Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Common errors made during Ramadhan
Al-Jumuah Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 9
During this Ramadhan do not let the sweetness of our deeds vanish into the night, leaving only emptiness. When one contemplates the texts on fasting, its wisdom and goals in Shariah, and looks at the reality of the Muslim communities, one realizes a wide gap between the reality and our obligations. Remember that Ramadhan is a bounty that Allah blessed His servants with, to strengthen their faith, and increase their piety (Taqwa). Allah said: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.” (Al-Baqarah 2:183).
This article is an attempt to present the essential causes of this gap, and to some remedies. primary reason for the gap is ignorance about the goals of fasting and the wisdom behind it. Many Muslims ignore the purpose and wisdom of fasting. Fasting is done merely to conform to the social environment without contemplation. If one is not aware of the divine wisdom of Shariah and its fruits in this world and in the hereafter, one will not apply it in the right way.
Common errors made during Ramadhan
Excessive spending: Ramadhan should be a time to avoid being wasteful, and learning to be prepared in facing harder times by distinguishing the needs from the luxuries. Unfortunately, many people go beyond their limits to spend during Ramadhan. Whether in the varieties of food that they savor each night, or by the other types of spending.
Staying awake during the night and sleeping during the day: Some people sleep during most of the day when they are fasting. Ramadhan is not a time of being lazy, and this do not allow the full benefit from the experience of fasting. It is as if they have only inverted their nights into days and vice versa. In addition, some may spend a great portion of the night indulging in eating and drinking and socializing.
Spending more time in socializing: Because people invite each other more often during Ramadhan they do tend to spend more time socializing with friends, and relatives. While it is a good deed to feed the fasting person, this should not result in precious time lost in vain talk. Use the occasion for remembering Allah and offering additional prayers, and for the Da’wah to Allah.
Insisting on performing a certain number of Rakaas during the Tarawih (night) prayer to the point of not praying behind the Imam and thus forfeiting the benefit of congregational prayer. This might also bring hatred and disagreement between the Muslims of one community.
Reading Qur’an too fast: Some insist on finishing the whole Qur’an once or more, even if they have to read very fast. Although reading the Qur’an many times is desirable, this should not be done hastily, especially during the Tarawih prayer without pondering upon its meaning. Allah ta’ala said: “This is a Book which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses,” (Saad 38:29), and the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Those who read the Qur’an in less than three days do not grasp [its meaning]”
Socializing in l’tikaf: Many people are eager to do I’tikaf but some confine themselves in the masjid not to pray and worship Allah but to talk and socialize.
The ways of doing good are numerous in Ramadhan Many people try to perform more than they are able to. By going beyond their capabilities, they end up not performing any deed in the desired way.
Scholars and Dai’ahs should assume a more prominent role in educating the people – both by talking to them and by giving the best example in their behavior which should comply to the Shariah and following the Sunnah.
The Muslim should realize that his priorities dictate that he does what benefits him in the Hereafter and should not put worldly interests first.
The Muslim should apply himself to deepen his sense of following the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, in every aspect of his life, at all times and especially during the month of Ramadhan. This necessitates seeking more knowledge about the Fiqh of fasting and its etiquette, assimilating the wisdom and goals of fasting, and facilitating the means that allow all the Muslims to benefit from their fasting.
We ask Allah to accept our fast and our good deeds.
We can call the Salafis a protest movement. Much of their agenda is a protest against the practice and customs of the Ummah of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), as if we have all now gone astray.
While it is true that there are practices that have spread amongst us in Ramadan that are not optimal, the way out is not to condemn, condemn and then condemn at little more. Most people are numb to this negative rhetoric.
Rather, we have to encourage ourselves and others, to act on the guidance of the Beloved of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), out of love, sympathy and concern. The sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) was to look at the pious and sinful with love and mercy. He told us that he was sent as a mercy, and that it is our duty to make things easy not difficult for people, and to give people glad tidings, not to turn them away.
As such, we shouldn’t get on the pedestal of personal perfection (as if we do no wrong, whether outwardly or, more importantly, inwardly) and look at the Ummah, or our communities, as “those Muslims are doing xyz wrong.”
A Muslim is smart. He realizes what the problems are. But the way of correcting them has to be the way of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), which was one true love, sympathy, and concern.
And Allah alone gives success.