Focus on Faith – Islam

During the holy month of Ramadan, we are going to take the opportunity to teach more about the practices of Islam and how they impact the lives of Americans.

Why are we taking the time to do this? Hollywood, by definition, has always been an incredibly open and welcoming community of all diversities and backgrounds. However, today in the year 2019, the least represented population in Hollywood is, by far, Islam. Our attempt here is to practice the golden rule and help to share information about Islam with those who may not know anything about it or have misconceptions and/or misinformation.

This video here, from the Pew Research Center titled, “Being Muslim in the US” is a really helpful resource alongside the Pew published Research around Islam found here: “Islamic Religious Beliefs and Practices.”

The pillars of Islamic practice are fairly simple:
shahādah, the Muslim profession of faith;
ṣalāt, or prayer, performed in a prescribed manner five times each day;
zakāt, the alms tax levied to benefit the poor and the needy;
ṣawm, fasting during the month of Ramadan;
and hajj, the major pilgrimage to Mecca, if financial and physical conditions permit.

Our next post will feature tips and tricks for flourishing during the holy month of Ramadan. One does not necessarily have to be Muslim to participate in Ramadan and we encourage all people of faith and spiritual yearning to experience Ramadan for themselves.

With most things in Islam, like going for the spiritual pilgrimage of Hajj or even praying the five daily prayers, fasting starts with making a du’a, or prayer, for intending to fast, which is called the niyyat. This prayer serves as a notice to God that you intend with your heart and soul to fast during Ramadan for His pleasure. It can be done once before the month begins, or it is recommended to be done every morning at suhoor, the pre-dawn meal before fasting begins.

You basically just state to yourself (as God is your witness) your intention to fast, in whatever language you speak. For example, you can say to yourself, “Oh Allah, I intend to fast today in accordance with your laws and for your benefit. Please accept my fast, forgive my faults, and bring me closer to you.”

Source: “Fasting Rules from Islamic Laws” by Ayatullah Seestani and “Lectures on Fiqh” by Maulana Sadiq Hasan

This article from Cornell University has some great pointers about fasting from dawn to dusk: Ramadan Kareem!

Lastly, here are some of the prayers used by Muslims throughout the day along with the times they pray:
Salat al-fajr: dawn, before sunrise
Salat al-zuhr: midday, after the sun passes its highest
Salat al-‘asr: the late part of the afternoon
Salat al-maghrib: just after sunset
Salat al-‘isha: between sunset and midnight

Here is an example of the structure of prayer observed, some of which come from a great resource to learn about Islam called Beliefnet.

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.
“Allah is the Greatest” (repeated four times).

Ashhadu al la ilaha illa-llah.
Ashhadu al la ilaha illa-Ilah.
“I bear witness that nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allah (repeated twice).

Ashhadu anna Muhammadar Rasulu-Ilah,
Ashhadu anna Muhammadar Rasulu-Ilah.
“I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” (repeated twice).

Hayya ‘ala-s-sala,
Hayya ‘ala-s-sala.
“Come to prayer” (repeated twice, turning the face to the right).

Hayya ‘ala-l-falah,
Hayya ‘ala-I-falah.
“Come to success” (repeated twice, turning the face to the left).

Allahu Akbar,
Allahu Akbar.
“Allah is the Greatest” (repeated twice).

La illaha illa-llah.
“Nothing deserves to be worshipped except Allah”.

The following sentence is added in the call to the morning prayer after hayya ‘ala-l-falah:

As-salatu khairum-min-an-naum,
As-salatu khairum-min-an-naum.
“Prayer is better than sleep” (repeated twice).

When the call to prayer is finished, the crier as well as the hearers make a petition in the following words:

Allahum-ma Rabba hadhihi-d-da ‘wati-t-tammati wa-s-salati-I-qa’imati ati Muhammada-ni-l wasilata wa-l-fadzilata waddarajata-rrati’ata wa-b’athhu maqqmam mahmudan-illadhi wa’adta-hu.

“O Allah! Lord of this perfect call and ever-living prayer, grant to Muhammad nearness and excellence and raise him to the position of glory which Thou hast promised him.”

“Allahuma inni laka sumtu wa bika aamantu wa ‘alayka tawakkaltu wa ‘ala rizq-ika aftarthu.”

Oh Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You [and I put my trust in You] and I break my fast with your sustenance.”

“Allahumma inni as’aluka birahmatika al-lati wasi’at kulli shay’in an taghfira li.”

Oh Allah, I ask You by Your mercy which envelopes all things, that You forgive me.

“Rabbigh fir war hum wa anta khair ur rahimeen.”

Oh my Lord and Sustainer please forgive me and be merciful to me. You are the best amongst those who show mercy.

This prayer is meant to be recited during the second ten days of Ramadan – which begins in 3 days on Thursday, May 16th through May 26th.

“Allahumma innaka afuwun tuhibbul afuwa faafu anna.”

Oh Allah indeed you are the greatest pardoner and you like the act of pardoning. Hence, please forgive us.


For those who just can’t get enough of praying, here are 30 prayers for the 30 days of Ramadan!
30 Days of Personal Islamic Prayers and Devotions

And, lastly, here are two examples of interfaith and inter-religious dialogue and perspective for both Jews and Christians.

This article from The Times of Israel helps describe how 180,000 Muslims peacefully came together to pray at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem over the weekend. 180,000 Muslims Pray Peacefully.

This website, sponsored by a Christian ministry, includes a sincere, open, and respectful view of how to pray for Muslims all around the world from the Christian perspective: 30 Days Prayer.

Regardless of your faith, will you please join us today in praying for Muslim people world-wide and for a peaceful and spiritually productive and awakening month of Ramadan?

Shurkaan (Thank you).

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