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August 2008

1. DEAR ABE:  It seems like Ramadan moves around quite a bit on the calendar, what is the pattern and what is the historical/religious significance (if any) of the pattern? – GEORGE, NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR GEORGE:  The month of Ramadan actually cycles through the calendar year.  Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is the month during which the Quran was revealed [1].  A lunar month is approximately 29.5 days and is, on average, 1 day shorter than the calendar month.  So every calendar year, Ramadan comes approximately 11 days earlier.  With this pattern, God allows us to observe the fasting during Ramadan under different seasonal conditions during our lifetime.

Relevant Quran Verse:  [1] 2:185.


2. DEAR ABE:   I am not aware of any mention in the Quran of congregational Eid prayer to mark the completion of fasting, or to mark the occasion when prophet Abraham sacrificed a ram etc. The only congregational prayer of importance mentioned in the Quran is the Friday jumat prayer. Hopefully you can help me shed light on this issue. –FADILA, FRANCE

DEAR FADILA:  You are correct that the Quran does not mention any congregational Eid prayer upon the completion of Ramadan. A gathering to celebrate, share, and reflect on the successful completion of Ramadan is not prohibited. However, it is not an Islamic religious requirement and such a prayer was never authorized by God. God does not forget [1] and did not forget to establish Eid prayers as a religious duty.  The Quran is a complete, perfect, and fully detailed source of religious guidance [2].  As muslims, we should strive to observe the religious practices that God has blessed us with therein and avoid fabricated religious rituals and duties that come from sources other than God [3]. The religious rituals attributed to the day after Ramadan are an example of these fabrications.

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1]  20:52;  [2] 6:38, 7:52, 10:37, 12:111, 18:109;  [3] 6:114, 17:46, 18:27.


3. DEAR ABE:  I want to know more details about the verse no 42 chapter no 39 (sura Az-Zumar) in Quran about those who die during their sleep. I am asking you this because this past year my young daughter died during her sleep and I want to know more about what happens to those who die during their sleep.  - NIVEDITA, ASIA

DEAR NIVEDITA: We are sorry to hear about your daughter.  The Quran does not address one’s destiny in terms of the manner of death except for those who die fighting in the cause of God [1].  However, God does inform us in the Quran that the age of responsibility is forty [2].  God allows us forty years on this earth before we are held accountable for our beliefs.  God also informs us in the Quran that death is akin to sleeping and that the righteous have a peaceful rest until they are awakened for the Day of Judgment [3].  So, you may rest assured that your daughter will be in heaven and that God cares for her even now.

Relevant Quran Verses:  [1]  2:154, 3:169, 39:42;  [2]  46:156:59, Appendix 32 of the English Quran Translation by R. Khalifa.; [3] 2:259, 6:60, 16:32.

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The answers provided by Abe and friends represent the understanding of the
writers, and should not be taken as the only acceptable approach. The reader is encouraged to research the topics further using the Quran.

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