By Imam Murtadha Gusau
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said in His Hadith:
“When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Bukhari]
My beloved people, from this Hadith of Prophet (Peace be upon him), it is clear that in Ramadan there is no Satan (Shaitan), therefore, the element of luring towards evil is missing, thus, the chances of doing and being good increase. Therefore, if there is something bad that occurs from a Muslim, it is his or her personal doing.
It is imperative that during Ramadan, a Muslim refrains from all such acts that are not worthy of fasting and are mistakes that should not be committed during the fast as follows:
Avoid anger: The first thing that a Muslim needs to avoid during Ramadan is anger. It is the root cause of all the evils and the outcome of it is never good. When angry, the judgment of a person gets clouded and he or she is not able to see clearly, and in such unclear situation, a person commits mistakes for which a person has to feel ashamed or repent upon later on. Moreover, one of the essences of fasting in Ramadan is that it teaches a Muslim to be patient and humble, which are the virtues which when present, cause the vice of anger to flee. Therefore, it is more than imperative that a Muslim resorts to patience and tolerance instead of getting angry during Ramadan.
This anger leads to hurting other people emotionally, which definitely is not a good deed and should be avoided during Ramadan. Also, when you feel like getting angry, remember the noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW)’s advice of seeking refuge from Allah. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“I know a word which, if only he would say it, this (anger) would leave him. If he said, “A’uzu billahi min al-shaitan (I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaitan),” this [anger] would leave him,’” [reported by al-Bukhari]
In addition, start concentrating upon the Special Deeds of Our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in Ramadan which would ultimately drive your anger away.
Sleeping all day: Each and every moment of Ramadan is precious and a Muslim must make full use of it by praising and praying to Allah Almighty in the maximum time possible. Although sleep at night and a little nap in the afternoon is necessary for the health of the body, however, staying awake all night long and sleeping throughout the day is never a good ploy.
In order to avoid the hunger and thirst that develops during the day, some Muslims try staying awake during the night so that they could sleep through the day. This is wrong and against what fasting teaches us.
The thirst and hunger during fast helps us understand what the less fortunate people and the needy go through, therefore, if one does not feel all that, then the essence of Ramadan is lost. Hence, it is imperative that a Muslim keeps fast whilst keeping the regular routine intact and continuous.
Fasting without prayer:
This usually happens in cases when Muslims stay awake during the night and spend all day sleeping. Besides praying during fasting, the prayers themselves are mandatory upon a Muslim and fasting or not, a Muslim is supposed to offer them regularly.
Therefore, a day without prayers in normal circumstances is not complete, let alone the day of Ramadan. In Ramadan, a Muslim is supposed to indulge in excessive prayers and seek forgiveness and blessings from Allah Almighty by offering regular prayers, therefore, if one does not do so and only remains hungry and thirsts throughout the day, then perhaps it is not keeping the fast in the way it deserves to be kept. Therefore, a Muslim must make sure that regular fast is accompanied with the mandatory prayers and Tarawih Salah at night to keep fast with true essence.
Besides, fasting of one who does not pray will not be accepted. This is because abandoning prayer constitutes kufr (unbelief) as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Between a man and shirk and kufr (unbelief) there stands his giving up prayer.” [Muslim]
Not Taking care of speech: Another objective of fasting in Ramadan is to teach a person self control. In a fast, a person is supposed to control his or her desires and urges. Besides these urges and desires, a Muslim is also to control the way he or she is to behave and speak with others. In this regard, one needs to take care of any kind of vulgar speech. Whether it’s in terms of profane, derogatory or vulgar speech or in the form of backbiting and slandering, a Muslim is to refrain from them all in order to better be able to incorporate the spirit of Islam in his or her personality. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) says:
“Fasting is a shield, so the one who fasts should avoid obscene speech and ignorant behaviour. If someone abuses him or starts to fight with him, he should reply by saying: I am fasting, I am fasting.” [Bukhari]
Therefore, a Muslim should observe fast as a shield and refrain from all sorts of speech that provoke anger or cause derogation of the other person.
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 Ibadah (worship). We fast from morning to night like a zombie 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 supplicate, forget to beseech Allah 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.
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 about food instead of concentrating on the prayer, Qur’an, Zikr, supplications, and other acts of Ibadah (worship). All they can think of is food. So much so that they turn the month of fasting into the month of feasting.
Come Iftar 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. It is also a kind of waste and extravagance. Allah Almighty eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not those who waste by extravagance.” [Surah al-A’raf: 31]
Cooking all day: Some of our Muslim 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 Isha’ prayer, let alone pray Tarawih or Tahajjud or even read Qur’an. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and that cooking gas, and turn on your faith (Iman)!
Eating too much: Some people stuff themselves at Suhur until they are ready to burst, because they think this is the way to not feel hungry during the day and others eat at Iftar like there is no tomorrow, trying to make up for the food missed. However, this is completely against the Sunnah of Prophet (Peace be upon him) and against the health guidelines. Moderation is the key to everything good. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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 (fill) one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.” [Tirmidhi]
Too much food distracts a person from many deeds of obedience and Ibadah (worship), makes him lazy and also makes the heart heedless.
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 also are 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. For a fasting person to spend most of the day asleep is nothing but, negligence on his part.
Wasting time: The month of Ramadan is a precious, precious time. 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 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 worse still, watching bad things in television, movies or even listening to music. Subhanallah! Trying to obey Allah 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 Haram, buying lotto tickets, selling alcohol, fornication, etc. and all kinds of impermissible things without realising that the purpose of fasting is to not stay away from food and drink; rather the aim behind it is to fear Allah. Allah Almighty says:
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.” [Surah al-Baqarah: 183]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” [Bukhari]
Skipping Suhur: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Eat suhur for in suhur there is blessing.” [Bukhari and Muslim] And he (Peace be upon him) said:
“The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhur.” [Muslim]
Missing the golden chance of having your Du’a accepted: The prayer of the fasting person is guaranteed to be accepted at the time of breaking fast. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Three supplications are not rejected: the supplication of a father (to his children), the supplication of a fasting person, and the supplication of a traveler.” [Al-Baihaqi]
Instead of sitting down and supplicating at this precious time, some people forego this beautiful chance, and are too busy frying chickens, samosas, talking, setting the food, filling their plates and glasses, etc. Think about it dear brothers and sisters….Is food more important than the chance to have your sins forgiven or the fulfillment of your supplications?
Praying only on the night of the 27th: Some people pray only the 27th to seek Lailatul-Qadr, neglecting all the other odd nights, although the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Seek Lailatul-Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Dear servants of Allah, in a nutshell, the emphasis or focus of a Muslim during Ramadan should be on gathering as much blessings as possible. In addition, one must take care of the things to do and things to avoid in Ramadan. Therefore, it is imperative that one refrains from any such deeds that spoil the blessings gained and is against the essence and spirit of fasting.
Respected brothers and sisters, the blessed month of Ramadan is around the corner – may Allah Almighty bestow His mercy and blessings upon you and all your families, ameen.
Dear brothers and sisters, this Ramadan, our center, Nagazi-Uvete Islamic Center will be working on Special Ramadan Programs that you can support as usual. Whether you would like to pay your Zakah, your Sadaqah or your Sadaqatul-Fitr – your Ramadan donations will help us distribute food packs to impoverished families, unprivileged, and provide Suhur and Iftar for orphaned children, and children at our Islamic/Islamiyyah schools.
My beloved people, Alhamdulillah, since Nagazi-Uvete Islamic Center was established, every Ramadan we have been distributing food packs to impoverished families across Kogi State and beyond. These food packs can feed an entire family for a whole month. We make every effort to make sure the food packs are locally sourced. Local sourcing means these food packs not only help families during Ramadan – but also provide sustainable means of living when Ramadan is over. On average, subject to differing local market rates, the estimated cost of a Ramadan Food Pack is almost N50,000. Each pack feeds one family for one month.
The noble month of Ramadan is blessed – it brings families and loved ones together. Ramadan is not the same without our families – but unfortunately this is not a privilege enjoyed by everyone. This is why we are steadfast in providing Suhur and Iftar for orphaned children and children at all our Islamic/Islamiyyah schools. For the past twenty years, we have made sure that, especially during Ramadan, no child is left to go hungry.
Ramadan, for many of us, is a few hours of feeling the pangs of hunger, but for many children and adults around the world – hunger is a daily fact.
Please do donate generously during this blessed month.
FISABILILLAH! FISABILILLAH!! FISABILILLAH!!!
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever relieves his brother of a hardship from the hardships of this world, Allah shall relieve him of a hardship from the hardships of the Day of Judgement. And whoever makes things easy for a person in difficulty, Allah will ease for him in this world and the Next. Allah is forever aiding a servant so long as he is in the aid of his brother.” [Authentic Hadith]
May Allah Almighty bestow His kindness upon you, and reward you for helping to relieve the hardship of our brothers and sisters, ameen.
Account details: • Account number: 0048647196 • Account name: Murtala Muhammed
May Allah send His Salah and Salam upon our noble Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
And all praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
And I pray, May Allah grant us the opportunity to witness this coming month of Ramadan in good health, ameen.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.