Some Common mistakes in Ramadaan
guest writer: By Asma bint Shameem
Taking Ramadaan as a ritual
For many of us Ramadhaan 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 too. We forget that its a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil….we forget to make dua, forget to beseech Allaah 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. Although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
“Jibreel said to me, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person to who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’….” (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, others. Saheeh by al-Albaani)
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, Qur’aan 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. And remember, too much food is also a kind of waste & extravagance.
“…..and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance)” [al-A’raaf :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 Ishaa, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud; too exhausted to even read Qur’aan. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness, dua and Ibaadah, to increase in your taqwa and to improve your relationship with Allaah. And how can you do that if you spend all your time in the kitchen cooking? 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 they missed.’ However, this is completely against the Sunnah. Remember, moderation is the key to everything.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) 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. saheeh by al-Albaani).
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 are also missing the purpose of fasting and just falling pray to laziness and lethargy. All it needs is to 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 Ramadaan is a precious, precious time, so much so that Allaah calls this month “Ayyaamum Ma’doodaat” (A fixed number of days) (Surah Baqarah: 184). 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 Allaah 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. Subhaan Allaah! Trying to obey Allaah 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 Allaah.
“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)” [al-Baqarah 2:183]
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) 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.” (Bukhaari)
Smoking is forbidden in Islam whether during Ramadaan 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 and even worse than that. May Allaah protect us from all that is evil. Ameen.
“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) [al-A’raaf :157]
Smoking is harmful, not only to the one smoking, but also to the ones around him. It is also a means of wasting one’s wealth.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “There should be no harming or reciprocating harm.”
This is especially true during fasting and it invalidates the fast. (Fatwa -Ibn ‘Uthaymeen)
Some of us are too lazy or sleepy to eat Suhoor or just don’t think it’s important. Even if you don’t feel like having a lot of food, just eat something little; a few dates, even a glass of water. That’s because the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
“Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing.”(Bukhaari, Muslim).
And he (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) 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’. They think they cannot eat beyond that time and that it would be wrong if they did.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: “This is a kind of bid’ah (innovation) which has no basis in the Sunnah. Rather the Sunnah is to do the opposite. Allaah 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)” [al-Baqarah 2:187]
And the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) said: “….eat and drink until you hear the adhaan of Ibn Umm Maktoom, for he does not give the adhaan until dawn comes.” (Bukhaari)
This ‘imsaak’ which some of the people practice, is an addition to what Allaah has prescribed, so it is false. It is a kind of extremism in religion, and the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
“Those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed.” (Muslim) ” (Islamqa: question # 12602)
Not fasting if they missed Suhoor
Sometimes, our alarm doesn’t go off on time and we miss the time for eating, just barely waking up with the adhaan. I’m sure this has happened to all of us one time or another. In this situation, there are some people who are too scared to fast if they miss Suhoor. They think they will feel too weak during the day or that, by default, missing Suhoor automatically means NO fast that day. But, if you think about it, unless a person has a genuine health problem, it is not such a big deal after all. What if you missed a few morsels of food? You’ll be fine insha Allaah. Alhamdulillaah most of us have enough fat stored in our bodies to keep us going for several days without food! Remember, obedience to Allaah takes precedence over 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 Shari’ah 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 Ramadaan calendars, etc. is a Bid’ah.
Delaying breaking 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 break the fast, which means breaking fast whenever the adhaan starts, right after the sun has set. Aa’ishah (RA) said: This is what the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to do. (Muslim)
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to break the fast.” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
So, determine to the best of your ability, the accuracy of your clock, calendar, etc. and then have tawakkul on Allaah 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 the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) 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.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Three prayers are not rejected: the prayer of a father(parent), the prayer of a fasting person, and the prayer of a traveler.” (al-Bayhaqi, saheeh 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 ‘samosas’, talking, setting the food, filling their plates and pouring drinks into their glasses and they lose this golden opportunity. 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
Realize that the fasting of one who does not pray WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. This is because not praying constitutes kufr as the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) 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.” (Bukhaari)
Fasting and not wearing Hijaab
Not wearing the Hijaab is a major sin as it is obligatory for Muslim women. (See Surah Nur, Surah Ahzaab). So fasting and not wearing hijaab certainly takes away enormously from the rewards of fasting, even if does not invalidate it.
Not fasting because of exams or work
Exams or work is NOT one of the excuses allowed by the Shari’ah 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 Allaah is much more important than ‘good grades’. Besides, if you will fulfil your obligation to fast, even if you have to study, Allaah will make it easy for you and help you in everything you do.
“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 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, especially the sisters. Fasting is an act of worship and should only and only, be for the sake of Allah alone. Otherwise, mixing it with the intention of dieting may become a form of (minor) Shirk. Sure, there are always added benefits of obeying Allaah, one of them being, losing weight while fasting. That comes in automatically, so reap the benefits but don’t make it part of your intention. If the side benefits come, they come. If they don’t, that shouldn’t stop you from obeying Allaah and fulfilling your duty.
Fighting over the number of Raka’ah of Taraweeh
There is no specific number of rak’ahs for Taraweeh prayer, rather it is permissible to do a little or a lot. Both 8 and 20 are okay. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: “No one should be denounced for praying eleven or twenty-three (raka’ah), because the matter is broader in scope than that, praise be to Allaah.” (Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, 1/407)
What is really important, my brothers and sisters, is the command to observe night prayers during Ramadhaan, which is encouraged without specifying a particular number. As long as we are praying our Taraaweeh, it shouldn’t be a matter of dispute or disunity whether it is 8 or 20 or even more. And of course, what really counts is that Allaah accepts it from us, even if it is two rakaat.
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 the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Seek Lailat ul-Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadaan.” (Bukhaari, Muslim).
Wasting the last part of Ramadaan preparing for Eid
Some people waste the entire last 10 days of Ramadaan preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting Ibadah and Lailatul Qadr, although, the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to strive the hardest during the last ten days of Ramadaan in worship and not in shopping.
Aa’ishah (RA) said: “When the (last) ten nights began, the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam)) 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.” (Bukhaari and Muslim).
Lavish Iftaar parties
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 hijaab-less women, to show-off and extravagance, to heedlessness to Salaah and Taraweeh, to even music and dancing. May Allaah guide us. Ameen.