The Virtues of Fasting

Course of Conduct during the Holy Month of Ramadan

Sighting of the Moon

When the Ramadan Moon is sighted, the following supplication should be recited, "The Almighty is The Greatest: O Almighty! May this moon herald for us peace, faith, and safety; and let this moon rise as a moon for Islam and for peace. Also, bless us with the capability for tasks that are liked by You and please You. O moon, our Lord and thine Lord is The Almighty." (Tirmizi, Ibn Haban).

The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle. The time difference between two consecutive new moons varies from 29 days and 6 hours to 29 days and 20 hours. During the conjunction period, the moon is completely dark and not visible due to the overshadow from the earth, since it is in a straight line with the sun and the earth. When the moon crosses this line, it is regarded as the birth of a new moon. The birth of the new moon can occur at any time of the day or the night. The visibility of the new moon, however, depends upon a number of factors such as the angle of separation from the sun; the clarity and contrast in the atmosphere, etc. As a general rule, the new moon should be between 22 to 30 hours at the time of the sunset, before it can become visible.

To obtain a definite answer, please contact the Islamic Center of San Francisco at the following phone numbers (415) 282-9039, (415) 641-9596 or one of the Board of Directors.


A Month of Prayer: Develop special interest for prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. Besides the obligatory prayers, make arrangements for optional prayers.

Recitation from the Holy Qur'an

Make special arrangements for the recitation of the Holy Qur'an during this holy month of Ramadan. It is related on the authority of Abdullah bin 'Amr that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said:
"The fast and the Qur'an will, both plead on behalf of the bondsman (who will keep fast in the day and recite or listen attentively to the recital of the Quran in the night, standing in the presence of the Lord). The fast will say: 'My Lord! I had held him back from food, drink and sexual satisfaction. Accept my intercession for him today (and treat him with mercy and forgiveness).' And the Qur'an will say: 'I had held him back from taking rest and sleeping in the night. O God! Accept my intercession for him today (and treat him with mercy and forgiveness). The intercession of both the fast and the Qur'an will be accepted for the bondsman and he will be treated with exceptional kindness.'" -Baihaqi.

The Holy Qur'an and other Divine books were revealed during this month. Hadrat Ibrahim, (Prophet Abraham) (A.S.) was blessed with Divine Scriptures, Hadrat Dawood, (Prophet David) (A.S.) was awarded with the Zabur, Hadrat Isa (Prophet Jesus) (A.S.) received the Bible during this auspicious month.

Listen to the Qur'an during Tarawih

It was the practice of the Holy Prophet (saw) to listen to the whole text of the Holy Qur'an during this month.

Tarawih Prayers

Offer the Tarawih prayers with full devotion, concentration and interest. Do not rush through these prayers as a matter of routine, but offer the same with reverence as a regular Salat. Offer them, so that it may strengthen your relationship with The Almighty and the same may have good effect on your life. If The Almighty grants you the aptitude, make preparation for Tahajjud (late night) prayers also.

The Islamic Center of San Francisco will be conducting the Tarawih prayers under the auspices of Imam Ismail Ashraff. Approximately 1 1/4 Siparahs (parts) (Juz in Arabic) will be recited every night. The completion of the Qur'an will be, God-willing, on the 27th night of Ramadan. The Tarawih prayers will be conducted after the Isha Salat.

Help the Poor

Offer Sadaqah and alms to the poor. Attend to the needs of the infirm, the indigent, the widows and the orphans. Arrange for the Sahri and Iftar for the poor. The Holy Prophet (saw) has designated this month as the month of sympathy, largess, and charity. Sympathy means material and moral sympathy, politeness and consideration, and monetary help. Hazrat Ibn Abbas (R.A.A.) says that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) was the most generous person among all the men, particularly during the month of Ramadhan, he (S. A. W.) used to be extraordinarily benevolent and generous when he met Gabriel. And during this month Angel Gabriel used to visit him every night and recite the Holy Quran to him. At this time the normal generosity of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) used to be very much increased, faster than the rain bearing wind. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Laila-tul-Qadr (Night of Glory)

Arrange to offer as many Nafls as possible during the Lailat-ul-Qadr, and recite the Holy Qur'an as the importance of this night lies in the fact that it was on this very night that the Divine message descended. The Holy Qur'an, in Surah Al-Qadr (The Night of Power) says: "We have indeed revealed This (Message) In the Night of Power. And what do you know (about the significance and importance) of this night? The Glorious Night is better than a thousand months. On this night the angels and Jibrail (Gabriel) descended (embark upon their allotted mission) by the command of their Sustainer. That (Night) is all peace until the dawn." (Qur'an 97:1-5)

I'tikaf in Ramadan

The tradition has it that the Holy Prophet (saw) observed I'tikaf (i.e. prayers in seclusion) during Ramadan, and therefore, we should follow the same practice. According to Hadrat Ayesha (ra), "When the last ten days of Ramadan arrived, the Holy Prophet (saw) used to awake as much as possible and offer prayers. He also made arrangements to wake up his wives and prayed with all devotion to The Almighty."

Zakat al-Fitr

Zakat al-Fitr should be given on behalf of adult, minor, male or female Muslims. It consists of a Sa'a (measure of about 2.5 kgs) of rice, wheat, dates or similar things of food or its equivalence in cash of $3 dollars and 50 cents or $4 dollars. Give it voluntarily and without any hesitation, on Eid-day, or a day or two before to enable the needy and the poor to arrange for their requirements so that they may celebrate and enjoy the Eid festivities along with the others. The Holy Prophet (saw) has highly recommended the Zakat al-Fitr so that it may expiate for the irregularities committed during Ramadan, and may help for the sustenance of the poor and the indigent." (Abu Daud)


Abbreviations Used:
PBUH; A.S.; S.A.W. - Peace be upon him
R.A.A.- The Almighty was pleased with him/them
R.A.- The Almighty was pleased with her

The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186

March 1991
Ramadan 1411
Letters to the Editor
The Virtues of Fasting
Qur'an and Science
Fasting (Siyam)
The Kid's Corner
Women in Islam
The Prophet Sheth
The Prophet Idris
Islamic Dietary Laws
Teachings of the Prophet
Why I Embraced Islam
List of Publishers