Ramadan is a blessed month for Muslims. It is a time to heal the mind, body and soul. Some may look forward to it, others don’t. But there is one certainty: 1.8 billion people around the world identify as Muslims, which means that 1.8 billion people experience Ramadan in one way or another.
The privilege of practicing during Ramadan
Sadly, it has almost become a ‘privilege’ to practice your faith during that month because of the stigmatizing term: ‘Ramadan Muslims’. A ‘Ramadan Muslim’ is a Muslim who sins during the year, and tries to practice his or her faith during the month of Ramadan. In some Muslim communities, it is frowned upon to act like that. But my question is: why?
When you notice that the drug dealer from around the block isn’t standing at the streetcorner, but praying asr at the mosque, it should not disturb you. It may be surprising and unusual, but it is not hypocrite. After all, this month is meant for repentance, guidance, self-reflection and change. If that ‘sinful’ person decides to change its ways for a month, or even a day, it may be more rewarding than how you choose to practice your faith during that month. Why would some people feel entitled to practice their faith for the better and judge others who do the same? You may have different backgrounds, life stories or struggles, but don’t forget that you are not less of a sinner because you sin differently.
God is All-Forgiving
Pointing out the sins of those who change their behavior during Ramadan is not constructive, nor wanted in the community. We tend to talk about double standards considering other people’s behavior, but seem to forget our own actions. Fasting is not only about food-deprivation. But also about not gossiping nor backbiting, it is about self-improvement and growth. If your Lord granted you forgiveness for your sins. He may have granted them the same, while you keep on dwelling on other people’s mistakes. Let’s not forget: God is All-forgiving and Merciful.
It is easy to be dragged into stigmatizing other groups of people, we tend to dislike what we do not understand. But we can’t forget that we are supposed to be one strong community, especially during Ramadan. I am condemning the term Ramadan Muslims, because it has everything to do with how we Muslims should not experience our Ramadan. I refuse to take part in shallow and hurtful language against fellow brothers and sisters. Let us take care of each other, grow towards each other, and learn from each other. It is a blessed time after all.