The Meaning of Ramadan
"You who believe? Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, so perchance you may attain God-consciousness." (Q 2:183)
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar calendar and the holiest of the four holy months. It is one of the five pillars of Islamic faith. During Ramadan all physically mature and healthy Muslims are required to abstain from all food, drink, gum chewing, any kind of tobacco use, and any kind of sexual contact between dawn and sunset for 29 or 30 days, depending on the sighting of the moon during this month. Moreover, fasting includes refraining from gossiping, lying, slandering and all traits of bad character. It calls for doing good deeds, generosity and kindness, self-reflection, praying and God-consciousness. During this month Muslims read the entire Quran, which is divided to 30 equal parts to be read each day. Muslims also go to the Mosque for special Ramadan prayers after the breaking of the fast
Islam is said to have been introduced to African Americans in America by Noble Drew Ali, the founder of the Moorish Science Temple. He was born Timothy Drew in 1886 in North Carolina. The other popular version of Islamic teaching is the Nation of Islam version taught by their founder and Messenger the Most Honored Elijah Muhammad. Born Elijah Poole, October 7th, 1897- February 24th, 1975, he led the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death in 1975.
According to S.E. Anderson,The Black Holocaust for Beginners
“It began in the 7th century AD as Arabs and other Asians poured into Northern and Eastern Africa under the banner of Islam, either converting or subjugating the African societies they came upon. In the beginning, there was some level of mutual respect between the Blacks and the more Caucasian-Semitic Arabs. Mihdja, a Black man, is said to be the first Muslim killed in battle while another, Bilal, is regarded as a "third of the faith.” Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri, born in Upper Egypt near Sudan, is regarded as the founder of Sufism. Today Sufism's greatest stronghold is in Southern Egypt and Sudan. Islamic prosperity was based upon Black as well as Arabic genius”. <>
A lot has been said about Islam being taught to African Americans so that they could assist the Arab in his war against America and the infidels. The fact that African Americans were largely Christian and followers of their former slave masters’ religious beliefs was not a good look for Arabs. The teachings of Noble Drew Ali and the Most Honored Elijah Muhammad are different from the teachings that most Orthodox Muslims or Arabs follow. According to Noble Drew Ali, his teaching was given to him directly from Sultan Abdul Aziz Ibu Saud. The Most Honored Elijah Muhammad said he got his teachings from Master W.D. Fard Muhammad who proclaimed he was GOD in person.
“The Arabs took advantage of regional wars in Africa to buy captives from the victor. They also used the old divide-and-conquer technique. They worked one group against the other and took or killed the best and strongest”
I grew up on both sides of these teachings. I also grew up with a Baptist Grandmother, a Pentecostal Mother, and then I was sent to Catholic school for a good education. I think when you sum all that up you can see how and why I do not practice or claim any religion. This sent me on a quest to study theology and find out the truth for myself. I was surprised to find so much racism in the Bible, the Quran and the Torah. I realized very quickly why two men who brought such a powerful belief system to us did not want us to just follow Arabs blindly without giving us instructions. Noble Drew Ali has his own version of the Quran and teaches on Islam from a Mystic Egyptian standpoint. The Most Honored Elijah Muhammad prescribed specific Qurans for his followers to read, the Maulana Muhammad version or the Yusif Ali translation.
I, like most African Americans, have had to deal with the belief systems of someone else. The African was colonized and the African American was enslaved. I do not know which one was worse. They both are looking for their identity and are trying to serve GOD with what little they have been taught by those who love us and hate us.
I think of the Arabs who in every city I visit treat African Americans rude and call us names we do not even understand. They, like most racists that hate African American Men, love our African American Women. They sell pork to our children knowing that this is a forbidden food. I look at all the Brothers wearing Arab clothing and growing hideous beards as they are thinking it makes them more Muslim. I hear them learning Arabic as if we are going to move to the Middle East and get our 40 acres and a mule. I agree we should learn the prayers in Arabic because it is one of the last mathematical languages left. This is a direct way to communicate with GOD. I can appreciate the rak^ahs but I speak English so when I teach the people I will speak English.
I love Jesus but I am not with Caucasian Christians who teach us we will get ours in the sky, the great by and by, while he gets his on the ground while he still around. My mother almost died when she found out what Catholics really believed. I got an education and to some it is good. I think if you do not teach a person or people how to do for self, you are not educating them. The Most Honored Elijah Muhammad was quoted as once saying, “If they want to treat you right, they want teach you right”. He opened up his own schools and although I do not have the discipline to subscribe to all his teachings, I think he might be on to something. Noble Drew Ali taught about us being Asiatic and establishing our own book.
I have been told that if I do not believe like Christians, that Jesus is my Lord and savior, I am going to hell. I have been told that if I do not bear witness to Allah and his Prophet that I will go to hell. I was told by the Catholics, if I just repent and confess, I will be fine. I do not believe in any of the above, I do think Jesus is the Messiah as the Quran and Bible teach. I do believe Muhammad was a Prophet and some of the Popes were men of GOD. I also believe we are not alone in the universe now and that is a whole other article.
I think at the end of the day Africans, Asiatic or African American people have to find their own way. We have tried everything from Buddhism to Hinduism. I think the followers and representatives of GOD have done their job and some wickedness from man crept in, but in the end, GOD does not change, religions change. I seek GOD in me as me. Until truth prevails, my eyes will be watching.
Ramadan in 2009 will start on Friday, the 21st of August and will continue for 30 days until Saturday, the 19th of September.