Did You Make Any of These Ramadan Mistakes?

Now that Ramadan is just over, it’s time to look back and reflect on how things went. It’s time to see if there was anything we could have done better and what lessons were learned.

  • Did you accomplish all of your goals?
  • Did you finish Ramadan a better Muslim than when you began?
  • Are you more appreciative of the gifts that Allah has given you?

Chances are, like most people, there are some things you could have done better. Perhaps you got a little ticked off for no reason during that difficult first week of Ramadan. Or perhaps you didn’t give enough voluntary charity when you could have afforded it. (I’m assuming you have all the mandatory charity i.e. Zakat al-Fitr that you were supposed to give).

Anybody can make mistakes like this. But there are some people who have done things that just totally screwed up their Ramadan. These are people who made big, colossal, mistakes in intention and action.

I hope you weren’t one of these folks. If you were, it’s time you check yourself out and see if this indicates the need for a total attitude readjustment. You might really need to work on your Aqidah.

So let’s make a list of big, fat, stupid mistakes Muslims do during the month of fasting. These aren’t just simple, human errors. These are practices and actions that call into question just how strong a person is in their faith.

Here’s my list of big mistakes you might have made during Ramadan.

1. Backbit, Slandered or Lied
This is probably the easiest “mistake” we can make. Controlling our tongues is difficult all year round. It can be even more difficult when you’re working on an empty stomach, haven’t drank anything all day, and it’s 95 degrees outside.

Still, it’s no excuse to commit sin and especially sins against another person. Fasting is supposed to increase your Taqwah (piety, God-consciousness) and make you stronger against your nafs (desires). But if you had a hard time refraining from backbiting, slandering or lying, then you may have just starved yourself for nothing.

Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said (which means): “If a person does not avoid false talk and false conduct during fasting, then Allah does not care if he abstains from food and drink.” [Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim]

Now let’s get one thing clear: just because you commit one of these sins, doesn’t mean you don’t have to fast for that day. You still are obliged to fast. However, you have lost all the blessings that come from fasting during Ramadan.

If you did make this mistake, the best thing to do is to make Tawbah (repentance) and resolve not to do it again.

2. You Made Taraweeh in Congregation But Missed Fajr and Isha at the Mosque
This one gets me so riled up.

People make such a big, friggin’ deal about making the Taraweeh prayers. They bust their humps to get to the Masjid every night for the entire month and pray for about an hour or so.

Then they neglect Salatul Fajr and Salatul Isha in the congregation!

What gives? Why are people (especially men since it’s better for women to pray at home) so committed to making Taraweeh and hearing the entire Quran, but can’t commit to making Fajr and Isha throughout the rest of the year?

It’s because too many people have made Islam into a set of rituals. Their parents emphasized Taraweeh and neglected Fajr and Isha, and now they’re doing the same thing. And then they’re going to pass this same misguided thinking to their children.

People, wake up! I can think of at least two hadiths (stories from Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) that indicate how important the dawn (Fajr) and evening (Isha) prayers in congregation are.

One who performs `Isha’ prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat for half of the night. And one who performs the Fajr prayer in congregation is as if he has performed Salat the whole night. [Related in Muslim].

Do you see how much rewards there are for making these two prayers in a congregation? You can get all the rewards of making 8 or 20 rakaat (units of prayer) of Taraweeh in just 2 or 4 rakaat of Fajr and Isha respectively. It seems logical to focus more on those two than Taraweeh.

Here’s one more hadith that should scare any believing Muslim to get their priorities straight.

(Which means): “No Salat is more burdensome to the hypocrites than the Fajr (dawn) prayer and the `Isha’ (night) prayer; and if they knew their merits, they would come to them even if they had to crawl to do so” [Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim].

There are no authentic traditions from our Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) that give this much importance to the Taraweeh prayer.

3. Overeating For Sahur and Iftar
Have you heard any of these statements before?

I eat more during Ramadan than I do during the rest of the year.

I actually gained weight this Ramadan.

That’s what I love most about Ramadan…the food!

People who say this are usually people who are fasting for the wrong reason. They’re fasting for nightly feasts. Or they’re fasting because everybody else is fasting. But they’re not fasting to please Allah. They might be fasting to appease Allah. Just to get the obligation out the way and get it over with. How the heck do you fast 30 days and gain weight? Unless you’re pregnant or nursing or something, it should be impossible to gain weight during Ramadan.

When you get up in the morning to fast, you should not eat as if the world’s coming to an end. Just eat a light meal. The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) would just have some olive oil, water, dates, and bread. So why are you having pancakes, sausages, three scrambled eggs, biryani, and toast in the morning? How can you feel the struggles of fasting if you’re stuffed with food? And then you eat a gigantic feast for iftar (breakfast). Where’s the struggle? Where’s the sacrifice?

4. Focus Your Efforts On One Night Of The Last Ten
We do the same thing every year.

No matter what country you’re from. No matter what country you live in.

Every year, in the last ten nights, most Muslims put all their focus on one of the last 10 nights as if they know exactly when the Night of Power is going to occur. Definitely, trying to catch Laylatul Qadr is a good thing. But there is no solid proof that it occurs on the 27th night only or the 25th night only. Allah in His wisdom decided to withhold that knowledge from us. Perhaps He did this so we would get the reward of searching all ten nights.

So why are people so intent on claiming the Night of Power on one specific date? And they try their best to make this one day of the entire 365 days of the year, full of worship. Certainly, it’s a good thing to pray and read the Quran during the Night of Power. But let’s not get into the habit of claiming knowledge that only Allah has. No one knows when the Night of Power is. Therefore, it is mistaken to declare the 27th of the 25th or the 23rd as Laylatul Qadr to the exclusion of all others.

Instead, you should take advantage of all of the last 10 nights and maximize your worship during this time.

5. Increase Your Good Deeds With No Intention To Continue
This is probably the saddest of all mistakes.

You spent all month improving yourself and sacrificing and struggling. Your prayers increased. Your qiraat (recitation of the Quran) increased. Your dua (supplication) increased.

  • You cut back on TV and wasting time.
  • You tried to control your tongue and your nafs.
  • You worked hard to reign in your anger and emotions.

And as soon as Eid al-Fitr is done, it’s back to business as usual. Don’t do it again this year. I know. You’ve probably heard this a thousand times from a thousand different websites and a thousand different authors.

But it’s serious. Don’t stop striving to be a good Muslim just because it’s the 1st of Shawal.

Of course, it’s going to be more difficult to maintain this momentum outside of Ramadan. The Devils are back on the prowl. Your stomach is full all the time. Everyone else is acting like a jerk.

Still, it’s important that you improve yourself from one Ramadan to the next. Maintain the momentum you’ve built up over the past 30 days. And make at least some of these good deeds a permanent part of your life.

You’ve already proven you can do it.

  • You’ve proven you can make it to the Masjid for congregational prayer on a regular basis. So now, go to the Masjid every day for Salaatul Fajr and Isha.
  • You’ve proven you can read Quran every day. So now, continue reading Quran every day after Ramadan.
  • You’ve proven you can fast every day. So now, fast twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays according to the Sunnah) and three times a month (the 13th, 14th, and 15th of the lunar month) after Ramadan.

You Can Fix These Mistakes

The good thing about these mistakes is that they can all be corrected. You can make changes so that these mistakes don’t follow you throughout the year. If Allah gives you life to see the next Ramadan, make intentions to improve. Have the intention to get better and avoid these pitfalls and errors.

Inshallah, your next Ramadan will be full of even more blessings.

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