By Abdul-Qadir Kazeem
‘Man, I am tired, when is Maghrib time again?’
‘I cannot take this anymore. If it stays this hot, I may have to break my fast.’
‘Why does Ramadhan have to be during this time of year?’
These are from among the many complaints we will here in the coming years during the month of Ramadhan. For those who did not know, the month of Ramadhan moves up 11 days every year of the solar calendar. So for the next several years, we will have Ramadhan right in the middle of the summer. It will be hot. The days will be longer. Muslims will complain.
Do we have the right to complain?
For those of us living in the southern part of the United States and have never lived up north, consider this. The farther north you go during the summer time in the United States, the more hours of daylight. So in Seattle, Fajr is around 4:30 a.m. in the summer time, and Isha is at about 11:00 p.m. The sun does not set until about 9:30 pm. Can you imagine it being almost bed time and having the sun still high in the sky?
I have a coworker who has a brother in Germany. He told me the sun sets around 10:00 p.m. there. Imagine having to fast for 17 or 18 hours, then praying taraweeh, then getting up 2 to 3 hours later to start fasting again.
Those of us living in the southern part of the United States, we have it easy. Those of us living in the United States, period, we have it easy. Those of us who have anything to eat at all, we have it easy. We have been blessed by Allah, and we should be thankful for everything we have been given, no matter how small it may be.
There are many goals of fasting we are constantly reminded of. Self-restraint and increasing God-consciousness are among them. One that is not mentioned frequently enough is that when we fast, we are supposed to feel hungry. The problem is we do not want to feel hungry. We stuff ourselves in the morning, and stuff ourselves in the evening once more. This attitude of overeating in Ramadhan will not allow us to reach the goals intended by fasting.
Yes, we should feel the pangs of hunger everyday. Feel your stomach churning while at work, school, and at home. Let these pangs remind you of those who are fasting not because they want to, but because they have nothing to eat. When we reflect on this, it will cause us to be more generous during times when we are required to give charity, because we have an idea of how they feel and what they go through everyday. Complaining to other people is an indication you are not thankful for what you have. At least you get to eat at the end of the day. At least you have your health. At least you have a home to sleep in every night. So let us desist from complaining in these coming years, and let us use that time to instead remember Allah, recite the Qur’an, and ask Allah for forgiveness.
We ask Allah to make fasting easy for us, and we ask Him to accept from us our fasting in this month of Ramadhan.
“Look to those who are inferior to you and do not look to those who are superior to you, for this will keep you from belittling Allah’s Favor upon you.” (Bukhari and Muslim).