Brethren, I had gone to the mall, as usual, as a matter of necessity- to procure those essential items for daily living. After all, we are all fated to want and this quest for the unattainable. Visitors to the mall usually had to pass through the gated entrance, collect a pass from the security personnel before gaining access to the parking spaces within the Mall premises. Just before I arrived at the gate, one of the security personnel had apparently picked up a quarrel with the driver of the car in front of me. Thus when I got to her presence, she was still in a state of rage; she was still uttering imprecations- “that is the way they usually behave; angels during Ramadan, devils after Ramadan”.
Brethren, I brought my car directly to a halt at the gate, looked straight into her eyes and said to her in no uncertain terms- ‘that was highly instructive”. Other security officers around wondered exactly what was happening. ‘Wetin be your own’ they all chorused. In order not to risk another scene, I immediately pressed the accelerator.
But the lady’s statement had already been etched on to my memory. Her statement kept hacking back into my consciousness. I found myself in a dialogic encounter with myself and my own other: “was that man a Muslim? What could he have said to this young lady? Why is it that some among my brethren usually throw caution to the wind by conducting themselves in manners which are unbecoming of their Quranic identities? Is it not true that throughout Ramadan we were indeed angels in constant communion with the Almighty?
We represented the best that Islam demands of us. We were loving and caring to members of our family? Husbands suddenly became dutiful. There was no argument with my sister on the house-keep allowance. There were no disagreements on the school runs. My sister at home became the ‘Khadijah’ of today, not the ‘wife’ of Prophets Nuh (a.s) and Lut (a.s) of yesterday. Suddenly she became very cooperative and supportive of her husband. Her tongues became busy not with imprecations and indecencies but the remembrance of the Almighty. She was not popular during the month as the enfant terrible sister in the neighbourhood. She was fasting!
Now how do we account for this return to spiritual ghettoes and the remits of religious infamy? Why is it that immediately Ramadan comes to an end some of us usually become the exact antithesis of what fasting in the month came to make out of us? Why do we find it easy to become highly irritable and irascible in our dealings with our fellow compatriots contrary to the lessons we learnt in the month that the hallmark of faith is the ability to be patient while the world expect us to be petulant; that the gravitas of spirituality consists of outstaying crisis and tribulations while humanity expect us to be feckless entities at the mercy of the tide?
Brethren, I came to the conclusion that the man who made the young lady lose her cool was probably a Muslim. This explains her reference to Muslims as angels in Ramadan. But why should we be become angelic and catholic during the month only for some of us to become demonic immediately the month comes to an end?
Brethren, I concede that your response to the above might be more germane than mine. But you would probably agree with me that one way to make sense of the above is to say that those who fasted during Ramadan and become charlatans and oppressors of their own souls after its completion probably and actually never engaged in fasting. They are like students our campuses who pass through the University but refuse to allow the University pass through them. Such a brother of yours could have fasted without actually fasting. He could have prayed without actually praying. He could have joined us in the tarawih at night without having qualified, ab initio, to do so before the beginning of the month. Remember brethren, the very first condition for fasting is belief in Him, the Almighty- belief in the Unseen seer of all events in the cosmos. To have fasted in the month of Ramadan therefore should have meant you have entered into a contract with the divine- a contract which cannot be voided by Him but you and me. To have fasted during the month of Ramadan should have meant we have discarded the robe of spiritual infamy and the temptation to indulge in social apostacy and hypocrisy. To have fasted during Ramadan should have meant you have entered into a divine transaction with your Creator which would ‘mature’ for the rest of the year until the next Ramadan.
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