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In SEO, The Best Technique Is No Technique!

As someone of Asian-American decent, I like so many of my peers grew up idolizing Bruce Lee. I remember spending my youth watching his movies, and I actually even trained in Shaolin Kempo and Tae Kwon Do for 8 years. So what does this have to do with SEO? Well the other day as I was watching one of Bruce Lee’s old movies in my spare time, I came across a clip that for whatever reason at the time reminded me of what is being touted by Google as the best “technique for SEO”. Here is the video clip of what I was talking about, can you catch the parallels between what Bruce is saying and today’s modern day SEO landscape?
Did you get it? At about the 0:23 mark Bruce’s teacher asks “What is the highest technique you hope to achieve?” to which he responds “To have no technique”, and interestingly enough this is one way that is actually a fairly effective strategy in your quest to gain search engine traffic. Let me explain.

Remember Google doesn’t want us to actively engage in manipulating search engine results. They tell us if we want search engine traffic, then all we have to do is focus on creating great content that people will want to share, and then the Google overlords will bless us with server melting traffic to our websites! So according to Google, the best SEO technique is to have no SEO technique! Welllllllllll yes and um no.

Of course at the heart of any good website is the creation of good content. You need to have content that engages your readers, and ideally you want to have lots of it. However for the most part I live in the real world where people don’t read stuff and say “OMG that was a great article, I’m now going to jump on my high PR blog and write an article about it and link to it”. This just doesn’t happen people, or if it does it is pretty rare. So what we have to do is create this content and then go out there and promote it, but promote it in the right way.

So I think probably the easiest example would be to use this blog. When I first started this blog, I absolutely did no linkbuilding. All I did was write, write, and write some more. Remember Google tells me all I have to do is “create great content” and then search traffic will be mine! However after writing about 45 articles or so for the site, I still had zero search traffic! I outlined the results in my article here, but basically at that point I threw in the towel and began linkbuilding.

So briefly after I “threw in the towel” on relying on content alone, I started to do a little bit of linkbuilding. Nothing too heavy, just a few high PR blog posts and some forum signatures on popular internet marketing forums I regularly post on (Warrior Forum + Black Hat World). However a little while after I started linkbuilding I got really busy with client obligations and I went back to focusing on only writing for this blog (no linkbuilding). I also did begin to utilize social media, and I would tweet on Twitter and post on Facebook occasionally some of the stuff that was being produced here.

After focusing on creating content and the occasional social media promotion, I did notice that traffic from search engines started to rise. Basically I would try to post once a day about things I thought my readers would find helpful, and then maybe tweet the link or post a link on Facebook. However it seems that with each passing day the search engines started giving me more love. Coincidence? Was it true that maybe the best technique was to have no technique? Well the jury is still out on that.

Some of you may be thinking “well you did start to use social media, so maybe Google is giving you love because of that”, well this could be true, but I have found in all of my tests that social media in itself does not rank a site. If you built a website and tried to purely rank it with social media, assuming that people that you reach via social media don’t begin linking to you from their own web properties, links from Twitter and Facebook in itself as of now is not enough to rank a site (someone please prove me wrong!).

So what should you take away from all this? Well I would say if you haven’t done so already, try to create an authority site in some evergreen niche and really just focus on writing for the site. Then set-up all the social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and a YouTube channel. Write articles, tweet tweets, post to Facebook, create a YouTube video that links back to the site. Focus on banging out great content and using these social media platforms every now and then to promote it. Then in a little bit watch the search engine traffic rise. So maybe it’s true that the best technique is no technique (no active linkbuilding, only promotion), but the only way you’ll find out is if you actually give it a try! :)

5 Tips On Using Google AdSense To Make You Money


Google AdSense can be an absolute goldmine for anyone who is willing to invest some time in learning how to use it effectively. A lot of people who start using Google AdSense tend to get turned off by it within the first couple of months because they just don’t seem to be making the money that they had expected.
Arm yourself against making the typical newbie mistakes and read our tips below so that you’ll know just how you can make some good cash off of AdSense.

1. Where Does AdSense Make Sense?

Perhaps the biggest mistake that those who use AdSense make is that they throw ads on every type of website imaginable. Don’t waste your time, effort and ads on sites that won’t be bringing in the cash.
Let’s take a tech info website for example. If you run a site that provides high level tech advice, then there’s a very low chance that anyone visiting your site will bother with your AdSense ads. Why? Because these people just don’t generally click on those types of ads. They know about AdSense, and they didn’t come to your website for anything but the information written on your site. They want answers to a problem, and then they want to get out.
Let’s say you have a website that’s more geared towards sales, however. This would be a better type of site to have ads on as people will be far more likely to click on the advertisements you put up.
It may take a bit of trial and error since some niches tend to do better than others when it comes to these types of ads, but generally speaking, if your blog or website is about selling things, then AdSense will work better for you.

2. “SmartPricing:” Anything But Smart

Whenever possible, you have to avoid Google’s “SmartPricing” scheme. With SmartPricing, Google gives advertisers a discount based on how popular or “valuable” your website is. They tend to base this on your site’s click through ratio.
So if your website has a high click through ratio, then the perceived value of your site is high so then the cost per ad click is higher. If your click through ratio is low, however, the value of your site is “low” so you get less money per click. The difference between a SmartPriced site and a non-SmartPriced site can be anywhere from a couple cents to several dollars in difference.

One way to avoid this is to post your AdSense ads only on your older posts. Why? Because anyone who regularly visits your site isn’t going to click on your ads. If you post them on your older posts however, you’ll be able to possibly keep your click through ratio pretty high. There are a lot of resources out there about how you can change the coding of your website or blog to keep your ads only on your older posts.
Another way to avoid the dreaded SmartPricing is to display your ads to those who have landed on your page through a search engine only. You can again tailor your blog using the “function” file to change where the ads are displayed.

3. Choose The Best Keywords

Google is all about keywords, so in order to make the biggest profit you need to choose the best CPC keywords out there. You can use a number of great tools out there to help identify what the high paying keywords for your niche are, and there are several lists supplied for free, such as www.rumler.com.
Keywords also determine what kind of ads are going to show up on your website or blog. Nothing’s worse than visiting a website that’s cluttered with ads that don’t even make sense. Target your keywords so that you’ll be able to “influence” what types of ads will show up on your blog or site. Make sure that these keywords are on your website or blog entry, but BE CAREFUL. If the keyword density is too high, you WILL be penalized by Google and can even be tossed out of their AdSense program.
TIP: Read Google’s terms of service. Once you’re out of the program, you’re pretty much out for good. Follow the terms of service, stay in their good graces, and write great content so you’ll continue to get visitors who’ll click on your ads.

4. Choose Big Ads

AdSense advertisements come in a variety of formats, so you can tailor the formats to see which works best with your blog. Having an advertisement that looks good on your blog or site is important, but keep this in mind: the large 336×280 rectangle sized advertisements has long proven to give the best payout. Maybe this is because the ad is right in any visitors face, or maybe it’s because that size can display video ads (which are increasing in popularity). Either way, it may be a good idea to start out with an ad around that size.

5. Monitor Your Success

No matter what you do with your blog or website, you need to keep track of how successful your ads are doing. If you don’t monitor your ads, then you will ultimately fail. You’ll be able to pin point which ads work, which don’t, and over time you may discover that certain ads work best at certain times throughout the year while others work best at other times.
One of the best things that we can suggest is that you look at your top 1/5 of pages, and then you take a look at your bottom 1/5 of pages. Why are the top 1/5 of pages making more money? What are you doing right? Try to take what seems to be working with the top 1/5 of your pages and then incorporate those ideas and methods into the bottom 1/5.
You’ll also be able to quickly see whether or not your chosen keywords are making money. If your keywords aren’t working, change them up! You should always do a top keyword run at least once a week to make sure that your site is up to date and current.

How to Make Money With Google Adsense | Tips On How to Get Started and Setting Up your Adsense Account

I became an Adsense publisher in April of 2005 when Google’s Adsense was just 2 years old from being launched.
Adsense is definitely one of the hottest ways to earn passive income of the century. All a person needs to do is to create an AdSense account. Build a website with unique and original contents. It is so effective that not only individuals but businesses have started using GoogleAds for passive income as well. Before we discuss tips and tricks on how you can make the most of AdSense, let’s read the answer to a very important question.
What do the terms residual income and passive income imply?
The use of the word, passive does not mean that you will have to do entirely nothing to earn regular income. Rather it means that the amount of resources you spend on an activity is very little in comparison to the revenue it generates. For example, after posting an interesting/controversial/informative article, you might continue to receive visitors on your blog for more than a year. Remember, some topics provide more passive incomes than others. For example a fashion blog will be able to generate less passive income because of the rapid changes in styles. A fashion blogger will have to continuously have to update his/her blog to keep readers abreast with the latest developments in the world of style. On the other hand, blogs and websites on relatively stable subjects such as education, health and relationships are more likely to generate more passive income because of their evergreen nature. There are many issues that people discuss again and again and information related to which remains the same. Hence, readers may continue to come on a certain blogpost related to for years.
On the other hand, the term residual income refers to the fact that AdSense is not your primary source of income. In fact, it is a fraction of the income you derive from your online activities. For example, a blog that discusses nail art and simultaneously sells nail art supplies to its readers is likely to make AdSense display advertisements related to the subject. Hence, the blogger will have to streams of income – one from the income of the nail art supplies and the other from AdSense. Since, revenue generated from AdSense will only be a fraction of the revenue from the sale of the nail art it has been termed residual income.
How to Use AdSense in an Effective Way. Let’s look at the Holistic Approach
If you are planning to use AdSense as one of the sources of income, there are a few tips you could use to make your endeavors more effective.
1. Number of Websites/Blogs and their Genres
There are two extreme ways of earning with GoogleAds. Earn $100 with 1 blog or earn $20 from 5 blogs each. When it comes to choosing between the two, we recall the old adage; don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Yes, diversification is the key to success when it comes to earning residual income through AdSense.

Following are some of the benefits of diversification.
a. Having more than one blog/website will allow you to cover a wider range of topics. If you decide to run three blogs at a time, you may cover very distant genres of entrees such as health, fashion and travel. This will help you cover three unique sets of consumer markets, news items and products.
b. Some genres are better more effective at generating passive income than others. As discussed above, it is a great idea to invest resources in at least one website/blog that is sure to generate a small but steady stream of visitors and thus passive revenue. The other blogs/websites may be on topics that require regular updates.
2. Attraction Marketing to Increase your Website Traffic and build your list!
Attactraction marketing is a technique that’s used not only by those who sell products but also who help those who sell products. This is true for blogs/websites that provide visitors with information or free online services. A few examples of such websites that cater free email services, provide news updates and make downloadable content available for free.
Regardless of the revenue from GoogleAds being residual or not, it is imperative that you increase the traffic to your websites and blogs. The more people will visit your blog/website, the higher the number of clicks will be on GoogleAds (even if the percentage remains the same).
3. Update your Contents on a regular basis!
It is true that the older articles get, the more they are shared among readers and the stronger their presence on their internet grows. And the stronger its presence is, the more people visit it and the more revenue GoogleAds placed next to it earn. However, this situation is applicable to articles that have the potential to appeal to readers over a long period of time. A few categories such as health, education and relationships are better able to retain the longevity of their articles. Others however serve readers best with fresh content.

Hence, to be able to generate lots of traffic and remain in Google’s ‘good’ books, make sure that you continuously update your blogs/websites with the latest info on the topics the platforms are about.
4. Positioning AdSense
Perhaps the most important thing to do is to place GoogleAds on your website in a highly effective way.

There are three things that you must keep in mind when configuring the settings.
a. Size
The basic rule that you must follow when placing ads on your website/blog is that of camouflage. The aim of doing so isn’t to hide the advertisement but to make it look like a part of the website itself. Although doing so entirely isn’t possible, your effort is bound to cause a positive change and make the advertisement more in sync with the rest of the website.
GoogleAds come in three different sizes:
i. Large rectangle –336×280
ii. Medium rectangle – 300×250
iii. Wide skyscraper – 160×600

Choose the size that suits your blog/website best. One good way of figuring out the right size is to consider the dimensions of other graphics/tables that are present on your site. Also keep in mind the website’s template. The greater number of columns a website has, the lesser flexibility it will have for larger advertising boxes.
b. Color
Another factor that must be used to taken into consideration when placing ads on a site is its background color. You may employ one of the three techniques mentioned below to maximize the number of clicks GoogleAds on your website generate.

i. Blend – Choosing the color of the advertisement to be exactly that of website’s background will give it a very subtle attraction. It is best for visitors who are averse to advertisements.
ii. Complement – You may also choose one of the two or more colors that your website contains. For example if your blog is primarily blue with green accents, you may choose green as the color of the advertisement. This too will make it look like a part of the website and will appeal to a wide range of audience.
iii. Contrast – A rather wild but at times effective idea is to choose a color for the advertisement which is nowhere in the website. Doing so will make it very prominent. And if the advertisement is alluring enough, even the greatest skeptics will click on it.
c. Position
Yet another important factor that affects the probability of an advertisement getting clicked on is its positive relative to other content present on the site. While many experts suggest placing advertisements right at the top of blogs/websites, the rule isn’t applicable in very case. One relatively safe option is to place advertisements on the right hand side. Other than that, it is best that the psyche of the website’s visitors be kept in mind when position ads.

If the website talks about something serious such as health, it is preferable that the advertisement be placed at the bottom or the side of the website (these are just my recommendations because I also blog on health care office management). This way the website will get a chance to first build credibility with the visitors. On the other hand, if the website is relatively frivolous in nature, it is okay to position ads even right at the top.
5. Things to Avoid when Using AdSense
AdSense comes with a set of dos and don’ts. While religiously following the dos don’t forget the don’ts are almost equally important. One wrong move and your AdSense account can be frozen. Following are some of the most basic don’ts Google does not tolerate.
a. Clicking on Your own Website’s Ads
If you have been trying to act smart by clicking on your own website’s Google Ads, you are not only wasting your time but even jeopardizing your Google Ads account. Yes, Google clearly states in the guidelines it provides to those using AdSense that clicks ‘originating from your IP addresses or computers under your control’ on the ads is a violation of the terms and agreements you consented to. Hence, the violation of the agreement may lead to the termination of your AdSense account.

b. Asking Others to Click on GoogleAds
Yet another action that is prohibited by Google is to ‘request … end users to click on Ad’. Often bloggers request their fans to click on ads on their blog by clearly explaining their motive. Even if readers do fulfill such a request, their clicks will be considered invalid.

c. Placing Ads on Restricted Sites
Google forbids users from placing GoogleAds on restricted website such as those which contain adult content. Even if the clicks on such ads are valid, they are not going to earn you any revenue.

d. Publishing Competitors’ Advertisements
GoogleAds is not the only network of advertisements. Alternatives do exist such as Yahoo Publisher Network, Bidvertiser, Clicksor, InfoLinks and Project Wonder. It may occur to you that using more than one publishing networks may result in greater total revenue given the variety of ads the two or more than two networks will display on your website. However, such an arrangement does not. Even if smaller publishing networks may be okay with being on the same page with others, GoogleAds is not.

New generation of Arab singers

arab singer
Nancy Ajram

Arab music has a long tradition of Oud — a local variety of lute — and soulful longing. It is the foundation of classical Arab music. Umm Kulthum of Egypt was phenomenally popular throughout the Arab world. Many regard Al-Atlal (The Ruins) as her best song. She died in 1975.
Nouhad Wadi Haddad a Lebanese female singer popularly known as Fairuz or Turquoise closely followed her in eminence. While classical songs were Umm Kulthum’s forte Fairuz excelled in modern Arabic songs also projecting the Lebanese heritage. Her all time popular song A’tini al-Nay is cherished by every Arab.
They are followed by new bunch of talented and popular young singers, both male and female. They are Amr Diab, Nancy Ajram, Tamer Hosny, Mohammed Hamaki, Elissar Zakaria Khouri, Sherine Ahmed Abdul Wahab, Kadim Al Sahir, Cairokee a band group and Wael Kfoury.
Among the lot, Amr Abdel Basset Abdel Azeez Diab (Amr Diab) of Egypt is a versatile performer; Diab is both a singer and composer. He has received many awards as the best-selling Arab recording artist. Music connoisseurs commend Diab for blending a Mediterranean Music style combining Arab sound and diction with Western cadence and instruments.
Amr Diab’s 1996 album “Nour El Ain” (Light of the Eye-Sight) became a sensation in the music world. “Habibi” from the album drew music lovers like infatuation worldwide in countries like Pakistan, India (performed by Nachiketa in Bengali with lyrics of his own), Afghanistan, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. The album sold 3 million copies! In 1998, he received the World Music Award from the Prince of Monaco. Diab became a living legend. His album “Amarain” (Two Moons) of 1999 is rated as his best. Amarain featured Diab in a duet “Qalbi” with Algeria’s “Didi” famed Khaled based in France.
Nancy Nabil Ajram (Nancy Ajram) of Lebanon is an immensely popular pop star in Arab music. Nancy came into the limelight in 2003 with the big success of her lead single “Akhasmak Ah”. With her fourth album “Ah w Noss” (Yes, and a half)) she became the pop icon of Arab world. Coca Cola made Nancy their official celebrity spokesperson. The commercial was a hit — “Oul Tany Kida?” (Say that again?). The success continued and her fifth album “Ya Tabtab Wa Dalla” is believed to be her best. Ajram’s crowning moment came when her best-selling album “Betfakkar Fi Eih” won the first World Music Award .as the best-selling Middle Eastern Artist.
Tamer Hosny Abbas Farghaly (Tamer Hosny) of Egypt is idolized as the Star of Generation. He is a highly endowed talent – singer, actor, composer, director and songwriter. In 2004 his second album “Hob” (Love) a romantic one featured a catchy solo “Arrab Habibi”. Its success earned him the nickname “King of Generation”. The solo song kept on running in music channels. The 8th album “Elly Gai Ahla” (2011) found great popularity and he found his bride in his fellow Moroccan singer Bassma Boussil.
Mohammed Ibrahim Mohammed El-Hamaki (Mohammed Hamaki) of Egypt is known as the Master of Pop Music. He is in his thirties. His virtuosity extends to musical instruments; he can play both guitar and piano. He shot into fame with his album “Kheles El Kalam” (All The Words Have Finished!). The song “Wahda Wahda” (One by One) became very popular.
Elissar Zakaria Khouri (Elissa) is a Lebanese pop singer. Elissa became a phenomenon with her W’akherta Ma’ak. It included a popular duet “Betghib Betrouh”. The video clip of her equally successful album “Ayshalak” was done in France by French Director Fabrice Begotti.
The popularity of this new generation of singers shows that Arab world has great love for music and has a wealth of talents to keep it alive. The legacy of Umm Kulthum and Fairuz continues.

WAR TRIAL - Mojaheed to hang

Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed waves while being taken to International Crimes Tribunal-2 Wednesday morning for pronouncement of verdict in war crimes case. Photo: Focus Bangla
Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed waves while being taken to International Crimes Tribunal-2 Wednesday morning for pronouncement of verdict in war crimes case. Photo: Focus Bangla

A special court in Dhaka has awarded death penalty to Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed for offences during Bangladesh’s war of independence 42 years back.
Five out of seven charges have been proved beyond doubt, Justice Obaidul Hassan, head judge of International Crimes Tribunal-2, announced in a jam-packed courtroom Wednesday afternoon.
The Jamaat linchpin, who led the infamous Al-Badr force in killing intellectuals of the land at the fag end of the 1971 Liberation War, received death penalty for three charges, and life sentence and five-year imprisonment for two others.
Standing in the dock wearing a Panjabi, the 65-year-old shook his head in disapproval of the judgement.
This is the sixth verdict in the sensational war crimes trial that was initiated 40 years into the country’s birth, which the Jamaat was strongly against and instrumental to negate.
His party has enforced a countrywide daylong hartal (shutdown) to protest the verdict.
Mojaheed’s verdict came couple of days after another war crimes tribunal, ICT-1, awarded former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam 90 years jail.
Tight security was arranged in and around the ICT-2 building as the court prepared to deliver judgement on Mojaheed Wednesday.
A contingent of securitymen guarded the Jamaat top leader as he was taken to the prison cell of the court at 9:42am in a white microbus.
He was taken to the tribunal dock just one hour later.
The court started its proceedings at 10:48am.
After a brief description of the case, Justice Md Shahinur Islam, a judge on the three-member panel, started reading out from the 209-page verdict.
A 37-page excerpt was read out.
BACKGROUND
Mojaheed, a former technocrat minister of the last BNP-led alliance government, was arrested on June 29, 2010, in connection with hurting religious sentiments of Muslims.
The investigation agency, designated to probe war crimes, started investigation his alleged crimes during the war on July 21, 2010, and completed its probe in October, 2011.
Mojaheed was shown arrested in the war crimes case on August 2, 2010.
On January 16, 2012, the prosecution submitted 34 charges against him and the tribunal took the charges into cognisance on January 26.
The case was transferred to Tribunal-2 on April 25, 2012.
On June 21, 2012, Mojaheed, who was a top leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of Jamaat in 1971, was indicted on seven charges.
As per the indictment order, Mojaheed in October 1971 was elected provincial president of Chhatra Sangha and became the chief of Al-Badr, an auxiliary force of the Pakistan army that was especially responsible for the planned killings of the intellectuals at the fag-end of the nine-month-long war.
Al-Badr was an “action section” and “armed wing” of Jamaat and was formed mainly with the members of Islami Chhatra Sangha, the Tribunal-2 observed during the proceeding of another war crime suspect Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman’s verdict.
As many as 17 prosecution witnesses including the investigation officer of the case testified against Mojaheed, while his younger son gave testimony as the lone defence witness.
The prosecution and the defence placed closing arguments between May 7 and June 5.
Earlier on June 5, the tribunal kept the Mojaheed case CAV (Curia Advisari Vult, a Latin legal term meaning verdict would be delivered anytime).
WAR TRIAL PROGRESS REPORT
The two tribunals dealing with the war crimes cases have so far delivered verdicts in five cases.
The Tribunal-1 on July 15 awarded 90-year jail to former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam for his war time offences.
The Tribunal-2 awarded expelled Jamaat leader Abul Kalam Azad and Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Muhammad Kamaruzzaman death sentence and another Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Mollah life sentence, while the Tribunal-1 awarded Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee capital punishment.

Source : DailyStart

It’s OK to say no to Sex


Don’t feel awkward about saying no to sex (or kissing, touching or any other sexual activity). 'No' is an important word in sex and relationships. Find out how you can say no.
Nobody has the right to make you go further than you want to. You also have every right to say no, at any point, whoever you're with. If you want to have sex but your boyfriend or girlfriend or friend doesn’t, you must respect their feelings.
First time or not

You might think from what you hear from friends that all young people are having sex. But the average age for having sex for the first time is 16, and not everyone does it at that age. Some people wait until they’re older.

So you’re not the only one saying no. Even if you’ve had sex before, this doesn’t mean you have to do it again. It’s up to you every time.

When you meet someone you like, it might take weeks, months or even years before you’re both ready for sex. Take it slow, and think about your feelings, as well as theirs. Never rush or push each other into it.

Try talking about the relationship. Communicating helps you to know when the time is right, and to know exactly how you both feel, rather than guessing.
How to say no

People who want to have sex might say things to try to get you into bed. Here are some ideas of what you can say in return:

They say: "Don’t you fancy me?"
You say: "Yes, but I respect you too," or "You’re gorgeous but I want to know you better."

They say: "My friends think we should have done it by now."
You say: "They don’t know what’s best for us," or "You should care more about what I think."

They say: "We don’t need to use a condom." 
You say: "I’m not ready to be a parent and I don’t want to risk getting an infection."

They say: "Let’s just get it over with."
You say: "If we wait until we’re ready it’ll be much better."

They say: "If you loved me you’d want to do it."
You say: "It’s because I love you that I want to wait," or "If you loved me you wouldn’t say that."

They say: "If we don’t do it soon, I’ll explode!"
You say: "You need biology lessons...it’s not bad for you to wait."

They say: "But you’re 16."
You say: "Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean I have to. I’ll decide when I’m ready."

If you both agree to have sex, make sure that:

    you use condoms to protect yourselves from STIs
    you use contraception to help prevent an unintended pregnancy – find out about the 15 methods of contraception

Practise saying no

It might sound strange, but try practising saying no:

    "No, I’m not ready."
    "No, I don’t want to."
    "No, it doesn’t feel right."

Or simply:

    "No."

If you don’t want to have sex, anyone who really likes you will respect your decision even if you’ve had sex with them before.

If your boyfriend or girlfriend says something like, "If you loved me you’d do it", don’t fall for it. It’s emotional blackmail. However much you love or like them, you don't have to have sex with them to prove it.
Sexual assault

A sexual assault can range from inappropriate touching to a life-threatening attack. It's a myth that victims of sexual assault always look battered and bruised. A sexual assault may not leave any outward signs, but it's still a crime.

Victims are most likely to be young women aged 16 to 24. But men and women of any age, race, ability or sexuality can be assaulted. This could be by a stranger or, much more likely, someone you know. It could be a partner, former partner, husband, relative, friend or colleague. Don’t be afraid to get help.

Find out where to get help after a sexual assault.

You can read a leaflet called Coping with sexual assault: a guide for young people (PDF, 2.5MB).
Domestic violence

Domestic violence is when one person in a relationship is abusive towards another. This could be emotional, physical or sexual abuse, including forcing you into sexual activity against your will.

If this has happened to you, help is available. 

Alcohol and sex



Alcohol can make you do things you'll regret, including having sex. Find out the risks, and how you can keep yourself safer. 
Alcohol changes the way you act, and affects your decision making. The more you drink, the less careful you are, and this can have serious consequences when it comes to sex and your personal safety.

Tips for staying safe

If you’re planning to drink alcohol, follow these tips to keep safe:
  • Stick with friends. Don’t go to parties alone, and ask your friends to watch out for you if you’re drinking alcohol. You can watch out for them too if they’re drinking.
  • Always travel home with your friends, and never take an unlicensed cab – this is like getting into a car with a stranger. Keep the telephone number of a licensed taxi firm with you. Don’t drive if you've been drinking. 
  • Never leave drinks unattended or accept drinks from people you don’t know, in case someone puts drugs in them. 
  • Make decisions when you’re sober. Before you start drinking, talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend about your boundaries (what you do and don’t want to do), so that you don’t get carried away and regret it later.
  • Be prepared. If you’re ready to have sex, sort out your contraception before you go out drinking, and always carry a condom. Find out more about all the methods of contraception and where you can get them.

Alcohol, sex and making decisions 

Alcohol can affect your judgement. You might become more easy to influence when it comes to sex. You can make rash decisions, such as having unprotected sex, which can lead to unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia.
Alcohol might calm your nerves, but it doesn't make sex easier or better, particularly if it's your first time. Being drunk can make you feel confused or ill, which can make the experience unpleasant.
If you’re drunk, you might not even remember having sex. And you're more likely to regret it, especially if it’s your first time.

Is sex safe when you’ve been drinking?

It's not safe if you don't use a condom. Alcohol stops you making sensible decisions such as using a condom, which is the only way to protect yourself from pregnancy and STIs. Not using a condom puts you at a greater risk of both.
If you’re drunk, you’re less likely to be thinking clearly enough to talk to your partner about using condoms, or to use condoms properly. Find out tips on using condoms.
If you or your partner take the contraceptive pill and alcohol makes you sick, the pill is less likely to work and there's a real risk of pregnancy. Find out what to do if you're on the pill and you're sick.

Emergency action

If you have unprotected sex, you can lower your chances of having an unintended pregnancy by getting emergency contraception from your local clinic or GP.
The emergency pill (also known as the 'morning-after' pill) can be used up to 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex, but it's more effective the sooner it’s taken. A doctor or nurse can help you to get tested for STIs. Find sexual health services near you, including contraceptive clinics.
If you or someone you know is having problems due to alcohol or drug use, you can get help. Visit Talk to Frank for help and advice, or call 0800 776600.

Sexual assault

Being drunk makes you vulnerable to sexual assault. This can happen to anyone, however old or young they are, and whether they’re male, female, gay, straight or bisexual. If someone tries to have sex with you and you don't want to do it, you always have the right to say no, whether you’re drunk or not.
Find out where to get help if you've been sexually assaulted.

15 things you should know about sex


1: You can get pregnant the first time that you have sex.

You may have heard that a girl can't get pregnant the first time that she has sex. The truth is, if a boy and a girl have sex and don’t use contraception, she can get pregnant, whether it’s her first time or she has had sex lots of times.
A boy can get a girl pregnant the first time he has sex. If you’re female and have sex, you can get pregnant as soon as you start ovulating (releasing eggs). This happens before you have your first period. Find out more about periods and the menstrual cycle.
Using contraception protects against pregnancy. Using condoms also protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Before you have sex, talk to your partner about contraception, and make sure you’ve got some contraception. Find out about getting contraception and tips on using condoms.

2: You can get pregnant if a boy withdraws (pulls out) his penis before he comes.

There's a myth that a girl can’t get pregnant if a boy withdraws his penis before he ejaculates (comes). The truth is, pulling out the penis won’t stop a girl from getting pregnant.
Before a boy ejaculates, there's sperm in the pre-ejaculatory fluid (pre-come), which leaks out when he gets excited. It only takes one sperm to get a girl pregnant. Pre-come can contain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so withdrawing the penis won't prevent you from getting an infection.
If a boy says he’ll take care to withdraw before he ejaculates, don’t believe him. Nobody can stop themselves from leaking sperm before they come. Always use a condom to protect yourself against STIs, and also use other contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

3: You can get pregnant if you have sex during your period.

There's a myth that a girl can’t get pregnant if she has sex during her period. The truth is, she can get pregnant at any time of the month if she has sex without contraception.
Sperm can survive for several days after sex, so even if you do it during your period, sperm can stay in the body long enough to get you pregnant.

4: You can get pregnant if you have sex standing up, sitting down or in any other position.

You may have heard the myth that a girl can’t get pregnant if she has sex standing up, sitting down, or if she jumps up and down afterwards. The truth is, there’s no such thing as a ‘safe’ position if you’re having sex without a condom or another form of contraception.
There are also no ‘safe’ places to have sex, including the bath or shower. Pregnancy can happen whatever position you do it in, and wherever you do it. All that's needed is for a sperm to meet an egg.

5: You can't get pregnant by having oral sex.

You may have heard that you can get pregnant by having oral sex. The truth is, a girl can’t get pregnant this way, even if she swallows sperm. But you can catch STIs through oral sex, including gonorrhoea, chlamydia and herpes. It’s safer to use a condom on a penis, and a dam (a very thin, soft plastic square that acts as a barrier) over the female genitals if you have oral sex.

6: Drinking alcohol doesn't make you better in bed.

There's a myth that drinking alcohol makes you perform better in bed. The truth is, when you’re drunk it’s hard to make smart decisions. Alcohol can make you take risks, such as having sex before you’re ready, or having sex with someone you don't like. Drinking won't make the experience better. You’re more likely to regret having sex if you do it when you’re drunk. Find out more about sex and alcohol.

7: You can’t use clingfilm, plastic bags, crisp packets or anything else instead of a condom. They won't work.

There's a myth that you can use a plastic bag, clingfilm or a crisp packet instead of a condom. The truth is, you can't. Only a condom can protect against STIs.
You can get condoms free from:
  • community contraceptive clinics
  • sexual health and genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics
  • some young persons services
You can also buy them from pharmacies and shops. Make sure that they have the CE mark on them, as this means that they've been tested to European safety standards. Find sexual health services near you, including contraception clinics.

8: A boy’s testicles (balls) will not explode if he doesn’t have sex.

You may have heard the myth that if a boy doesn't have sex his balls will explode. The truth is, not having sex doesn't harm boys or girls, and a boy’s balls will not explode.
Boys and men produce sperm all the time. If they don’t ejaculate the sperm is absorbed into their body. Ejaculation can happen if they masturbate or have a wet dream. They don’t have to have sex. Find out about boys' bodies.

9: Condoms can't be washed out and used again.

Don't believe anyone who says that you can wash condoms and use them again. The truth is, you can't use a condom more than once, even if you wash it out. If you've used a condom, throw it away and use a new one if you have sex again.
This is true for male condoms and female condoms. Condoms need to be changed after 30 minutes of sex because friction can weaken the condom, making it more likely to break or fail. Get tips on using condoms.

10: You can get pregnant if you have sex only once.

You may have heard the myth that you have to have sex lots of times to get pregnant. The truth is, you can get pregnant if you have sex once. All it takes is for one sperm to meet an egg. To avoid pregnancy, always use contraception, and use a condom to protect against STIs.

11: You don't always get symptoms if you have an STI.

You may have heard the myth that you'd always know if you had an STI because it would hurt when you pee, or you’d notice a discharge, unusual smell or soreness. This isn't true.
Many people don't notice signs of infection, so you won't always know if you're infected. You can't tell by looking at someone whether they've got an STI. If you're worried that you've caught an STI, visit your GP or local sexual health clinic. Check-ups and tests for STIs are free and confidential, including for under-16s. Find out about sexual health services near you.

12: Women who have sex with women can get STIs.

You may have heard that women who sleep with women can’t get or pass on STIs. This isn't true. If a woman has an STI and has sex with another woman, the infection can be passed on through vaginal fluid (including fluid on shared sex toys), blood or close body contact.
Always use condoms on shared sex toys, and use dams to cover the genitals during oral sex. A dam is a very thin, soft plastic square that acts as a barrier to prevent infection (ask about dams at a pharmacist or sexual health clinic). If a woman is also having sex with a man, using contraception and condoms will help to prevent STIs and unintended pregnancy.

13: Not all gay men have anal sex. 

You may have heard that all gay men have anal sex. This isn't true. Anal sex, like any sexual activity, is a matter of preference. Some people choose to do it as part of their sex life and some don’t, whether they're gay, straight, lesbian or bisexual.
According to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (taken in 2000), 12.3% of men and 11.3% of women had had anal sex in the previous year. Whatever sex you have, use a condom to protect yourself and your partner against STIs. However, having sex isn't the only way to show your feelings for someone.

14: A girl is not ready to have sex just because she's started her periods.

You may have heard that a girl should be having sex once she starts having periods. This isn't true. Starting your periods means that you're growing up, and that you could get pregnant if you were to have sex. It doesn’t mean that you're ready to have sex, or that you should be sexually active. People feel ready to have sex at different times. It’s a personal decision. Most young people in England wait until they're 16 or older before they start having sex. Find out more about periods and the menstrual cycle.

15: Help is available if you need it.

If you want to talk to someone in confidence, you can call the Sexual Health Helpline on 0800 567 123.
Find sexual health services near you.
To find your nearest young people's service, visit the Ask Brook website.  
Find out where to get help when sex goes wrong.
Condom, no condom? is an interactive video on YouTube where you decide what happens. Just choose which button to click at the end of each section to continue the story, and see the consequences of your choices.

Ramadan health FAQs

Here are some frequently asked health questions about fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
These answers have been put together by medical experts and Islamic scholars and researchers.
Should a person with diabetes fast?
People who have their diabetes under control, either by their diet or using tablets, may fast. However, their GP may require them to change their medication to help them take tablets outside fasting times. Those who need insulin to control their diabetes should not fast.
I get severe migraines when I don't eat and they get worse when I fast. Should I fast?
People with uncontrolled migraines should not fast. However, managing your migraines is possible with the right medicine and certain lifestyle changes. Ask your GP for further advice on controlling your migraines.
Should a person with high or low blood pressure fast?
People with well-controlled high blood pressure may fast. Their GP may require a change to their medicine to help them take tablets outside fasting times. Someone with low blood pressure who is otherwise healthy may fast. They must ensure they drink enough fluid and have enough salt.
Is fasting harmful when a woman is expecting a baby? Must pregnant women fast?
There's medical evidence to show that fasting in pregnancy is not a good idea. If a pregnant woman feels strong and healthy enough to fast, especially during the early part of the pregnancy, she may do so. If she doesn't feel well enough to fast, Islamic law gives her clear permission not to fast, and to make up the missed fasts later. If she is unable to do this, she must perform fidyah (a method of compensation for a missed act of worship).
Is Ramadan a good time to quit smoking?
Yes. Smoking is bad for your health and Ramadan is a great opportunity to change unhealthy habits, including smoking. Find out more about stopping smoking.
From what age can children fast safely?
Children are required to fast upon reaching puberty. It isn't harmful. Fasting before this age is tolerated differently depending on the attitude of the parents and the child’s general health and nutrition.
Fasting for children under the age of seven or eight isn't advisable. It's a good idea to make children aware of what fasting involves and to practise fasting for a few hours at a time.
Can I use an asthma inhaler during Ramadan?
Muslim experts have differing opinions on this issue. Some say that using an asthma inhaler isn't the same as eating or drinking, and is therefore permitted during fasting. In their view, people with asthma can fast and use their inhalers whenever they need to.
However, other scholars say that the inhaler provides small amounts of liquid medicine to the lungs, so it breaks the fast. They say that people with poor control of their asthma must not fast until good control is achieved. Some people with asthma may opt for longer-acting inhalers so that they can fast. See your GP for further advice.
Can I swim during fasting?
Yes, but do not drink the water. A bath or shower, or swimming, has no effect on the fast. However, no water should be swallowed during any of these activities as that would break the fast.
Can a person fast if they are getting a blood transfusion in hospital?
No. A person receiving a blood transfusion is advised not to fast on medical grounds. They may fast on the days when no transfusions are required.
I am on regular medication. Can I still fast?
If the medicine needs to be taken during fasting, do not fast. If this medication is required as treatment for a short illness, you can compensate for missed fasts by fasting on other days when you are well.
If you are on long-term medication then you could talk to your GP about whether you could change your medication, so that you can take it outside the time of the fast.
If your disease is unstable, or poorly controlled, do not fast. Those who are unable to carry out the missed fasts later, due to the long-term use of medication, should do fidyah.
Does a breastfeeding woman have to fast?
No. Islamic law says a breastfeeding mother does not have to fast. Missed fasts must be compensated for by fasting at a later date, or fidyah, once breastfeeding has stopped.
Can a Muslim patient take tablets, have injections or use patches while fasting?
Taking tablets breaks the fast. However, injections, patches, eardrops and eyedrops do not break the fast as they are not considered to be food and drink (though there are differences of opinion among Muslim scholars on these issues). Islamic law says sick people should not fast.
Could dehydration become so bad that you have to break the fast?
Yes. You could become very dehydrated if you do not drink enough water before the fast. Poor hydration can be made worse by weather conditions, and even everyday activities such as walking to work or housework.
If you produce very little or no urine, feel disoriented and confused, or faint due to dehydration, you must stop fasting and have a drink of water or other fluid. Islam doesn't require you to harm yourself in fulfilling the fast. If a fast is broken, it will need to be compensated for by fasting at a later date.
Can I fast while I have dialysis?
People on peritoneal dialysis must not fast and should perform fidyah. Haemodialysis is performed about three times a week and causes significant shifts of fluids and salts within the body. Such patients must not fast and should perform fidyah.
asting is a symbolic act whose meaning becomes gradually apparent through experience. The meaning embodied in a ritual is always unveiled when one immerses himself or herself in the act itself. This does not mean that fasting is not open to intellectual delineation, but rather any intellectual delineation either presupposes or predicts a meaning that can best become apparent through performing the symbolic act itself.
- See more at: http://www.islamicity.com/Articles/articles.asp?ref=IC0510-2816#sthash.X29oLgSv.dpuf
Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims the world over. Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk for the duration of Ramadan. For some, fasting may appear as a form of deprivation and of bodily exertion. On one level, abstaining from sensual needs and pleasures is indeed a physical experience. But those who stop at the physical aspects of fasting miss the essence of Ramadan and its purpose.

Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. These are the foundation upon which the entire structure of Islam is built. These consist of the declaration of faith, prayer, fasting Ramadan, paying of Zakah [the annual charity payment], and performing the pilgrimage to Makkah, known as hajj. Three of the five pilars of Islam are rituals, that is, prescribed religious acts whose rationale is not immediately available for understanding. These are prayer, fasting, and hajj. Muslims are required to do them because they are part of their religious duties, that is, they are part of their covenant with God.

As a ritual, fasting is a symbolic act whose meaning becomes gradually apparent through experience. The meaning embodied in a ritual is always unveiled when one immerses himself or herself in the act itself. This does not mean that fasting is not open to intellectual delineation, but rather any intellectual delineation either presupposes or predicts a meaning that can best become apparent through performing the symbolic act itself.

Spiritual Development

The essence of fasting Ramadan and its goal is summed in the Qur'an in one word: taqwa. "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may attain taqwa." (Qur'an 2:183)

But what is taqwa? And how does it relate to the physical act of fasting?

Taqwa is a recurring theme in the Qur'an and a paramount Qur'anic value. Taqwa is both an attitude and a process. It is the proper attitude of the human toward the divine that denotes love, devotion, and fear. Love to the source of good and beauty that make life worth living; devotion to God's boundless wisdom and majesty; and fear of misunderstanding the divine intent or failing in maintaining the appropriate posture and relationship.

The attitude of taqwa cannot and does not stay in the confines of the human spirit, but is ultimately revealed in expression and action. The attitude of taqwa is ultimately revealed in, and in turn reveals, the true character it nurtures: the commitment to the sublime values stressed by divine revelations of courage, generosity, compassion, honesty, steadfastness, and cooperation in pursuing what is right and true.

Taqwa is equally the process by which the believers internalize the sublime values of revelation and develop their character. Thus the Qur'an reminds the believers that they should not reduce religious practices to a set of blind rituals, of religiously ordained procedures performed at the level of physical movement, and that they should always be mindful that religious practices, like praying and fasting, ultimately aim at bringing about moral and spiritual uplifting: "It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West: But it is righteousness to believe in God and the Last day, and the Angels, the Book, and the Messengers; to give out of the things you hold dear to your kin, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, the one who asks, and to free the slave. And to be steadfast in prayer and to give for charity. To fulfill the covenants you have made, and to be firm and patient in times of pain, adversity, and panic. Such are the people of truth, and such are the God-conscious." (Qur'an 2:177) 
- See more at: http://www.islamicity.com/Articles/articles.asp?ref=IC0510-2816#sthash.X29oLgSv.dpuf
Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims the world over. Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk for the duration of Ramadan. For some, fasting may appear as a form of deprivation and of bodily exertion. On one level, abstaining from sensual needs and pleasures is indeed a physical experience. But those who stop at the physical aspects of fasting miss the essence of Ramadan and its purpose.

Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. These are the foundation upon which the entire structure of Islam is built. These consist of the declaration of faith, prayer, fasting Ramadan, paying of Zakah [the annual charity payment], and performing the pilgrimage to Makkah, known as hajj. Three of the five pilars of Islam are rituals, that is, prescribed religious acts whose rationale is not immediately available for understanding. These are prayer, fasting, and hajj. Muslims are required to do them because they are part of their religious duties, that is, they are part of their covenant with God.

As a ritual, fasting is a symbolic act whose meaning becomes gradually apparent through experience. The meaning embodied in a ritual is always unveiled when one immerses himself or herself in the act itself. This does not mean that fasting is not open to intellectual delineation, but rather any intellectual delineation either presupposes or predicts a meaning that can best become apparent through performing the symbolic act itself.

Spiritual Development

The essence of fasting Ramadan and its goal is summed in the Qur'an in one word: taqwa. "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may attain taqwa." (Qur'an 2:183)

But what is taqwa? And how does it relate to the physical act of fasting?

Taqwa is a recurring theme in the Qur'an and a paramount Qur'anic value. Taqwa is both an attitude and a process. It is the proper attitude of the human toward the divine that denotes love, devotion, and fear. Love to the source of good and beauty that make life worth living; devotion to God's boundless wisdom and majesty; and fear of misunderstanding the divine intent or failing in maintaining the appropriate posture and relationship.

The attitude of taqwa cannot and does not stay in the confines of the human spirit, but is ultimately revealed in expression and action. The attitude of taqwa is ultimately revealed in, and in turn reveals, the true character it nurtures: the commitment to the sublime values stressed by divine revelations of courage, generosity, compassion, honesty, steadfastness, and cooperation in pursuing what is right and true.

Taqwa is equally the process by which the believers internalize the sublime values of revelation and develop their character. Thus the Qur'an reminds the believers that they should not reduce religious practices to a set of blind rituals, of religiously ordained procedures performed at the level of physical movement, and that they should always be mindful that religious practices, like praying and fasting, ultimately aim at bringing about moral and spiritual uplifting: "It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West: But it is righteousness to believe in God and the Last day, and the Angels, the Book, and the Messengers; to give out of the things you hold dear to your kin, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, the one who asks, and to free the slave. And to be steadfast in prayer and to give for charity. To fulfill the covenants you have made, and to be firm and patient in times of pain, adversity, and panic. Such are the people of truth, and such are the God-conscious." (Qur'an 2:177) 
- See more at: http://www.islamicity.com/Articles/articles.asp?ref=IC0510-2816#sthash.X29oLgSv.dpuf
Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims the world over. Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk for the duration of Ramadan. For some, fasting may appear as a form of deprivation and of bodily exertion. On one level, abstaining from sensual needs and pleasures is indeed a physical experience. But those who stop at the physical aspects of fasting miss the essence of Ramadan and its purpose.

Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. These are the foundation upon which the entire structure of Islam is built. These consist of the declaration of faith, prayer, fasting Ramadan, paying of Zakah [the annual charity payment], and performing the pilgrimage to Makkah, known as hajj. Three of the five pilars of Islam are rituals, that is, prescribed religious acts whose rationale is not immediately available for understanding. These are prayer, fasting, and hajj. Muslims are required to do them because they are part of their religious duties, that is, they are part of their covenant with God.

As a ritual, fasting is a symbolic act whose meaning becomes gradually apparent through experience. The meaning embodied in a ritual is always unveiled when one immerses himself or herself in the act itself. This does not mean that fasting is not open to intellectual delineation, but rather any intellectual delineation either presupposes or predicts a meaning that can best become apparent through performing the symbolic act itself.

Spiritual Development

The essence of fasting Ramadan and its goal is summed in the Qur'an in one word: taqwa. "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may attain taqwa." (Qur'an 2:183)

But what is taqwa? And how does it relate to the physical act of fasting?

Taqwa is a recurring theme in the Qur'an and a paramount Qur'anic value. Taqwa is both an attitude and a process. It is the proper attitude of the human toward the divine that denotes love, devotion, and fear. Love to the source of good and beauty that make life worth living; devotion to God's boundless wisdom and majesty; and fear of misunderstanding the divine intent or failing in maintaining the appropriate posture and relationship.

The attitude of taqwa cannot and does not stay in the confines of the human spirit, but is ultimately revealed in expression and action. The attitude of taqwa is ultimately revealed in, and in turn reveals, the true character it nurtures: the commitment to the sublime values stressed by divine revelations of courage, generosity, compassion, honesty, steadfastness, and cooperation in pursuing what is right and true.

Taqwa is equally the process by which the believers internalize the sublime values of revelation and develop their character. Thus the Qur'an reminds the believers that they should not reduce religious practices to a set of blind rituals, of religiously ordained procedures performed at the level of physical movement, and that they should always be mindful that religious practices, like praying and fasting, ultimately aim at bringing about moral and spiritual uplifting: "It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West: But it is righteousness to believe in God and the Last day, and the Angels, the Book, and the Messengers; to give out of the things you hold dear to your kin, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, the one who asks, and to free the slave. And to be steadfast in prayer and to give for charity. To fulfill the covenants you have made, and to be firm and patient in times of pain, adversity, and panic. Such are the people of truth, and such are the God-conscious." (Qur'an 2:177) 
- See more at: http://www.islamicity.com/Articles/articles.asp?ref=IC0510-2816#sthash.X29oLgSv.dpuf
Ramadan is the month of fasting for Muslims the world over. Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk for the duration of Ramadan. For some, fasting may appear as a form of deprivation and of bodily exertion. On one level, abstaining from sensual needs and pleasures is indeed a physical experience. But those who stop at the physical aspects of fasting miss the essence of Ramadan and its purpose.

Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. These are the foundation upon which the entire structure of Islam is built. These consist of the declaration of faith, prayer, fasting Ramadan, paying of Zakah [the annual charity payment], and performing the pilgrimage to Makkah, known as hajj. Three of the five pilars of Islam are rituals, that is, prescribed religious acts whose rationale is not immediately available for understanding. These are prayer, fasting, and hajj. Muslims are required to do them because they are part of their religious duties, that is, they are part of their covenant with God.

As a ritual, fasting is a symbolic act whose meaning becomes gradually apparent through experience. The meaning embodied in a ritual is always unveiled when one immerses himself or herself in the act itself. This does not mean that fasting is not open to intellectual delineation, but rather any intellectual delineation either presupposes or predicts a meaning that can best become apparent through performing the symbolic act itself.

Spiritual Development

The essence of fasting Ramadan and its goal is summed in the Qur'an in one word: taqwa. "O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may attain taqwa." (Qur'an 2:183)

But what is taqwa? And how does it relate to the physical act of fasting?

Taqwa is a recurring theme in the Qur'an and a paramount Qur'anic value. Taqwa is both an attitude and a process. It is the proper attitude of the human toward the divine that denotes love, devotion, and fear. Love to the source of good and beauty that make life worth living; devotion to God's boundless wisdom and majesty; and fear of misunderstanding the divine intent or failing in maintaining the appropriate posture and relationship.

The attitude of taqwa cannot and does not stay in the confines of the human spirit, but is ultimately revealed in expression and action. The attitude of taqwa is ultimately revealed in, and in turn reveals, the true character it nurtures: the commitment to the sublime values stressed by divine revelations of courage, generosity, compassion, honesty, steadfastness, and cooperation in pursuing what is right and true.

Taqwa is equally the process by which the believers internalize the sublime values of revelation and develop their character. Thus the Qur'an reminds the believers that they should not reduce religious practices to a set of blind rituals, of religiously ordained procedures performed at the level of physical movement, and that they should always be mindful that religious practices, like praying and fasting, ultimately aim at bringing about moral and spiritual uplifting: "It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards East or West: But it is righteousness to believe in God and the Last day, and the Angels, the Book, and the Messengers; to give out of the things you hold dear to your kin, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, the one who asks, and to free the slave. And to be steadfast in prayer and to give for charity. To fulfill the covenants you have made, and to be firm and patient in times of pain, adversity, and panic. Such are the people of truth, and such are the God-conscious." (Qur'an 2:177) 
- See more at: http://www.islamicity.com/Articles/articles.asp?ref=IC0510-2816#sthash.X29oLgSv.dpuf

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a time of fasting for the Islamic people. Each day during this month, Muslims all over the world abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, as well as participating in anything that is ill-natured or excessive; from dawn until the sun sets. Fasting is intended to educate the Muslim in spirituality, humility and patience. It is a time to cleanse the soul, focus attention on God, and put into practice selflessness. Ramadan is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of God and to put forward more prayer than is customary.
Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of the Islam religion, and one of the main types of Islamic worship. Restraint from everyday enjoyment and curbing wicked intentions and cravings are considered as an act of compliance and obedience to God, as well as amends for sins, faults, and mistakes. Ramadan is also called Ramazan. During Ramadan, Muslims request forgiveness for sins in the past, pray for direction and assistance in abstaining from everyday troubles, and endeavor to cleanse themselves through self-control and great acts of faith.
In comparison to the solar calendar, the Ramadan dates differ, moving forward approximately ten days every year due to the fact that it is a moving holiday which is dependent on the moon. Ramadan was the month in which the initial verses of the Qur'an were said to be shown to Muhammad, the Islamic Prophet.
The name "Ramadan" had been the name of the ninth month in Arabian tradition prior to the onset of Islam; the word itself originated from an Arabic root “rmd”, in words like "ramida" or "ar-ramad” which means severe heat, burnt ground as well as shortness of provisions. Individuals say it is named Ramadan because it burns out the sins with good deeds, as the sun scorches the ground. In the Qu'ran, God declares that "fasting has been written down upon you, as it was upon those before you". In accordance with the first hadith, this is in reference to the Jewish custom of fasting on Yom Kippur.
The lunar cycle determines the Islamic calendar, therefore the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month commences with a mixture of the sighting of the new moon as well as astronomical calculations. The precise time of Ramadan will at times vary from place to place because some depend a great deal on moon sightings, while others rely on science. An Imam which is a Muslim holy man will make known the correct time of Ramadan right before it begins. The fasting phase finishes upon the sighting of the next new moon, which take place after 29 or 30 days.
Ramadan conveys an extraordinary sense of emotional enthusiasm and religious eagerness among Muslims of all ages. Even though fasting is compulsory for adults alone, children as young as eight readily watch fasting with their elders. Children look forward to the thrill of the moon sighting and eating unique meals with their relatives. Adults are grateful for the chance to double their rewards from God and ask for pardon for their past sins. Ramadan highlights Muslim brotherhood and customs and brings about a special feeling of closeness.
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Ramadan (calendar month)

Ramadan (Arabic:; رمضان) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which Muslims believe the Quran was revealed.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. Muslims believe that the Quran was sent down to the lowest heaven during this month, thus being prepared for gradual revelation by Jibraeel (Gabriel) to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Furthermore, Muhammad told his followers that the gates of Heaven would be open all the month and the gates of Hell (Jahannam) would be closed. The first three days of the next month, Shawwal, is spent in celebrations and is observed as the "Festival of Breaking Fast" or Eid al-Fitr

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year and contains no intercalation, Ramadan migrates throughout the seasons. The Islamic day starts after sunset. The actual and estimated start and end dates for Ramadan in 2003–2017 were and are as follows:
CE / AD AH First day Last day
2003 1424 26 October 24 November
2004 1425 15 October 13 November
2005 1426 4 October 2 November
2006 1427 24 September 23 October
2007 1428 13 September 12 October
2008 1429 1 September 30 September
2009 1430 22 August 19 September
2010 1431 11 August 9 September
2011 1432 1 August 29 August
2012 1433 20 July 18 August
2013 1434 10 July 7 August
2014 1435 28 June 27 July
2015 1436 18 June 16 July
2016 1437 6 June 5 July
2017 1438 27 May 25 June
All of the Ramadan dates between 2014 and 2017 are estimates
Many Muslims insist on the local physical sighting of the moon to mark the beginning of Ramadan, but others use the calculated time of the new moon or the Saudi Arabian declaration to determine the start of the month. Since the new moon is not in the same state at the same time globally, the beginning and ending dates of Ramadan depend on what lunar sightings are received in each respective location. As a result, Ramadan dates vary in different countries, but usually only by a day. This is due to the cycle of the moon. The moon travels the same path all year round and when the moon is seen in the east, it is then seen traveling towards the west. All the countries around the world see the moon within a 24 hour period once spotted by one country in the east.
Each year, Ramadan begins about eleven days earlier than in the previous year. Astronomical projections that approximate the start of Ramadan are available. It takes about 33 years and five days for Ramadan to complete a twelve month move across the yearly calendar. As Ramadan 28 March 1990 to Ramadan 22 March 2023.

Apple iPhone 5S Rumors: Release Date Set For Mid-September? iPhone 6 To Launch Weeks Later?

Apple iPhone 5S Rumors: Release Date Set For Mid-September? iPhone 6 To Launch Weeks Later?

It's been six years since Steve Jobs debuted the original iPhone in June 2007, but for the phone's first five years, Apple had chosen to release only one new iPhone model each year, as opposed to its competitors, which have sought to release as many smartphone models as possible each and every year.
In 2013, Apple will reportedly break from tradition and release two new iPhone models for the very first time -- the sixth-generation iPhone called the iPhone 5S, and a completely new "low-cost" iPhone model aimed at emerging markets, to be called either iPhone Light or iPhone 6. But while the degree of rumors surrounding the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 indeed point to two individual release dates this year, the key question is not a matter of what or why, but when. Apple will never release product details before they're officially unveiled, but given the timetable announced for Apple's redesigned mobile operating system iOS 7, we fully expect to see Apple's big iPhone launch coincide with the release date schedule of iOS 7 -- specifically in mid-September.
Apple iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 Release Date: How Did We Arrive At This Conclusion?
Before we talk iPhone, let's quickly talk about the release date of iOS 7. In 2012, iOS 6 was introduced June 11 and saw its release date on Sept. 19 -- exactly 100 days after its unveiling. We don't think Tim Cook wants to mess with the successful Apple formula left behind by Steve Jobs, so we believe Apple will again follow this iOS release timetable by launching iOS 7 exactly 100 days after its introduction, on Sept. 18.
That said, Apple would never release its newest iOS without some new hardware to go with it. This is why we fully expect Apple to release the iPhone 5S just two days after the release date for iOS 7, on Sept. 20; the iPhone 5S would likely be introduced an event one week prior to its release (as well as the release date of iOS 7) on Sept. 10. For the low-cost iPhone 6, Apple may wait a week or two to release its cheaper iPhone alternative, on either Sept. 27 or Oct. 4 -- the latter date would coincide with the two-year anniversary of the iPhone 4S, and nearly two years to the day when Apple lost its co-founder Jobs to cancer, but Apple would simply split the release dates of its two iPhones to prevent major crowds at its retail stores.
Once Apple has all its iPhone products out of the pipeline, we believe Apple will hold another event in October to release new iPads, including a redesigned full-size iPad and an iPad mini with Retina display, but possibly some surprises too -- potentially some major changes to Apple TV, but maybe, just maybe, Apple will finally unveil its highly rumored, highly anticipated smartwatch called iWatch.
Apple iPhone 5S Release Date Coming: What's New In This Year's Model?
By all accounts, the iPhone 5S will look identical its predecessor the iPhone 5, with the exception of a few cosmetic changes. Apple has reportedly adopted dual-LED flash for its rear-facing camera, which means that circular flash is now pill-shaped, and many believe the iPhone 5S camera has been improved from the 8-megapixels in the iPhone 5, likely to 12-megapixels. Photos leaked to Apple news site MacRumors in mid-June claiming to be the iPhone 5S, which show off some of these reported features as well as unique identifiers related to the iPhone 5S components, lead us to believe the iPhone 5S photos are indeed legitimate and the phone is preparing for its September release date.
iphone_5S_5_side_by_side The alleged prototype of the iPhone 5S on the left, and the iPhone 5 on the right. The iPhone 5S will feature improved specs in the processing and battery departments.  Courtesy / MacRumors.com
Inside, the iPhone 5S is expected to operate just like the iPhone 5, but the specs have been modified in a number of ways to make room for new features. According to another leaked image of the iPhone 5S from the same source, the phone's logic board has a slightly narrower profile to allow more space for new components and connectors, and Apple has improved its Apple-built CPU from an A6. But since the leaked image shows a nameless Apple-built chip (likely an intentional move by Apple to prevent leaks, since the new chip would make this phone a dead giveaway), we're predicting this CPU is a new A7 chip designed by Apple and introduced for the first time on this phone. The iPhone 5S has also reportedly received an upgrade in the battery department, from the iPhone 5's 5.45 Whr capacity to a higher capacity of 5.92 Whr.
iphone_5s_interior The alleged interior of the iPhone 5S features a thinner logic board presumed to make room for more components, including the rumored fingerprint sensor.  Courtesy / MacRumors.com
But the biggest new feature inside the iPhone 5S, by all accounts, is said to be the integrated fingerprint sensor embedded directly in the "home" button, which will likely replace the need for entering usernames and passwords again and again on your phone. This fingerprint sensor -- courtesy of Florida-based AuthenTec, which was urgently acquired by Apple last July -- makes a great deal of sense on the iPhone 5S: The iPhone has always had one button, so the fingerprint's sensor makes sense, but Apple knew fingerprint sensing technology would be a hit with consumers a long time ago, so the company invested millions of dollars to start implementing this technology as soon as possible.
The iPhone 5S Sounds Great, But What About That Cheap iPhone 6?
When it comes to the iPhone 6, Apple is reportedly pursuing its same strategy used for the iPod Touch, which is to release a low-end version of the popular iDevice with all of the same important features, but without some of the bells and whistles, and at a much lower price point. Apple released its cheapest, thinnest, most basic iPod Touch in May, likely foreshadowing its strategy with the release of iPhone 6.
The iPhone 6, according to iLounge editor-in-chief Jeremy Horwitz, is a "cross between the iPhone 5, the fifth-generation iPod touch, and -- wait for it -- the iPod classic." With its 4-inch screen like the iPhone 5, a tapered bottom like the latest iPod touch and a rectangular shape like the iPod classic, the low-cost iPhone 6 is said to be substantially made from plastic, but feature a hybrid chassis made of both plastic and metal. The right side of the iPhone 6 features a flat, centered SIM card tray like the iPhone 5, with the locations of the camera, microphone and rear flash in similar locations to the latest-generation iPod touch.
iphone-6-tactus This leaked photo shows off the alleged "low cost" iPhone 6, which features a plastic exterior that houses older-generation chipsets and specs.  Courtesy / blog.tactus.com
But Apple's choice to release the iPhone 6 isn't about bold design; it's about an iPhone that's inexpensive to make and cheaper to sell. Apple will release the iPhone 6 globally, marketing it differently from its main iPhone line by allegedly releasing the iPhone 6 in a variety of candy colors (again like the iPod), but the company will reportedly focus on driving this phone into emerging markets such as India and China. Of the two developing markets, China is Apple's largest after the U.S., and Apple has many times tried to strike a deal with China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL), the largest telecommunications carrier in the world, with 703 million subscribers. If Apple is successful in selling the iPhone 6 on China Mobile, the iPhone 6 will be the first iPhone to release with TD-LTE frequency capabilities. Apple clearly wanted to close the deal early in 2013: On Jan. 10, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China Mobile headquarters to meet with Chairman Xi Guohua to discuss “matters of cooperation.”

 We expect Apple to unveil the iPhone 6 simultaneously with the iPhone 5S in September to coincide with the release date of iOS 7, but release the two new iPhone models on two separate dates to avoid heavy lines at its physical retail stores. What do you think? Does this release timetable for iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 seem reasonable to you? Strike back in the comments section below.

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
Worked well for Website DA, Entrepreneurship, Starting a Blog, Payoneer MasterCard, Sex Tips, Phone Sex, So how do you think? Want to get into her pants? Read here