The Seasonal Piety of Ramzan!
Islam is a holistic religion, and Allah’s system doesn’t work like a calculator. His system is based on meezan (measuring scale or yardstick), that weighs the good and bad deeds instead of calculating them.
By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander
Ramzan is a blessed month for Muslims world over. Majority of Muslims observe the month of Ramzan with utmost devotion and religious fervour following Islamic injunctions strictly that usher a phase of ‘inflated piety’.
In Islam, religious rituals and commandments are not an end in themselves. They are a means to an end that need to be observed to inculcate divine attributes individually. During Ramzan the mosques fill up with mostly seasonal worshippers. Millions of gallons of water are consumed for the ablution purposes by Muslims. The environment of ‘piety’, ‘religiosity’ and ‘Muslimness’ is evident in society and guarded loyally by the seasonally pious Muslims. This overwhelming observance of Islamic rituals is manifested only in mosques and makeshift kiosks that are erected in various public parks, compounds and vacant lands adjacent to mosques.
But the Ramzan spirit, that is the essence of this month, is missing in our individual and collective lives. Very rarely it happens that Ramzan transforms our souls and leaves an indelible imprint on our characters. The post Ramzan activities of most Muslims are a testimony of this fact. The mosques once again crave for the big congregations, but millions of gallons of water are saved in the process, as the seasonal Muslims wait for next Ramzan to attend mosques for the daily five prayers.
Blurs the Vision
What are the reasons for the drastic decline and disdain towards ‘piety’ and ‘rituals’ once the Shawwal moon has been sighted? I can infer a few reasons from my observations. The Muslim masses have been fed on the religious diet of Sawaab (Blessings earned due to observance of Islamic rituals). The Sawaab paradigm blurs the vision of most Muslims that doesn’t help them realize the true spirit and end results that Islam wants to inculcate among Muslims.
The Sawaab paradigm is invoked voraciously during Ramzan that makes Muslims cling to mosques in order to earn most Sawaab. The Sawaab is one dimension or reward that is bestowed on Muslims by Allah but to render it as an epicentre of Islamic activism deprives Muslims of the real spirit of Islam.
Ramzan is a month that should inculcate the spirit of Justice, compassion, mercy, brotherhood and equality among Muslims. We can witness a small manifestation of religious observance in mosques while our market places, offices and families remain deprived from the core values that Islam and Ramzan want to inculcate among Muslims.
Another big miscalculation by Muslims is that they think that Allah judges Muslims on basis of good deeds and evil deeds. This system according to their flawed opinion works like a calculator that adds and multiplies their good deeds while deducting their bad deeds. Thus, if they both pray and accept bribes they still can crave for heaven and think that Allah will forgive them.
Measuring Scale or Yardstick
Ramzan being among the most blessed months, that offers the evil souls a unique opportunity to cleanse themselves and then return to their old routine after Ramzan, repeating the vicious circle over decades. Islam is a holistic religion and Allah’s system doesn’t work like a calculator, but his system is based on Meezan (measuring scale or yardstick), that weighs the good and bad deeds instead of calculating them.
Quran exhorts Muslims to enter into the fold of Islam completely. A true Muslim can’t have double, split or hypocritical personality. A true Muslim can be either a corrupt official or a practicing Muslim. He can’t be both at the same time. He can’t please both Allah and Satan; he has to choose one of the two. Those who are thinking that they can please both masters would gain consent of none. The spirit of Ramzan and observing prayers is that, one ends his relationship with Satan, upholds and inculcates the core values of Islam particularly the compassion towards poor, downtrodden and wretched of the earth.
The other reason for the epidemic increase in the observance levels of Islamic piety is due to environment and peer pressure during Ramzan. It is a month during which most Muslims enquire about the absence of others particularly in the Dawn and Night prayers. This pressure motivates many to join the prayers, but this habit is discontinued by most in the aftermath of Ramzan.
Ramzan is observed by Muslims world over every year but very rarely its real spirit and fruits are bestowed on Muslims due to their own flawed understanding of Islam. An average Muslim observes Ramzan for decades strictly without any real transformation taking place that Ramzan aims for. Ramzan has been made synonymous by Muslims with seasonal piety and prayers whereas Ramzan and Islam aims at making Muslims compassionate, contributing and merciful citizens who bring glad tidings and fill the earth with tolerance, love and peace. But this spirit keeps evading Muslims every Ramzan.
(MushtaqUlHaq Ahmad Sikander is a writer based in Srinagar)
(Taken from newageislam.com)