Muslim Villa

Category 6 => Religious - => Topic started by: Khadija_H on June 04, 2018, 09:07:56 am

Title: How is ramadan in other countries?
Post by: Khadija_H on June 04, 2018, 09:07:56 am
Salam Aleikum brothers and sisters
I hope you all have a good Ramadan. I was a little in doubt where to post this so now I am just posting it here, feel free to move it to another topic if this is the wrong place.

I simply wonder how Ramadan is in other countries, especially islamic ones, since I have never been in any islamic countries during Ramadan.
Does people have vacation or reduced school and work hours? Is there any special local customs or dishes during Ramadan? (I only know one Ramadan dish which is a soup..harira or something). How long time does each one have to eat and drink?
This post is merely curriousity as it could be interresting to hear firsthand how Ramadan is in other countries. I can start to tell a bit about how Ramadan is here.

Here in Denmark, society isn't built for Ramadan so work and school is pretty much buisness as usual. Some individuals might chose to work a little less this month though if cirumstances and echonomy allows it. This year we have around 4 hours to eat and drink from around 9.40pm-2.40am, so many people chose to stay awake all 4 hours to take fully advantage of the little timespan. It's not that much time, but it's enough if it's spent wisely. Since it's a non-muslim country there's not really any common traditions I can think of other than Tarawih in the night and the celebration of Eid. I know though that my mother does some Ramadan related activities with my sisters kids, so they feel included in the holly month.

Now it's your turn brothers and sisters. How is Ramadan in your countries?

Title: Re: How is ramadan in other countries?
Post by: Ruhi_Rose on June 04, 2018, 07:04:15 pm

Walaikum As-Salam Sister Khadija.   Alhumdulilah, the blessed month is going well.  I wish the same for you and your family, InshAllah, ameen.

Yes, you posted this in the right board, I just shifted it into one of the sub-boards of Islamic Issues under 'Religious.' 

Your post is very interesting with a very helpful question.   Thank you Sister.

Much against the English proverb, this planet is not exactly a "small world."  For we humans, it's a wide expanse with different time durations at different geographical locations.  For instance, our MV team is located in North America (Canada).  Here, sahoor ends at approximately 3.55 a.m. and iftar is at approximately 9.00 p.m.   I would presume it's more or less similar in Europe and UK.   

In Middle-Eastern countries and Pakistan, working hours are shortened during Ramadan.  For example in Egypt office timings are from 9.30 morning to 1.30 afternoon.   In Iran it's also 5 hours a day.   In Pakistan it's 6 hours from Monday to Thursday (8 a.m. to 2 p.m) and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.  School timings are the same. In Pakistan even normal school timings are until 1.30 p.m.   Those who have accumulated enough paid leave at their workplaces do often take a fortnight off for Ramadan.  Sometimes they may take 10 or 12 days off from work to devote to itikaf.  Itikaf means thinking and reflecting on Allah Almighty and His wonders, offering nafl prayers and reading the Noble Quran in seclusion for a certain number of days which can vary from one day to 20 days or more, depending on the decision of every individual.  Some people observe itikaf by retiring in the nearby neighborhood masjid.  Some observe it at home.  Usually people consider Ramadan the best stretch of period for going into itikaf.  By the way, itikaf is optional, not fard, but it's an excellent approach to worshiping Allah Almighty.

Yes, there are various traditional foods during iftar in different Muslims countries.  According to social custom, in Muslim countries people usually start to break their fast with dates as it's presumed that the Prophet (pbuh) used to do.  Dates are the staple fruit in the Arabian peninsula.  To name a few traditional Iftar cuisines, Harira (as you rightly mentioned) and lentil soup in Morocco, chicken jalfarezi in Pakistan.  Then, there is the spicy saffron flavored chicken and rice called biryani in Pakistan; a similar dish is called kabsas in Afghanistan.  Stuffed vegetables are very popular Ramadan favorites in Syria, Palestine and Egypt.   Zucchinis and grape leaves are stuffed with  chopped green pepper, eggplants, tomatoes, peas etc. along with flavored rice.  It's called Mahshi.  Then again there's the delicious stuffed cabbage popular in Syria called  Mahshi Malfuf.  I usually prepare tomatoes or bell peppers stuffed with chicken and rice which the kids and my husband love.  Middle Eastern and Pakistani popular desserts in Ramadan are baklava, basbosa and kanufa (Arabic cheese cake);  and the Pakistani special, vermicilli cooked in evaporated milk with nuts and saffron. 

However, these are just traditional aspects which have no bearing on the values of Ramadan.  The real purpose of Ramadan is to focus more on Allah Almighty and His Final Message with sincerity, to be more introspective in order to understand ourselves better to bring improvements within ourselves in accordance with our deen.  As far as food is concerned, we can eat whatever simple meal we can afford with ease.  The only thing to be careful about is to make sure the food is Halal.

The truth of the matter is that the Noble Quran is a Message for entire humanity, not just for people of a specific region.  Thus, the month of fasting in the Ordinance of The Almighty is meant to apply to all humanity when, for a month, they need to take a break from the daily rush of life that goes on for 11 months.  They need to keep aside all worldly preoccupations, relax and spend time thinking of Allah, worshiping Him and abstaining from food and liquid for that many hours and thus also spending more time with family and loved ones.  The fact that so many folks around the world happen to be non-submitters to the Will of Allah Almighty and therefore non-Muslim societies have not geared themselves up to adjust to Ramadan makes it a different story for which they will be answerable to Him on the Day of Judgement.   That's a Day from which there is no escape for anyone, be it king, queen, president, prime minister, beggar or pauper ... no matter who.  All will have to assemble before HIM on the Day of the Tryst to answer lots of questions.


Title: Re: How is ramadan in other countries?
Post by: Heba E. Husseyn on June 04, 2018, 11:17:36 pm

Walaikum Salam sister.   Would also like to add an essential point. 

Our jurists do not see Fajr and Iftar timings too accurately.

In the Quran, Allah asserts that we can eat sahoor until the white thread becomes distinct from the black thread (V.2:187) which means until the first glimmer of light appears in the atmosphere; this is the most precise moment when Fajr (dawn) begins.  It appears approximately 40 minutes before sunrise.  But our jurists and ulemas have set Fajr timing approximately one and a half hours before sunrise.  For example in Cairo (Egypt), the official time for Fajr or dawn is presently 3.10 a.m. while sunrise is at 4.53.   Calculation of our jurists is on similar lines everywhere.  In Toronto (Canada) for instance, they mention Fajr at 3.50 a.m.while sunrise is at 5.40 a.m.  Look at the huge gap between Fajr and sunrise.  It's well over 1 and a half hours.  As a result, those who fast have to finish their sahoor latest by 3.45 a.m. and at that time it's pitch dark outside.   If sunrise is at 5.40 a.m., then the white thread would be distinct from the black thread as described in the Quran at approximately 5.00 a.m.  So, one can see how much our ulemas and jurists rush us.

Similarly, it's also important to know that the common traditional assumption of Iftar timing (breaking the fast) exactly at Maghrib or sunset is wrong, against the rule of the Quran.  The Noble Quran (V.2:187) mentions the time to break our fast is "leil" which in English translates as 'nightfall' or when darkness of the night begins.  This period comes approximately 30 minutes after Maghrib or sunset, sometimes a little longer depending on one's location.  So, if Maghrib time in a particular region is 9.00 p.m., those who fast should break it at approximately 9.30 p.m. or whenever they observe the atmosphere outside to appear dark.  In the Quran, sunset time is described as dhulook as-shams or maghrib as-shams.  Nightfall is described as leil.     Anyone would know that sunset is different from nightfall.

We have had some very fruitful discussions on this topic at the following posts and threads.  Do take a look gradually when you get the time.

Until what time can we eat sahoor?

Ramadan Sahoor & Fatoor timings and Fajr & Maghrib prayers

Be careful to break your fast at the right time


Title: Re: How is ramadan in other countries?
Post by: Khadija_H on June 05, 2018, 02:51:36 am
Thank you for your repplies.

I see that there is some benefits living in a country where the society is build for ramadan if you're working or studying. As for the dishes and desserts, I remember to have tasted some of them, I never knew that the one with grape leaves and the other dishes i already knew are traditional ramadan dishes. We also break the fast with dates here. I'm not a huge fan of dates however unless they're chocolate covered, so to make me eat dates, my mother started to make something healthy candy-like b@lls made withdates and spices.

Now that you mention it, I remember that some people do Itikaf here too. I must admit I never tried it myself though, I'm not good at being around a lot of people for a very long time. I think it's quite impressing that some people can stay there for 10 days in a row.

As for the time of breaking the fast. I have noticed that Iftar and Suhur doesn't seem to match with the sky ouside, but when I've asked questions all I've gotten is that it's just how it is. I'm glad i'm not the only one who finds it odd, I have wondered if there's something technical behind but apparently there isn't. It raise a question though about why the jurists wants to tamper with the fasting times. People are all about opening and breaking the fast at the exact prescribed time, but this means it's not opened or broken at the prescribed time at all.

What is the interrest in altering the fasting/eating time? What does the jurists get out of it? Fasting is for Allah's sake so when the fast is tampered with..then for who's sake is it?

Title: Re: How is ramadan in other countries?
Post by: Heba E. Husseyn on June 05, 2018, 07:07:33 pm

Breaking fast with dates is optional.  Needless to say, if a person doesn't like the taste of dates, that's certainly not a problem.  During Ramadan as in other days, one can eat anything one likes or can afford as long as that food is categorized as Halal.

Concerning sahoor and iftar timings ....

Briefly and plainly, the time for starting and ending the fast is very clear in the Quran.  But for centuries people have had the problem of dismissing the Quran in favor of the laws of humans. 

If you check any prayer calendar, they mention "Fajr" and "sunrise" timings with a difference of at least 1 and a half hours between the two.  But as referenced in the Noble Quran and also from the perspective of  meteorologists, Fajr or dawn appears approximately 40 minutes prior to sunrise.   Actually I don't even know of any hadith that says Fajr must be that long before sunrise.  So, this must be a  unanimous personal decision of the circle of medieval jurists.  And of course, as we know, our present-day jurists are in the habit of blindly accepting the missteps of their predecessors and also the absurdities of the hadith with total disregard to the assertions of the Noble Quran.  Very unfortunate but this is the situation.

As for Iftar time dot at sunset comes straight from the hadith.  For e.g. here is one out of many.   "It is reported that The Messenger of Allah (T) used to break his fast before the Maghrib Salaat." [Ahmad and Abu Dawood] 

In fact, the hadith goes to the extent of lying against the Prophet (pbuh) and defaming him by falsely claiming that the Prophet broke his fast before sunset.  For e.g. check this post  And now, hadith on breaking fast before sunset. (   The purpose of such absurd and foul narrations is to bring changes in Islam by making it deviate from the Quran.  This particular hadith narrating such a false story by accusing the Prophet (pbuh) of breaking the fast before sunset was an attempt to change the Muslim method of fasting as confirmed in the Quran and making it similar to the altered fasts of Christians in which they are allowed to consume liquids.  After all, I have no doubt that initially, Allah Almighty also commanded the Christians to fast the same way as instructed later in the Quran.  But the Christian clerics changed it.  They were the same sort of people as those who later began narrating these unauthentic ahadith to distort Islam.   Such mischief has been inherent of humans for centuries, rather millenniums.  Allah will deal with them, InshAllah.


Title: Re: How is ramadan in other countries?
Post by: Ruhi_Rose on June 05, 2018, 07:21:57 pm

...... I never knew that the one with grape leaves and the other dishes i already knew are traditional ramadan dishes.

You'e right sister, these dishes are popular at other times of the year too .. and  commonly served in Ramadan.

...... so to make me eat dates, my mother started to make something healthy candy-like b@lls made withdates and spices.

That sounds wonderful :)  absolutely delectable, MashAllah. 

Dear Sister Heba, many thanks for the added input.

Allah bless all of you, dear sisters.