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The practices essentially constitute the nourishment required for
the growth and development of our souls to make it to Heaven. They
are for our own good. God is in no need of any of our prayers and
Besides nourishing our soul, the real self, fasting also has numerous,
scientifically proven benefits for our physical health and the mental
well-being of our body. The time, length and nature of the fast
all contribute to its overall positive effect. Fasting gives our
digestive system a rest and improves our physical health. In his
book “Fasting and Eating for Health,” (ISBN 031218719X)
Joel Fuhrman, M.D. notes that “The fast does not merely detoxify;
it also breaks down superfluous tissue—fat, abnormal cells,
atheromatous plaque, and tumors—and releases diseased tissues
and their cellular products into the circulation for elimination.
Toxic or unwanted materials circulate in our bloodstream and lymphatic
tissues, and are deposited in and released from our fat stores and
other tissues. An important element of fasting detoxification is
mobilizing the toxins from their storage areas.”
Ramadan Varies Every Year
A lunar month is approximately 29.5 days, which is the time it
takes for the moon to orbit the earth. Because a lunar month is,
on the average, one day shorter than a solar month, a lunar year
is 10-12 days shorter than a solar year. Therefore, the Month of
Ramadan comes 10-12 days earlier each year. This way we get to fast
when the days are very warm and long in summer as well as when they
are cool and short in winter. This beautiful design by God is also
a test for us to see if we will fast regardless of the length or
temperature of the days of Ramadan.
Is Moon Sighting Necessary?
God gave us scientific knowledge to determine exactly when a lunar
month will begin and end. Therefore there is no need to sight the
crescent of the moon to start fasting, like some traditional Muslims
do. Any observatory or astronomy center should have that information
for your area. Some almanacs, magazines or newspapers also report
the times for the phases of the moon. To determine when one should
start fasting, compare the time the new lunar month begins with
the time of sunset, the beginning of a day in the Islamic calendar.
What is an Islamic Day?
The Islamic day is the same as the Hebrew day. It begins at sunset
and ends at the next sunset. In this system, the night comes before
the day. Therefore, in some traditional Islamic countries, when
they talk about, for instance, Friday night, they are actually referring
to Thursday night because that night actually belongs to Friday
according to their definition of a day.
Ramadan This Year
The new moon times to be used for determining the beginning and
ending of Ramadan are given below for UT (Universal time) or GMT
(Greenwich Mean Time).
10:28 a.m. on October 3
1:24 a.m. on November 2
The actual time for each time zone is relative to GMT. For example,
Tucson is seven hours behind GMT. Thus when, for example, it is
10 p.m. according to GMT, it is 3 p.m. in Tucson. Based on the above
information, God willing, the first day of Ramadan for Tucson (and
for most parts of the world) is October 4, the last day is November
2. More information on Ramadan can be found at www.masjidtucson.org.
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