by Bint Saeed
Weeks before Ramadan approaches preparations for this blessed month are in full swing in many homes around the Muslim World. The calendar is marked with Iftar parties and the possible days of Eid ul Fitr, the kitchen is stuffed with foods that will be served at either Sahur or Iftar, the Qur’an is taken from the shelves and dusted off, and let’s not forget that Eid outfits are hung in the closet with matching accessories. Decorations are put up, television programs in Muslim countries are spiced up with special programs containing American sitcoms and dramas, shopping malls and stores are open all night and basically, it is a whole different lifestyle. This is what one might call Ramadan fever for admits all of these so called “Ramadan preparations”, it is sad to say that, the true essence and longing for Ramadan is lost.
The symptoms listed above are similar to that of the common flu. This fever comes once a year, it is contagious, it has an unpleasant affect on the body and without the proper vaccination it will contaminate the whole household. Many doctors remind their patients that vaccination for the flu should be taken prior to the season in which it is widespread however; we tend to forget to vaccinate ourselves from this fever prior to Ramadan.
For those readers who are unable to follow this analogy the point being made is that Ramadan is looked forward to for the wrong reasons. Instead of anticipating and defining the blessings of Ramadan by citing the manifold rewards one accumulates through one’s actions, the locking up of Shaytaan, the rewards for reciting the Qur’an in this month of revelation, and recalling the limitless reward of fasting we tend to focus on the delicious foods, social gatherings, television shows etc. If this is how we define the blessing of Ramadan then we have truly lost the essence of this blessed month.
We must remember that preparations for Ramadan must take place immediately after the last Ramadan has ended. Being Muslim is a continual process, it is a state of becoming and we can only do this with constant and continuous Ibaadah (worship). Constant Ibaadah comes with continuous knowledge, practice and the desire to please Allah alone. We must always remember that the only way we can understand what pleases or displeases Allah is by knowing Him. Attaining and acquiring the knowledge of Allah is not limited to a certain month rather it is a process that should and will continue at every point of our lives.
Ramadan fever should instead be associated with the constant urge to be closer to Allah and do those actions that we know will please Him which will in turn send upon us blessings and rewards. Ramadan is a time when our deeds are rewarded greatly; it is a time to put into habitual practice those actions which will make us better individuals and bring us closer to Allah. We need to remember to take advantage of the fact that Shaytaan is not around to whisper to us. We must also remember to recite and understand as much as Allah’s word or the Qu’ran as we can.
Ramadan fever should be defined as being that symptom in which we continue the actions we have been doing in Ramadan even after it has passed. The fever should be a longing to do more for the pleasure of Allah as well as, attaining more Islamic knowledge. We should set goals for ourselves during this vmonth and push ourselves to fulfill them.