By Imam Shamshad A. Nasir
Sunday, June 29th will be the first day of the Fast in Ramadan this year for all healthy Muslim men and women. The Fast, which starts an hour and 20-minutes before sunrise and ends after sunset, will run for 30 days, concluding with the sighting of the new moon on Monday, July 28th. The following day, July 29th, will be Eid-ul Fitr, the festival commemorating the end of Ramadhan. The Eid Prayer and Sermon will start at 10 am at the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino for any Muslims or non-Muslims who wish to participate.
For many non-Muslims who don’t fast and even some Muslims, a few questions may arise: Why does God require fasting? Are we doing it to voluntarily experience hunger so we know what those less fortunate, many billions of people, suffer on a daily basis? Are there other spiritual reasons why we should fast? Regarding fasting, God tells us clearly in the Holy Quran in ch.2, v.184:
O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those who were before you, so that you may become righteous.
Therefore, the primary purpose of fasting in Ramadan is to increase and strengthen our righteousness to protect us against moral and spiritual dangers. Verses 186-187 of chapter 2 relate how God does not desire any hardship for us, but provides the means to complete the required number of days for Fast so that:
You may exalt God for having guided you and that you may be grateful. And when My servants ask thee [Prophet Muhammad] about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’
Those who are exempted from fasting include: travelers, the sick, the elderly who are in bad health, pregnant and nursing mothers, and children. Adults who cannot fast or who miss any days during the fast due to illness are expected to make up their missed fasting days at a later time. If a person cannot fast for health reasons, they are expected to feed a certain number of poor people during Ramadan. Giving charity, regardless of whether one is fasting or not, is highly encouraged in Ramadan.
Join us this Ramadan for all of God’s Blessings as we strive to increase in righteousness and love of God and His creation. All are welcome to visit the Chino Mosque — to pray to God and seek His Forgiveness, to learn more about Islam and its teachings, or to just meet other Muslims and share a meal together in peace and friendship.
There will also be nightly lectures in English on Islam about an hour before sunset. After we break the fast just after sunset, join us for congregational prayer, followed by a free dinner, then another congregational prayer. After this, the long recitation of the Quran (called Taraveeh) will begin. For more information, please call 909-627-2252 or stop by the Baitul Hameed Mosque at 11941 Ramona Ave. in Chino just north of the 60 Fwy.