What not to do in Ramadan
Sat, 21 Jul 2012 19:37:34 GMT
It is common knowledge for Muslims that Ramadan is the month of fasting for all capable adults who have no valid exemptions. Simply stated, fasting in Ramadan means abstaining from food, drink, smoking, and intimate marital relations from dawn to sunset everyday for the whole month.
However, what many of us forget is that the stated definition is only the basic act of fasting; and beneath the simplicity lies a much bigger and more important set of do's and don'ts if we truly wish to derive the full benefit of our fasting.
Over the ages, innovations and cultural norms and customs crept in and mixed with the pristine worship, thereby tarnishing its true meaning. Instead of focusing on the aspects of worship, purification of the soul, and reflecting on the mercy of this blessed month in our behaviors, we tend to spoil our fasting by indulging in certain acts that contradict the very essence of the month.
So what should we not do in Ramadan? Here is my short list:
- Ramadan is not for arguing or debating over the Hilal or moon sighting, so don't waste time debating this issue, rather focus on learning something that would benefit yourself and your family.
- Ramadan is not for overeating, overindulging in food, drinks, or obsessive cooking, so eat in moderation that which is halal, organic and wholesome, and try to shed a few pounds. Fasting should teach us self control and discipline over our bodies and over what we consume. With so much in the news these days about the "fattening of America," reporting that 66% of adult Americans are overweight or obese, there is a compelling argument to be made that we should eat less, lose weight, and be more conscious of our health. It is our annual chance to shed those extra pounds, but unfortunately most of us do the opposite! Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) taught us moderation and self control in all aspects of life, and forbade us to harm ourselves, directly or indirectly.
- Ramadan is not for Haram, so avoid Haram in selling, buying, eating, drinking, smoking, and in your relationships. If we can abstain from what is permissible and even our necessities during our fasting, then why can't we abstain from what is prohibited?
- Ramadan is not for cheating, lying, backbiting, gossiping, slandering, or spreading rumors. If the tongue is able to avoid the pleasure of tasting the food and quenching its thirst, then why not keep it clean from what can ruin our fast?
- Ramadan is not for overspending on food and parties. Feed the poor, invite the relatives and friends, but do not show off or compete in overspending. As it turns out, we Americans waste an astounding amount of food - an estimated 27% of food available for consumption, according to a government study - and it happens at the supermarket, in restaurants and cafeterias, and in our very own kitchens. That breaks down to about a pound of food for every American, wasted every single day.
- Ramadan is not for oversleeping. Pray more in the night, read Quran, work during the day. That is the Sunnah of our Prophet (PBUH). Laziness has no place in Ramadan.
- Ramadan is not for wasting time by watching more TV. Television channels compete in showing their best programs during this time, and many of us spend hours each day and night watching them. Time is precious, we will regret every minute wasted by not spending it in an act of worship or goodness. So this Ramadan why not pledge to yourself and ask your family to cut down on the tube time? Read a book instead, it is much more rewarding. Let us benefit from the rewards Allah has promised us during this blessed month, and try to forge better lifelong habits in the process.
- Ramadan is not for inviting the wealthy while ignoring the poor, so when we plan our Iftars, let us remember to invite those who are usually forgotten.
- Ramadan is not for losing control over our nerves or emotions, frowning, showing anger, or making excuses for letting ourselves vent or explode because "I am fasting and hungry." It should be the opposite. In fact, fasting should teach us how to control our emotions, to be more patient, balance the mind, body and soul, and smile.
Many of us will read this article and say: "Easier said than done." That may very well be true, but who said that the road to Paradise is easy? Unless we struggle with every step on this journey we may lose the way, and that will be the biggest tragedy of all.
Back to top