My friend commented “instead of building Taqwa this is what we are doing during this month:
a. overeating iftar and feeling exhausted due to that
b. Clumsy movement at desk, as if fasting spares us the regular daily activities
c. Impatient driving and jamming up the street as if its quoted in religion to have iftar at home
d. Hoarding commodities and profiteering through overpricing groceries
e. Worst of all wasting money for extravagant clothing that we really don’t need
f. Watching vulgar in TV on occasion of EID to unleash from the month long refrainment.
g. Launch drowns and bus clashes, wreckless driving on the interstate and overloading the boats. Ppl die. The Ramadan culture that we have developed locally misguides a naive observer about the religion. Lets not make it a ritual , its a pillar of Islam.”
My friend is absolutely correct. Our greed, gluttony and lust does not slow down in our public dealings. We are constantly reminded that “islam is like any other religion. It is a private affair, for spiritual benefit only”. People who study Islamic texts fall for this. They tell muslims in muslim majority countries to fix their aqeedah, tajweed and rukun of ibadah. Whereas they tell Muslims in the west that their most important duty is to protect their children from bad western elements through personal ibadah and memorization of texts. For this post I would like to get back to my friend’s remarks.
Assume that I am a commodity trader. In Ramadhan I fast, pray, say Taraweeh, give sadaqah, spend on family and children. But I hoard sugar, onions and other essentials until prices increase. I know very well its wrong, but I do it anyway. why? We squeezed Islamic concepts down to an individual level where it is practiced at home only. Public life ceased to hold Islamic concepts of deen, duniya and akhira for regulating our society. Religion became a private affair where ibadah is limited to salah, sadaqah and hajj, so that other activities are not counted as worship of Allah swt. But as individuals we love to practice our Deen, by “privately” following the Holy Shariah although it is not in force as it is supposed to be.
Assume for a moment, Islam existed comprehensively at home and in public. Traders would likely behave differently if trading was regarded as an act of ibadah like any other forms of ibadah (like salah). They would be told to follow the way of Holy Prophet Muhammad swm for salah, business and everything else, all of which would be counted as part of ibadah. Following hadith would be read and applied by both traders and hadith scholars alike, as a means to please Allah swt.
Sayyidina ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) as saying, “He who brings goods for sale is blessed with good fortune, but he who keeps them till the price rises is accursed.” (Ibn Majah and Darimi)
Men would lower their gaze, women would cover themselves, honesty, humility, kindness, charity, ilm, struggle against injustice etc would all be held as ibadah for Allah swt.