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Friday, 27 June 2014

Islamic calendar: Ramadan 28 June

Ramadan begins 28 June according to the Islamic calendar.

Though we believe it should begin during the start of the Hebrew month of Elul, these fasts can also be kept. It is not permitted to fast on the Sabbath being a "festival" so the beginning of this would be Sunday, 29 June. The fast begins at sunrise to sunset. Nightfall is usually one hour after sunset with the appearance of three stars in the sky. No eating, drinking, sexual intercourse or lewd talking during this time. Two meals are eaten during Ramadan each day, one before sunrise and one after sunset. Traditionally Muslims end the fast by eating "dates" because this is what the Prophet Muhammed did.

Download the APP at World'sLastChance for sunrise and sunset times for your area. This group also have the times for lunar Sabbaths since they observe the Sabbath according to the moon. Just ignore their lunar Sabbath times. But their sunrise and sunset times are very useful. Normal work activities continue except for the Sabbath. Days not fasted on the Sabbath have to be made up.

Fasting is a way to atone for sins so it is actively encouraged. The story of Jonah and the city of Nineveh is a case in point. God changed his mind from destroying the city upon repentance and fasting of the people. Even the animals had to fast.

To learn more about Ramadan and the Islamic rules, and to download books go to:

http://www.kalamullah.com/ramadan.html

From a Handy Jewish Guide on the Fasts of the Jews on how to handle these fasts.

BEFORE THE FAST

Make sure you are really well hydrated before you start fasting

Make sure you eat/drink a lot of Vitamin C

Before you start fasting, make sure that you eat food that will keep you full for a while...

DURING THE FAST

Make time feel like it goes by faster and take a nap.

AFTER THE FAST

Don’t stuff your face because you will get a stomach ache.

An Interfaith article: Fasting and Feasting in Three Traditions: Judaism Christianity Islam highlights the common thread of fasting in the three major religions.

Jesus fasted for forty days in the Bible and in the Gospel of Barnabas and enjoined a fast for three days for his disciples praying during the appearance of the first star in the evening. Jesus also fasted for 20 days before plucking up corn in the field. Here are some interesting texts on fasting in the Gospel of Barnabas.

The Gospel of Barnabas: "Then Jesus said: "Let us make prayer and fast for three days, and from henceforth every evening when the first star shall appear, when prayer is made to God, let us make prayer three times, asking him for mercy three times: because the sin of Israel is three times more grievous than other sins." "So be it," answered the disciples."

... Then Jesus said: "Penitence is a reversing of the evil life: for every sense must be turned around to the contrary of that which it wrought while sinning. Instead of delight must be mourning; for laughter, weeping; for revelling's, fasts; for sleeping, vigils; for leisure, activity; for lust, chastity; let storytelling be turned into prayer and avarice into almsgiving."... Know then that penitence more than anything [else] must be done for pure love of God; otherwise it will be vain to repent."

'And so the first thing that follows sorrow for sin is fasting. But because man while living has need to take these good things of the world, fasting is needful here. So let him proceed to mortify sense and to know God for his lord.

Fasting and spiritual watching are so united one with the other that, if one break the watch, straightway the fast is broken. For in sinning a man breaks the fast of the soul, and forgets God. So is it that watching and fasting as regards the soul are always necessary for us and for all men. For to none is it lawful to sin.

"Lord God almighty and merciful, who in mercy has created us, giving us the rank of men, your servants, with the faith of your true Messenger, we thank you for all your benefits and would fain adore you only all the days of our life, bewailing our sins praying and giving alms, fasting and studying your word, instructing those that are ignorant of your will, suffering from the world for love of you, and giving up our life to the death to serve you..."

Then Jesus said: "See that for these twenty days we give ourselves to fasting and prayer; for God will have mercy upon you. Truly I say to you, God has caused this dearth because here began the madness of men and the sin of Israel when they said that I was God, or Son of God." 5. When they had fasted for nineteen days, on the morning of the twentieth day, they beheld the fields and hills covered with ripe corn. They ran to Jesus, and recounted everything to him. And when he had heard it Jesus gave thanks to God, and said: "Go, brethren, gather the bread which God has given." They gathered so much corn that they did not know where to store it; and this thing was cause of plenty in Israel.

We now, praised be God, have a king and a governor that are alien to our Law, who care not for our Law, even as we care not for theirs. And so we are able to do whatsoever we list; for, even though we sin, our God is so merciful that he is appeased with sacrifice and fasting.

The priests and Pharisees murmured among themselves and said: "He has the wisdom of Baal and Ashtoreth, and so in the power of Satan has he done this." Jesus opened his mouth and said: "Our God commanded that we should not steal our neighbour's goods. But this single precept has been so violated and abused that it has filled the world with sin, and such [ sin] as shall never be remitted as other sins are remitted: seeing that for every other sin, if a man bewail it and commit it no more, and fast with prayer and almsgiving, our God, mighty and merciful, forgives. But this sin is of such a kind that it shall never be remitted,, except that which is wrongly taken be restored.

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