About 2 weeks ago, the information that a new moon had been sighted was passed. That marked the official end of Ramadan; the 9th month of the Islamic calendar known exclusively for strict observance of fast. Eid was performed to signify it and the commencement of Shawwal. Many, including me, expressed joy at the news and it was obvious that people wanted the month to end, for what can be perceived as wrong reasons. I don’t even think there’s a good reason for faithfuls to look forward to the end of such a beautiful month with all of its benefits which included closing of the gates of Hell.
To show that Shaitan had been released, some of us saw a fight in the mosque premises on the 1st night of Shawwal; the day of eid, and a lot of immoral acts that weren’t experienced during Ramadan especially during the last 10 days. For the youths, it was marked by listening to music which we desisted from. I must say, only those who were conscious enough as Muslims desisted from these acts. There were still some, or many, that were only fasting because they were asked to, without observing the prescribed accompanying deeds. Those are the ones who fasted as if they were supposed to please fellow humans, not Allah.
Eid came, some of us wore new clothes, and some wore what they had from before. Some were looking gorgeous and awesome; some just struggled not to look “as usual”. Most of us were nonchalant about the lessons of Eid, we didn’t even bother about what Eid had for us, we just said the two rakats and anxiety drove us to leave our mats and head back home. We were nonchalant about the Khutbah of the day and acted as if the Imam was supposed to recite it to himself. We didn’t even allow those that wanted to listen, we constituted nuisance, reminding those who cared to notice that Shaytan had been truly released. We carried ourselves back home with less morality, than we took to the eid ground.
15 days into Shawwal, one wonders what has happened to the many lessons Ramadan taught us. How many of those good deeds do we still observe? Haven’t we descended so low that our good deeds during Ramadan can’t take care of our bad deeds after Ramadan? The level of moral decadence in the last 2 weeks is quite appalling and I seem not to understand “WHY?” Perhaps it is because most of us were worshipping Ramadan when we ought to be worshipping the God of Ramadan. Or, maybe because we don’t have the “sponsored” programmes that used to serve as reminders on radios and TVs again. I consider this as an issue and I have decided to remind us of just a few abstracts from the teachings of Ramadan, perhaps some of us will learn.
Ramadan came as a month to teach and discipline. During Ramadan, it was not a rare thing for people to say “I’m fasting” not to serve as an announcement but as an awareness to refrain from whatever “not so good” deed that comes to mind. We became so disciplined during the month of Ramadan that we were very conscious of time, especially at Sahur and Iftar. We were present at mosques for prayers at their due times. We were always considerate of whether our doings align with that of Allah’s. We engaged in our daily activities as usual except that we now infused so much of the fear of God. For any society that saw Ramadan, that society witnessed true peace, which is what Islam dictates and how Muslims are expected to behave. This month showed us that with necessary discipline, we can do away with most of those things (vices) that we hold on to. We learnt a lot about self-control, patience and strong will via our actions.
Ramadan isn’t just about refraining from foods, drinks and lust alone. Ramadan put us in a state that can be termed “forced hunger”. It made us realize that we have far too much than we need and for which we’re not grateful. We became equals with the needy; we felt what they feel as poor fellows since we were in the same state with them. We ultimately, gave charity to those who could not afford to leave that state, because they didn’t have the necessary resources to do so. May Almighty Allah provide for them. We were very cautious of our spending; we were less extravagant, dealt with less luxuries, and thus, became less lavish.
Since we were all equals during this month, we were all fasting, stood toes to toes in mosques, shared Sahurs and iftars, we truly exhibited the characteristics of Muslim as an Ummah during the month of Ramadan. We displayed the true Islamic brotherhood and we showed the characteristic peace which Islam is based upon. We showed the world what the Qur’an meant when it described us as the “best of people”. We exhibited Taqwa, the sum total of Islamic life. It means God’s consciousness and encompasses piety, fear of Allah, consciousness of his existence and subsequent submission to His will. We braced ourselves, through hardships and sacrifices, for Jihad on the path of Allah.
All these seem to have gone, we no longer see the very least of all these and some of us seem to be keeping them till next year. We seem to have forgotten that we know not, when we’ll leave the earth. We seem to act as if we are custodians of ourselves and our future. Shawwal is here, and it is supposed to serve as “the month after Ramadan” and not “the month outside Ramadan”. Perhaps, observing the voluntary 6 fasts in Shawwal will help us to keep the lessons from Ramadan a bit longer.
May Allah forgive us all of our shortcomings. And truly, Allah is the all-knower!
P.S. Since I’ll be publishing this post this same day I’m writing it, I have decided to make it the official first post and the day, the formal opening of the blog. Kindly drop comments about the article and the blog so far. Thanks.