Author Topic: Witnessing the Month  (Read 1658 times)


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Witnessing the Month
« on: December 06, 2003, 12:27:03 AM »
Peace all,

I would like to share an 'alternate' understanding of the issue of 'witnessing' the month....

Here are the exisiting translations:

YUSUFALI: Ramadhan is the (month) 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 every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one 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 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.

PICKTHAL: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you; and (He desireth) that ye should complete the period, and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure ye may be thankful.

SHAKIR: The month of Ramazan is that in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the distinction; therefore whoever of you is present in the month, he shall fast therein, and whoever is sick or upon a journey, then (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days; Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty, and (He desires) that you should complete the number and that you should exalt the greatness of Allah for His having guided you and that you may give thanks.

KHALIFA: Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. GOD wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify GOD for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.

We have been discussing two possibilities thus far:

1. That the "witnessing" means "testifying" to Islam and thus you are now a Muslim and obliged to fast.

2. That the "witnessing" is of the actual moon cresent which begins the fast.

I now believe that both options are 'incorrect' and that the meaning is quite different as I translate below:

"A month in early Autumn, in which the Quran was sent down as a guide to the people and a clarification of the guidance and the criterion. Therefore, whoever of you can observe the season, then let him fast therein. And whoever is ill or traveling, then the same number from different days. God wants to bring you ease and not to bring you hardship; and so that you may complete the count, and glorify God for what He Has guided you, that you may be thankful." (2:185)

Since we are dealing with a "season" (Ramadhan) then the logical undertsanding is that people who are able to "witness" the "season" are the ones who observe it as the time decreed by God is very specific...

Therefore, people who are unaware of the measurement of the seasons are exempt, as are people who live in climates where the season cannot exist (extreme norht or south), or people who are not on earth and are traveling in space, etc...

`And when God Alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter are filled with aversion; and when others are mentioned beside Him, they rejoice!` (The Quran 39:45)