Ramadan; the Muslim boot camp started May 6. The participants are supposed to refresh and strengthen their faith in their Creator; the Almighty God. The Creator of the Universe, the Most Merciful and Most Gracious to all humanity. Not just to Muslims.

The objective of this boot camp isn’t just to be starved or thirsty. But it’s to teach ourselves about deprivation, determination, self-control and devotion. Humans are continuously indulged in the pleasure of eating, drinking, lust, cheating, faking, insulting, mocking, judging, etc.

All kind of humanitarian degrading and harmful mannerism. We all suffer from indulging in excessive unhealthy eating and drinking, with its known adverse effects, and not to mention the adverse effects of other aforementioned human behavioral delinquencies.

The boot camp is intended to discipline us and straighten up the crookedness the Muslim has inflected upon himself, whether he meant it or not.

Infirmity in the camp, the Muslim day should start a little bit before sunrise. Where he eats some light nutritious food to sustain him during his daily fasting period until sunset. Then, the Muslim starts his fasting day by a dawn prayer (Arabic; Fager prayer) asking Almighty to make him successful through the day without any moral, spiritual or physical infirmity, that we’re prone for.

During the day, the Muslim should be morally, spiritually and legally conscious about his breadwinning activities. Also, ensure caring for and be kind to his immediate family, relatives, neighbors, colleagues, community and countrymen.

After he successfully finishes his rightful hardworking day, he goes home to peacefully pray and be grateful to God for his achievements.

At sunset, the Muslim breaks his fast by consuming a piece of fruit and healthy drink, followed by sunset prayer (Maghrib). After that, Muslims eat a complete meal. Sometimes these meals are execrated (feast) and are full of fancy food items, depending on the ability of the family caterer.

After sunset prayer and meal, the Muslim prepares himself for an extended prayer time. That starts by doing the regular evening prayer (Isha) and is followed by the Tarawih (refreshing) prayer. In this prayer, the Muslim reads one-thirtieth part of the Quran. Quran is divided into 30 parts. Thus, the Muslim would read the whole Quran over the 30 nights of Ramadan.

The reason this prayer is called Tarawih is because it’s done in a multiple units of standing, kneeling and prostration; as if it’s intended to be a form of physical exercise after that big meal and to supplement the moral and spiritual ones.

By the end of all these rituals, any individual would be surely exhausted.

That’s when a Muslim can get a few hours of sleep before getting up to repeat this spiritually invigorating and cleansing cycle for 30 days.

“God will not burden a sole more that it’s capacity.” This is a verse in the Quran that tells Muslims to be moderate and don’t hurt yourself over-performing these rituals in this month or at any time of your life.

Muslims always have a unique prayer when they do these rituals or any other good deeds, which means “May God accept our efforts to please Him.” I would like this one to be my closing prayer for this column.

Dr. Ahmed E. Ahmed is a professor emeritus at the University of Texas Medical Branch and member of the Galveston Islamic Center.


(20) comments

Bailey Jones

Several years ago, I had the privilege of a participating in Ramadan with my Muslim neighbors, who lived a few houses down the street. I followed the fasting, read the Quran (audio book), tried out some traditional recipes and was invited to celebrate Eid with my neighbors and their friends. What a wonderful, and mindful, experience!

Ma Gill

This all sounds so nice.
However, I can't get past all the hate in the 9th Sura of the Koran. Can people who believe the 9th sura really be as nice as they appear???

Bailey Jones

The ones I know are some of the nicest and most generous people I've ever met. As are some of the people I know who believe in the genocide commanded in the Bible. Shall we talk about the Christian genocide against indigenous Americans? The Serbian Christian slaughter of whole villages in the 1990s? 100 years of terrorism between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland? There is no lack of reasons to hate other peoples, if hate is the thing you can't get past.

Carlos Ponce

"Shall we talk about the Christian genocide against indigenous Americans?"
There was no Biblical mandate to kill indigenous Americans in the name of Christ. There were other factors in play other than the perpetrators were "Christian".

Gary Scoggin

How about the Israelites’ Genocide of the Canaanites.

Carlos Ponce

Gary Scoggin, if your post is a reply to mine, there is still no Biblical mandate to kill indigenous Americans in the name of Christ. No Christians were involved nor even existed in that time period.
If it is a response to Bailey's post where "There is no lack of reasons to hate other peoples, if hate is the thing you can't get past," the reason for killing them was not hatred:
"However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them--the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God." Deuteronomy 20:16-18

Bailey Jones

"When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword. And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai. But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction. Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the Lord that he commanded Joshua. So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day. And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. And at sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day." - The OT is full of such episodes. Can people who believe such things be as nice as they appear?

And Carlos, you know history well enough to know that the Bible was used to great effect to justify the genocide of indigenous Americans. The Requerimiento of 1513 is just one such declaration of divine intent. The whole theory of Manifest Destiny being another. The point here isn't to quote scriptures and history - although I do enjoy that - it's simply that there are two ways of dealing with other people. One is to hang out with them and get to know them - knowledge through observation and experience. The other approach is to assume an a priori opinion, then look for evidence to support it. No one is responsible for, or answerable to, their religious writings taken out of context. Why is it so hard to just accept another's culture and religious beliefs and offer the same respect that we would expect in return?

Jim Forsythe

The first holly book that does not call for violence, cast the first stone.
As no Americans were involved nor even existed in that time period of the Bible, just substitute America into the places listed below. Parts of the Bible talk about killing .
Exodus 12:29-30
At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21
“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Hosea 13:16
Samaria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword; their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open
Samuel 15:3
Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
Leviticus 20:9
For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him.
Leviticus 21:9
And the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by whoring, profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire.
Exodus 21:15
“Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.
Leviticus 20:27
“A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.”
Samuel 15:3
Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
Jeremiah 19:9
And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his neighbor in the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.’
Deuteronomy 13:5
But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Carlos Ponce

The Requerimiento of 1513 occurred but was politically motivated, not religious.
"Catholic theology held that spiritual salvation took precedence over temporal and civil concerns."
You will find more deaths occurred (on both sides) from disease rather than weapons.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Mr. Jones, I would encourage you to familiarize yourself, at least superficially, with the history of the Plantation of Ireland and the Penal Laws, which date back over 500 years and which resulted in the starvation, slaughter, imprisonment, and enslavement of the native Irish people, who happened to be Catholic, by the invading English who had just become Protestant thanks to Henry VIII's marital failures. The issue was indeed religion 500 years ago; as the British sought to completely eradicate Catholicism. But in the last 100 years that you reference (actually it would be 98 years in 2019) the cause of the violence has been the British partitioning of the Six Counties as a requirement of the Free State Treaty, and the fact that one side is Catholic and the other Protestant is merely coincidental. It is a question of sovereignty. Catholics in Ireland do not hate Protestants for their religion or vice versa, that is a reduction of reality to triviality. It confuses cause with effect.

John Cole

Having lived in a Muslim country for years; I can say that the way Muslims 'celebrated' ramadan was nothing more than a time of profligate excess in alcohol and other inebriates that altered their sense of reality in many cases(BTW, Alcohol is forbidden in the koran), so the hyprocrisy was quite evident. Also, in discussing how ramadan bespeaks of a spiritual renewal, etc...In the article: This cannot occur for Muslims as they have not been Born Again with their Spirit being born From God-Jesus Christ. John Chapter 3. 1-8. '...Jesus said to him(Nicodemus): Unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.'

Dan Freeman

Psalm 137: 8-9
8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

Carlos Ponce

Jim and Dan post some interesting scripture all written B.C. (that means BEFORE CHRIST as you well know). Now point to one that calls for the killing of indigenous Americans.......... there aren't any. The killing of Indigenous Americans was not motivated by any scripture in the Old or New Testament. The killing occurred by other motivations.

Ma Gill

Every one of the arguents against Christianity and the Bible are missing one fact: Jesus Christ overturned the Old Testament. You'll find nothing in Christ's teachings about bashing babies against rocks or killing.

In my opinion, the Muslim faith needs a New Testament too.

Bailey Jones

So, just Muslims and Jews who can't be as nice as they appear...

Jim Forsythe

No one is arguing against Christianity and the Bible . The Old Testament and the New Testament are all part of the Bible unless you want to do away with things like the Ten Commandments .
In Biblical times, the Law of Moses (also called Old Testament Law, Mosaic Law, or just The Law) regulated almost every aspect of Jewish life. The Ten Commandments and many other laws defined matters of morals, religious practice and government.

Jesus made one statement about the Law. Law of the Prophets ,Old Testament
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (NIV, Matthew 5:17–18)

"The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked.
Indeed, “the economy of the Old Testament was deliberately so oriented that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, redeemer of all men.” “Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional,” the books of the Old Testament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God’s saving love: these writings “are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers; in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way.”
Christians venerate the Old Testament as true Word of God. The Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism). (CCC 121-123)"

Carlos Ponce

Saying "Allahu Akbar" is acceptable. Saying Allahu Akbar before killing someone is not. It paints a religious rationale for the killing.

Ahmed Ahmed

You are absolutely right.
Please read my column “Allah Akbar” in GDN
on November 12, 2017.

Carlos Ponce

The Doctrine of Discovery never gives permission to kill anyone

Dan Freeman

The Pope declared the Doctrine of Discovery in the 13th and 14th century citing large portions of Christian Scripture. For example: The Doctrine of Discovery
The Doctrine of Discovery, formalized in the Papal Bulls of the 13th and 14th centuries, specified that the entire world was under the jurisdiction of the Pope, as God’s representative on earth. Any land not Christianized, i.e. not under the sovereignty of a Christian ruler, could be possessed on behalf of God. All time and space was considered empty until Christians arrived with God’s truth; until then it was Terra Nullius.[5] Previously it existed in a dark, wild and timeless existence of absolutely no significance.[6]

US legal doctrine is based on the Doctrine of Discovery. For example, in the 1835 Tennessee Supreme Court case Tennessee v. Forman, the court ruled:
The principle declared in the fifteenth century as the law of Christendom that discovery gave title to assume sovereignty over, and to govern the unconverted natives of Africa, Asia, and North and South America, has been recognized as a part of the national law, for nearly four centuries.[8]
The Doctrine of Discovery remains a major tenant of our legal system referred to by recent US Supreme Court Justices citing John Marshall’s Supreme Court Johnson v. M’Intosh decision in 1832. According to Chief Justice Marshall the United States, upon winning its independence in 1776, became a successor nation to the right of ‘discovery’ and acquired the power of dominion from Great Britain. Therefore all Native American land claims were null and void. As recently as 2005, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited the Doctrine of Discovery in rejecting land-claims by the Oneidas, one of the six nations of the Haudenosaunee.[9] Robert Miller, Native American professor of law, has written, “… The deed to almost all real estate in the United States originates from an Indian title that was acquired by the United States via Discovery principles.”[10]
Native peoples in the Americas are still fighting to resist western colonialism and reclaim their land and sovereignty. The Doctrine of Discovery still stands in their way. And the entitlement, arrogance, and righteousness it is based on is evident in the common use of the word discovery in this colonizing sense. People discover new restaurants, bars and hotspots. They discover other people’s rituals, sacred texts or sites, music or art and then feel entitled to possess them. They discover new neighborhoods with inexpensive prices and move in. This contemporary doctrine of discovery, labeled gentrification, carries a presumption of entitlement to invasion and possession just from the fact people now recognize something they were previously unaware of. They often don’t see or are oblivious to the prior residents of a neighborhood (or they may be seen as a nuisance to avoid or get rid of just at Native Americans have been). The privacy, sovereignty and rights of the people whose space they are invading are disregarded as they appropriate land, culture or spiritual practices.

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