Most Muslims who fast in Ramadan 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 Ramadan as so many other religions have commercialized their sacred days. In sha Allah the following will serve as a reminder to, first, myself and then to all Muslims. May Allah help us in spending our time wisely this Ramadan and help us in avoiding these mistakes. Ameen!!
1. Taking Ramadan as a ritual
For many of us Ramadan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual than a form of Ibaadah. We fast from morning to night just because everyone around us is fasting. We forget that it’s a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil. We forget to beseech Allah SWT to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Hell-Fire.
2. Too much stress on food and drink.
For some people, the entire month of Ramadan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking only about food, instead of concentrating on Salah, Quraan and other acts of worship. They are missing the very purpose of fasting, and thus, increase in their greed and desires instead of learning to control them.
3. 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. The Prophet (s.a.w..) 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, Ibn Maajah. Classified as saheeh by al-Albaani]
4. 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 are also 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.
5. Wasting time.
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 still worse, watching TV to occupy their mind so that they won’t feel the hunger pangs.
6. 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 activities, buying lottery 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, to increase our Taqwa.
7. Skipping Suhoor (sehri)
The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: ‘Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing.’ [Bukhaari, Muslim]. And he (s.a.w.) said: ‘The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhoor.’ [Muslim]
8. Not fasting if they missed Suhoor.
Some people are too scared to fast if they miss Suhoor. However, this is an act kind of cowardice and love of ease. Missing a few morsels in the morning will, in sha’Allah, not lead to death. Remember, obedience to Allah overcomes everything.
9. Delaying opening fast
Some people wait until the adhaan finishes or even several minutes after that, just to be ‘on the safe side’. However, the Sunnah is to hasten to open the fast, which means opening fast whenever the adhaan starts, right after the sun has set (and not before).
10. 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 the Maghrib prayer. That is obviously not right. 11. Missing the golden chance of having your Dua’a accepted
Prophet (s.a..w.) 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, classified as saheeh by al-Albaani] Instead of sitting down and making Dua’a at this precious time, some people forego this beautiful chance, and are too busy frying samosas, talking, setting the food, filling their plates and glasses, etc.
15. Wasting the last part of Ramadan preparing for Eid.
Some people waste the entire last 10 days of Ramadan preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting Ibadah and Lailatul Qadr. Even though, the Prophet (s.a.w.) used to strive the most during the last ten days of Ramadan in worship [Ahmad, Muslim] and not in shopping. Buy whatever you need for Eid before Ramadan so that you can utilize the time in Ramadan to the utmost.