Reflections: “Ramadan Muslims”

Muslims are not a monolith. We all come from different places and experience different struggles. No two Muslims feel and live life exactly the same – and that’s beautiful. What’s not beautiful is when people start openly judging one another on how “pious” the other is. People have actually coined the term, “Ramadan Muslims” as an ongoing “joke” of some sort. The implication is not so nice. Ramadan, unfortunately, has become the battleground for this atrocious behavior.

So, what is a “Ramadan Muslim?” Apparently, it’s supposed to label Muslims who seemingly only practice Islam during the month of Ramadan. Meaning, they pray five times a day, fast, don’t swear, eat halal, and overall, put a halt on their haram lifestyles during the month. So many people are so quick to judge these Muslims so much so that it has become an ongoing joke. What’s so funny about someone worshipping Allah (SWT) the right way?

If someone actively gives up a lifestyle in which they are so engrossed in during the other 11 months of the year, how is that laughable? These “Ramadan Muslims” sacrifice haram choices and actions for the sake of Allah (SWT). At least they recognize the great importance and blessing of this month. At least they are worshipping in some way, even it be in the smallest of ways. In addition to that, what if this was the Ramadan that turned and guided the heart of someone who was on the wrong path in life? Allah (SWT) guides whom He wills. We should never feel as if we have an authority to judge those who are striving to please Allah (SWT). This month is not for judging, it’s for reflection. Reflect upon yourself, reflect on the Quran and apply it to your own life. Do not mock others for worshipping in the blessed month of Ramadan. Surah Al-Hujurat tells us,

“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” – Quran, 49:11

We should feel joyful and comfort seeing others practicing and praising Allah (SWT). If “Ramadan Muslims” are such an “issue,” let’s ask ourselves, why? Everyone goes through different circumstances, but what are we, as fellow brothers and sisters in Islam, doing to help? If anything, we should be the ones trying to perfect our manners. We should try to implement and renew the characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) into our own lives. If anything, we should help other Muslims see the beauty in Islam, by setting beautiful examples of what it means to truly be a believer. If we can’t do that, then at least we should make sincere dua for those fellow Muslims who are struggling with balancing deen and dunya.

It is understandable that the dunya distracts us all, but that does not make anyone a hopeless case. Everyone gets caught up in life and we sometimes neglect the most important part of our day – our prayers. Then, when Ramadan comes we’re suddenly reminded that we’re Muslim too and start praying five times a day, fasting, and going for Taraweeh. Many of us have been victims of this behavior. I used to get caught up with school and work and would sometimes just skip over my prayers, but then in Ramadan I would pray five times a day and then go back to my old ways when the month was over.

Why neglect your prayers outside of Ramadan? I think a big problem is that people get caught up in this dunya and don’t focus on deen until later in life. I’m looking at you Pakistani folks in particular, as it’s almost a part of our culture to do so. Why is it that we focus more on education and marriage rather than our deen? That’s a reason why some of us become “Ramadan Muslims,” which is sad, but it’s true for a lot of people.

An easy way to break this continuous cycle is to think of each prayer as your last prayer. Not to be morbid, but anything can happen at any given moment and nothing in this life is guaranteed. It’s important to think of each prayer as your last chance to repent and please your Lord. There are three ways that have helped me keep my deen up and aware of my prayers. First, go to the masjid as often as you can, either for Jummah prayer or a weekly lecture. Second, download the Muslim Pro app and turn on the notifications. This way you’ll know exactly what time each prayer is. Try to pray immediately!!! Get up and go pray as soon as you hear the adhan – this will seriously affect you in making all five daily prayers because you won’t put them off or eventually forget about them. Lastly, learn at least one new thing about Islam every day. It can be anything, read a hadith and ponder it’s meaning, read a page of the Quran, read an Islamic story about any prophet, literally anything that you can. Once you find yourself learning about different topics in Islam, your love and devotion for Allah (SWT) can only grow from there, insha’Allah.

Let’s make this Ramadan the best one yet. Let’s not judge one another on how outwardly pious the other is. Instead, let’s reflect on the true meaning of Ramadan and understand other people’s struggles. Let’s find our innate love for this deen and Allah (SWT), while also allowing the best version of us to come about in this month and let it manifest throughout the rest of our lives, insha’Allah.

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