The Muslim world is abuzz with activity, ready to welcome the grand season that is upon us, complete with the colorful lanterns, stars and crescent moons.
Surely, it’s a great blessing from Allah upon His servant that he has given them numerous seasons to perform acts of worship in which there are many acts of obedience, offenses are cancelled, sins are forgiven and good deeds are multiplied, mercy descends and magnificent gifts are granted. But beware, those gifts are not from winning the social media competitions that abound. Especially in the middle east, social media analysts have pointed out a very significant increase in demand for social media branding, promotions and campaigns during this period starting weeks before Ramadan and ending a few days after Eid. A study has suggested that even though consumer behavior is curbed from dawn-to-dusk during the fasting hour, they tend to spend much more money during Ramadan. The implications of this are great – on the health, wealth and spiritual wellbeing of a Muslim.
It’s not a holiday / celebration.
First things first, Ramadan is not a month of celebration. It’s a month of worship. Let’s get this straight. It’s not a holiday season. People have work, commitments and household to take care of during this time. We are not on a one-month break. Instead, we have additional, blessed acts of worship to perform during this time. Celebration comes at the end of it. Eid Al Fitr is when people would take off from work, celebrate the festival, congratulate one another, visit each other, eat and drink (it’s forbidden to fast of the Eid days) and join each other in permissible merry making. Hence #CelebrateRamadan or #RamadanCelebrations are not the hashtags to go by.
Suhoor and Iftar buffets.
One of my pet peeves is the organization of these immense buffets at 5-star hotel for suhoor and iftar. Now I wouldn’t mind eating some good food especially if I am not the one who cooked it (guess what that means #lesscookingmoreworship ) but to have set up special extravagant tents, where there is live music and whirling dervishes, people smoking shisha and stuffing their faces until they are full to burst and on top of that wasting more than they eat!! Everything about this setting is inherently wrong based on how a Muslim should behave, do and how much to eat at iftar. Now don’t even get me started about Suhoor buffet. What is served immediately after iftar until midnight with the same setting and food wastage is not the blessed meal our Prophet (SAW) taught us about. It is best to delay the Suhoor until just before the time for Fajr. So next time you see these being offered as prizes, think does this really add value to your Ramadan?
Set the time.
If you are a social media enthusiast/phone addict, total withdrawal may not be an option. To minimize distractions, schedule a few short breaks from social media and when you are not on the break, set aside a fixed time during the day, like during afternoon or early morning, whenever you have some down-time during the day depending on your schedule for all the scrolling and tapping. Try your best to resist the urge to use your phone during other times. If you do give in, here’s another tip, set a timer for 5 minutes (not more!) as soon as you open your phone, so once you are done with the ‘important’ work and are now just mindlessly scrolling, you are reminded to cut it.
Track your progress.
Use a screen time tracker app on your phone. Set your target, achieve and reward yourself. Don’t forget to do all of this with the right intention, to get the best of this month, to increase your worship and improve in your Taqwa, the purpose of this month, to ultimately please Allah, the purpose of our existence.