Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The ‘unrewarded’ ‘good deeds’

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort 
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.

* Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: “Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst, and many people who pray at night get nothing from it except wakefulness.” - Darimi

I took leave to observe the first day of Ramadan at home in Melaka. Fasting was ‘easy’ at home. Even though I was ‘off’ on that day, I did my routine daily office job via the internet, I was so occupied with my work, I only realized it was ‘iftar’ time (breaking of the fast) after my youngest daughter who was 9 reminded me about it.

On the second day of Ramadan I had to go back to office, to attend my company’s important meeting in Kuala Lumpur. That journey was a real test for me. After alighting from the express bus at the ‘Terminal Bersepadu Selatan’/ Southern Integrated Terminal (TBS) in Bandar Tasik Selatan, I walked on the ‘sky bridge’ to fetch the LRT (light rail transit) at the farthest end of the station.

The walk was more than half a kilometer. While walking, I remembered what was said about Ramadan by an ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher) in his ‘tazkirah’ (short preaching) in the masjid near my house before the fasting month. A friend who is also an ‘ustaz’ told me the word ‘fasting month’ is not accurate to describe ‘Ramadan’ because the holy month is not about fasting only but about one's determination to get closer to Allah SWT and to secure His blessing and forgiveness including freedom from hellfire.

"Fasting is not just about abstaining from food and drinks," said the ‘ustaz’ during ‘tazkirah’ at the masjid. "We are also requested to 'fast' our tongues, eyes, ears and minds.

"If we only refrain ourselves from taking food and drinks, but 'free' our sights, hearings and tongues, then at the end of the day, we will be rewarded only with hunger, thirst and tiredness," said the ‘ustaz’.

He also said we had to 'fast' our stomach. It was true, during Ramadan, we had to refrain from eating and drinking during the day, but it would be of no value if during breaking of the fast, we took food that was forbidden (haram).

He said all the food that was laid on the desk had to be ‘halal’, and there were regulations when eating. For example fill only one third of the stomach with food, the next one third with drink and leave the rest empty for easier breathing as said by the Prophet.

A Muslim is ordered to eat and drink, making sure he takes care of the following: First, not to waste or exceed the right limit. Allah SWT says; "…and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance,…"(Quran 7:31).

Second, not to eat or drink what is harmful, especially if it is forbidden. Third, to eat and drink moderately. The Messenger of Allah SWT said; "Man has not filled a container worse than his stomach; he should be satisfied with a few bites to survive. However, if his appetite beats him, let it be a third (of his stomach space) for his food and a third for his drink and a third for his breath." (Ahmad).

Fourth, to try not to be fat, for the Prophet of Allah SWT described the people who would come after three blessed centuries, that fatness appears in them. Fatness appears when the human body takes more calories that it needs, that is, food entering the body is much greater than what is needed and excreted. (Rules For The Muslim Home, Sa'eed Muhammad Al-Deeb, IIPH).

Having the ‘words’ of the ‘ustaz’ on my mind, I walked with my head looking at the ground. I was afraid my eyes would catch sight of Kuala Lumpur girls. Yes it is Ramadan, but activities in Kuala Lumpur don't stop. The girls as usual, are in their 'best' when going out to work or shop.

When the train reached the station, I quickly entered it and had a seat near a Chinese girl. She was wearing a skirt. I tried hard not to notice her; my eyes fixed to the ground but when she pulled up her legs and crossed it, her legs ‘entered’ my vision. ‘Subhanallah’. Oooh God, I hope my reward for fasting would not be decreased by that incident! 

I looked up; in front of me there were three girls busily chatting; they must be Muslims I guessed based on their attires including the ‘tudungs’ (headcovers) they were wearing. Sadly, even they were putting on their ‘tudungs’, all were in short sleeved T-shirt and body clad jeans.

Their appearance and attires did not comply with the Islamic code of dressing even they were putting on ‘tudungs’; it was against the words of Allah, the Almighty: “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known (as such) so as not to be molested.” (Qur’an 33:59)

Perhaps they were fasting and I too was fasting. They were hoping that Allah the Almighty would reward them for their fasting; but something had gone wrong; perhaps they were unaware of the Prophet warning: “Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst.”

My eyes too had seen ‘that haram things’; I was afraid that I would also fell into that group of men and women who would not be rewarded for their ‘good deeds’.

During Ramadan, one may abstain from food and drinks but one's eyes and ears are not spared from seeing and listening to 'haram' things. 

In reality many Muslims, me included, on so many occasions think we are doing ‘good deeds’ but in fact they contradict the teaching of Islam. For example many women think that by wearing the ‘tudung’ they were adhering to Islamic way of covering up but they do not realize when they purposely expose other parts of the bodies such as arms, legs and necks, they are acting or doing things that are against religious obligations.

Nowadays it is a familiar thing to see women especially youth to appear in tight fitting attires such as jeans and short sleeve T-shirts or even ‘baju kebaya’ with slits on their ‘sarung’ even though they are wearing ‘tudungs’. It is Ramadan, the holiest month of the year; but the girls still ‘dress to kill’.

Yes, they think they do ‘good deeds’ by wearing their ‘tudungs’, but don’t they realize they are actually ‘making fun’ of Islam? Am I harsh in saying that they were actually insulting Islam; a not so knowledgeable Muslim what’s more a non Muslim would have ideas that what they portray are dresses that comply in accordance to the Islamic teaching.

From KL I took the express bus back and by 5.00 pm that day, I had reached Melaka Sentral and while waiting at a roadside of the main road in front of Taman Cempaka for my son to fetch me, I had a good view of the busy and crowded bazaar Ramadan across the road.

There as sat on a railing, I saw many young girls in tight fitting attires rushing across the road after buying their requirements at the bazaar even though there was a pedestrian bridge not far away. Many were exposing their arms as they were wearing short sleeves T-shirts; some of the attires too tight and short; the irony of it almost all of the girls were putting on their ‘tudungs’!

On several occasions, when the girls crossed the roads, cars drivers honked their vehicles while youth on motorcycles went ‘wild’ with ‘wolf whistles’ and ‘lewd’ remarks.

It was Ramadan, the best time of year to get closer to Allah SWT, yet I was seeing ‘unbelieving things’ that could ‘jeopardize’ Allah SWT’s reward on my ‘puasa’.

Perhaps it is better for one to stay at home in order to observe Ramadan with a peaceful mind and do not fall into the category of “many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst!”

1 comment:

KYS said...

Salam Tuan,

Terima kasih atas semua tulisan tuan di blog Tuan ini. Saya berharap dapat menyediakan butang like atau butang share FB atau Twitter supaya dapat saya berkongsi dengan rakan-rakan FB dan Twitter saya.

Selamat berpuasa. Semoga puasa kita diterima. Insya Allah !