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Welcome to Ramadan, this column is about the politics, traditions and the spirit of Ramadan.

Today is the first day of Ramadan, the 9th month in the Muslim Hijri (Migration) Calendar, which began with the Muslim exodus from Mecca to the city of Madinah.

Ramadan is one of the 12 months of lunar calendar with 354.37 days in a year, as opposed to the Solar Calendar with 364+days.  However, every 33 years, the the Solar and Lunar Calendar coincide on the same day. 

Like the Jewish and Hindu Festivals, Muslim festivals are based on lunar calendar, and usually begin 11 days earlier each successive year, as the lunar year has 354.37 days, roughly 11 days less than the Solar Calendar. It will take six more years for Ramadan to occur in Spring time, right now the fasting will be long for more than 14 hours a day without any intake in the body. 

Ramadan should not be understood by Muslims alone, it is an observance that all can relate with. I  have put together different thoughts about Ramadan from an universal perspective, so our Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, Bahai, Buddhist, Native Americans, Jain, Sikh and other  members of the family of faiths can relate with. Even those friends who do not believe in God, can at least get an idea about Ramadan, so, together we can create societies where we know each other,  and with that fewer conflicts and greater goodwill to sustain for all of us.

What does God want from us?

Like a mother who wants her children to live well, like a teacher who wants his students to do well, and like a chef who wants his patrons to enjoy his food…. God wants every one of his creation to live in harmony and do well.  

No one is deprived of God’s love; he has reached every human through a peace maker, messenger, prophet, reformer or simply a wise man or a good friend that brings sense to living. The creator offers a variety of guidance to the mankind, no matter where you live, the guidance is there, the guidance that leads to live in peace, and without fear of the other.

Religion is a beautiful instrument that God guides us through, and there are many of them, at least 250 traditions including a dozen major ones. Each tradition does well for the believer in bringing peace to oneself.

Today, the one tradition I am talking about is Islam, and one of its beautiful aspects that helps build cohesive societies is the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan CohesionMay this Ramadan bring blessings to humanity, Amen! It is time for us to begin addressing the unity within the Muslim community and with the communities of the world for building cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. Let’s start cleaning our hearts from prejudice and judgment against our own and everyone else. If the self appointed guardians of Islam cannot unite us to do good for humanity, let them not divide us either. Let there be no politics in religion. Let us fulfill a major task God assigns to humanity, the best among you is the one who knows each other and cares for the other. 

For the last 4 years, I have been chronicling Ramadan Daily – iftar a Masjid, visiting every denomination of Muslims without prejudice.

More about it at http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2011/07/ramadan-cohesion-2011.html

Ramadan Mubarak

Welcome to Ramadan, it begins today, July 9th, 2013. It is the month of fasting, a month of learning about others, connecting with others, developing empathy with fellow beings and above all reaching new heights in piety and spirituality,  Taqwa as it is called. It is to become closer to God and emulate his qualities of unselfishness, forgiveness and love. It is a month of practicing service to fellow beings and developing self discipline to learn to live they way we want, and being conscious of every moment of the day for 30 days.  

The Politics of Ramadan at Washington Post

Politics plays a crucial role in our Temples, Synagogues or Churches, Mosques are no different. A few scientifically-inclined-Muslims have adopted NASA’s calculations believed to be precise. However, four different traditions are operating concurrently; i) Strictly Calendar, ii) NASA and iii) Sighting with bare eyes and iv) sighting by others in the community.

Muslims around the world will begin fasting from Tuesday, July 9th, and for a whole month thereafter, however, for some of them it will begin (only) if the moon is sighted. The story is same with the Jewish and other traditions that follow lunar calendar. Rosh Hashanah like Ramadan comes 11 or 12 days earlier each successive year. Continued at – http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/08/the_essence_of_ramadan_is_to_become_humble.html

The Spirit of Ramadan at Huffington Post

The spiritual masters have captured the human gravity towards rituals and have molded it with the art and science of self-discipline in their respective religions. The noble purpose of each one of them was to bring a balance in our lives and a balance with our environment.

Every faith is composed of a set of unique rituals to bring discipline and peace to human life. Fasting is one of the five key rituals that Muslims around the world observe. Rituals signify the milestones of our daily life. Every significant moment of the day is a ritual. It is an unwritten way of measuring our progression, a memory pattern to bring discipline to our actions. Continued http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/spirit-of-ramadan_b_939961.html

The Traditions of Ramadan at Ramadan Exclusive

its celebration time when Muslims around the world anxiously wait for the first moon of the ninth Lunar month to appear on the sky. The families gather in their backyards, or get on the nearest hillock or climb on the top of their homes and wait for the pencil thin moon to appear on the horizon, and when it does, jubilation begins. Continued at: http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2010/09/traditions-of-ramadan.html

Welcome to Ramadan at Ramadan Exclusive

Insha’Allah, the first day of Ramadan will begin on Tuesday, July 09, 2013 and Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, August 19, 2012 per the announcement from ISNA. Continued at: http://ramadanexclusive.blogspot.com/2012/06/welcome-to-ramadan-2012.html

Quraan says, had God willed, he would have made every one of us alike – then he says, he chose to make us into different tribes and nations from the same couple (or the same source). Then he goes on to challenge us to know each other – he knows that our conflicts stem from not knowing each other, and living with misinformation about others,  when we know each other,  conflicts fade and solutions will emerge.

Every religion means peace and Justice and that is acceptable to God. He says, you need not worry who you are, as long as you take care of your neighbor, I will recompense you. Each one of us is responsible for our Karma.

He concludes ( Quraan 49:13) that the best among us is the one who knows each other, learns about each other and respects each other. If we take the time, to learn, every religion is out there to bring goodness to humanity.

Be good to yourselves and every one around you. Happy Ramadan.

Mike Ghouse is committed to nurturing the pluralistic values of Islam and welcomes everyone to explore Www.worldMuslimCongress.org and several related sites listed at www.MikeGhouse.net and www.TheGhousediary.com 

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