Rewind, to ‘fast’ forward

Rewind, to ‘fast’ forward

Mahmoud Ahmad

By Mahmoud Ahmad


THE month of Ramadan is a special month for Muslims to get closer to Allah by worshipping and exercising extreme self-discipline in all aspects of life. It is, like I said before, a month for reflections on our action, behavior, feel for the poor and needy, be good to others, do a lot of charity work, get connected with family and relatives, do good unto your neighbors and many other good deeds. Sadly this is not reflected in many Muslims, as we see everywhere anything but actions that’s contrary to what the holy month advocates. Some people even think that Ramadan is a month of fasting — where you abstain from food and drink only.

So I am going to summarize the poor behavior shown by many Muslims in a fictional life of one person. I would just like to add that it is not necessary that all these bad behaviors exist in one person, but some of it or most of it are, while some others may be exhibited in others, thus these attitudes and habits are personified in one person to project the sum total of our actions in this month.

This is a day in the life of Ali, a government worker in a service sector. Ali deems it is OK to wake up late during this month, as he had to stay up for Fajr for his Suhoor. On this day, he wakes up 2 hours after his scheduled start of work because he had stayed up late the day before with his friends. Of course, he had missed praying in mosque the Fajr. Hating to go to work, but knowing he had to otherwise he would suffer penalties, Ali deigns to make an appearance late. On his way to work, Ali drives recklessly cutting in front of cars, blowing horns, shouting at other drivers on the road and threatening them. When he has the chance, he goes over the speed limit and if Saher is not installed in any intersection and if no police are around, he would run through the red light.

He finally gets to work and starts cussing as he sees a lot of people at his department waiting for their paper work to be done, and this meant work for Ali. Instead of going to the desk to clear the paper work, he slips into the back office to take some rest because he did not sleep well. His colleagues soon enter the room and ask him to man his desk to help clear the backlog because the number of people is increasing. Angry and ready to fight, he sits at his desk and greets everyone with a frown. He makes sure that not a single paperwork is completed and asks the people to leave their paperwork at his desk and come after three days to collect it, despite the fact that it would take only minutes to complete it.

When someone has the temerity to object to this unnecessary delay, he threatens him and promises that his work would not be done. Ali also takes every chance he has to leave his desk and rest in the back of the office, leaving behind frustrated people. Ali finally decides to create a false excuse to leave work earlier than the regulation time and escapes leaving a fresh batch of angry people, who arrive only to see an empty desk.

He then returns home by driving and acting the same way he drove to work — basically cutting in front of people, cussing, speeding and running through red lights. And if there is a slight accident while on the road, Ali would with all penitence blame it on him fasting and tell others that it is Ramadan. At home, Ali’s wife reminds him to visit his mother to have Iftar with her since he has not seen her for weeks. Ali, however, gets angry at this request saying that her house is far away and he cannot drive just before Iftar as the streets are just crazy. She then suggests a visit to his uncle, who stays nearby, but Ali shouts her down stating that he had promised not to visit his uncle because of an old disagreement. Because of that he had vowed not to put his foot inside his uncle’s house or allow him to visit until there’s a resolution of the disagreement.

Ali then goes to the stall to buy food. Again he refuses to stand in line, and barges his way in to the dismay of other waiting people. When someone objects, he trashes him with words and threatens to even fight. He even takes on the person serving food, by shouting at his delay and tardiness. He finally sits at the Iftar table waiting to break his fast. After the call for prayer, Ali starts his Iftar and recites this prayer, “O my Allah, for Thee, I fast, and with the food Thou gives me I break the fast, and I rely on Thee. In the name of Allah, O Allah, we fast, and with the food Thou gives us we break the fast, an obligation we fulfill, and Thou art Hearer, Knower. In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, O He whose indulgence is boundless, forgive me. O my Allah, forgive me for the sake of your mercy, which encompasses the whole universe and forgive me my sins.”

I would like to ask you’ll, does the way Ali ends his fast reflect on his behavior the whole day?

I would also ask here that how many people mirror Ali in real life during this holy month? It is really ironical that people out there lie at work, blow their fuses repeatedly and in general make the lives of others miserable. After all that when we break our Iftar we beseech Allah to accept our good deeds. Are they all good? This holy month gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect and take a corrective course in our lives. If we do not reflect on our bad actions and improve, then our Ramadan is nothing but a diet program.

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Twitter: @anajeddawi_eng