The call to prayer starts on the alarm on your phone. Rather than ignore it, as usual, you jump and head to quickly go perform wudu before shaking out the prayer rug and doing salat. It definitely must be Ramadan! It is not unusual for people to dive more into religious practices during the holiest of months. This is especially true in the age of social media, where every namaaz, every page turn of the Quran, and every mosque visit can be shared online. And through this seemingly unconventional form of dawah, many people can be inspired to actually practice Islam. Why is this such a bad thing? Why is being a good practicing Muslim only during the month of Ramadan so frowned upon? Would you rather people turn from their deen altogether?
One of the reasons might be that it makes Muslims look “bad,” as if we only practice our deen during Ramadan. But does it really? Anyone who chooses to practice Islam, whether it’s Ramadan or not, should be commended, not condemned. By condemning someone who is inspired to increase their spiritual practices, such as reading Quran and praying, during Ramadan, you may be discouraging them from practicing at all!
The people you see who only show up at the mosque during Ramadan should absolutely be embraced and welcomed. We should always embrace and welcome them, and should never engage in behavior to drive them away. Isn’t that what Islam is about ultimately? Love and acceptance? And by turning anyone away and shunning someone who actually wants to practice Islam, aren’t we ourselves committing a sin? We, as Muslims in the world community, have a duty to each other. As a Hadith from the Prophet Muhammad says, “The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the believer is the one from whom the people’s lives and wealth are safe.” We don’t know what anyone else’s story is. We don’t know what is happening in their lives. Perhaps they didn’t have a good experience at the mosque when they were younger. Or maybe an unfortunate event caused them to lose their faith and now they are working on regaining it back again.
Whatever the reason may be, we don’t have the knowledge of it. So we should not act as if we do. Yet another relevant Hadith from our beloved Prophet: “Part of the perfection of someone’s Islam is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.” So rather than chastise your siblings in Islam, embrace them with open arms. Hug them, (air hug from six feet away; please continue practicing social distancing!) and keep inviting them to iftars and the early morning suhoor diner meets. After Ramadan ends, continue inviting them to religious events or for prayers at the mosque! It may just help you stay accountable with your own deen and prayers, too!
At the end of the day, we are one Ummah — and we should be supporting each other as much as we can, in whatever ways we can, not policing or trying to quantify and qualify each other’s relationship with Allah.