Reflections in Ramadan

Ramadan comes, and so does all those who try to profit from it, whether spiritually or financially. The former congregates to mosques, the latter to bazaars which are mushrooming faster than I can consume iftar. And in any place where hundreds of people get together, some are bound to stand out more than the rest.

The short shirt + low jeans combo

Most people seem to forget that when going to mosques, you are not encouraged to eat food that may give off a foul smell, like onions, and to apply perfume, wear nice (non-smelly) clothes, brush your teeth, keep your voice down, etc. The purpose of which is to make sure you do not cause any form of distraction to those who want to perform their prayers in the house of Allah.

Unfortunately distractions still occur, and increasingly nowadays, one of the most irritating and common distraction is when a person do not even realise the proper way of covering their aurat.

Empirical evidence suggests that those who wear jeans are unaware it may get pulled down when you prostrate (sujud). Combine this with a short t-shirt that rides up your back, the result is visible buttcrack inter-gluteal cleft upon sujud.

For the recored, male aurat is between his navel and knee. The backside is between the navel and knee. Based on that infallible logic, one must ensure that portions of the derriere should be covered at all times when praying.

What has been seen, cannot be unseen.

I actually approached a stranger who unknowingly revealed his backside during prayers. The conversation was awkward; trying to explain politely to someone you haven’t met before that you can see that uncompromising cleft of his. And he replied, “What? I don’t understand.” I wouldn’t want to repeat that experience again.

People have been trying hard all Ramadan to lower their gaze, and sharing your backside with the rest of the saff behind you is hardly a gesture one can appreciate. Not that it’s something they enjoy anyway.

The most expensive biryani

Last weekend going through a road leading to a shopping mall, I found the traffic slow and congested. As a Ramadan bazaar was set up just beside it, at first I thought it was purely due to the immense concentration of people in the area. I was partially right. The culprit is the people – inconsiderate ones – who happily parked their cars along the stretch of road leading to the carpark. As I trundled along these parked cars, I realise that they are people who are rushing to buy food for iftar. Fellow Muslims.

One of the many bazaars in Ramadan. (Image credit)

I was so disappointed. Not only that, some were double-parking, making the already small road much harder to inch along. Such inconsiderate behaviour should never be displayed by Muslims, especially one who is fasting. What about the beauty of this religion, which tells you to watch your adab when you are in public. There’s hardly any display of commendable adab in inconveniencing other road users.

Maybe they’ll learn it the hard way. My father told me a story about a $75 dollars biryani. A man went to one of those Ramadan bazaar, and due to parking shortage, he parked his car by the side of the road to grab a pack of biryani. When he got back minutes later, there’s a parking ticket on his windshield. Price of the biryani: $5. Add the $70 to the total bill, and you have the most expensive biryani in town.

The ambiance of buka

I remember when I was in my teens, I used to earn the wrath of my father for always insisting to go out with friends for iftar. My father sometimes refused to let me go out, and would instead lecture me on wastefulness and many other things. I knew it was wasteful since you had to fork out money while there’s always food on the table at home, but I thought he never understood my appreciation of good company over food.

Recently for the first time in a long time, I decided to have my buka (aka iftar) at a popular eating place. With a variety of spread and reasonable price, I was looking forward to have a good meal at sunset. Alhamdulillah I must say the food wasn’t bad at all, but the same cannot be said of its ambiance.

Upon taking up seat prior to the iftar, we saw many Muslims who were rushing to get the food ready for themselves and their family. As sunset drew nearer, tables were getting filled fast with Muslims of different background. Some with colored hair, rashly conversing to their acquaintances. Others are in short skirts, while some are in bermudas with kids in tow. There’s a table behind me where its occupants were having heated discussions and almost shouting at each other. It was noisy, rowdy, and hardly qualifies as an Islamic impression.

While the company and food were good, I find there’s something terribly “empty” about having iftar at a commercial venue. Our routine is still the same compared with iftar elsewhere; afterward we went to perform our prayers and terawih. There’s a nagging feeling that something was missing in iftar, but I just can’t put my finger on it.

Iftar in a mosque. (Image credit)

Nevertheless, I did realize how it contrasted from having your iftar at home. or a mosque. At home, while the spread is usually more modest, it is definitely more relaxed. Even in a mosque with many others chattering away waiting for Maghrib, the background is calmer, and the whole place just seems brighter.

I’m not sure what it is, perhaps the nur and barakah of those who are sincere in preparing iftar?



One thought on “Reflections in Ramadan

  1. alhamdulillah, the first thing we should actually take note of, and I keep telling myself this, is that they are actually fasting, and that will hopefully be rewarded by Allah swt.

    Secondly, it’s the bazaar that brings the worse in us. all these commercialism, the rush to buy more things… makes us lose our spirituality and humanism. going to geylang is indeed a real fitna! haha.

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