Salam Walekum, my brothers and sisters. Today's post is as the title suggests, the various mistakes we all make during the Holy Month. I would basically go through a couple of things that i have personally noted over the years. Insha Allah, i hope the post would be able to help in one way or the other. 1. Too much stress on food and drink: For a whole lot of people especially the sisters, the month of Ramadan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salaah, reading the Quran and other acts of worship. All they can think of is FOOD - what to serve for Iftaar, what to serve at Suhoor. So much so that they turn the month of 'fasting' into the month of 'feasting'. When the time for Iftaar arrives, their table is a sight to behold, with 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.
".....and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance)" [al-Araaf :31]
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 or even read Quran. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and turn on your Imaan!
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.' (We have all done this). However, this is completely against the Sunnah. Moderation is the key to everything. Too much food distracts a person from many deeds of obedience and worship, makes him lazy and also makes the heart heedless.
The Prophet (SAW) 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).
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.
2. Sleeping all day: Most 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.
3. Fasting but sinning: Some of us fast but do not give up lying, cursing, fighting, backbiting, cheating, stealing, dealing in haram, alcohol, fornication, etc. and all kinds of impermissible things without realizing that the purpose of fasting is to not only stay away from food and drink; rather it is to fear Allah with no limits and stay away from the things he has banned from us. And this is made harder with the advent of the Internet and Social Networking sites. lol.
"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)
4. Delaying the break of the fast: Some people wait until the adhaan finishes or even several minutes after that, just to be 'on the safe side'. I know people who don't break their fast until they are back from the mosque. This is a popular misconception among muslims. 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 (SAW) used to do. (Muslim)
The Prophet (SAW) said: "The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to break the fast." (Bukhaari, Muslim)
5. Fasting but not praying : I once heard an alfa say that he prayer of the fasting person is guaranteed to be accepted at the time of breaking fast. Instead of sitting down and making Dua at this precious time, some people forego this beautiful chance, and are too busy frying plantain, talking to pass time, setting the food, filling their plates etc. Think about his for a second....Is food more important than the chance to have your sins forgiven or the fulfillment of your Duas. The fasting of one who does not pray WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. This is because not praying constitutes kufr. In fact, NONE of his good deeds will be accepted; rather, they are all annulled.
The Prophet (SAW) said: "Three prayers are not rejected: the prayer of a father, the prayer of a fasting person, and the prayer of a traveler." (Tirmidhi).
The Prophet (SAW) said: "Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer." (Muslim)
"Whoever does not pray 'Asr, his good deeds will be annulled." (Bukhaari)
6. Not fasting because of school or work: Exams or work are NOT excuses not to fast in my opinion. I used this too in my secondary school days but as you get older u realize you have to leave some things behind. We can all do our studying and revision at night if it is too hard to do that during the day. Also we should remember that pleasing and obeying Allah is much more important than 'good grades'. (most will laugh at that but its the truth). 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. A little faith goes a long way.
"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)
7. Fasting and dieting don't go together: Muslim sisters out there, please DO NOT make the mistake of fasting with the intention of losing a few pounds. That is one of the biggest mistakes some of us make (esp. sisters). Fasting is an act of worship and can only be for the sake of Allah alone. The moment we mix it with the intention of dieting, it may become a form of (minor) Shirk.
8. Eid preparation: We all know the importance of the last ten days of Ramadan, however there are some people who waste it all preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting Ibadah and Lailatul Qadr. The Prophet (SAW) used to strive the hardest 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 full potential.
9. Iftaar "parties": Although inviting each other for breaking fast is something good and should be encouraged, some people go to extremes with lavish 'Iftaar parties' with all sorts of disobedience to Allaah. Have you ever been to those Iftaar dinners where you see everything from flirting and hijaab-less women to show-off and extravagance even going as far as playing music and dancing. We should do well to avoid occasions like these.
The Prophet (SAW) said: "Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing."(Bukhaari, Muslim).
And he (SAW) also said: "The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhoor." (Muslim)
Although there is great blessings in partaking in Suhoor, you can fast if you miss it. Some people are too scared to fast if they miss Suhoor. However, this is a kind of cowardice and love of ease. What is the big deal if you missed a few morsels of food? It's not like you will die. Remember, obedience to Allaah overcomes everything.
11. Becoming Ramadan Zombies: 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 like zombies just because everyone around us is fasting too. We all know that Uncle who can go days without eating and never looks tired during ramadan. We forget that its a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil. We forget to make dua, forget to beseech Allah to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Fire. Sure you stay away from food and drink but ask yourself if thats all Ramadan is about?