Posted By Veiled Muslimah on/at 9/14/2008 05:37:00 PM


Assalāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāhi Wabarakath,

As the month of Ramadan comes by, Muslims all around the World go into a frenzy. Families stock up a few days or weeks before the first fast comes around. The supermarkets are full, with Women haggling over spices and other foodstuff that they'll make during Ramadan for Iftaar. This year, a couple of days before Ramadan started I was passing by a very crowded supermarket when I noticed a sign outside that said, only two pieces of rice and wheat were being allowed for an individual each because of the fear of running out of stock.

And no, they weren't giving it out for free, these things were being sold.

In all this hubbub and madness that takes place, the true essence of Ramadan in lost. People have started thinking of Ramadan as a festival of feasting, so much so, that when the fast is broken, because of the amount of food that is eaten, the physical healthy benefits of fasting is lost. When you go to the marketplaces during Ramadan, there are signs everywhere of 'Ramadan discounts' or 'Ramadan Festivals'. Ramadan has turned into a marketing month, where people use it to sell of their goods and try and earn as much as money as they can whilst also attracting Muslims who should actually be worshiping Allah. Not doing shopping.

But, in truth, Ramadan is a month of Ibaadah, [worship] of Allah subhanna wa ta'ala. It is a month of Qurán, as the Qurán was revealed during this month. It is a month of being extra generous, practicing patience and reviving your spiritual self.

It is NOT a month of Iftar parties, where the Women of the house-hold cook from morning till Iftaar, wasting away their days during Ramadan when they should be engaging in worship. In fact some people even miss their prayers or don't fast at all because they need to prepare for the iftar party! Iftar parties aren't wrong, but when they're done in excess and the remembrance of Allah subhanna wa ta'ala is not done in them, there is where they go wrong. Late-night volleyball and Cricket matches that go up till Suhoor or T.V Programs that people watch from after Iftar till suhoor. We have truly lost the meaning of Ramadan.

The month of Ramadan is a blessed month, a month where the mercy of Allah subhanna wa ta'ala descends on us, a month where the reward is tripled and where people are taken out from the hellfire.

Allah subhanna wa ta'ala says in the Qurán:

"Ramadhan is the (month) in which the Qur'an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting…" Qur'an (2:185)

The Sahaba [Companions of the Prophet SAWS] radi allahu anhum would stand in long prayers during the month of Ramadan, reading the Qurán and asking for the forgiveness of Allah subhanna wa ta'ala. They would spend their times doing nothing but Ibaadah, not wasting a minute. And why not? There are Angels who from the beginning of time have been doing prostrations to Allah subhanna wa ta'ala, and on the day of judgement will still say, 'Our Lord, we have not thanked you enough!'

And look at us! We do our fardh [compulsary] prayers and we think it is enough.

Allah subhanna wa ta'ala says in the Qurán about fasting:

"Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwaa." [2:183]

There are various definitions of taqwa, the most common one being: To fear and love Allah and to be God-Conscious. And know, that the reward for Taqwa is Paradise as is mentioned again and again in the Qur'an.

Allah says [in meaning] : "This is the Book; in it is guidance sure without doubt to the Muttaqeen [people of Taqwa]. Who believe in the Unseen are steadfast in prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them. And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee and sent before thy time and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter. They are on (true) guidance from their Lord and it is these who are the successful. (al-Baqarah 1:1-5)

A person might wonder, how does one attain taqwa just by refraining from food and drink? The answer to which is, fasting in the month of Ramadan is just not about refraining from food and drink. It is refraining from everything that is haraam and that which is specified specifically for this month.

The Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu alayhi wasallam has said: "Perhaps a person fasting will receive nothing from his fasting except hunger and thirst." [Ibn Maajah, Ad-Daarimee, Ahmad, al-Baihaqee, Saheeh]

When a person intends to fast, he should fast from backbiting, watching haraam, listening to that which is haraam and should refrain from being hurtful or evil to others. For as the hadith says, maybe a person might receive nothing, no reward, no benefit from his fasting, except hunger and thirst. This should exist all throughout Ramadan, and not stop when the Iftar breaks.

Sadly, we see this happening around us all the time. Muslim Women still dressed in inappropriate clothing during Ramadan, and they're 'fasting'. People backbiting others, and still 'fasting'. Muslims not offering their five daily prayers, and are 'fasting'. SubhanAllah! What benefit is your fast?

The Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam has said Ameen to those who do not attain forgiveness in the month of Ramadan and he has warned them of hell-fire.

Abu Hurairah also narrated that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, "Jibraa'eel, `alaihi assalam, came to me and said, 'Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and does not have [his sins] forgiven and so enters Fire, then may Allah distance him, say aameen". So I said "aameen". [Ibn Khuzaimah, Ahmad and al-Baihaqui : Sahih]

Why would anyone be so stupid and so ignorant, when the month of Ramadan comes by, a month where the mercy is bountiful, where-in doing any good deed is rewarded hundred to seven hundred times more then normal, where-in fasting the right way attains him forgiveness and a ticket to Paradise, not take advantage of it?

The rewards and virtues of Fasting are numerous. In fact, Allah azza wa jal has said that the reward for fasting is insurmountable, something that we cannot imagine because it is a deed done solely for him.

"Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving then times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah the Most High said, 'Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.' for the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk." [al-Bukhaaree]

Fasting expiates ones sins and protects the person from hell-fire. Fasting will intercede for you on the day of judgment, a day where you will counting your good deeds, the day that is longer then 50,000 years, the day when only a few will be provided shade and the other will be drowning in their own sweat.

On the Day of Judgement, "Fasting will say: O My Lord I prevented him from food an desires so accept my intercession for him." [Ahmad, al-Haakim and Abu Nu'aim, Hasan]

We pray to Allah Ta`ala to make this Ramadan a means for us to access Paradise, to forgive us ours sins and to accepts our Prayers, our Qiyaam and our fasts. Ameen.

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8 comments:

Kyle said...

VM:

Ramadan Kareem

You know, this is our second Ramadan in Dubai and I’ll admit it’s quite an experience. Two groups come to my mind. First, to see a group of Muslims indulging in absurd extravagances at the time of breaking their fast and; Second, to see a group at its modest best come iftar time.

Why so – we asked some members of the second group and their response perfectly matched your label title ‘Ramadan is a month of fasting, not feasting. It’s also a month of cleansing oneself both morally and physically and be able to stand up to challenges in a dignified way not just in Ramadan but every day of one’s life’.

I was amazed to hear this reply, mostly because I never expected it to be put forth in such a way.

Way too huge a respect I have for them.

I can’t really find the right word so I’ll just settle for gluttons, the first group, per se!

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khaki said...

I completely agree with you... we tend over-indulge in feasting and forget the purpose of fasting. This is an inspired post, full of life and designed to make a difference. :)

Journalist said...

Nice article.

Btw, can you please list down all the dishes you'll be having in iftar today.

Inspired Muslimah said...

Salaam,I really enjoy reading your blog, keep up the good work!

Veiled Muslimah said...

Kyle, Sorry for the late reply, and thank-you for the ramadan wishes! Although the blessed month is nearly over now, sadly. :(

Yep, this has become the norm in a lot of Muslim & Non-Muslim Countries, where Muslims observe the month of Ramadan. The groups always exist. I think the reasons for the pigging out and spending Ramadan lavishly indulging in Iftar parties by some people is because sadly, the Muslims today have lost the true meaning and essence of fasting and what it means to be in the month of Ramadan. In fact, the Prophet SAWS would sometimes only open his fast with a date and have nothing else to eat because they were poor and he would often eat with the poor.

Also, fasting isn't just about refraining food, but all that which is wrong.

:) Thanks for coming by the blog.

Veiled Muslimah said...

Khaki, Jazakallah khair :) I'm glad I was able to inspire. I think sometimes we all tend to over-eat after Iftar. :( And then have too-full stomachs. May Allah swt make us of those who observe Ramadan as it should be done.

Journalish: Thank-you. Errr, I'm actually cutting down on what I eat this Ramadan, so my food doesn't usually consist of the 'usual' tidbits. :P

Inspired Mulims: Jazakiallahu khairan :) I'm glad. I hope I'm able to keep the blog enjoyable to read.

Anonymous said...

What if I am a Muslim, but refuse to fast. Am I still a Muslim?

Let's say I have accomplished all the other four Pillars of Islam, but I just cannot fast because I am overweight and really addicted to food. I can cut down a little bit on my daily food intake, but I definitely cannot fast.

No, it is not because I am a diabetic or anything, I would just rather eat somethings during the day... bread, soup, chocolate, seafood, pasta, cakes and pastries, caviar, sweet candies smothered in butter caramel sauce with whipped cream.

I like food. Does that mean I will be condemned to suffering in the afterlife because I do not fast during Ramadan?

Thank you for your honest answer!

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Musings, Articles and Ramblings of a Muslim Woman which range from a variety of different subjects.

Location: Dubai - United Arab Emirates.
The believers are only those who, when Allâh is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qur'ân) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone).
Surat Al-Anfal - Verse 2
The Holy Qurán