Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:55 pm
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
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:
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.
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
- 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.
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
- 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
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