Ramadhaan The Mistakes To Avoid.
Most Muslims who fast Ramadhaan focus on the benefits and rewards of it. But in doing so, we often make mistakes that instead of adding to our experience actually detract from it. Mistakes that can make us commercialize Ramadhaan as so many other religions have commercialized their sacred days. Insha’Allah the following serves as a reminder to me first and to all Muslims. May Allah help us to spend our time wisely this Ramadan and help us to avoid these mistakes. Aameen
Taking Ramadhaan as a ritual:
For many of us Ramadhaan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual than a form of Ibadah. We fast from morning to night like a zombie just because everyone around us is fasting too. We forget that it’s 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. Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Jibraeel said to me, ‘May Allah rub his nose in the dust, that person to who Ramadhaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (by not serving them) and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,’ and I said, ‘Ameen.’” (Tirmidhi)
Too much stress on food and drink:
For some people, the entire month of Ramadhaan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salaah, Quraan 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’. Come Iftaar time, their table is a sight to see, with the multitudes and varieties of food, sweets and drinks. They are missing the very purpose of fasting, and thus, increase in their greed and desires instead of learning to control them. It is also a kind of waste & extravagance.
وَڪُلُواْ وَٱشۡرَبُواْ وَلَا تُسۡرِفُوٓاْۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ
“…..and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance) ” (Surah al-Araaf 7:31)
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 Isha, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajud or even read Quraan. 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 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.
Rasulullah (SAW)) 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) Too much food distracts a person from many deeds of obedience and worship, makes him lazy and also makes the heart heedless.
It was said to Imam Ahmad: “Does a man find any softness and humility in his heart when he is full?” He said, “I do not think so.”
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 Ramadhaan is a precious, precious time, so much 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. Subhânallah! 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.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ
“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)” (Surah Baqarah 2:183)
Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allaah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” (Bukhari)
Smoking is forbidden in Islam whether during Ramadhaan or outside of it, as it is one of al-Khabaa’ith (evil things). And this includes ALL kinds of ‘smoking material’ eg. cigars, cigarettes, pipes,’Sheesha’ , hookah etc.
وَيَنۡہَٮٰهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنڪَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡخَبَـٰٓٮِٕثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنۡهُمۡ إِصۡرَهُمۡ وَٱلۡأَغۡلَـٰلَ ٱلَّتِى كَانَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡۚ
“he allows them as lawful At Tayyibaat (all good and lawful things), and prohibits them as unlawful Al Khabaa’ith (all evil and unlawful things).” (Surah al-A’raf 7:157]
It is harmful, not only to the one smoking, but also to the ones around him. It is also a means of wasting ones wealth. Rasulullah (SAW) said: “There should be no harming or reciprocating harm.” This is especially true during fasting and it invalidates the fast. (Fatwa -Ibn ‘Uthaymeen)
Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing.”(Bukhari, Muslim).
Rasulullah (SAW) said: “The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhoor.” (Muslim)
Stopping Suhoor at ‘Imsaak:’
Some people stop eating Suhoor 10-15 minutes earlier than the time of Fajr to observe ‘Imsaak’.
Shaikh 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)” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:187)
Rasulullah (SAW) said: “….eat and drink until you hear the adhan of Ibn Umm Maktoom, for he does not give the adhan until dawn comes.”
This ‘Imsaak’ which some of the people do is an addition to what Allaah has prescribed, so it is false. It is a kind of extremism in religion, and Rasulullah (SAW) 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:
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. Saying the intention to fast ‘out loud’ or saying a specific dua to start fasting The intention is an action of the heart. We should resolve in our heart that we are going to fast tomorrow. That is all we need. It is not prescribed by the Shariah for us to say out loud, “I intend to fast”, “I will fast tomorrow” or other phrases that have been innovated by some people. Also, there is no specific dua to be recited at the time of starting the fast in the correct Sunnah. Whatever ‘dua’ you may see on some papers or Ramadhaan calendars, etc. is a Bid’ah.
Delaying breaking fast:
Some people wait until the adhan finishes or even several minutes after that, just to be ‘on the safe side’. However, the Sunnah is to hasten to break the fast, which means breaking fast whenever the adhan starts, right after the sun has set. Aa’ishah (RA) said: “This is what Rasulullah (SAW) used to do.” (Muslim)
Rasulullah (SAW) said: “The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to break the fast.” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Determine to the best of your ability, the accuracy of your clock, calendar, etc. and then have Tawakul on Allah and break your fast exactly on time.
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 Rasulullah (SAW) was that once he broke his fast with some dates, them 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. Rasulullah (SAW) 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, sahih 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 Samoosa, 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 Kufr as Rasulullah (SAW) 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.” (Bukhari)
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.
وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِۚ وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجۡعَل لَّهُ ۥ مَخۡرَجً۬ا (٢) وَيَرۡزُقۡهُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَحۡتَسِبُۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسۡبُهُ ۥۤۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بَـٰلِغُ أَمۡرِهِۦۚ قَدۡ جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدۡرً۬ا (٣
“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 65:2-3)
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 Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Seek Lailat ul-Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhaan.” (Bukhari, 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 Lailat ul Qadr. although, Rasulullah (SAW) 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.
Aa’ishah (RA) said: “When the (last) ten nights began, Rasulullah (SAW) 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.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
Although inviting each other for breaking fast is something good and encouraged, some people go to extremes with lavish ‘Iftaar parties’ with all sorts of disobedience to Allaah, from flirting, mixing of the sexes and hijab-less women, to show-off and extravagance, to heedlessness to Salaah, and Taraweeh to even music and dancing.