People's Attitude in their Reception of Ramadan

In their reception of Ramadan people are divided into two categories:

The first category:
Those who are happy with this month and feel quite pleased with its coming for the following reasons:

A- They are used to fasting and have trained themselves to stand it. It is one of the reasons why the sunnah recommends voluntary fasting, like fasting Mondays and Thursdays, the thirteenth, the fourteenth and the fifteenth of every Hijri month, the day of Arafat (for those who are not performing Hajj), the day of A’ashura (with fasting one day before and one day after), fasting during the month of Sha’baan, among other fasts that the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa salam, recommended to his Ummah so that they become used to fasting and seek more piety. The effect of this training is realized when we notice that people who observe some of the voluntary fasts, find no difficulty in fasting the month of Ramadan, which become for them a natural process that they carry out without suffering. Those who are lazy in performing voluntary fasts, however, finds in Ramadan a heavy and intolerable burden.

The righteous Salaf (the early generations of Islam) have shown us perfect examples of intention while observing voluntary fasting, not to mention the month of Ramadan. Marvelous stories about their fast have indeed been reported. Among them is the story of people of Salaf who sold a slave girl to someone: when Ramadan came, the new master of the slave girl began to prepare different foods and drinks, to receive Ramadan as most people do nowadays. When the slave girl noticed what the master and his people were doing, she said: “ What are you doing that for?” They said: “ It is a reception of Ramadan”. She then in astonishment said: “ Is it that you only fast in Ramadan? By Subhana wa Ta’ala! I have left a people who took the whole year as if it were Ramadan; I do not need to stay among you anymore, take me back to them” and she was returned to her previous master.

B- They know well that to forgo pleasure in this life they will be able to attain it in the hereafter because when the fasting person abstains from food, drink, sexual intercourse, and every act that nullifies the fast during the day in Ramadan, he is in fact obeying Allah, Subhana wa Ta’ala, which is a cause for the attainment of perpetual enjoyment in Paradise. It is therefore as a result of their firm certainty that the pious people feel happy with the coming of the glorious month of Ramadan.

On the other hand, people who indulge in unlawful pleasure in this life bring about the loss of the pleasure on the day of Resurrection. The Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa salam, said: “whoever drinks wine in this life will not taste it in the hereafter, unless he repents”. He will be deprived of it, even if he enters Paradise, as a punishment for enjoying an unlawful pleasure. In the same context, the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa salam, said: “Whoever wears silk garments will not wear them in the hereafter”.

C- People who are truly happy observing Ramadan understand that it is a month of great opportunity to excel in obedience and competition to perform their obligations. They also know that in this month Allah, subhana wa Ta’ala, gives innumerable rewards. They are truly happy with Ramadan's coming in the same way that a person feels joy when meeting a beloved friend or relative, or even more so. Such is the first category of people and their reception of Ramadan.

The Second Category:
Those who find Ramadan as a burden. For them it is like an uninvited guest. They count its hours, days, and nights, impatiently waiting for its departure, feeling happy about each day that passes so much that when Eid arrives, or is about to come, they are content with the near end of Ramadan. Such people only tolerate this month and look for its end for the following reasons.

1. They are used to excessive pleasure in food and drink, besides indulging in unlawful enjoyments. Therefore, it is natural that they view Ramadan as a month restricting them from taking pleasure, and will never welcome it.

2. They are people whose neglect of acts of obedience has become such a habit that you would notice the one among them careless of obligations such as prayer. Even when Ramadan starts, they limit their obedience only to certain acts. They visit mosques, perform prayers with the congregation, and fast and pray every day of Ramadan. These acts of devotion that they failed to perform previously causes them to find this month a heavy burden rather than a time of joy and fulfillment. They are filled with doubts of what Allah, Subhana wa Ta’ala, has promised the believers and they fail to perceive the benefits of this month and the great rewards Allah, Subhana wa Ta’ala, bestows on those who sincerely observe its fasting. It is no surprise then that they do not experience spiritual blessings and happiness that the believers enjoy at the arrival of the honored guest.

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