In this episode, Muslim Diaries will try to help Muslims figure out the usual mistakes we commit during Ramadan through an imaginary story. This text was written on July 2013 🙂 Let’s start!
A Muslim was holding a discussion with an atheist, by the end of which, the atheist was holding tight on his opinion and couldn’t understand what was the meaning of worshiping Allah (God) and what was the spirituality that the Muslim was talking about. So the Muslim said:
“Ok man, to help you understand, Ramadan is near, it is a month full of spirituality and I invite you to stay by my side during this holly month”
“What do you do during Ramadan? You said you worship God daily, what makes it special?” Asked the atheist.
“We fast, and beside being an act of worship, fasting helps us feel the pain of the poor. We worship Allah more during Ramadan. And by the end of it, we give money to poor and needy (Zakat Alfitr)” Replied the Muslim.
“Hmm, OK..” said the atheist “Let’s give it a try… You do what you have to do and I’ll just observe you.”
The atheist spent the whole month of Ramadan with the Muslim until Eid arrived.
“Finally!! We’re done! Ramadan is finished and tomorrow is Eid!” Yelled the Muslim, happily.
“What is Eid? And how could you know it will be tomorrow?” Questioned the atheist.
“We observe the new moon (Hilal), if it appears, Eid will take place the next day. Eid is a celebration, we thank Allah for the month of Ramadan and celebrate that we could fast during a whole month and could worship Allah” Answered the Muslim.
“But you didn’t fast…” Whispered the atheist.
“Sorry…” Said the Muslim who couldn’t hear his whispers.
“Nothing special. Let’s leave comments for tomorrow after your celebration.”
“Eid lasts for three days” Clarified the Muslim.
“Then after Eid is over. I’m tired now … Good night” Replied the Atheist.
The next day in the early morning, the Muslim took a bath (performed Ghusl), wore clean clothes and went to the Masjid. He prayed Eid and exchanged wishes with his Muslim brothers, asked for forgiveness and forgave people. He was so happy. All this happened under the eye of the atheist.
Three days passed during which the Muslim received guests and visited his family taking the atheist with him wherever he went.
“Ok now, Ramadan is over and Eid too. You could see me fasting and worshiping for a whole month, does it make clear for you what you couldn’t understand before?” Asked the Muslim.
“Well, I concluded a lot of things. Though I don’t believe in God, I realized that I fast every night…” Stated the atheist.
The Muslim interrupted him “Hhhhh! How does it come!?”
“You slept during the day and it is logical that we can’t eat when sleeping. So either you didn’t fast, or I do fast every night. Beside this you ate even more than a normal person and your table was various, even I can’t eat like you did in Ramadan. How to feel poor’s pain like you claimed?”
The Muslim felt embarrassed, and gave no answer. So the atheist continued:
“You said you have 5 prayers to perform a day and that each has a precise time. I saw you praying only once or twice a day..”
“It is because I was praying them at once” said the Muslim interrupting him.
“But why to pray them all together and miss your appointment while you can easily respect each prayer’s time? You said you worship God, it should be then the most important one to you, though this, you miss your appointment every time. You also told me that you worship God even more in Ramadan, but you didn’t worship Him at all, all you did was to sleep during the day, to wake up seconds before people break their fast. Eat as much as you can, then watch TV programs, get online and watch funny things and stuffs, go out and see friends or assist a musical concerts, go to the cinema, spend time in joking and enjoying life as any human does in my place, to come back home late, eat, then sleep before the prayer call. Are you sure you believe in God? If so, why did you spend your time like any atheist? The only time in which I saw you behaving like the other Muslims was on Eid. You didn’t have to be that much happy though. They celebrated because they fasted, prayed and worshiped, what were you celebrating?”
The Muslim felt ashamed, and, trying to change the axis of the discussion, said: “So you learned nothing during that month…”
“No, I did” Replied the atheist “But not from you. I learned from the murmurs heard from your neighbour’s house at night when they recited Quran. From people who run to Masjid at every prayer time. From those who pray the night prayer (Tarawih) and do not care how much long it takes. From those who offer meals to poor. I learned from those who read Quran everywhere, even in buses and public places. From those who spend their days and nights in Masjid worshiping (I’tikaf). I learned from people kindness. I learned that on this month, they try to be closer to the God they worship and do only what pleases Him and since all they do is good, I understand that the God you worship can’t be pleased with something bad or harmful. You gave the bad example and I could compare. So at least now, I understand the difference between Muslims and Islam.”
Our Muslim friend learned a lesson there from where, he thought, he would never learn. Allah is the axis of our life, if we can’t show this in normal days, Ramadan is the right occasion for us to correct ourselves. I hope this Ramadan will be different, will be better, and, during it, we will be closer to our Lord and more honest toward ourselves. Ramadan Karim and Mubarak to all of you!!