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Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Sacred Art Of Fasting (Preparing to Practice)

Multifaith Calendar (sample):
  • August 1: Fast in honor of Holy Mother of Lord Jesus - Orthodox Christian
  • August 11: Ramadan begins - Islam through September 10 (date mostly decided by the local communities based on the moon sighting)
  • Nov 15: Nativity Fast through December 24 - Orthodox Christian

    A video compilation about Ramadan, 9th month of the Islamic calendar. Background nasheed by Zain Bhikha.

    Welcome to the spirit of fast, so common in most of the religions, mostly observed in combination: fasting with prayer (where fasting is a physical discipline, and praying is a spiritual discipline). Read the book: The Sacred Art Of Fasting

    "One of the book's strengths is its evenhanded introduction to each of the six religions it covers (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Mormonism) and the inclusion in each chapter of a "living voice from the tradition." These narratives allow adherents from each religion to speak from their own belief and experience, and they range in style from simple exposition to personal essay and interview format. The chapter on Christianity is slightly partial toward the author's own Catholicism, but the principles it explores are broadly inclusive. Another gem is the chapter with suggestions for keeping the spirit of a fast even if actual abstention is not physically possible for health reasons. This is a much-needed treatise that will attract believers from all faiths. (From Publishers Weekly @
    Table of Contents:
    Introduction ix
    1 In Search of Fasting as a Spiritual Practice 1;
    2 Judaism: Purification, Mourning, Atonement 13;
    3 Christianity: Mystical Longing, Liberation through Discipline, Work of Justice 35;
    4 Islam: Allah-Consciousness, Self-Restraint, Social Solidarity 67;
    5 Hinduism: Purity, Respect, Penance 91;
    6 Buddhism: Purity of Body, Clarity of Mind, Moderation 103;
    7 Latter-day Saints: Offerings for Those in Want, Strengthening in the Faith 113;
    8 What Makes Fasting a Sacred Art? 129;
    9 Preparing to Practice 141;

    See also:
  • Ramadan Highway Code - Visualization - Do's & Don'ts
  • I'tikaf: Spiritual Retreat for Women at Home?
  • I`tikaf City of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI)
  • Itikaf; Spiritual Retreat
  • N.J. school district to observe Muslim and Hindu holidays
  • Ramadan: How non-Muslims can approach the Koran
    Extract: "Just as Ghazi recommends non-Christians or Jews start reading the Bible by going first to poetic and inspiring sections such as the Psalms -- rather than the dry, difficult books of Deuteronomy or Leviticus -- she suggests some sections of the Koran are more accessible than others, passages such as Sura 1, titled "Fatiha;" Sura 12, titled "Joseph," or Sura 97, titled "El Qadr."

    Ghazi urges readers to avoid thinking that the Koran is to be read "literally," the way a Protestant fundamentalist might approach the Bible -as historical, scientifically established fact.

    Since the Koran is often highly symbolic, filled with sacred teachings that come across like poetry, Ghazi says it is impossible to read literally. It is always subject to interpretation. Grave misunderstandings can be avoided by reading a reliable translation, with commentary."
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