الاخوة والاخوات لماذا لم احتفل برأس السنة وتلك هي الأسباب .. ... انا لن أحتفل برأس السنة الميلادية فعلا و قولا لأنني مسلم ولأنني لم أرى نصراني يحتفل معي بأحد أعيادي ولأن رسولي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لي لكم عيدان لاغير ومن قال لي احترم الاديان الاخرى اقول له ان الله سبحانه قال : ومن يبتغي غير الاسلام دينا فلن يقبل منه وهو في الاخرة من الخاسرين وقال تعالى... ان الدين عند الله الاسلام والله المستعان وهو يهدي الى سواء السبيل جزاكم اااااااااالله خير واعاننا واياكم على طاعة اااااااااالله ورسوله صل اااااااااااالله عليه وسلم
هل تعلم ما هــــــــــو أفخر العطـــــــــور ... ؟ . . . . ... ... . . . . قال ابن الجوزي رحمه الله: " تعطر بالإستغفار فقد فاحت منك رائحة الذنوب " عطــــــــــــر نفسك وكفـــــــــر عن ذنوبك و قل استغفر الله العظيــــــــــــم وأتوب اليـــــــــه
انتقل رجل مع زوجته الى منزل جديد وفي صبيحة اليوم الأول وبينما يتناولان وجبة الافطار قالت الزوجة: مشيرة من خلف زجاج النافذة المطلة على الحديقة المشتركة بينهما وبين ... جيرانهما انظر يا عزيزي، إن غسيل جارتنا ليس نظيفا كما ينبغي لابد أنها تشتري مسحوقا رخيصا ثم دأبت الزوجة على إلقاء نفس التعليق في كل مرة ترى جارتها تنشر الغسيل وبعد شهر اندهشت الزوجة عندما رأت الغسيل نظيفا على حبال جارتها فقالت لزوجها: انظر أخيرا تعلمت جارتنا كيف تغسل فأجاب الزوج: عزيزتي، لقد نهضت مبكرا هذا الصباح ونظفت زجاج النافذة التي تنظرين منها ...... أصلح عيوبك قبل أن تنظر لعيوب الاخرين .. الانسان يرى القشة فى عين أخيه ولا يرى الخشبة فى عينه
Je cherche dans ce siècle attardé, et ne trouve dans la nuit que des chats apeurées craignant pour leur personne le pouvoir des souris. Avons- nous été atteints de nationale cécité ? Ou bien tout simplement souffrons-nous de daltonisme ?
The languages that people speak translate human temporal experience into three essential tenses: past, present, and future.
This is how we perceive time. The question that we need to ask is how we should shape our lives with respect to these three aspects of time. How should we relate to the past, present, and future if we wish to be happy and successful? How should we frame our discourse when we address others about these matters?
First of all, we must not dwell too much on the past. We must especially learn to forget two things: the wrongs that other people have done to us, as the good things we have done for others. In this way, we will save ourselves from the painfully heavy burden of harboring grudges and resentment.
The Qur'an tells us how the right attitude to have regarding the good deeds that we do for others: “We feed you only for Allah's sake. We want neither reward nor thanks from you. ” [Sûrah al-Insân: 9]
As for the present, this is where we need to apply ourselves. We need to have a purpose and work hard for it. We need something that employs our minds, our hearts, and our time. Otherwise, our lives can become dreary, boring, and even meaningless.
Your full heart should be in your activity, however small it might be, whether its scale is on a personal, family, or social level. It is all the better if the project is one that is intellectually or culturally enriching, and one which can bring betterment to yourself and others. There are so many positive ways we can employ ourselves. There are as many possibilities as there are people in the earth, and indeed much more than that.
As for the future, we must look upon it with hope and optimism. We need to plan for it wisely. Our dreams should be bold but at the same time realistic and practical. Being practical means to think things out carefully and objectively before rushing off into action. At the same time, having bold dreams is what fires our imaginations and makes us go that extra length to achieve what we might never have believed possible.
If you want to find out what kind of attitude you presently have towards time, consider carefully the types of things that you say. Our speech reveals our attitudes. If we find ourselves always talking about our past sorrows, this means that we are keeping those sorrows alive in the present, and squandering our present energies in things gone by.
Likewise, if we find ourselves always talking about future uncertainties and all the negative possibilities our imaginations can conjure up, then we are succumbing to pessimism. This will demoralize us and frustrate our will to work in the present.
Negativity is damaging to our lives and leads to failure. We do an injustice to ourselves when we perpetuate a negative outlook. Our outlook makes us what we are, and negative expectations have a habit of becoming self-fulfilling.
The same can be said sometimes for the effect we can have on others. For instance, parents who always berate their children, telling them that they are lazy, worthless, and will never amount to anything. What kind of self-image are they cultivating in their children? What kind of affect are they having on their children's future?
This goes equally for those of us who engage in Islamic work. Some people have a tendency to preach about damnation and punishment and added trials in life. Whether they intend to or not, by focusing only on the negative, they are actually inviting to the very evils they are trying to warn against.
This is why Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever declares to the people are ruined has brought the people to ruin.” [Sahîh Muslim]
The outlook and expectations we have are very important to the outcomes we attain. Therefore, it is best to be positive. Prophet Muhammad relates that Allah says: “I am as My servant thinks Me to be. So think of Me what you will.” [Musnad Ahmad and Sahîh Ibn Hibbân]
We should therefore call people to a positive discourse. We should preach a message of optimism, one that is full of love, hope, and vitality. We should realize that the tone of our discourse has a marked affect on our minds as well as others.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was among the most positive of people. The Qur'an confirms this when it says: “And verily the Hereafter will be better for thee than the present.” [Sûrah al-Duhâ: 4] This means that his life in the world was already a good and happy one.
This is why life was something positive for him and why he would enjoy the wholesome things of world while focusing his hopes on the Hereafter. He did not shun the good of this world. At the same time, he was the most devoted of people to worship. He would stand in prayer so long that his feet would sometimes swell up. He would weather the greatest of hardships with prayer, patience, fortitude, and good works. This is the example set by the best of human beings, the strongest of us in faith.
He was the most optimistic of people. Since he thought positively, he spoke positively. When hearing someone's name, he would say something hopeful with respect to its meaning.
He spoke positively about the world around him. For instance, he said: “Mount Uhud is a mountain that loves us and that we love.”
He likewise expressed a positive attitude about life, like when he said: “If a believer's life is prolonged, it only brings about further good.”
During the darkest days of persecution, the Muslims came to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and appealed to him to pray to Allah to grant them victory. He bade them to be patient by telling them about how the people of the past had suffered greater persecution for the sake of their faith. But then he also said: “I swear by Allah, the day will come when a rider will journey from San`a to Hadramawt fearing no one but Allah – or the wolves for the sake of his sheep. But you are impatient.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]
There is another lesson we can learn from the Prophet's response, besides the mere importance of optimism. The Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke to them about the future security and safety they would enjoy. But it is clear that this security does not come at the expense of freedom and liberty. The Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke specifically about the threat of the wolf to the traveler's flock. As for the man's life, wealth, dignity, and rights, these were clearly safe.
These were the things that the Muslims around Prophet Muhammad were concerned about while they were suffering persecution for their faith. These were the things that made them impatient for relief. The message of Islam is one of freedom, dignity, and human rights. This is why Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not respond to them by speaking about the end of unbelief and polytheism. Instead, he spoke to them about the end of fear and oppression.
We should make our present outlook one of hope and future promise. Hopelessness is akin to death, since a person without hope ceases to try. Hope is an aspect of faith, and despair is contrary to it.
Allah says: “Who despairs of his Lord's mercy except those who are astray?” [Sûrah al-Hijr: 56]
Allah also says: “never despair of Allah's mercy. Surely none despairs of Allah's mercy except the unbelieving people.” [Sûrah Yûsuf: 87]
We must call to hope in this world and to Allah's reward in the next. What can be better than hope in times of difficulty, and dreams that inspire us to work towards a better future?
Prophet Muhammad, may God shower him with His praises, is a man loved by all Muslims. He is honoured and respected by countless others and considered influential in both religious and secular matters. Mahatma Ghandi described him as scrupulous about pledges, intense in his devotion to his friends and followers, intrepid, fearless, and with absolute trust in God and in his own mission. Muslims all around the world consider him the example to follow in their worship of God and in their dealings with others. The religion of Islam, as taught to us by Prophet Muhammad, urges kind and considerate treatment towards our neighbours. They deserve our respect and good treatment regardless of their religion, race or colour. In a saying narrated by Aisha, a wife of Prophet Muhammad, it is reported that the angel Gabriel insisted that Prophet Muhammad understand the importance of the good treatment of neighbours. Prophet Muhammad said that at one stage he thought the angel Gabriel would bestow inheritance rights on neighbours; such was his insistence on their kind and fair treatment. Prophet Muhammad's mission was simply to convey the message of God, who clearly commanded the good treatment of neighbours in the Quran. “Worship God and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet)... Verily, God does not like such as are proud and boastful.” (Quran 4:36) The men and women around Prophet Muhammad were constantly reminded of their obligations to God and to one another. Prophet Muhammad was often heard to exhort them to do good needs and to remember their obligations. He said, “Whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him not harm or annoy his neighbour...” He also reminded, not only for his companions but for all of us to follow, that a believer in God does not allow his brother or sister to go hungry or live in unfortunate conditions. Today in a time when old people die alone and forgotten, and when our neighbours both near and far go hungry whilst we have food, we would do well to remember the examples set by our righteous predecessors. Abu Dhar, one of the close companions, was told by Prophet Muhammad to add extra water to his broth in order to be able to offer some to his neighbours. Another companion, Abdullah ibn Amr once asked his servant after slaughtering a sheep, “Did you give some to our Jewish neighbour?” A believer is encouraged to give gifts even if they are of little monetary value. The true value of the gift is the generous spirit with which it is given. The giving of gifts encourages friendship and mutual support. When the Prophet's wife Aisha asked him about what neighbours to send her gifts, he replied, “To the one whose door is closest to yours”. Although the closest neighbours are the ones we should be mindful of in the first instance, Islam urges us to take care of all our neighbours. It is a system that takes into consideration the needs and feelings of others in the greater community. When one truly understands the teachings of Islam, he or she begins to see that if one member of a community suffers the whole community is in strife. After family, neighbours are the people that we depend on the most in times of strife and calamity, and in times of need. A bad relationship with neighbours can make life miserable. It is important that people who share a neighbourhood be able to trust and rely on each other, regardless of their religion or ethnicity. Neighbours must feel secure that both their honour and wealth are safe. Prophet Muhammad described a good neighbour as one of the joys in a Muslim's life, he said, “Among the things that bring happiness to a believer in this life are a righteous neighbour, a spacious house and a good steed”. A good neighbour is one who guarantees comfort, security and safety. For this reason it is important that one who believes in obeying God does not spare any effort in being considerate of and generous to the neighbours. Prophet Muhammad warned his companions against harming or upsetting the neighbours. In a saying that is as true today as it was 1500 years ago, Prophet Muhammad was asked about a certain woman who prayed and fasted more than was obligatory upon her, and gave generously in charity, but unfortunately, she did not refrain from speaking harshly to her neighbours. He described her as being one of the people of Hell who would be punished for this. In the same saying, he was asked about another woman who fulfilled only her obligatory duties and gave very little in charity, however her neighbours were safe from her harsh tongue and she offended no one. Prophet Muhammad described her as among the people of Paradise. The religion of Islam places great emphasis on the solidarity of families, neighbourhoods and the wider community. Islam continuously advises the believers to be kind and considerate of neighbours. What happens however if one has a neighbour who behaves badly and does not show the respect inherent in the teachings of Islam? A Muslim is patient and tolerant and does not bare a grudge. A believer strives to mend the broken relationship through good morals and manners and a forgiving attitude in the hope that this will bring about great reward from God. A believer patiently bares the annoyances as much as he or she is able. If the situation becomes intolerable to publicise the bad behaviour may be a last resort. The Prophet Muhammad once advised a man to gather his belongings in the middle of the road as an indication that he could no longer live beside his neighbour. The “bad neighbour” immediately apologised and begged his neighbour to return. Nobody likes their bad behaviour to be made public and this is especially true of a Muslim, whose religion requires that he have the highest moral standards. Islam places great emphasis on the qualities of respect, tolerance and forgiveness, and these qualities shown to neighbours is a demonstration of the moral values and virtues inbuilt into the worship of the One True God.
Footnotes:  Saheeh Al-Bukhari  Saheeh Muslim  Ibid.  Reported with a Sahih isnad by al-Hakim.  Saheeh Al-Bukhari  Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Ibn Habban & Abu Dawood.
The happiest people who ever lived on the face of the Earth were the Prophets. This is in spite of the fact that they suffered more than anyone else. They had to endure severe persecution in delivering the message that Allah had entrusted them with. Beyond that, they were subjected to the same difficulties that all other human beings suffer from, like illness, poverty, hunger, and thirst, and often to a greater than usual degree.
Once, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) suffering from a bad fever so that his forehead was drenched in sweat and he was quite visibly suffering. One of his Companions said to him: “You are suffering from quite a severe illness.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Yes. I must endure illness to double the severity of the illnesses that you must endure.” [Musnad Ahmad]
He also suffered from starvation. Once, during the time of persecution, the Prophet (peace be upon him) came out from his home and found Abu Bakr and `Umar were outside. He asked them: “What brings you out at this hour?” They told him that it was hunger which brought them out. The prophet (peace be upon him) then said: “By Allah, the same thing that has brought you out of your homes has brought me out as well.”
At times, like during the Battle of the Trench, the Prophet faced hunger so severe that he had to tie two stones to his stomach in an attempt to relive the pain.
The Prophets all had to endure the persecution of their people on account of the message Allah sent them with. However, The Prophets; hearts were strong. Moreover, they remained open-hearted and magnanimous to the people and they persevered until their defeats were turned to victories.
The beauty of their lives is startling. In spite of what they had to endure, they knew more happiness and contentment than any other people. This can be seen in how they behaved and how they responded to what they encountered in life.
We see this extraordinary contentment in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) most clearly when he faced the greatest of difficulties. For instance, once he went to spread the message of Islam to the people of Tâ'if. They not only rejected his call, but had the children and ruffians of the town drive him away by pelting him with stones. He escaped from the city with is shoes soaked with his own blood, and his body covered in blood and dirt. Once safely away from the city, he raised his voice to Allah in supplication: O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness, my lack of resources, and my weakness before the people. O Most Merciful of those who are merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. To whom have you entrusted me? To a distant person who receives me with hostility? Or to an enemy to whom you have granted authority over my affair? So long as You are not angry with me, I do not care. Your favor is of a more expansive relief to me. I seek refuge in the light of Your Countenance by which all darkness is dispelled and every affair of this world and the next is set right, lest Your anger or Your displeasure descends upon me. I desire Your pleasure and satisfaction until You are pleased. There is no power and no might except with You.True faith in Allah is what brings this kind of contentment and happiness to the hearts. This does not mean that life for the believer will be free of hardships.
When we speak of the passage of time -- when we speak of weeks, months, years , and ages -- we are speaking about life. The dead do not experience time. Centuries go by and they are heedless of it all. Allah has made this life a trial for the living. Allah says: “He who created death and life to test which of you would be best in deeds.” [Sûrah al-Mulk: 2]
Life is a test for believers and unbelievers alike. It is a test for sinners as well as for the virtuous. Everyone is being tested as long as they are alive.
But Allah did not leave us in this world on our own. He sent the Prophets and the scriptures to us to illuminate our way through life. This guidance is not only to show us how to attain happiness in the Hereafter, but it is also for this life. Many people think religion is only about the Hereafter, that its benefit is limited to the next life. The truth is that just like religion shows us the way to attain Allah's pleasure and the reward of Paradise, it is the way by which a believer realizes true contentment and a happy heart in this world as well. True happiness can only come from faith and knowledge of Allah.
Allah says: “Is one whose heart Allah has opened to Islam, so that it has enlightenment from Allah (no better than one who is hard-hearted)? Woe to those whose hearts are hardened against remembering Allah!” [Sûrah al-Zumar: 22] Sheikh Salman al-Oadah
Most of us who are fighting the battle of the bulge have experimented with some form of fasting, like an all fruit fast, a water fast or an sugar-free fast, you name it. But what many may find rather strange and intriguing is a whole nation of people; be it man or woman, old or young, rich or poor; going completely without food and drink from dawn to dusk for a whole month - Ramadan. What is the significance of Ramadan beyond shortened work hours? Is it not a very harsh practice? Is it merely a time when Muslims sleep and fast and hardly work all day; and eat, drink, enjoy and stay awake all night? What really is the spirit of Ramadan?
Fasting Prescribed in All Religions
In English "fasting" means to abstain from food or from certain kinds of food voluntarily, as an observance of a holy day or as a token of grief, sorrow, or repentance.  This practice can be found in most of the major religions of the world. For example, in Hinduism, fasting in Sanskrit is called upavaasa. Devout Hindus observe fasting on special occasions as a mark of respect to their personal gods or as a part of their penance. Most devout Indians fast regularly or on special occasions like festivals. On such days they do not eat at all, eat once or make do with fruits or a special diet of simple food.  For Jews, the day Yom Kippur ("Day of Atonement") is the last of the Ten Days of Repentance observed on the 10th of Tishri. It is forbidden on that day to eat, drink, wash, wear leather, or have sexual relations. In addition, prohibitions on labor similar to those on the Sabbath are in force.  It should also be noted that Moses (peace be upon him) is recorded in the Torah to have fasted. "And he was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights, he neither ate bread not drank water." (Exodus 34:28) For Catholics among Christians, Lent is the major season of fasting, imitative of the forty-day fast of Jesus (peace be upon him). In the fourth century it was observed as six weeks of fasting before Easter or before Holy Week. It was adjusted to forty days of actual fasting in most places in the seventh century.  Jesus (peace be upon him) is recorded in the Gospels to have fasted like Moses. "And he fasted 40 days and 40 nights, and afterward he was hungry." (Matthew 4:2 & Luke 4:2) It is in this context that God states in the Quran:
"O believers! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you become more conscious of God." [Noble Quran 2:183]
Among the Best Righteous Deeds
Although in most religions, fasting is for expiation of sin or atonement for sin, in Islam it is primarily to bring one closer to God, as stated in the above-mentioned verse. Since, God-consciousness is the prerequisite for righteousness, great stress is placed on fasting in Islam. Thus, it is not surprising to find that when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked "Which is the best deed?" He replied, "Fasting, for there is nothing equal to it." 
The Levels of Fasting
There are as many levels of fasting as there are facets to being human. Proper fasting should encompass all dimensions of human existence for it to have the divinely intended effect. The following are some of the major levels of fasting:
The Ritual Level:
This level of fasting requires that the basic rules for fasting be fulfilled, which are avoiding food, drink and sexual intercourse between dawn and sunset for 29 or 30 days each year. On this level, one is basically following the letter of the laws regarding fasting without particular consideration for the spirit of fasting. It is the entrance level which must be fulfilled for the fast to be Islamically correct, but the other levels must be added for the fast to have any real impact on the fasting person. Fasting on this level alone will not benefit one spiritually, except from the perspective of submission to divine instructions, if one chooses to follow the ritual consciously and not merely according to tradition. Thus, by itself, the ritual level will not purify one of sin or atone for sin.
The Physical Level:
Fasting on the "physical" level causes the fasting person to experience the pangs of hunger and thirst – when the prophetic (Sunnah) way of fasting is observed. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to consume a very light meal before the dawn (suhur) and moderate meal (iftar) to break the fast at sunset, while scrupulously avoiding filling his stomach. He is reported to have said, "The worst container a human being can fill is his stomach. A few morsels of food to keep a person's back straight are sufficient. However, if his desire overcomes him, then let him eat a third, drink a third and leave a third for breathing."  The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to break his fast with a few fresh or dried dates and a glass of water just before beginning the sunset prayer.  This level allows the fasting person to experience the pangs of hunger and thirst and thereby develops sympathy in him or her for those starving and dying of thirst in other parts of the world.
Medical Benefits: On the physical level, some chemicals in the brain that transmit messages and create feelings, called neurotransmitters, are affected by fasting. Fasting encourages the endorphin neurotransmitter system, related to the feeling of well being – and euphoria, to produce more endorphins and, in fact, makes us 'feel' better. This is similar to the effect of exercise (but without the physical work). It has also been noted by medical experts that fasting improves the physical health in numerous ways. For example, during the fast the body uses up stored cholesterol (fat) that is often deposited in the blood system, as well as in other fatty areas of the body. Thus, it helps to keep the body firm and minimizes the danger of heart attacks. The difference between the ritual level 1 and the physical level 2 is that a person dong only ritual fasting may eat large meals prior to beginning the fast and immediately upon ending the fast, and thus not feel any hunger or thirst throughout the whole month. However, like level one, if the fasting person does not incorporate the other levels of fasting, the fast will only be physically exhausting. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Perhaps a fasting person will gain nothing but hunger and thirst from fasting." 
The Libidinal Level:
The sexual instinct and drives (libido) are harnessed on this level of fasting. In these times where the media continually plays on sexual desires to promote and sell products, the ability to control these powerful desires is a plus. Fasting physically reduces sexual desires and the fact that the fasting person has to avoid anything which could stimulate him psychologically helps to further lower the libido. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "O youths, whoever among you is able to marry let him do so, for it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts. He who is unable to marry should fast, because it is a shield."  By restraining oneself from sexual acts which are permissible, the fasting person makes it easier for himself to restrain himself from forbidden sexual acts when he is not fasting.
The Emotional Level:
Fasting on this level involves controlling the many negative emotions which simmer in the human mind and soul. For example, among the most destructive emotions is anger. Fasting helps to bring this emotion under control. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "When one of you is fasting, he should abstain from indecent acts and unnecessary talk, and if someone begins an obscene conversation or tries to pick an argument, he should simply tell him, "I am fasting."  Thus, on this level, whatever negative emotions challenge the fasting person must be avoided. One must abstain from lewd conversation and heated arguments. Even when one is in the right, it is better to let that right go and keep one's emotional fast intact. Likewise, the negative emotion of jealousy is reduced, as every fasting person is reduced to the common denominator of abstinence; no one is externally superior to another in this regard.
The Psychological Level:
This level helps the fasting person psychologically to control evil thoughts and trains him or her, to some degree, how to overcome stinginess and greed. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was reported to have said, "Allah has no need for the hunger and the thirst of the person who does not restrain himself from telling lies and acting on them even while observing the fast."  In this age of immediate gratification, when the things of the world are used to fulfill human needs and desires almost as soon as they have them – the ability to delay gratification is an important skill. What is between immediate gratification and delayed gratification is patience. During the fast, the believers learn patience – and the benefits of it.
From a psychological perspective, it is good to be somewhat detached from the things of the world. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good and full life – in fact, one can and should expect that. However, it is important that people are able to detach ourselves from material things so that they do not become the most important part of their lives. Fasting gives one the opportunity to overcome the many addictions which have become a major part of modern life. Food, for many people, provides comfort and joy - and the ability to separate oneself from it gives the fasting people the psychological benefit of knowing that they do have some degree of control over what they do and what they do not do.
The Spiritual Level:
In order to establish this, the highest and most important level of fasting, the level of God-consciousness, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made the renewal of the intention for fasting a requirement before every day of fasting. He was reported to have said, "Whoever does not intend to fast before Fajr (the dawn) will have no fast."  The daily renewal of intention helps to establish a spiritual foundation of sincerity essential for the spiritual cleansing effects of fasting to operate. Sincere fasting purifies and atones for sin, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever fasts Ramadan out of sincere faith and seeking his reward from God, his previous sins will be forgiven." He was also reported to have said, "From one Ramadan to the next is atonement for the sins between them." Sincere fasting brings one closer to Allah and earns a special reward. The Prophet (peace be upon him) informed that there is a gate in paradise called Rayyan reserved for those who fast and he also said, "When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are open."  Fasting is primarily between the person and God, as no one can be sure that any person is actually fasting. Because of this intimate aspect of fasting, Allah was quoted by the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying, "Every act of Adam's descendants is for themselves, except fasting. It is meant for Me alone, and I alone will give the reward for it."  When combined with the previous levels of fasting, this level transforms a person from within. It restores, revives and regenerates the fasting person's spirituality and radically modifies his or her personality and character. These are the precious products of a heightened state of God-consciousness.
Fasting in Cultural Islam
In much of the Muslim world today fasting has been reduced to a mere ritual, and the month of Ramadan has become a time of celebration and festivities instead of religious contemplation and abstinence. Ramadan nights are, for many, nights of partying and enjoyment which continue until the dawn in some countries. There, the night becomes the day and the day becomes the night. In most places, the light meal which is supposed to be taken prior the dawn becomes a major three-course meal. Consequently, few experience real hunger during the fast. And at the time of breaking the fast, another three-course meal is taken, followed by a sampling of all kinds of sweets imaginable. As a result, many Muslims complain about gaining weight during Ramadan and doctors regularly warn people about the medical consequences of overeating.
The Name Ramadan
The word Ramadan comes from the noun Ramad, which refers to "the reflected heat of stones resulting from the intense heat of the sun." When the Arabs changed the names of the months from their ancient names, they renamed them according to the seasons in which they happened to fall. The ninth month, which used to be called Natiq, fell during the summer, the time of extreme heat, which is why it was named Ramadan. 
Significance of Ramadan
Of course, the fact that Ramadan was in the summer has no relation to why this month was chosen by Allah as the month for fasting. Since Muslims follow the lunar calendar, the month of Ramadan will occur in all the seasons at least twice in each person's lifetime. God clearly stated the reason for choosing this month in the Quran. He said: "Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as guidance and clarification to humankind, and a distinction between right and wrong. Thus, whosoever among you witnesses the month should fast it." (2: 185) The significance of Ramadan lies in the fact that the revelation of the Quran began in that month. For this reason, Ramadan is often called the month of the Quran and Muslims try to spend much of their waking hours reading from the Holy Book throughout the month.
Religious Seclusion (I'tikaf)
During the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to seclude himself in the mosque, in order to increase the intensity of his worship and the benefits of the fast prior to the ending of the month. Devout Muslims try to emulate him by spending as many of the ten days as they can fasting secluded in the mosque.