Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
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13-08-2012, 01:32 PM
RE: Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
I'm just wondering, why do Muslims have a month for fasting?
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13-08-2012, 10:24 PM (This post was last modified: 14-08-2012 02:50 AM by daylightisabadthing.)
RE: Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
Hi Luniaz, welcome aboard. Ramadan is supposed to be about self-sacrifice and giving, Muslims fast to remind themselves what it's like to be needy and hopefully donate to charity or good causes at the same time.

Round here fasting is enforced by law ( at least in public ) which kinda detracts from the willpower element and most people sleep half the day and stuff themselves at night. All my work stops for Ramadan which sucks but it's almost over.

Bacon!

"While religions tell us next to nothing useful or true about the universe, they do tell us an enormous amount - perhaps an embarrassing amount - about ourselves, about what we value, fear and lust after." Iain M Banks
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22-08-2012, 02:14 AM
RE: Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
Hey internet Mullah, I hope you're not going to do a "Jesus" and only promise you're going to come back. I'm still dying to hear about Mohamed's moon god.
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26-08-2012, 10:35 PM
RE: Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
Speaking of Ramadan:
Are newborn infants expected to fast as the adults do?
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26-08-2012, 11:34 PM
RE: Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
(26-08-2012 10:35 PM)SlipStitch Wrote:  Speaking of Ramadan:
Are newborn infants expected to fast as the adults do?

AFAIK Islam is pretty nice in that respect that you can be excused from religious duties if you have a need.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan

Quote:It becomes compulsory for Muslims to start fasting when they reach puberty, so long as they are healthy, sane and have no disabilities or illnesses. Exemptions to fasting are travel, menstruation, illness, older age, pregnancy, and breast-feeding. However, many Muslims with medical conditions insist on fasting to satisfy their spiritual needs, and healthcare professionals must work with their patients to reach common ground. Professionals should closely monitor individuals who decide to persist with fasting.
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28-08-2012, 10:09 PM
RE: Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
Thanks, Morondog!
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02-09-2012, 11:35 PM
RE: Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
Okay, I don't think the Mullah is coming back, but I have another question in case somebody knows the answer.

Why do some Muslim women wear a full-veil black burqa?

To explain my confusion a little better, here is a scenario in which this peaked my curiosity:
There is a rather large Muslim population in the city I live and work in. I was at work one day, and two Muslim women came into the store. I'm used to seeing them wearing the usual darker colored burqas, but their faces are uncovered and they aren't black. However, in this case, there was a woman wearing what I'm used to seeing (her burqa was a darker purplish color) and another woman that was with her was completely dressed in black and had a veil hiding all her face except for her eyes. I've seen that before, but the woman was always alone. In this case, she was with another lady who wasn't completely veiled like that.

Is there some kind of significance in a Muslim woman wearing all black with her face totally veiled?
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03-09-2012, 06:14 AM
RE: Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
There's no official significance to different styles or colours. How much they have to cover up is down to their family's level of... I don't want to say fundamentalism... tradition maybe better, and the area their islam originated.

There are regional traditions and fashions as with western clothes. Here in the UAE lots of women wear a hijjab (headscarf) over western clothes with their faces open in various colours and patterns, more traditional local women will wear a black abaya, often decorated with crystals or embroidery, they do love bling.

We see older women and tourists from Saudi and Kuwait wearing the full niqab (face covered) in plain black. Out in the villages in Oman there's more of the North African influence and you see women in bright coloured abayas and guys in the african style hats.

It's the same with the guys' dishdash headgear which isn't seen so much outside of the Middle East. There are fashions for the colours that are used and the way they're tied but none of it is hard-and-fast. In the UAE the special forces guys tend to wear red checks and anyone else wears white, in Saudi the red checks are popular with everyone.

"While religions tell us next to nothing useful or true about the universe, they do tell us an enormous amount - perhaps an embarrassing amount - about ourselves, about what we value, fear and lust after." Iain M Banks
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06-09-2012, 10:52 AM (This post was last modified: 06-09-2012 10:55 AM by Internet Mullah.)
RE: Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
(13-08-2012 01:32 PM)luniaz226 Wrote:  I'm just wondering, why do Muslims have a month for fasting?

Muslims fast because fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. God says in the Quran, "O you who believe! Observance of fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become pious"(2:183). And there is a specific month of the year in which Muslims are told to fast all the days of the month, and that month, in the Islamic calendar, is called "Ramadan."

The fast, essentially, is an act of devotion for Muslims. The main objective of the Islamic fast, which prohibits participating in sensual and physical pleasures such as eating, smoking, and sex during daylight hours, is to diminish our dependence on material goods for a certain amount of time, to purify our hearts, and to establish solidarity with the poor to encourage charitable works and thereby earn more good deeds. It's a time for increasing our self-growth and God-consciousness. The month of Ramadan is a means to increase our righteousness and our dutifulness to the Creator.

Fasting also cultivates a greater patience and fortitude amongst the Muslims. Through fasting, Muslims learn to be patient and to endure hunger and thirst throughout the entire month of Ramadan and they learn to curb their desire for instant gratification. Fasting also helps us to understand the sufferings of the poor and hungry people in the world, which creates more compassion for them, and it also increases the thankfulness in our hearts towards our Creator for giving us so many things to keep our bodies constantly nourished with.

(26-08-2012 10:35 PM)SlipStitch Wrote:  Speaking of Ramadan:
Are newborn infants expected to fast as the adults do?

As morondog answered, fasting becomes compulsory for Muslims only after they reach puberty and as long as they are healthy, sane, and have no illnesses. So, the answer is that newborn infants do not have to fast, and they shouldn't. Adults who are sick are excused from fasting as well. They can make it up later if they want to by fasting on other days (outside of Ramadan).

Alternatively, a sick Muslim may also skip a fast and pay redemption money (called "fidya") for each day of fasting that he missed, and the amount should be enough to feed a poor person two meals per day (or about 750 grams of food). A lot of sick and elderly Muslims do this because they cannot fast due to poor health and/or illnesses. There are more details at the link below.

Fidya - Compensation for Not Fasting
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06-09-2012, 10:52 AM
RE: Ask a Muslim [split from introductions]
(02-09-2012 11:35 PM)SlipStitch Wrote:  Is there some kind of significance in a Muslim woman wearing all black with her face totally veiled?

The full-body covering (or burqa) that many Muslim women wear is not an Islamic directive at all, but rather a cultural custom, according to my knowledge. There is no verse in the Quran that tells Muslims woman to dress that way. The Quran only tells women to dress modestly and to cover their breasts, but it doesn't specifically tell them to cover their faces and their entire bodies by wearing a burqa nor anything like that. Excluding Saudi Arabia, most Muslim women do not wear the burqa even in Islamic countries. I discussed the issue of burqa in more detail in this post.

There are many cultural aspects and customs which have somehow got mixed with what many perceive as parts of religion. It is a very important distinction and one which everyone should know about. For example, Quran and Hadiths instruct Muslim women to dress modestly and to cover her body primarily to avoid attracting undue attention and helping her get along with whatever she needs to do. However, wearing a black burqa is a cultural practice which many women do (although there is nothing wrong with that either).
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