new month. And, the early Muslims did not have enough knowledge of astronomy to create calendars with fixed dates, hence they physically sighted the new-moon - to herald in the beginning of new months, new month’s such as Ramadan and Shawwal that signalled the beginning of fasting and Eidul-Fitr. However, many today continue this tradition of physically sighting the new-moon - because they believe it is a religious duty to do so; yet know not why Muhammad (s) instructed it in the first place. And to reiterate the reason ‘why’ Muhammad (s) instructed his followers to physically sight the new moon? It was because the early Muslims did not have detailed knowledge of astronomy to create accurate calendars. In this regard – the following verse of the Quran comes to mind - pertaining to those who to this day - insist on physically sighting the ‘new-moon’ despite the advancement of astronomy to accurately forecast dates:

…They say,” We would rather follow what our fathers have followed,” even though their fathers had no understanding…

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH 2:170, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD SARWAR [183]

Furthermore, in the modern era - doing away with physically sighting the new moon and instead adhering to the Islamic calendar; will enable Muslims ‘globally’ to start fasting in Ramadan and celebrate Eidul-Fitr in Shawwal – on the same date across the world. And, global unity of Muslims in the month of fasting (i.e. Ramadan) - and in the celebration of Eidul-Fitr in the month Shawwal is something good, considering the current disunity with people starting these events on different dates.

“…The fast is the day the people fast, the breaking of the fast is the day the people break their fast…”

— TIRMIDHI, HADITH NUMBER: 697, GRADED: HASAN [184]

In summary: knowledge of astronomy led to the creation of calendars, accurate calendars with days and dates that are fixed. The early Muslims did not have detailed knowledge of astronomy; hence they were unable to create accurate calendars ‘with days and dates that are fixed’. Due to this lack of knowledge in the field of astronomy, Muhammad (s) instructed his followers to ‘physically sight the new-moon’ in order to determine the beginning of fasting and Eidul-Fitr in the Islamic months of Ramadan and Shawwal. And, had the early Muslims gained mastery in astronomy to develop accurate calendars, then physically sighting the new-moon would become pointless. Many today continue this tradition of physically sighting the new-moon, despite the advancement of astronomy to accurately forecast dates - because some still believe it is a religious duty to physically sight the new-moon; yet know not why Muhammad (s) instructed it nor know what purpose it serves. Thus, doing away with physically sighting the new-moon and instead relying on Islamic calendars – will lead to a good practise of Muslims commencing the fasts of Ramadan, and festival of Eidul-Fitr on the same day across the globe.

10.4 Solution To The Annual Moon Sighting Dispute

A solution to the annual moon sighting dispute - is to altogether do away with the Islamic lunar calendar, and instead fix the days of Muslim observances to the Gregorian solar calendar. This way, the days of Ramadan, Eid and Hajj will forever be fixed to dates that are annually consistent. Thus, resolving the annual moon sighting dispute.

For there is no religious obligation to use the Islamic ‘lunar’ calendar, and the Islamic lunar calendar itself - no longer serves the purpose it came to deliver. The purpose of the Islamic lunar calendar, was the same as any other calendar throughout human history, and that purpose was to measure the length of a year – so as to keep the seasons in sync. However, the Islamic lunar calendar has been surpassed by the Gregorian ‘solar’ calendar - which is able to keep the seasons in sync; unlike the Islamic ‘lunar’ calendar which falls short because it measures 354 days instead of 365 days in a year. Point I am making: there is no religious obligation to continue using the Islamic ‘lunar’ calendar, considering the Gregorian ‘solar’ calendar is more accurate and more widely used.

It is He who kindles the light of dawn, and has made the night for you to rest, and the sun and moon as a means of calculation.…

— QURAN, SURAH AL-ANAM 6:96, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD SARWAR [185]

The only purpose the Islamic lunar calendar still serves, is to signal religious observances and festivals such as Ramadan, Eid and Hajj. And, if Ramadan, Eid and Hajj were to be fixed to the Gregorian calendar; then the Islamic calendar becomes redundant. Therefore, migrating Muslim festivals and religious observances over to the Gregorian calendar – resolves the annual moon-sighting dispute. Furthermore, migrating Muslim festivals and religious observances over to the Gregorian calendar and doing away with the Islamic calendar altogether; will enable Muslims living in non-Muslim lands to request national holidays on the days of Eid; that both Muslims and non-Muslims can celebrate in unison. And I do feel, the continued use of the Islamic lunar calendar, despite its inadequacy to accurately measure the length of a year - is done solely because - some erroneously believe it is a religious duty and obligation to do so.

…They say,” We would rather follow what our fathers have followed,” even though their fathers had no understanding…

— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH 2:170, TRANSLATED BY: MUHAMMAD SARWAR [186]

I therefore propose: Saudi Arabia do away with the Islamic lunar calendar and instead fix the dates of Ramadan, Eid(s) and Hajj to the Gregorian calendar; correlating Muslim festivals and religious observances with Muhammad (s) last observance of such events. Replacing the Islamic calendar with the Gregorian, thus fixing the dates of Ramadan, Eid(s) and Hajj is something that cannot be done in isolation by individuals, but must be done by Saudi Arabia who have the clout and religious influence to convince others to follow suit.

Below I have correlated the dates in which Muhammad (s) last observed Ramadan, Eid and Hajj.

Table 2 - Islamic Calendar Dates Converted to Gregorian

FestivalIslamic Lunar CalendarGregorian Solar Calendar

Fasting [187]

1st Ramadan 10A.H – 30th Ramadan 10A.H

1st December 631 A.D – 30th December 631 A.D

Eidul-Fitr

1st Shawwal 10 A.H

31st December 631 A. D

Hajj [188] [189]

7th Dhul-Hijjah 10 A.H – 12th Dhul-Hijjah 10 A.H

5th March 632 A.D – 10th March 632 A. D

Coincidentally, the last Ramadan which Muhammad (s) began on the 1st December 631 A.D [1st Ramadan 10 A.H] – coincides with the Christian celebration of Christmas in December. And, the last Eidul-Fitr undertaken by Muhammad (s) on 31st December 631 A.D [01st Shawwal 10 A.H] coincides with New Years Eve of the Gregorian calendar.

The reason I have chosen the last dates in which Muhammad (s) undertook Ramadan, Eid(s) and Hajj - is because the first obligatory fasts in Ramadan took place on the 26th February 624 AD [1st Ramadan 2 A.H][190] and Muhammad (s) only Hajj took place on 5th March 632 A.D [7th Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H][191]. Thus, had I chosen the first time the Prophet (s) made fasting obligatory in Ramadan, and the first (and only time) he undertook Hajj; then, Ramadan would have merged with Hajj. Therefore, I chose to correlate Muslim festivals and religious observances with Muhammad (s) last observance instead of his first.

In summary: A solution to the annual moon sighting dispute, is to do away with the Islamic calendar; and instead fix the days of Muslim observances to the Gregorian calendar. This approach will lead to Ramadan, Eid(s) and Hajj to be fixed to annual dates that are forever constant. And, fixed dates will enable Muslims living within non-Muslim lands to request national holidays on the days Eid; days in which Muslims and non-Muslims can celebrate a Muslim holiday in unison. And, correlating the Hijri dates in which Muhammad (s) last observed Ramadan and Eidul-Fitr with the Gregorian – conveniently and coincidentally ties in with December and Christmas in the west.

10.5 A Word Of Caution In Replacing The Islamic Calendar

Lastly, most ideas have advantages and disadvantages. I have outlined the logic of doing away with the Islamic calendar and replacing it with the Gregorian. However, a word of caution is the statement of Muhammad (s) - whereby he predicted - that Muslims ‘will one-day follow the ways of the Jews and Christians; so much so - that if they entered a lizard’s hole, we’d follow suit’. Therefore, should the idea to replace the Islamic calendar with the Gregorian be akin to leading Muslims down a ditch; then it should not be pursued. The decision to pursue or not, is at the behest of Saudi Arabia.

… You surely will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, span by span… so much so that even if they entered the hole of a mastigar (sand lizard), you would follow them.” We said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?” He replied, “Whom else?” (Meaning, of course, the Jews and the Christians.)

— SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 3456 [192]

10.6 Summarising The Annual Moon Sighting Dispute

The annual moon sighting dispute that occurs frequently in Ramadan, centres on two points: (1) when does fasting begin and, (2) when is Eidul-Fitr. Both of these events occur at the beginning of two new months of the Islamic lunar calendar: namely the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. All lunar months of the Islamic calendar begin with the sighting of the ‘new-moon’. And, one group believes the new-moon must physically be sighted, and another group believes astronomy can be used.

There is a strong theological argument for those who argue: ‘the new-moon heralding Ramadan and Eidul-Fitr must physically be sighted, locally’. However, those who advocate the use of astronomy counter-argue that the theological argument to support locally sighting the new-moon, is no longer relevant or misunderstood because astronomy can accurately predict the date of the new-moon. A solution to resolve this dispute: is to do away with the Islamic lunar calendar and fix the dates of Ramadan, Eid(s) and Hajj to the Gregorian calendar. And, correlating the Hijri dates in which Muhammad (s) last observed Ramadan and Eidul-Fitr with the Gregorian – conveniently and coincidentally ties in with December and Christmas in the west.

11. The Fast Of The Prophet (s)

The Messenger of Allah (s) did not follow a regular and routine procedure for observing voluntary fasts; sometimes he would fast regularly every day without a break and sometimes he would abandon fasting for many consecutive days. He would sometimes fast first Saturday, Sunday and Monday of a month, and the next month he would fast Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; he would fast on Monday and Thursday every week. He would sometimes fast in the beginning of a month, sometimes in the middle of a month and sometimes at the end of a month; the objective was to leave the door open for observing voluntary fasts for every person, so that every person is able to observe voluntary fasts every month according to one’s time, circumstance, capability and courage.[193]

12. Concluding The Fourth Pillar of Islam - Sawm

Sawm literally means ‘abstinence’ – and in the Islamic sense - Sawm is to abstain from food, drink and marital sex from dawn till sunset in the Islamic month of Ramadan. The main reason Muslims fast is to become aware of their conscience; for fasting causes the voice in the head (i.e. the subconscious and conscience) to become clear and loud. Other reasons as to why Muslims fast relates to learning patience, earning good-deeds & atonement for sins, empathy for the poor as well as giving up bad habits and having a better diet.

Fasting per se is not unique to only Muslims, people of other faiths – belonging to religions that predate Islam (such as Hinduism) also have fasting. However, certain acts such as the suhur, which is the predawn meal – distinguishes our fasts from that of others. Historically, Ashura and fasting three days per month were the first mandatory fasts of the Muslims, which was subsequently superseded by the development of fasting in Ramadan.

It is also incumbent on the fasting person to make the intention to fast and behave with dignity during the fast. At sunset, one should rush to break the fast; preferably with water and dry-dates. Other than the obligatory fasts of Ramadan; there are seven other optional fasts – all of which are highly virtuous. The most virtuous fast of all: is the fast of Dawud (as) - who would fast every other day. And as for Muhammad (s) habit pertaining to optional fasts: he did not follow a regular and routine procedure for observing voluntary fasts.

Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month is best remembered for Laylatul Qadr, which is the night on which the first verses of the Quran was revealed and, is the night on which Allah unveils to the Angels - all that God has ordained for the following year. Ramadan is also remembered for the famous battle of Badr – which was the first decisive battle between the Muslims and Polytheists. It was a decisive battle that gained the Muslims ‘notoriety’ in Arabia, and dealt a heavy blow to the religious and economic interests of the polytheists. Much can be learnt from the build-up to the battle Badr, particularly the repercussions of State persecution, and the honour of coexistence, and having religious freedoms for all.

Furthermore, Ramadan is also a month in which the devils are chained, and the gates of hell are closed, and the gates of heaven are open. It is a time for self-reflection and an opportunity for positive change; for Allah in this month guides the souls of those He wills towards righteousness. The nights are also blessed with the Tarawih prayers; and an umrah (minor pilgrimage) in this month is the equivalent of hajj: for someone who intended and readied themselves to do the actual Hajj, but was unable to do so because he/she sacrificed his/her Hajj for the happiness of others. For anyone else who performs umrah in Ramadan, he/she will earn good deeds to that of Hajj; but it will not negate the obligation to one-day do an actual Hajj. Itikaf is also an act in this month in which devotees seclude themselves for the last ten days of Ramadan in the mosque - for the purpose of worshipping Allah alone. The month concludes with a donation to charity and the festival of Eidul-Fitr; a festival which replaced a pagan tradition, akin to how Christmas replaced ancient Roman traditions.

The only act that is potentially greater than fasting, salat and charity: is to make peace between one-another. And in terms of controversy in the month of Ramadan, there is the annual moon-sighting dispute centring on: (1) when does fasting begin and, (2) when is Eidul-Fitr. Both of these events occur at the beginning of two new months of the Islamic lunar calendar: namely the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. And, as all lunar months of the Islamic calendar begin with the sighting of the ‘new-moon’; one group believes the new-moon must physically be sighted, and another group believes astronomy can be used. A potential solution to this dispute is a third option: which is to altogether do away with the Islamic lunar calendar and fix the dates of Ramadan, Eid(s) and Hajj to the Gregorian calendar; which incidentally and conveniently - ties Ramadan in with December and Christmas holidays in the west.

In short: Sawm is to fast in the month of Ramadan so as to ultimately become aware of your conscience. The Muslim tradition of fasting is similar to that of other faiths, but with some distinguishing factors such as a predawn meal. Ramadan evolved through stages. It is incumbent on a fasting person to show self-restraint and behave with dignity. Laylatul-Qadr is hidden in the last ten odd nights of Ramadan, and it is the night in which the Quran was first revealed, and is a night which is better than a thousand months. The famous battle of Badr too took place in the month of Ramadan. The devils are chained in Ramadan thus making it easy for people to self-reflect and make positive changes to their lives. The only act that is potentially greater than fasting, is to make peace. And, a potential solution to the annual moon-sighting dispute – is to replace the lunar hijri calendar with the standard Gregorian calendar.

13. References

[1] At-Tirmidhi, Imam Hafiz Abu Eisa Mohammad Ibn Eisa. English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi. Ed. Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair Ali Zai, et al. Trans. Abu Khaliyl. First. Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2007. p.630 vol.6.

[2] Bewley, Aisha. A Glossary of Islamic Terms. Ed. Bookwork Norwich. London: Ta-Ha Publishers, 1998. p.630

[3] Ashath, Imam Hafiz Abu Dawud Sulaiman bin. English Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud. Ed. Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair Zai, et al. First. Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2008. p.106 vol.3.

[4] Kathir, Ibn. Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged). Ed. Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Second. Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2003. p.494 vol.1.

[5] Ali, Abdullah Yusuf. The Holy Quran - English translation of the Meanings and Commentary. Ed. IFTA, Call and Guidance The Presidency of Islamic Researches. Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah: King Fahd Holy Quran Printing Complex, 1989. p.75.

[6] altafsir.com. 2019. Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. <http://www.altafsir.com/ViewTranslations.asp?Display=yes&SoraNo=35&Ayah=32&toAyah=32&Language=2&LanguageID=2&TranslationBook=21>.

[7] Ibid.,

[8] Ibid.,

[9] Ibid.,

[10] Kaskas, Safi and David Hungerford. “A Contemporary Understanding - The Quran With References To The Bible.” Bridges to Common Ground, 2016. p.17. Paperback.

[11] The Study Quran. Ed. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, et al. First. New York: Harper Collins, 2015. p.79

[12] DICTIONARIES, Collins (2019). Collinsdictionary.com. [online]. http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/conscience?showCookiePolicy=true

[13] Ibid., http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/subconscious?showCookiePolicy=true

[14] Ash-Shaibani, Abu Abdullah Ahmed bin Muhammad bin Hanbal. English Translation of Musnad Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal. Ed. Huda Al-Khattab, Darussalam and Nasiruddin Al-Khattab. First. Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2012. p.360 Vol.3.

[15] Al-Bukhari, Muhammad Ibn-Ishmaiel. The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English. Ed. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, et al. 2nd. Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 1997. p.304 vol.4.

[16] (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) p.245, Vol. 7) op. cit., note 4

[17] Al-Hajjaj, Imam Abul Hussain Muslim Ibn. English Translation Of Sahih Muslim. Ed. Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair Ali Zai, Abu Khaliyl and Nasiruddin al-Khattab. First. Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2007. p.220 vol.3.

[18] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.231 Vol.6) op. cit., note 1

[19] History.com Editors. Hinduism. 23 August 2018. A&E Television Networks. 31 December 2018. <https://www.history.com/topics/religion/hinduism>.

[20] The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Fasting. 2 October 2015. 31 December 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/topic/fasting>.

[21] (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) p. 494, Vol. 1) op. cit., note 4

[22] (The Holy Quran - English translation of the Meanings and Commentary p.1305) op. cit., note 5

[23] An-Nasai, Imam Hafiz Abu Abdur Rahman Ahmad bin Shuaib bin Ali. English Translation of Sunan An-Nasai. Ed. Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair Ali Zai, et al. First. Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2007. p.263, Vol. 3.

[24] Al-Qazwini, Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah. English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah. Ed. Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair Ali Zai, et al. First. Riyadh: Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2007. p.523 Vol.5.

[25] (English Translation Of Sahih Muslim p.160 Vol.3) op. cit., note 17

[26] Ibid.,

[27] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p.79, Vol. 3) op. cit., note 15

[28]Ibid., p.84 vol.3.

[29] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.527, Vol.2 ) op. cit., note 24

[30] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.164 Vol.2) op. cit., note 1

[31] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.529, Vol.2 ) op. cit., note 24

[32]Ibid.,

[33]Ibid., p.463 vol.5.

[34] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.147 Vol.2) op. cit., note 1

[35] (English Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud p.129, Vol. 3) op. cit., note 3

[36] The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Date palm. 10 April 2017. 20 March 2019. <https://www.britannica.com/plant/date-palm>.

[37] NHS. How Much Suger Is Good for Me? 1 May 2018. 20 March 2019. <https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/food-and-diet/how-much-sugar-is-good-for-me/>.

[38] NHS Inform. Dehydration. 05 February 2019. 20 March 2019. <https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/nutritional/dehydration>.

[39] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.112, Vol.2) op. cit., note 1

[40] Communities in Action. “Ramadan Health Guide.” September 2007. The University of Warwick. Ed. Ajmal Masroor. Document. 20 March 2019. <https://warwick.ac.uk/services/equalops/resources/a_guide_to_healthy_fasting.pdf>.

[41] The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Date palm. 10 April 2017. 20 March 2019. <https://www.britannica.com/plant/date-palm>.

[42] Jehovah's Witnesses. Are There “Seven Deadly Sins”? n.d. 21 March 2019. <https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/seven-deadly-sins/>.

[43] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p34, Vol. 4) op. cit., note 15

[44] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.397, Vol.4) op. cit., note 1

[45] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.473, Vol.2 ) op. cit., note 24

[46] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.198 Vol.2) op. cit., note 1

[47] The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Ashura. 02 May 2018. Website. 06 January 2019. <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ashura-Islamic-holy-day>.

[48] (English Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud p.173, Vol. 3) op. cit., note 3

[49] Al-Mubarakpuri, Safiur-Rahman. Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet. Ed. Abdul Malik Mujahid. First. Riyadh: Dar-us-Salam, 1996. p.187

[50] (English Translation of Musnad Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal p.540 Vol. 2) op. cit., note 14

[51] (English Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud p.175, Vol. 3) op. cit., note 3

[52] (The Study Quran p.79) op. cit., note 11

[53] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.232) op. cit., note 49

[54]IslamiCity: Hijri-Gregorian Converter. n.d. 19 January 2019. <http://www.islamicity.org/hijri-gregorian-converter/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1#>.

[55] (English Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud p.173, Vol. 3) op. cit., note 3

[56] Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani. Illuminating Discourses on the Noble Quran (Tafsir Anwarul Bayan). Ed. Afzal Hussain Elias and Muhammad Arshad Fakhri. First. Karachi: Darul-Ishaat, 2005. p.211, Vol.1.

[57] (The Study Quran p.80) op. cit., note 11

[58] (English Translation of Sunan An-Nasai p.298 Vol. 3) op. cit., note 23

[59] (Illuminating Discourses on the Noble Quran (Tafsir Anwarul Bayan) p.211, Vol. 1) op. cit., note 56

[60] (English Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud p.316, Vol. 1) op. cit., note 3

[61] (English Translation of Sunan An-Nasai p.265 Vol. 3) op. cit., note 23

[62] Ibid., p.266 vol.3.

[63]Ibid., p.189 vol.5.

[64] Ibid., p.298 vol.3.

[65]Ibid., p.279 vol.3.

[66] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.195 Vol.2) op. cit., note 1

[67] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.509, Vol.2 ) op. cit., note 24

[68] (English Translation of Sunan An-Nasai p.279 Vol. 3) op. cit., note 23

[69] (English Translation Of Sahih Muslim p.244-245 Vol. 3) op. cit., note 17

[70] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.523, Vol.2 ) op. cit., note 24

[71] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.184-185 Vol.2) op. cit., note 1

[72] (English Translation of Sunan An-Nasai p.269 Vol. 3) op. cit., note 23

[73] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.195 Vol.2) op. cit., note 1

[74] Ibid., p.194, vol.2

[75] (English Translation Of Sahih Muslim p.242 Vol.3) op. cit., note 17

[76] (English Translation of Sunan An-Nasai p.606 Vol. 3) op. cit., note 23

[77] Ibid., p.296, vol.3

[78] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.508, Vol.5) op. cit., note 24

[79] Ibid., p.482, vol.5

[80] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.232) op. cit., note 49

[81] IslamiCity: Hijri-Gregorian Converter. n.d. 19 January 2019. <http://www.islamicity.org/hijri-gregorian-converter/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1#>.

[82] (altafsir.com) op. cit., note 6

[83] (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) p. 494, Vol. 1) op. cit., note 4

[84] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.516, Vol.5) op. cit., note 24

[85] Dukes, Kais. English Translation. n.d. 25 May 2019. <http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp>.

[86] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.482, Vol.5) op. cit., note 24

[87] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.68) op. cit., note 49

[88] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.482, Vol.5) op. cit., note 24

[89] (The Study Quran p.1540) op. cit., note 11

[90] (English Translation of Sunan An-Nasai p.299 Vol. 2) op. cit., note 23

[91] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p.80, Vol. 1) op. cit., note 15

[92] (English Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud p.143, Vol. 2) op. cit., note 3

[93] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.482, Vol.5) op. cit., note 24

[94] (The Holy Quran - English translation of the Meanings and Commentary p.1979) op. cit., note 5

[95] (altafsir.com) op. cit., note 6

[96] (The Study Quran p.1540) op. cit., note 11

[97] Qadhi, Yasir. Shaykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi's Official YouTube Channel. 11 August 2012. 13 April 2019. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtMatqCwMPE>.

[98] (altafsir.com) op. cit., note 11

[99] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.232) op. cit., note 49

[100] IslamiCity: Hijri-Gregorian Converter. n.d. 19 January 2019. <http://www.islamicity.org/hijri-gregorian-converter/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1#>.

[101] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.233) op. cit., note 49

[102] Ibid., p.234

[103] Ibid., p.210

[104] Ibid., p.220

[105] Ibid., p.212

[106] Ibid., p.76

[107] Ibid., p.79

[108] Ibid.,

[109] DICTIONARIES, Collins (2019). Collinsdictionary.com. [online]. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/monotheism

[110] Ibid., https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/polytheism

[111] (altafsir.com) op. cit., note 11

[112] Ibid.,

[113] Dukes, Kais. English Translation. n.d. 10 May 2019. <http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp>.

[114] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.92) op. cit., note 49

[115] Ibid., p.86

[116] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.176, Vol.1) op. cit., note 24

[117] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.475 Vol.4) op. cit., note 1

[118] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.98) op. cit., note 49

[119] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p.488, Vol. 4) op. cit., note 15

[120] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.99-p.100) op. cit., note 49

[121] Dukes, Kais. English Translation. n.d. 10 May 2019. <http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp>.

[122] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.102-p.104) op. cit., note 49

[123] Ibid., p.117

[124] Ibid., p.123

[125] Ibid., p.145-p.146

[126] Ibid., p.163–p.164

[127] (altafsir.com) op. cit., note 11

[128] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.166) op. cit., note 49

[129] Ibid., p.171

[130] Dukes, Kais. English Translation. n.d. 17 May 2019. <http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp>.

[131] (The Study Quran - Map 1: The Ancient World and Arabia) op. cit., note 11

[132] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.166) op. cit., note 49

[133] Ibid., p.210

[134] Ibid., p.212

[135] Ibid., p.211

[136] (The Study Quran - Map 8a: Battle of Badr) op. cit., note 11

[137] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.212 -p.213) op. cit., note 49

[138] Ibid., p.215

[139] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p.142, Vol. 9) op. cit., note 15

[140] (altafsir.com) op. cit., note 11

[141] Ibid.,

[142] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.189 -p.198) op. cit., note 49

[143] DICTIONARIES, Collins (2019). Collinsdictionary.com. [online]. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/coexist

[144] (altafsir.com) op. cit., note 11

[145] (The Holy Quran - English translation of the Meanings and Commentary p.1014) op. cit., note 5

[146] Dukes, Kais. English Translation. n.d. 10 May 2019. <http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp>.

[147] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.475, Vol.2 ) op. cit., note 24

[148] Ibid., p.527 vol.5.

[149] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.134 Vol.2) op. cit., note 1

[150] (English Translation of Sunan An-Nasai p.455 Vol. 2) op. cit., note 23

[151] (The Holy Quran - English translation of the Meanings and Commentary p.1838) op. cit., note 5

[152] Dukes, Kais. English Translation. n.d. 10 May 2019. <http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp>.

[153] (English Translation of Sunan An-Nasai p.453 Vol. 2) op. cit., note 23

[154] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p.142, Vol. 2) op. cit., note 15

[155] Afsaruddin, Asma. Umar I. 30 October 2018. 20 May 2019. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Umar-I>.

[156] Al-Tabari, Abu Jafar Muhammad b. Jarir. “The History of al-Tabari Volume 11 The Challenge to the Empires.” Ed. Ihsan Abbas, et al. Trans. Khalid Yahya Blankinship. New York: State University of New York Press, Albany, 1993. p.157.

[157] Afsaruddin, Asma. Umar I. 30 October 2018. 20 May 2019. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Umar-I>.

[158] IslamiCity: Hijri-Gregorian Converter. n.d. 20 May 2019. < https://www.islamicity.org/hijri-gregorian-converter/>.

[159] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p.135, Vol. 3) op. cit., note 15

[160] Qadhi, Yasir. YouTube - Memphis Islamic Center (MIC). 2012. Video. 2019. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUxpOb0Wclk>.

[161] Ibid.,

[162] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.532, Vol.5) op. cit., note 24

[163] (English Translation Of Sahih Muslim p.395 Vol.3) op. cit., note 17

[164] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p.23, Vol. 3) op. cit., note 15

[165] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.470, Vol.5) op. cit., note 24

[166] Ibid., p.47 vol.3.

[167] Sadr, Seyed Kazem. “The Economic System of the Early Islamic Period.” Ed. Hossein Askari and Dariush Zahedi. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. p.102.

[168] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p.339, Vol.2) op. cit., note 15

[169] (English Translation Of Sunan Ibn Majah p.449, Vol.5) op. cit., note 24

[170] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.233) op. cit., note 49

[171] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p.57, Vol. 2) op. cit., note 15

[172] Ibid., p.58, Vol. 2

[173] IslamiCity: Hijri-Gregorian Converter. n.d. 6 May 2019. <http://www.islamicity.org/hijri-gregorian-converter/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1#>.

[174] (English Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud p.23-24, Vol.1) op. cit., note 3

[175] Ibid., p.657. Vol.1

[176] DICTIONARIES, Collins (2019). Collinsdictionary.com. [online]. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/pagan

[177] Encyclopaedia Britannica. Christmas. n.d. Video. 25 May 2019. <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christmas/media/115686/238775>.

[178] History.com Editors. Christianity. 13 May 2019. A&E Television Networks. Website. 26 May 2019. <https://www.history.com/topics/religion/history-of-christianity>.

[179] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.503 Vol.4) op. cit., note 1

[180] DICTIONARIES, Collins (2019). Collinsdictionary.com. [online]. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/muslim-calendar

[181] DICTIONARIES, Collins (2019). Collinsdictionary.com. [online]. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/new-moon

[182] (English Translation Of Sahih Muslim p.150 Vol.3) op. cit., note 17

[183] Dukes, Kais. English Translation. n.d. 10 May 2019. <http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp>.

[184] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.145 Vol.1) op. cit., note 1

[185] Dukes, Kais. English Translation. n.d. 10 May 2019. <http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp>.

[186]Ibid.,

[187] IslamiCity: Hijri-Gregorian Converter. n.d. 19 January 2019. <http://www.islamicity.org/hijri-gregorian-converter/?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1#>.

[188] The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Hajj. 08 October 2018. Website. 30 May 2019. <https://www.britannica.com/topic/hajj>.

[189] Watt, William Montgomery and Nicolai Sinai. Muhammad. 25 January 2019. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 30 May 2019. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Muhammad>.

[190] (Ar-Raheequl Makhtum - The Sealed Nectar - Biography of the Noble Prophet p.233) op. cit., note 49

[191] (Watt and Sinai) op. cit., note 189

[192] (The Translation Of The Meanings Of Sahih Al-Bukhari Arabic-English p.414, Vol.4) op. cit., note 15

[193] (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi p.201-p.202 Vol.2) op. cit., note 1