Hyderabad: For most non-Muslims, the mention of ‘Ramzan’ conjures up an image of the delicious Haleem and the ‘Sheer Korma’, but for the Muslims, these are the furthest things in their minds.
The Muslims’ only focus is to abstain from all foods and liquids throughout the day and offer as many additional prayers as possible.
Interestingly, the ubiquitous Haleem stalls are thronged by Muslims who are away from their homes for jobs or any other purposes, besides a large number of non-Muslims who take the opportunity to relish the dish which is quite nutritious.
According to Idara Tahkheekhat-e-Ilmia Director Maulana Syed Khwaja Moizuddin Ashrafi, Muslims are expressly directed to abstain from worldly pleasures and concentrate solely on the spiritual aspect during the Holy Month. “It is wrongly assumed by a majority of non-Muslims that the Holy Month is used to relish delicacies like Haleem,” Maulana Ashrafi says.
He points out, “Any Muslim will tell you that he will keep the fast to get closer to God and get spiritual upliftment. Some of the Muslims who are not quite able to get spiritual upliftment are habituated to the good things of the world concentrate on the delicacies. But this does not mean that Haleem or other delicacies are an integral part of Ramzan. Ramzan is observed by every Muslim around the world, while Haleem is only available in Hyderabad.”
Maulana Ashrafi adds that with the Holy Month around the corner, Muslims all over the world are busy making last minute arrangements so that they can concentrate on getting as much spiritual benefit as possible in the next one month.
This one month will see the people observing fasts from dawn to dusk, over 14 hours, besides offering the Taraveeh prayers in addition to the compulsory prayers offered five times a day throughout the year.
Some of the more pious ones even offer the Tahajjud prayers in the dead of the night before the time for Sehri, the predawn meal, begins.
Besides this, affluent Muslims are required to give 2.5 per cent of their wealth in charity to the poor in the form of Zakaat. This is considered the most remarkable aspects of Islam, where the well-to-do are required to take care of the people who are indeed needy.
Maulana Ashrafi points out that the first preference for Zakaat should be given to one’s poor relatives, then those poor who are known to him and then the orphans who are indeed in need of help.
“Care should be taken as to the person who is given the Zakaat is indeed deserving. Nowadays, many Madrasas are targeting affluent Muslims and trying to gain advantage of the Zakaat laws,” the Maulana says.
The devout Muslims, both adults and children, irrespective of gender, observe fast for the full day shunning away all sorts of food and drinks. Though the fast is not mandatory for children they also join their elders in the family and observe fast.
The fast starts at Saher, the time before dawn and ends with the dusk, soon after the sunset.
This year the Saher time ends at 4:27 AM and the Iftar time (breaking of the fast) begins at 6:55 PM on the first day of Ramzan.
The Holy Month begins with sighting the crescent moon and ends at sighting the next crescent moon. The date in Islamic calendar begins from the dusk unlike the days in Gregorian calendar beginning at midnight.(INN)