Friday, 12 July 2013

Random Ramadhan Reminders

Image: Scrapsforever
Assalamualaikum,

Ramadhan is an annual occurrence. And every year we go through the same routine; listen to the same khutbah after Friday prayers, listen to the same tazkirah, read the same Islamic articles and so on. You would think that by now, most adult Muslims would have Ramadhan figured out. They would know how best to utilise their time to get the best out of this blessed month. Also, what they should avoid doing. It's not that you can't have fun in Ramadhan, you can. But we only get one Ramadhan a year, and there's no guarantee we will still be here the next time it comes around. So we should really try our best to make the most of it. I've given five tips in my previous post about how we can make the most of our time in Ramadhan, and here are a few reminders of what we should and shouldn't be doing this month as well.

Don't waste food
This has got to be one of the major problems with us during Ramadhan. Bazaar's in Malaysia are like a tradition. Everywhere you go, regardless of which state you are in, you are bound to find a bazaar somewhere. With lots of different choices of foods available. Most times we let our foodlust (new word?) get the better of us, and we splurge on anything we lay our eyes on. In the end, we end up throwing most of it away. Ironic that in the month we are encouraged to get better control of our desires and lusts, we end up being the most wasteful, don't you think?

Image: Facebook
Guard your language
If I'm being honest, this is probably my weakest link during Ramadhan. We are so used to how we speak (obviously!) that to change (censor?) our language for one month can be quite challenging. That's why we're supposed to guard our language all year long, and not just Ramadhan. Easier said than done I know. But if we really want to be better people, we should work on our brain-mouth barrier so that we don't instantly say everything that pops up in our head. 

Go to masjid for all prayers
I don't know why but in Malaysia, people seem generally more excited about terawih prayers than the five daily prayers. Which is weird, considering that the daily prayers are wajib, while terawih is not. Yes it is a prayer specific to Ramadhan, and yes you do get more pahala in Ramadhan, but supplementary ibadah won't be able to stand on its own without the foundation that is set by ibadah which is wajib. If you can go to the masjid for terawih which takes around 45mins on average, you should be able to go for the daily prayers as well, which only takes around 15mins. And not only in Ramadhan. Terawih comes once a year, but the daily prayers are a year-long duty. Continue going to the masjid throughout the rest of the year as well. 

Pray when you wake for sahur
I remember being thought when I was younger that one of the best times of the day to pray and doa is during the final third of the night. My mama also tells us (her children) to always wake up for tahajjud, even outside of Ramadhan. Since we are waking up for sahur during Ramadhan, we should take advantage of that and perform tahajjud as well. Other wise, sahur would be just like an early breakfast when it could've been so much more.
Image: Tumblr
Be more humble on social media
After the first night of terawih, my Facebook feed was full of "Alhamdulillah, first terawih done" status updates. I was like, "OK, so?". I know sometimes even I post things that people don't really care about, but when it comes to Ramadhan, it's like the attention-seekers on social media have a whole new topic to use to seek attention. Pictures of their "sahur yang tak seberapa", being just a hot drink and some biscuits, or their "juadah berbuka" with a table full of food. Worse still, the "muka lemau bila puasa" self-portraits. Yes. We know. You are fasting. You go to the masjid for terawih. Your face looks terrible, but still good enough for you to upload a picture of. No need to document your whole month on the internet. 
Image: MyTilawah

Recite the Quran more
Reciting the Quran is probably one of the most underrated forms of ibadah among us Malaysians. It's not wajib sure, but it's so simple. Just pick up the Quran, take a seat, and recite from it. Just a page a day is good enough. Now that we are in Ramadhan, maybe increase it to five or ten pages a day? After each of the daily prayers? We spend a lot of time doing other things throughout the day, we should really try to balance it up with Quranic recitations when we can.

Don't be a zombie
Don't walk around during Ramadhan like a zombie, complaining of fatigue, hunger or thirst. Ramadhan should be seen as a strength to Muslims, not a weakness. When our non-Muslim friends see us lethargically attempting to make it through the day, how do you think Islam will appear to them? A religion that forces its followers to starve in the name of worship? Don't use Ramadhan as an excuse to be lazy!!!

Don't criticise part-timers
We shouldn't criticise "Ramadhan part-timers", like people who only go to masjid for terawih, or people who fast but don't pray, or people who only cover their aurat during Ramadhan. Firstly, some ibadah is better than no ibadah. Yes, they are mixing and matching their ibadah, when they should be practicing Islam as a whole, but people can't change overnight. Ramadhan is an excellent platform for people to take baby steps towards becoming a better Muslim. Secondly, outside of Ramadhan many people would face negative peer-pressure if they try to be better Muslims. "Eleh, pakai tudung macam lah org pakai tudung semua baik". "Ko g masjid ke? Alim gila!". During Ramadhan, there is less peer-pressure, so criticism from anyone else wouldn't help them. Thirdly, everyone receives hidayah in their own way. Someone could start by being a Ramadhan part-timer, but eventually carry on after Ramadhan to be a full time practicing Muslim. Criticism during Ramadhan would only discourage them. "Tak buat kene maki, buat kene maki gak??". If you encounter any "part-timers", don't criticise. Encourage.

Ramadhan is a great time for us to look at ourselves and plan our path to becoming a better Muslim. Everyone else is doing the same, so a go with the flow mentality would work wonders. The challenge as always, will be to carry our positive changes forward beyond Ramadhan, something I plan on writing about soon insyaAllah.