Author Topic: shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention  (Read 15892 times)

truthseeker171

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shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention
« on: April 20, 2010, 10:29:20 AM »
       
The Quran prescribes a period of communal abstention of three days.

- a support of the great effort initiated by Ayman to find the right timing of the period of abstinence.-

Some quranic arguments that support the duration of the period of abstinence of three days instead of a period of ten days:

1. The period of abstention is related to the Arabic word -shahr-.
Verse 2:185 states that the duration of a full moon is relevant for the length of the period of abstention.
- ... those of you who witness this full moon shall fast therein ... -

The plural-form of the word days relating to the abstention mentioned in verse 2:184 requires a number of more than two.
The duration of the full-moon illusion with at least 98% coverage is three days.

This seems to be a compelling quranic ruling with a clear unambiguous time-frame.
An abstention out of the time-frame of the duration of the full moon is not suggested here.
There seems not to be another verse that could put this aside in a compelling way.

Other verses give only circumstantial evidence, compared to the value and precision of verse 2:185.

2. Verse 2:189 indicates that there is no quranic support for the point of view that the abstention should last ten days, because of the absence of mentioning the period of abstinence explicitly in this verse.
This verse mentions the hilal-indicator as relevant for the communal event of the hadj and not for the communal event of the abstention during the shahr ramadan.
Regarding the perfection and completeness of the Quran the absence of mentioning the communal fast in this verse is rather compelling.

3. Verse 2:183 gives very circumstantial evidence, but could be a further support for a period of abstention of three rather than ten days, since a fast of three days seems to be closer to the prescribed fast in the Torah of one total day.

4. Verse 2:196 gives also circumstantial evidence, because it is related to the hadj and not to the regular period of abstention - this verse can be read both as a support for a ten and a three days period.
The three days are a communal fast of the poor probably during the full moon of the first three days of the hadj.
The seven other days are a private form of fast, the timing of it is depending on the duration of the way back home of the several believers.
The statement in this verse that the count until ten should be completed seems to be relevant only for the private form of fast (day 4 until day 10) related to the hadj.
Completing the count that is mentioned in verse 2:185 relates to Ramadan, the communal period of abstinence, verse 2:185 prescribes the duration of the full moon as a time-frame for the abstention and thus there should be a count until a total of three days for compensation of the missed days if necessary.
 
5. Verse 2:203 gives the only quranic example of the the Arabic word -mawdoodat- mentioned in verse 2:184 regarding the number of days of abstention, and refers to the number three as the prescribed duration of being present at the hadj which lasts ten days in total.
Of course this does not mean that the word -mawdoodat- means only three.
 
A conclusion:
Verse 2:185 seems to be compelling as an indicator for the duration of the communal fast - the duration of a full moon - three days.
The other verses mentioned seem to give more support for the three days period of abstinence than for a period of abstinence of ten days.

I would be interesting to read Quran-based comments.

Salam,
Truthseeker171


 

ayman

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Re: shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 11:06:04 PM »
Peace Truthseeker171,

Thank you for sharing your thoughtful analysis on Free-minds so that everyone can benefit and contribute.

The Quran prescribes a period of communal abstention of three days.
- a support of the great effort initiated by Ayman to find the right timing of the period of abstinence.-
Some quranic arguments that support the duration of the period of abstinence of three days instead of a period of ten days:
1. The period of abstention is related to the Arabic word -shahr-.
Verse 2:185 states that the duration of a full moon is relevant for the length of the period of abstention.
- ... those of you who witness this full moon shall fast therein ... -
The plural-form of the word days relating to the abstention mentioned in verse 2:184 requires a number of more than two.
The duration of the full-moon illusion with at least 98% coverage is three days.
This seems to be a compelling quranic ruling with a clear unambiguous time-frame.
An abstention out of the time-frame of the duration of the full moon is not suggested here.
There seems not to be another verse that could put this aside in a compelling way.
Other verses give only circumstantial evidence, compared to the value and precision of verse 2:185.

I think that you present a sound and certainly feasible argument that deserves full consideration. Another argument in support of your view is that Classical Arabic dictionaries say that "shahr" means "the moon when it is apparent and nearly full". So this would certainly include the moon 1 day before and 1 day after the actual full moon, which would be in line with your conclusion of 3 days.

Another possible argument supporting your theory is that Zakaria also abstained (from talking) for three nights:

19:10. He said: ?My Lord, make for me a sign.? He said: ?Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three nights consecutively.?

2. Verse 2:189 indicates that there is no quranic support for the point of view that the abstention should last ten days, because of the absence of mentioning the period of abstinence explicitly in this verse.
This verse mentions the hilal-indicator as relevant for the communal event of the hadj and not for the communal event of the abstention during the shahr ramadan.
Regarding the perfection and completeness of the Quran the absence of mentioning the communal fast in this verse is rather compelling.
3. Verse 2:183 gives very circumstantial evidence, but could be a further support for a period of abstention of three rather than ten days, since a fast of three days seems to be closer to the prescribed fast in the Torah of one total day.
4. Verse 2:196 gives also circumstantial evidence, because it is related to the hadj and not to the regular period of abstention - this verse can be read both as a support for a ten and a three days period.
The three days are a communal fast of the poor probably during the full moon of the first three days of the hadj.
The seven other days are a private form of fast, the timing of it is depending on the duration of the way back home of the several believers.
The statement in this verse that the count until ten should be completed seems to be relevant only for the private form of fast (day 4 until day 10) related to the hadj.
Completing the count that is mentioned in verse 2:185 relates to Ramadan, the communal period of abstinence, verse 2:185 prescribes the duration of the full moon as a time-frame for the abstention and thus there should be a count until a total of three days for compensation of the missed days if necessary.
5. Verse 2:203 gives the only quranic example of the the Arabic word -mawdoodat- mentioned in verse 2:184 regarding the number of days of abstention, and refers to the number three as the prescribed duration of being present at the hadj which lasts ten days in total.
Of course this does not mean that the word -mawdoodat- means only three.
A conclusion:
Verse 2:185 seems to be compelling as an indicator for the duration of the communal fast - the duration of a full moon - three days.
The other verses mentioned seem to give more support for the three days period of abstinence than for a period of abstinence of ten days.
I would be interesting to read Quran-based comments.

Please allow me to raise a few possible issues with the 3 days understanding so that we make sure that we are on the right track:

1. None of those passages you referred to (2:183, 189, 196 or 203) provides the primary reason for a 10 day period of abstinence. The primary reason is in 2:185 itself. In 2:185 we hear very clearly that we should "complete the count". We know that "ma'doodat" means 3-10. What does completing the count of "3-10" mean? It seems clear that it means reaching 10. You have not explained how completing a count of ?3-10? can mean ?3 only?.

2. When you think about it, whether it is 3 or 10, the expression "whoever witnessed the full moon shall abstain it" shouldn't be taken as indicating a period but as providing a marker anyway. The actual abstinence is not in the ?full moon?. We actually do not abstain during the night at all when the moon is witnessed. The abstinence is from dawn to night (please note that according to the great reading ?night? begins at sunset).

3. Also, had it been known that the ?full moon? lasts for three nights and therefore the abstinence is for 3 days then the expression ?ayyam ma?doodat? (few days) in 2:184 would be redundant. On top of that, the expression ?completing the count? would also be redundant besides being illogical as explained in point #1 above.

4. Another reason is in 59:4 where we are told: ?abstain two consecutive full-moons?. If full-moon is taken as period of 3 days and not as a marker then the passage would be telling us to abstain for 3 days and then another 3 days later. Although this is possible, it seems more logical that the passage is telling us to abstain the period marked by the full-moons, in other words a full lunar cycle between two consecutive full-moons.

Peace,

Ayman

david_rs_aitken

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Re: shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2010, 08:26:07 AM »
Peace Truthseeker171,

I'd just like to add that the following passage seems to make total sense in light of a 10 day / 11 night [even / odd] abstention period:

97:2-5, 89:1-3

Do you know what the night of measure is? The night of measure is better than 1000 full-moons. We send down the controllers and the spirit/revelation during it, with your lord's permission, concerning all matters. It is peaceful until the rising of the dawn.

By the dawn and the 10 nights and the even and the odd.


Your study really made me think; thank you for posting it.

Peace,

-David

truthseeker171

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Re: shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2010, 10:51:02 PM »

Salam David,
thank you for your reply.

Verses 89: 1-3 are not explicitly related to the period of abstinence and thereby hardly could put aside the clear time-frame of the duration of the full moon mentioned in verse 2:185.
For now I do not follow your argument that even and odd relate to the days and nights of the abstention period.
Both the fasting period of ten and three seem to have as many nights as days.
If there is a night of the fast as mentioned in verse 2:187 then there should be also a daytime part as a follow up of the night.

A possible explanation of these verses can be that the number ten relates to the duration of the hadj and that the words even and odd relate to the practice of divination with arrows which probably was done during the hadj in the pre-quranic area - Ahmed Shabbir QXP.

Salam and greetings,
Truthseeker171

truthseeker171

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Re: shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2010, 11:13:36 PM »

Salam Ayman,
thank you for your reply.

Quotes from you are in blue color.

1. None of those passages you referred to (2:183, 189, 196 or 203) provides the primary reason for a 10 day period of abstinence. The primary reason is in 2:185 itself. In 2:185 we hear very clearly that we should "complete the count". We know that "ma'doodat" means 3-10. What does completing the count of "3-10" mean? It seems clear that it means reaching 10. You have not explained how completing a count of ?3-10? can mean ?3 only?.

Verse 2:185 prescribes to complete the count of the missed days of abstention - any count, if it is for instance until ten or until three is a count that can be completed.
Since verse 2:185 seems to prescribe a period of abstention of the duration of the full moon which lasts three days, the count that has to be completed is then three days.
At the other side we can not say in general that the Quran prescribes that a count has to be until ten, the number three is also within the ma'doodat-range.

2. When you think about it, whether it is 3 or 10, the expression "whoever witnessed the full moon shall abstain it" shouldn't be taken as indicating a period but as providing a marker anyway. The actual abstinence is not in the ?full moon?. We actually do not abstain during the night at all when the moon is witnessed. The abstinence is from dawn to night (please note that according to the great reading ?night? begins at sunset).

Verse 2:187 gives us detailed information about the technique of abstention.
The night is called in this verse the night of the fast -lailat ul siaum-, so according to the Quran the whole day - the full 24 hours - is named the fast, but the verse gives a detailed description of the start and ending of the actual act of fasting.
In analogy the beginning and ending of the period of abstention itself is also to be found in an unambiguous way.
Since no other verse than verse 2:185 gives us the timing of the beginning and ending of the period of abstention, we probably better can accept the detailed description as given in verse 2:185 - the duration of the full moon itself - as beginning and ending of the period of abstinence.
If one sees the full moon as a marker of just the beginning of the fast than it would be required that there would be also a marker of the ending of the fast - this is not described in the Quran in an unambiguous way in another way than the ending of the period of the full moon itself.

3. Also, had it been known that the ?full moon? lasts for three nights and therefore the abstinence is for 3 days then the expression ?ayyam ma?doodat? (few days) in 2:184 would be redundant. On top of that, the expression ?completing the count? would also be redundant besides being illogical as explained in point #1 above.

In verses 2:183, 2:184 and 2:185 we can see a sequence:
Verse 2:183 seem to refer to the fasting period of the Jewish faith - one total day.
Verse 2:184 tells the muslims the quranic form of fasting lasts a counted number of days.
Verse 2:185 gives us the details, the number of days is related to the duration of the full moon.
This seems to be a logical sequence of steps from referring to the Jewish way of fasting to the fasting as prescribed by the Quran.

The expression -completing the count- seems to be very relevant in stating that the missed days of the period of fasting should be compensated, be it until ten or three days.
There seems nothing to be illogical about a count until three - since any count is a count - the number three is within the range of -ma'doodat-.

4. Another reason is in 59:4 where we are told: ?abstain two consecutive full-moons?. If full-moon is taken as period of 3 days and not as a marker then the passage would be telling us to abstain for 3 days and then another 3 days later. Although this is possible, it seems more logical that the passage is telling us to abstain the period marked by the full-moons, in other words a full lunar cycle between two consecutive full-moons.

Here I agree with you, also the four restricted full moons -shahr haram- seem to be a period inclusive the days between the full moons, probably a period of 92 days in total, from the first day of the first full moon until the last (third) day of the forth full moon.
This does not take away the clear quranic command to fast the full moon of the scorching heat itself, the language seems to be clear and does not suggest to regard the full moon just as a marker of the beginning of the fast.

A conclusion:
The complete and perfect Quran can provide us with unambiguous rulings.
If verse 2:185 tells the believers to abstain the shahr ramadan and not to see this full moon as a marker of the beginning of the period of abstention, since there is not given an explicit marker of the ending of the period of abstention, except the full moon and its ending itself.
Solely the words -completing the count-  in the same verse seem to be too ambiguous to be able to provide for knowledge of the number of days that have to be abstained, if we read them in combination with the actual duration of a full moon period than these words become unambiguous.

Salam and greetings,
Truthseeker171

david_rs_aitken

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Re: shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2010, 08:53:57 PM »
Peace Truthseeker,

It seems that when you count full-moons, they're markers.

9:36 The count of full-moons at the god is 12.

So, when you fast, is the full-moon not the marker for the beginning? Then the crescent (10 days later) will provide the full time period.

2:189 They ask you about crescent moons. Say, "They are a timing for the people and the hajj/feast."

truthseeker171

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Re: shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2010, 09:25:03 AM »
Salam David.

It depends on the perspective how we read the relevant verses.

Verse 9:36 informs the believers that there are twelve counted full moons within a year and that four of them are restricted.
The days between the full moons are included in being part of the year or the restricted full moons.
So I agree with you that within this context the full moon is serving as a counting-device - as a marker.

But concerning the communal days of abstention the -shahr ramadan- the full moon itself is both the marker of the beginning and the ending of the communal fast, since the Quran does not provide for another way of timing the communal fast.
Verse 2:189 is one of the verses that support this assumption.
This verse informs the believers that the -hilal- is a timing-device for the people and the hadj.
The -hilal- has a general function as a timing-device for personal affairs and the -hilal- is a timing-device for the hadj - one of the two communal Islamic events.
The Quran is complete and fully detailed.
Interesting is the absence here of mentioning the other communal Islamic event: the communal abstention, so we can conclude that the -hilal- is not relevant for the duration of the period of abstention.
This verse seems to be supportive of another duration of the period of abstinence than ten days.

2:185 - ... those of you who witness this full moon shall fast therein ... -

This verse gives an unambiguous time-frame.
The Quran has no shortage of words, when we would have to see the full moon just as a marker of the beginning of the period of abstinence then probably the use of the words would be different. The Quran contains words like: beginning and ending, but they are not used within this context - this might only be because the full moon is the marker of both the beginning and ending of the period of abstention.

Salam and greetings,
Truthseeker

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Re: shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2010, 10:54:57 AM »
Peace,

Verses 89: 1-3 are not explicitly related to the period of abstinence and thereby hardly could put aside the clear time-frame of the duration of the full moon mentioned in verse 2:185.
For now I do not follow your argument that even and odd relate to the days and nights of the abstention period.
Both the fasting period of ten and three seem to have as many nights as days.
If there is a night of the fast as mentioned in verse 2:187 then there should be also a daytime part as a follow up of the night.

A possible explanation of these verses can be that the number ten relates to the duration of the hadj and that the words even and odd relate to the practice of divination with arrows which probably was done during the hadj in the pre-quranic area - Ahmed Shabbir QXP.

89:2   وليال and night عشر ten ---> 84:18 والقمر and the moon اذا when اتسق it evened/full
89:3   والشفع and the even والوتر and the odd


Believe 10th night 89:2 always equates with the full moon 84:18 which alternates 30 and 29.
Example last lunar cycle and next?
http://www.almanac.com/moon/calendar/IL/Warrenville/2010-04


I'll need to have a better look into this whole timing issue, time permitting.




herbman

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Re: shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2010, 01:52:57 AM »
1. None of those passages you referred to (2:183, 189, 196 or 203) provides the primary reason for a 10 day period of abstinence. The primary reason is in 2:185 itself. In 2:185 we hear very clearly that we should "complete the count". We know that "ma'doodat" means 3-10. What does completing the count of "3-10" mean? It seems clear that it means reaching 10. You have not explained how completing a count of ?3-10? can mean ?3 only?.

Ayman

Peace Ayman,

When I read verse 2:185 I understand to "complete the count" for those who were ill or on travel, and God make it simple for these people.
 


2:183
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

  O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self-restraint.―

2:184
أَيَّامًا مَعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ۖ فَمَنْ تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَهُ ۚ وَأَنْ تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ ۖ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more of his own free-will―it is better for him, and it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew.

2:185
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَنْ كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

Shahar Ramadan in which was sent down the Qur'an as a guide to mankind also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So everyone of you who is present (at his home) during that SHAHR should spent it in fasting, but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.


Peace


ayman

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Re: shahr ramadan - 3 or 10 days of abstention
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2010, 01:02:47 PM »
Peace Herbman,

When I read verse 2:185 I understand to "complete the count" for those who were ill or on travel, and God make it simple for these people.
...

2:185
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَنْ كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

Shahar Ramadan in which was sent down the Qur'an as a guide to mankind also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So everyone of you who is present (at his home) during that SHAHR should spent it in fasting, but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.

The instruction to complete the count is tied to the instruction to glorify the god (in red). The understanding that you are proposing would make glorifying the god only for those who are ill or traveling. I think this is probably why the commentators and the translator that you quoted didn't disagree about my understanding despite the issues that it creates for the validity of the traditional so-called Ramadan. Also, this is in addition to the fact that the complete and sufficient information about making up the missed days is given by the clause فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ (so a count of later days) and there is no need for further redundant elaboration.

Peace and all best wishes,

Ayman