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Salaam Ul-Muslimiyn's Orphans Of Islam

OUR ORPHANS OF THE IVORY COAST

  • Through family and community gatherings, Muslims strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, in their own communities and throughout the world.

Ramadan is a very special time for Muslims, but the feelings and lessons we experience should stay with us throughout the year. In the Qur'an, Muslims are commanded to fast so that they may "learn self-restraint" (Qur'an 2:183). This restraint and devotion is especially felt during Ramadan, but we all must strive to make the feelings and attitudes stay with us during our "normal" lives. That is the true goal and test of Ramadan.

May Allah accept our fasting, forgive our sins, and guide us all to the Straight Path. May Allah bless us all during Ramadan, and throughout the year, with His forgiveness, mercy, and peace, and bring us all closer to Him and to each other.

The fast of Ramadan is rigorous, particularly during long summer days when it may be required to resist all food and drink for as many as sixteen hours at a time. This strain may be too much for people with certain health conditions.

The Qur'an instructs Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan, but also gives clear exemptions for those who may become ill as a result of fasting:

"But if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (of Ramadan days) should be made up from days later. For those who cannot do this except with hardship is a ransom: the feeding of one that is indigent.... Allah intends every ease for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties...." - Qur'an 2:184-185

In several other passages, the Qur'an instructs Muslims not to kill or harm themselves, or cause harm to others.

Prior to Ramadan, a Muslim should always consult with a doctor about the safety of fasting in individual circumstances. Some health conditions may be improved during fasting, while others may possibly deteriorate.

If you decide that fasting could possibly be harmful in your situation, you have two options:

  • If yours is a temporary, not chronic, condition you may make up the fast (a day for a day) at a later time, when your health improves.
  • If yours is a permanent or chronic condition, you may make a donation in charity in lieu of fasting. The amount should be sufficient to feed one person a day, for each fasting day that is missed.

There is no need to feel guilty about taking care of your health needs during Ramadan. These exemptions exist in the Qur'an for a reason, as Allah knows best what issues we may face. Even if one is not fasting, one can feel part of the Ramadan experience through other areas of worship -- such as offering additional prayers, inviting friends and family for evening meals, reading the Qur'an, or donating to charity.

Additional information is available below for those with specific health concerns. Again, you should always consult with your own doctor to evaluate your individual circumstances.

Related

During the fast of Ramadan, Muslims strive to exercise control over their most basic human urges -- not only abstaining from food and drink, but also attempting to control their emotions.  Everyone gets angry from time to time, some more than others, but during Ramadan an outburst of anger will break your fast just as surely as drinking water.  Islamic wisdom provides guidance for Muslims who struggle to control this negative, damaging emotion – during Ramadan and throughout the year.

Importance

Why is anger negative and damaging? Outbursts of anger hurt people around you, especially those who are closest to you. You may become verbally or physically abusive, when you normally are not so. Carrying anger around can become chronic, with damage to your own health and well-being.

The Quran describes the believers as “those who spend freely, whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon all men. Allah loves those who do good” (3:134).

Also on this point, the Prophet Muhammad described that “a strong person is not the person who throws his adversaries to the ground. A strong person is the one who controls himself when he is angry.” The Prophet also said that the best jihad is self-control.

Prevention

Of course, it is always best to try to prevent your emotions getting the best of you in the first place. Islamic teachings help us to discipline ourselves, and put life into perspective so that we may control our feelings. To further help prevent building up angry feelings, try some of these preventative tools.

  • Reflect on your own feelings and the origins of the anger. What exactly is causing you to get angry, and is it even under your control?
  • Reflect on the lives of others – whether early Muslims who endured intense hardships, or your own contemporary friends and relatives. This may help us realize that the problems we face pale in comparison, and it may help us become more patient.
  • Vow to stop yourself from spiraling into a cycle of negativity and lack of control.  It won’t help the situation.
  • Recognize that *not* responding in kind does not show weakness; rather it is a step on the high road. It is Shaytan who tells you otherwise.
  • Think about how your feelings affect those around you.
  • Talk to a trusted friend or a licensed counselor to release some of your feelings in a guided setting. Do not hesitate to seek mental health services, just as you would see a doctor for any physical illness.
  • Get enough physical exercise and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, so that tension does not build up.
Control

If you do get angry, how can you control yourself and calm down? The Prophet Muhammad advised his followers to first seek refuge in Allah with the words “audhu bi’llahi mina shaytan ar-rajeem.” Since anger comes from the influence of Shaytan, one should seek protection and strength from Allah.

“If a suggestion from Satan assails your mind, seek refuge with Allah, for He hears and knows all things. Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Satan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance, and lo! they see aright!” (7:200-201).

Next, the Prophet advised people to sit down if they are standing, or lie down if more calm is needed.

Calm yourself with water by making wudu or even take a bath/shower (ghusl).  It is said that water washes away the “fire” of anger and cools one down.

Force yourself to remain silent. This was the practice of the Prophet Muhammad, and will help you avoid saying things you don’t mean when in the midst of an anger spell.  When you do speak, use kind words to lessen the tension.