The last few months have solidified one concept for me: we are more in need of good manners than a little bit of knowledge. Don’t get me wrong here – the need for knowledge is immense. I pray that we continue to learn that which is beneficial to society as a whole until the day we die. However, people tend not to listen to those who are rude and condescending even if they are knowledgeable. This is amplified for those who speak on behalf of religion.
Ramadan is a month of reflection and looking at ourselves. We want to improve ourselves for the upcoming year and benefit our akhirah. It is relatively ‘simple’ (I use this term loosely) to fast and pray in this age of air conditioning and summer vacations where we can sleep the hot day away and stay up the short nights. The real challenge comes into how you act when you are hungry and someone annoys or angers you. When things don’t go according to your plan. When you are running late to an important meeting. When you meet someone new and when you see someone you haven’t seen in a while. When dealing with your family. When just frustrated about something in general and taking it out out on the first person who comes by.
Anas radhiaAllahu ‘anhu, said, “I served RasulAllah, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, for ten years. During that time, he never once said to me as much as ‘Oof’ if I did something wrong. He never asked me, if I had failed to do something, ‘Why did you not do it?,’ and he never said to me, if I had done something wrong, ‘Why did you do it?” [Bukhari]
Anas ibn Malik was with the Rasool for a decade. Think about that for a second. He watched his actions during the good times and the bad. He watched him deal with his family. He watched him interact with the general public. He saw him interact with those whom he had just met and those whom he had known for ages. He observed him while he was fasting and when he was not. He pretty much saw it all. Yet could not recall a time when the Rasool took out any sort of frustration upon him.
For many of us, a person just needs to watch us for an hour to see the anger come out. And what about when fasting? Shaykh Ibrahim, during Jummah a few weeks ago, mentioned how we all know a person (or may be that person!) who is the one to avoid while fasting. Br. or Sr. Bad Mood While Hungry. Hangry. Stay away or else you will suffer his or her wrath. After iftar? All is back to normal. SubhanAllah, what a backwards concept. How different it is from our righteous predecessors.
We should be more aware of our actions while fasting than any other time. It should be a training ground, not just physically or spiritually, but for our interactions with others. We hear all the time about the physical acts – which shouldn’t be ignored! – but too quickly set aside our adaab. I hope that this Ramadan is a reflection upon our manners. We can attain a lot of other things, both in our deen and dunya, but without proper akhlaaq, they will be useless.