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October 2007

1. DEAR ABE: Salaam.  What would the start date and the last day of fasting be for Ramadan in Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates)?  Since there is a difference in the time zones, is it the same all over the world?   --JAMEEL, DUBAI

DEAR JAMEEL: To calculate Ramadan, compare the time of the new moon with the Sunset in your location. The day begins at sunset in the Moon Calendar, so if the new moon occurs after sunset, you would wait until the following day to start fasting, God willing.  The new moon for Ramadan in Dubai was 4:44pm September 11, 2007. The sunset was at 6:28pm.  Since the new moon occurred before sunset, then you would have fasted right away the next morning, God willing. You would determine the end to fasting the same way.  The new moon for the following month of Shawwal is 9:01am, and the sunset will be at 5:57pm Thursday October 11.  Since the new moon occurs before sunset then the month of Ramadan would end October 11, 2007, God willing. [1]

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 2:183-187, 2:189, 17:12, US Naval Observatory, Moon Phases and New Moons, Time Zone Converter..


2. DEAR ABE: This will be my first Ramadan since I’ve converted. I am diabetic and have low blood sugar. I experimented with fasting to see if I could do it, and I got dizzy, shaky, and very nauseous. My question is, can I fast as much as I am able, and then maybe donate food to the homeless or something? What is the best way to handle this? --TERRY, FLORIDA

DEAR TERRY: It sounds like you have the right idea. Quran verse 2:184 says: “...Those who can fast, but with great difficulty, may substitute feeding one poor person for each day of breaking the fast. If one volunteers (more righteous works), it is better. But fasting is the best for you, if you only knew.”  You can fast and when you're unable to continue, you can break the fast and feed one poor person. Please pay attention to the phrase "with great difficulty," because this is something that you will need to determine for yourself. There are no specific rules telling us what too much difficulty is, since it will differ from person to person and situation to situation.  God allows leeway for each person to decide what "great difficulty" is. [1]

Relevant Quran Verses: [1] 2:183-187.


3. DEAR ABE: I am a high school student in London.  I am a Muslim (AlhamdulAllah) and am practicing as we speak. I have just begun wearing a hijab and am grateful for this everyday.  One friend told me hijab is not part of the deen, is this true? -- ANONYMOUS, LONDON

DEAR LONDONER: Your friend is correct, God doesn’t require hijab.  Hijab is cultural, not religious. Coverings such as hijab, head scarf, chador, burka, or the abaya, vary from culture to culture based on local traditions and custom.  The Quran does not require women to cover their head, face, or hands; rather, it instructs believing women and men to subdue their eyes and dress modestly, and that the best garment is righteousness. The kind of clothing that is worn is no guarantee of a righteous attitude. Wearing hijab should be a personal choice made by the wearer, and not forced upon anyone because of man-made laws attributed to God. If you choose to cover as a personal choice, and it helps you remember God, then you should do what makes sense for you. [1]

Relevant Quran Verses: [1]  7:26, 24:30-31, 33:59.

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