Ramadan: A Month of Healthy Change, Not Hypocrisy

Ramadan has begun. This is always such a magical time of year. Fasting all day, breaking your fast with family and friends, praying all night. It’s amazing. And although, and I am sure everyone can admit to this, it can be difficult at times, it is so beautiful and it brings us all much closer to God… But what happens when it’s over?

I think we all have a tendency to begin the month trying to eliminate the “evils” from our life: TV, music, Facebook, etc. But as the month progresses, our faith tends to wither. I mean, we are still trying to stick to our resolve to become better Muslims and worshipers, but the momentum begins to fade a bit. And as soon as we hear it’s Eid, and our month long fast is over, we reach for our morning cups of coffee right along with the addictions we tried to avoid throughout Ramadan. 

Many years, I spent Ramadan without music, movies, TV, novels and others forms of entertainment. And this is great! But what I am afraid of is that we spend 30 days without our personal vices, only to rejoin them full force when Ramadan is over. I can’t help but wonder, are we only ditching these devices of destruction during Ramadan, just to dive back into them even deeper, afterwards?

I’ve heard so many people say thing like “Oh I can’t go to see that movie during Ramadan because it wouldn’t be right,” or “It’s haram (forbidden) to listen to music during Ramadan,” or “I don’t want to waste time on Facebook in Ramadan.” And although I commend all of these people’s efforts to get closer to God, and I totally agree that during Ramadan, we should spend more time reading Quran and making duaa (supplication prayers) than cruising Facebook News Feeds, we need to also do these things with the intention of adapting these habits to our everyday lives. If something is “haram” in Ramadan, then it is probably haram throughout the rest of the year as well. I think we should try to break unhealthy habits with the goal to break them permanently. I know we are all human, so we may fall off the wagon, so to speak, but we can always get back on.

So, the last few years, I’ve tried something new. I stopped making ridiculous goals and resolutions to halt TV watching and music listening completely because I know I am not going to follow through the rest of the year. Instead, I make a sincere intention to lessen and slow down the listening of music and watching of TV in order to replace these pastimes with more prayers and reflection. With the sustaining from food, I work very hard at sustaining from unsavory music and television shows. Because I know that if a habit is unhealthy, it is unhealthy all the time. God is not a hypocrite, nor is He inconsistent. So, He wouldn’t make something permissible sometimes and forbidden other times. I also know that any good habit doesn’t begin cold turkey. Dieting, beginning good sleeping habits, studying, and other good habits always begin gradually. So, shouldn’t it be that way as far as our spirituality and religiosity is concerned?

I always remind people that the Quran is the only Holy book of God that was sent down in pieces. It wasn’t sent down as an entire book ready for mankind to read and follow at once. I think that there is an amazing wisdom to this. I think that perhaps because God knew that mankind needs to change in steps and needs to reform through a gradual process, He gave the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and his companions time to adapt to it.

 

Hey, this is just one woman’s opinion. But I think that by sincerely doing good and avoiding bad in our entire lives, and not just in Ramadan, makes us better Muslims and helps us avoid hypocrisy, one of the traits of a human that God hates the most.

~~Leen J. 

 

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Building Bridges

Building Bridges – A Poem Written March 22, 2011, by Leen Jaber

Can I trust you?
Muslim, Christian, Jew?

Can we share a cup of coffee?
Maybe tell you my story?

Can we go see a movie?
Popcorn, extra butter and a cherry icee?

Can we chuckle together at an episode of Seinfeld?
Or agree on the best clip of SNL?

Can we talk about our first loves?
Or our image of God above?

Should we talk about Israel?
Or is that subject sealed?

Do you have a cat, dog or bird?
Or is this subject also way too absurd?

What’s your favorite song?
Oh, I’m sorry; I didn’t know this topic was also wrong.

What? You don’t like ‘Twilight’?
Hey, that’s ok. I don’t want to start a fight.

Oh wait, you have blood running through your veins too?
So then the stories are true.

I really didn’t know that you cry when in pain.
Interesting, I guess that means we’re all the same.

Oh jeez, you hate the 9 to 5?
Me too. I just do it to survive.

Are you a PC or Mac?
Okay okay, they’re all computers. Let’s just leave it at that.

We may have more in common than we thought.
But building bridges may buy us more than we bought.

Hey, what do you do for fun?
Or should we talk about what a Godless nation we’ve become?

Our differences, our similarities.
Our strengths, our frailties.

Well let’s just provide superficial smiles.
Even after talking for a while.

No love, no connection, no trust.
I guess this encounter was a bust.

Thank you so much for your time.
And of course this little rhyme.

But we will never consolidate
Our visions of fate.

So, you go live in your box, and I’ll live in mine.
I hope I didn’t get out of line.

And maybe one day we’ll meet again.
Please take good care my friend.

Take good care…