Holy month from today

KABEER YOUSUF – MUSCAT, MAY 26 – Oman begins to fast along with the rest of the world from Saturday underlining the noble foundations of harmony, camaraderie and caring for each other besides seeking mercy of Almighty Allah.
The Main Committee of New Moon Sighting at the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs said they had received reports of the moon being sighted in a number of governorates in Oman on Friday. “Therefore, Saturday will be the first day of the holy month of Ramadhan 1438 AH,” it said.

His Eminence Shaikh Ahmed bin Hamad al Khalili, Grand Mufti of the Sultanate, and Shaikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al Salmy, Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs, during the meeting of the Moon Sighting Committee on Friday.  — Photo by Faizal al Balushi

The pillars of Ramadhan primarily envisage how people feel the hunger pangs and urges to strike a chord with those deprived of the basic needs of the material life including food and drinking water and that’s the very purpose of fasting during the month.
Equally, it’s the month of giving, a month of repentance, a month of forgiving and above all, a month that teaches the lessons for the life hereafter. It is also the special month in the Islamic calendar during which Allah revealed his teachings to Prophet Mohammad (May Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him).
Above all, just as machine undergoes a complete servicing, cleansing both in and out by removing the smudge of the past; polishing by letting the past go by to shine in future, take care of your soul and body with Salah (prayers) and Dikr (supplications) just as you take care of any engine; and finally revitalising and rejuvenating you on your path to move forward in life to enjoy a happy ride till the end.
Holy Quran, the verses of Almighty Allah says, “Oh you believe, Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain Taqwaa.” (2:183).
“Ramadhan is the month in which the Holy Book was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and judgment so that mankind will distinguish from right and wrong.” (2:183)
The most honoured by Allah amongst you are those best in Taqwaa.”(Q 49:13); And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew.” (Q 2:184)
“Indeed We have revealed it (Quran) in the night of Power. And what will explain to you what the night of Power is? The night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit (Jibreel) by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (they say) “Peace” (continuously) till the rise of Morning!” (Q 97:1-5).
Ramadhan is a month that teaches resilience, tolerance, self-restraint and understanding that reinvigorates human beings and teaches one to detach himself/herself from material pleasures, frustration, irritation and sexual attraction followed by celebration of Eid al Fitr.
One should stay away from all forms of shamelessness as it can deter you from attaining self-purification or spiritual excellence and in attaining that state of closeness to God. In Oman, along with mosques and other charity institutions, businesses have been gearing up for the month since several weeks. While mosques were refurbished and repainted, charity organisations identified the needy and planned budgets to lend out their helping hands. Retail chains, had long begun to stack provisions to meet the surging demand for the same during the month.
Tips for non-believers:
1. During the day time, eating or drinking or smoking in public is prohibited as is in any Islamic country and all restaurants will remain closed till evening
2. However, there is no harm in having food inside the house or in a closed room
3. Food is available for take away at 5.30 and restaurants will open for diners after Magrib prayers (7pm)
4. Appropriate dressing should be worn during the holy month
5. You can choose to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in front of your fasting colleagues as token of respect
6. People from all schools of thoughts or beliefs are welcome to partake in the mass
iftars and there is no distinction between those who are fasting or not as this is a holy ceremony of breaking fast and sharing food.