20 Common Mistakes Made During Ramadan

Most Muslims who fast in Ramadan focus on the benefits and rewards of it. But in doing so, we often make mistakes that instead of adding to our experience actually detract from it. Mistakes that can make us commercialize Ramadan as so many other religions have commercialized their sacred days. Insha’Allah the following will serve as a reminder to, first, myself and then to all Muslims. May Allah help us in spending our time wisely this Ramadan and help us in avoiding these mistakes. Ameen!

1. Taking Ramadan as a ritual

For many of us Ramadan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual than a form of Ibaadah. We fast from morning to night like a zombie just because everyone around us is fasting, too. We forget that it’s a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil. We forget to beseech Allah SWT to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Hell-Fire. Surely, we stay away from food and drink but that’s about it. Although the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said:

Jibra’eel said to me, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person to who Ramadan comes and his sins are not forgiven,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (by not serving them) and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,’ and I said, ‘Ameen.” [Tirmidhi, Ahmad and others. It is classified as Saheeh by al-Albaani]

2. Too much stress on food and drink

For some people, the entire month of Ramadan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking only about food, instead of concentrating on Salah, Quraan and other acts of worship. They think so much about FOOD that they turn the month of ‘fasting’ into the month of ‘feasting’. Come Iftaar time, their table is a sight to see, with the multitudes and varieties of food, sweets and drinks. They are missing the very purpose of fasting, and thus, increase in their greed and desires instead of learning to control them. Besides, it leads to wastage of food and extravagance.

…and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance) [Qur’an, al-Araaf :31]

3. Spending all day cooking

Some of the sisters (either by their own choice or forced by their husbands) are cooking ALL day and ALL night, so that by the end of the day, they are too tired to even pray Ishaa, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud or even read the Qur’an. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and turn on your Imaan!

4. Eating too much

Some people stuff themselves at Suhoor until they are ready to burst, because they think this is the way to not feel hungry during the day and some people eat at Iftaar, like there is no tomorrow, trying to ‘make up for the food missed’. However, this is completely against the Sunnah. Moderation is the key to everything.

The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: ‘The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.’ [Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah. Classified as saheeh by al-Albaani]

Too much food distracts a person from many deeds of obedience and worship, makes him lazy and also makes the heart heedless.
It was said to Imam Ahmad: Does a man find any softness and humility in his heart when he is full? He said, I do not think so.

5. Sleeping all day

Some people spend their entire day (or a major part of it) ’sleeping away their fast’. Is this what is really required of us during this noble month? These people are also missing the purpose of fasting and are slaves to their desires of comfort and ease. They cannot ‘bear’ to be awake and face a little hunger or exert a little self-control. For a fasting person to spend most of the day asleep is nothing but negligence on his part.

6. Wasting time

The month of Ramadan is a very precious time, so much so that Allaah SWT calls this month ‘Ayyamum Ma’doodaat’ (A fixed number of days). Before we know it, this month of mercy and forgiveness will be over. We should try and spend every moment possible in the worship of Allah so that we can make the most of this blessing. However, there are some of us who waste away their day playing video games, or worse still, watching TV, movies or even listening to music to occupy their mind so that they won’t feel the hunger pangs. Subhaan Allah! Trying to obey Allah by DISOBEYING Him!?

7. Fasting but not giving up evil

Some of us fast but do not give up lying, cursing, fighting, backbiting, etc. and some of us fast but do not give up cheating, stealing, dealing in haraam activities, buying lottery tickets, selling alcohol, fornication, etc. and all kinds of impermissible things without realizing that the purpose of fasting is to not stay away from food and drink; rather the aim behind it is to fear Allaah, to increase our Taqwa.

‘O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)’ [Qur’an, al-Baqarah :183]

The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: ‘Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allaah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.’ [Bukhaari]

8. Skipping Suhoor (sehri)

The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: ‘Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing.’ [Bukhaari, Muslim].

And he (s.a.w.w.) said: ‘The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhoor.’ [Muslim]

9. Stopping Suhoor at ‘Imsaak’ (a correction on my part)

Some people stop eating Suhoor 10-15 minutes earlier than the time of Fajr to observe ‘Imsaak’.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: This is a kind of bidah (innovation) which has no basis in the Sunnah. Rather the Sunnah is to do the opposite. Allah allows us to eat until dawn: ‘and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)’ [Qur’an, al-Baqarah :187]

And the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: ‘….eat and drink until you hear the adhaan of Ibn Umm Maktoom, for he does not give the adhaan until dawn comes.’

This ‘imsaak’ which some of the people do is an addition to what Allaah has prescribed, so it is false. It is a kind of extremism in religion, and the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said:
‘Those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed.’ [Muslim]

10. Not fasting if they missed Suhoor

Some people are too scared to fast if they miss Suhoor. However, this is an act kind of cowardice and love of ease. Missing a few morsels in the morning will, insha’Allah, not lead to death. Remember, obedience to Allaah overcomes everything.
Saying the intention for fast out loud or saying a specific dua’a to start fasting are bid’ah. The intention is an action of the heart. We should resolve in our heart that we are going to fast tomorrow. That is all we need. It is not prescribed by the Shari’ah for us to say out loud. Also, there is no specific dua’a to be recited at the time of starting the fast in the Sunnah. Whatever ‘dua’a’ one may see on some papers or Ramadan calendars, etc. is Bid’ah.

11. Delaying opening fast

Some people wait until the adhaan finishes or even several minutes after that, just to be ‘on the safe side’. However, the Sunnah is to hasten to open the fast, which means opening fast whenever the adhaan starts, right after the sun has set (and not before). Aa’ishah (RA) said: This is what the Messenger of Allaah (s.a.w.w.) used to do. [Muslim]

The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: ‘The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to open the fast.’ [Bukhaari, Muslim]

Determine to the best of your ability, the accuracy of your clock, calendar, etc. and then have tawakkul (trust) on Allaah SWT and break your fast exactly on time.

12. Eating continuously until the time for Maghrib is up

Some people put so much food in their plates when breaking their fast and continue eating, enjoying dessert, drinking tea, etc., until they miss the Maghrib prayer. That is obviously not right. The Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) was that once he broke his fast with some dates, them he would hasten to the prayer. Once you are done with the prayer, you can always go back and eat some more if you wish.

13. Missing the golden chance of having your Dua’a accepted

The prayer of the fasting person is guaranteed to be accepted at the time of breaking fast.

The Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: ‘Three prayers are not rejected: the prayer of a father, the prayer of a fasting person, and the prayer of a traveler.’ [al-Bayhaqi, classified as saheeh by al-Albaani]

Instead of sitting down and making Dua’a at this precious time, some people forego this beautiful chance, and are too busy frying samosas, talking, setting the food, filling their plates and glasses, etc. Think about it…Is food more important than the chance to have your sins forgiven or the fulfillment of your Dua’as.

14. Fasting but not praying

The fasting of one who does not pray WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. This is because not praying constitutes kufr as the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: ‘Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer.’ [Muslim]

In fact, NONE of his good deeds will be accepted; rather, they are all annulled.

‘Whoever does not pray ‘Asr, his good deeds will be annulled.’ [Bukhaari]

15. Fasting and not wearing Hijaab

Not wearing the Hijaab is a major sin as it is obligatory for Muslim women. (See Surah Nur, Surah Ahzaab). So fasting and not wearing hijaab certainly takes away, enormously, from the rewards of fasting.

16. Not fasting because of exams or work

Exams or work is NOT one of the excuses allowed by the Shariah to not fast. You can do your studying and revision at night if it is too hard to do it during the day. Also remember that pleasing and obeying Allaah is much more important than ‘good grades’. Besides, if you will fulfill your obligation to fast, even if you have to study, Allaah will make your studies and other activities easy for you and help you in everything you do.

‘Whosoever fears Allah, He will appoint for him a way out and provide for him from where he does not expect, Allah is Sufficient for whosoever puts his trust in Him. [Qur’an, Surah at-Talaaq :2-3]

17. Mixing fasting and dieting

DO NOT make the mistake of fasting with the intention to diet. That is one of the biggest mistakes some of us make (especially sisters). Fasting is an act of worship and can only be for the sake of Allah alone. Otherwise, mixing it with the intention of dieting may become a form of (minor) Shirk.

18. Praying ONLY on the night of the 27th Ramadan

Some people pray ONLY on the 27th to seek Lailat ul-Qadr, neglecting all other odd nights, although the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) said: ‘Seek Lailat ul-Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadaan.’ [Bukhaari, Muslim]

19. Wasting the last part of Ramadan preparing for Eid

Some people waste the entire last 10 days of Ramadan preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting Ibadah and Lailatul Qadr. Even though, the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) used to strive the most during the last ten days of Ramadan in worship [Ahmad, Muslim] and not in shopping. Buy whatever you need for Eid before Ramadan so that you can utilize the time in Ramadan to the utmost.

Aa’ishah (RA) said: ‘When the (last) ten nights began, the Messenger of Allaah (s.a.w.w.) would tighten his waist-wrapper (i..e., strive hard in worship or refrain from intimacy with his wives), stay awake at night and wake his family.’ [Bukhaari and Muslim]

20. Iftaar parties

Although inviting each other for breaking fast is good and encouraged, some people go to extremes with lavish ‘Iftaar parties’ with all sorts of disobedience to Allah, from flirting, mixing of the sexes and hijaab-less women to show-off and extravagance, to heedlessness to Salaah, and Taraweeh to even music and dancing.
It’s not too late to rectify ones mistake and do good for the sake of Allah.

Inform My servants that I am the Forgiver, Most Merciful. [Qur’an, al-Hijr:49]

41 thoughts on “20 Common Mistakes Made During Ramadan”

  1. James: “not necessarily for connubiality”. Wrong. In those days, men were active into their eighties (if they lived that long). A man has to give equal time (and expenses) to his wives. Which means he would have to keep a detailed record. Maybe that’s why I’ve stuck to only one wife!

  2. @ Irfan: “Jews and Christians are conspiring against us”. No, the Jews and Christians don’t have that much time on their hands. They are only busy improving their circumstances instead of arguing among themselves on who is the true Christian or the true Jew.

  3. @Momina: ..four wives… Yes, I remember; the upshot was that some of the extras might be widows or older women who didn’t have other means of support, not necessarily for connubiality. …taking care of yourself….It follows that Islam would want its followers to live as long as possible. I’m inclined that way myself. 🙂

  4. @SL
    yes i do agree with you that need of the hour is to do Ijtehad,but that can only be done by a group of renowned scholars,but the problem is of creating a consensus as any whom i consider as a reputed scholar you might not agree with it,moreover,we are already divided in number of sects,so each sect would be required to formulate a team of scholars to do Ijethad for them.
    The reason why the Muslims find themselves in trouble world over today is that we have gone astray from Quran and Sunnah and have started following number of Bidaats,the easiest answer available with us is that Jews and Christians are conspiring against us that’s why we are in trouble,instead of doing our own retrospection, we put the blame on Jews/Christians.
    Allah Almighty has directed the Muslims to follow Quran in totality,but unfortunately majority of the Muslims have now started following the foot steps of Bani-Israel,that we follow whatever suits us,and over look which is against our will/desire.
    We willfully break Hadood Allah and then we say why our prayers are not granted?We invite the wrath of Allah Almighty.
    I think the answer lies in self-analysis,everyone needs to look inward and ask this question from his own conscience that, is he following the teachings of Quran in totality?and i tell you the conscience will always give him the right reply.The problem is that we suppress our conscience and follow our NUFS,that is the root cause of all problems.Jihad Bin NAFS,is the biggest Jihad,in which most of us fail.
    We should all pray to Allah Almighty,that May Allah Almighty grant us strength to control our NAFS.Ameen.

  5. Your definition of slaves seem to be quite broad. Yes, the laborers are taken advantage of but to call them slaves, that’s quite a stretch.

    By your definition, anyone being taken advantage of is a slave.

    Your judgments are based on anecdotal evidences. “I saw someone to do this…” or “A Mullah did this…”

    Unfortunately for you, such statements don’t add up to mass generalizations you’re bent on making.

  6. @ faraz: you probably know how Filipino/Sri Lankan/Pakistani/Indian maids are treated in Saudi Arabia and U.A.E. They are treated like slaves, to be used for sexual pleasure by their employers. The construction boom in Dubai would not have been possible if Pakistani/Indian slaves had not been available. As for polygamy, I heard a mullah say the other day that it is not possible for a man to do justice to four wives. So why not ban polygamy?

  7. Polygamy is allowed to a limit of four wives in Islam and there is good reason for it. However, it is not obligatory. This has already been discussed and JKS would, i’m sure, bear testimony to it. (@JKS: Good to hear your concern about your health. Did you know that taking good care of ourselves is also one of the Sunnah of the Prophet s.a.w.w. and an act highly recommended by the Sole Creator, Allah SWT?)

    Unscientific beliefs??? To all ill-informed people: science has its roots in Islam. This has also been discussed earlier. A merry-go-round of arguments, eh?

    Ijtehad does NOT mean to ADD anything to the religion. Even the Ahadith Do Not Add to Islam. They just collaborate what has been mentioned in the Qur’an.

    Dear brothers in faith, Irfan and Faraz, the current argument that the interpretation of Qur’an is/could be wrong (NA’OODHUBILLAH) is a new stupidity that the infidels have been raising.

    To the unaware Muslim: Allah SWT has said that He Himself well protect the Holy Book. Not a word of it will be changed (Verily, Allah SWT’s Promise is Unbreakable). Keep in mind that this also includes the interpretation, the meaning of those blessed words that are the Rules of Islam.

    Beware of the infidels amongst us. These are the ones who believe that our Rasool s.a.w.w. was an Arab so only Arabs should follow him. These are the ones who believe that women should have a separate Prophet.

    These are the ones about whom Allah SWT has mentioned in the Qur’an that they will try hard to find a mistake in the Holy Words but will surely face loss. Ameen!

  8. @Shakir

    Why don’t you substantiate your claims with some proof?
    How many ‘slaves’ are there these days by Muslims? And yes, lets hear your argument against polygamy.

  9. @ Irfan: why aren’t Muslims now doing “ijtehad”? It is necessary to do so. There are so many wrongs being done in the name of Islam, like keeping slaves, polygamy, unscientific beliefs, etc.

  10. @Momina: “…weak on fasting…” Yeah, we’re a bunch of slobs. “…overindulge…” Well, I appreciate your concern, but I normally don’t eat much anyway; I hate the idea of being wider from front-to-back than I am from side-to-side. Gotta hang onto th’ boyish figger, y’know. 🙂


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