Taking Ramadhan as Ritual
Taking Ramadan As Ritual
Zain Bin Younus, Jeddah
Assalam-u-Alaikum Wa RahmatULLAHI Wa Barakatuh MAY ALMIGHTY ALLAH, GIVE US HIDAYAT: For many of us Ramadan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual ( Stereotyped behavior) than a form of Ibaadah. We fast from morning to night like a zombie (living dead) just because everyone around us is fasting too. We forget that its a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil. We forget to make Dua, forget to beseech Allah to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Fire. Sure we stay away from food and drink but that‟s about all ?
Too much stress on food and drink
For some people, the entire month of Ramadan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salaah, Qur‟an and other acts of worship. All they can think of is FOOD so much so that they turn the month of „fasting‟ into the month of „feasting‟.
Spending all day cooking
Some of the sisters (either by their own choice or forced by their husbands) are cooking ALL day and ALL night, so that by the end of the day, they are too tired to even pray Ishaa, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud or even read Qur‟an. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and turn on your Imaan! Eating too much Some people stuff themselves at Suhoor (Sehree) until they are ready to burst, because they think this is the way to not feel hungry during the day and some people eat at Iftaar, like there is no tomorrow, trying to „make up for the food missed.‟ However, this is completely against the Sunnah. Moderation is the key to everything. The Prophet (Sal Allahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah. saheeh by al-Albaani). Too much food distracts a person from many deeds of obedience and worship, makes him lazy and also makes the heart heedless.
Sleeping all day
Some people spend their entire day (or a major part of it) ‟sleeping away their fast‟. Is this what is really required of us during this noble month? These people also are missing the purpose of fasting and are slaves to their desires of comfort and ease. They cannot „bear‟ to be awake and face a little hunger or exert a little self-control. For a fasting person to spend most of the day asleep is nothing but, negligence on his part.
The month of Ramadan is a precious, It is so much precious so that Allah calls this month “Ayyamum Ma‟doodaat“ (A fixed number of days). Before we know it, this month of mercy and forgiveness will be over. We should try and spend every moment possible in the worship of Allah so that we can make the most of this blessing. However, there are some of us who waste away their day playing video games, or worse still, watching TV, movies or even listening to music. Subhaan Allah! Trying to obey Allah by DISOBEYING him!
Fasting but not giving up evil
Some of us fast but do not give up lying, cursing, fighting, backbiting, etc. and some of us fast but do not give up cheating, stealing, dealing in haraam, buying lotto tickets, selling alcohol, fornication, etc. and all kinds of impermissible things without realizing that the purpose of fasting is to not stay away from food and drink; rather the aim behind it is to fear Allah. “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)” [al-Baqarah 2:183] The Prophet (Sal Allahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” (Bukhaari)
Stopping Suhoor( Sehree) at “Imsaak‟
Some people stop eating Suhoor 10-15 minutes earlier than the time of Fajr to observe “Imsaak‟. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: This is a kind of bidah (innovation) which has no basis in the Sunnah. Rather the Sunnah is to do the opposite. Allah allows us to eat until dawn: “and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)” [al-Baqarah 2:187] And the Prophet (pbuh) said: “…eat and drink until you hear the adhaan of Ibn Umm Maktoom, for he does not give the adhaan until dawn comes.” This “imsaak‟ which some of the people do is an addition to what Allah has prescribed, so it is false. It is a kind of extremism in religion, and the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed.” (Muslim)
Not fasting if they missed Suhoor ( Sehree)
Some people are too scared to fast if they miss Suhoor. However, this is a kind of cowardice and love of ease. What is the big deal if you missed a few morsels of food? It‟s not like you will die. Remember, obedience to Allah overcomes everything 10) Eating continuously until the time for Maghrib is up Some people put so much food in their plates when breaking their fast and continue eating, enjoying dessert, drinking tea, etc., until they miss Maghrib. That is obviously not right. The Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) was that once he broke his fast with some dates, then he would hasten to the prayer. Once you are done with the prayer, you can always go back and eat some more if you wish.
Missing the golden chance of having your Dua accepted
The prayer of the fasting person is guaranteed to be accepted at the time of breaking fast. The Prophet (Sal Allahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Three prayers are not rejected: the prayer of a father, the prayer of a fasting person, and the prayer of a traveler.” (al-Bayhaqi, saheeh by al-Albaani). Instead of sitting down and making Dua at this precious time, some people forego this beautiful chance, and are too busy frying samosas, talking, setting the food, filling their plates and glasses, etc. Think about it….Is food more important than the chance to have your sins forgiven or the fulfillment of your Duas.
Fasting but not praying
The fasting of one who does not pray WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. This is because not praying constitutes kufras the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer.” (Muslim) In fact, NONE of his good deeds will be accepted; rather, they are all annulled. “Whoever does not pray „Asr, his good deeds will be annulled.” (Bukhaari)
Fasting and not wearing Hijaab
Not wearing the Hijaab is a major sin as it is obligatory for Muslim women. (See Surah Nur, Surah Ahzaab). So fasting and not wearing hijaab certainly takes away enormously from the rewards of fasting, even if does not invalidate it. Not fasting because of exams or work Exams or work is NOT one of the excuses allowed by the Shariah to not fast. You can do your studying and revision at night if it is too hard to do that during the day. Also remember that pleasing and obeying Allah is much more important than „good grades‟. Besides, if you will fulfill your obligation to fast, even if you have to study, Allah will make it easy for you and help you in everything you do.“Whosoever fears Allah, He will appoint for him a way out and provide for him from where he does not expect, Allah is Sufficient for whosoever puts his trust in Him.” (Surah at-Talaaq 2-3).
Mixing fasting and dieting
DO NOT make the mistake of fasting with the intention to diet. That is one of the biggest mistakes some of us make (esp. sisters). Fasting is an act of worship and can only be for the sake of Allah alone. Otherwise, mixing it with the intention of dieting may become a form of (minor) Shirk.
Praying ONLY on the night of the 27th
Some people pray ONLY on the 27th to seek Lailat ul-Qadr, neglecting all other odd nights, although the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Seek Lailat ul-Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhaan.” (Bukhaari, Muslim).
Wasting the last part of Ramadhaan preparing for Eid
Some people waste the entire last 10 days of Ramadhaan preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting Ibadah and Lailatul Qadr. although, the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to strive the hardest during the last ten days of Ramadhaan in worship (Ahmad, Muslim) and not in shopping. Buy whatever you need for Eid before Ramadhaan so that you can utilize the time in Ramadhaan to the max.AAyeshah (RA) said: “When the (last) ten nights began, the Messenger of Allah (Sal Allahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam)) would tighten his waist-wrapper (i.e., strive hard in worship or refrain from intimacy with his wives), stay awake at night and wake his family.” (Bukhaari and Muslim).