Ramadan notes: Guard our eyes, mouths and private parts

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* ABU Huraira related that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) 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

Ramadan Kareem.  A few days before Ramadan, I heard this simple guide on fasting from an ‘ustaz’ (religious teacher). He said if we could guard three organs in us – eyes, mouths and private parts – we are on our way to have a successful and blissful Ramadan. 'Insya-Allah' we would be rewarded handsomely by Allah SWT in the world and Hereafter.

1. Eyes

Fasting is not just about abstaining from food, drinks and sex as what many of us think. We are also requested to fast our eyes. In doing so, we should also fast our minds and hearts. If we only refrain ourselves from taking food and drinks but freed our sights, then at the end of the day, we will be rewarded only with hunger, thirst and tiredness as mentioned in the above ‘hadith’.

During Ramadan we should maximize the usage of our eyes for good deeds, said the ‘ustaz’. Use the eyes to gain as much ‘pahala’ (rewards) as we could in performing deeds that please Allah SWT such as reading the Qur’an and other Islamic literature, looking lovingly at our parents, preparing food for ‘iftar’ and looking for ways to help the poor.

And of course do not use our eyes to look at ‘haram’ (forbidden) things such as looking at sexy girls; seeing unlawful pictures including on television and the big screen.

The ‘ustaz’ said there is a connection between sleeping and our eyes. When we wanted to sleep we close our eyes…during Ramadan try not to sleep too much because if we do so, our precious time to devout ourselves to Allah SWT would be gone wasted.

Ramadan is an opportunity for us to prepare ourselves for anything in life is a sign of wisdom and maturity. No one is assured of living one day more; tomorrow may not come. So hurry and benefit from blessings and rewards from Allah during the Ramadan month.

Remember Ramadan is the month of revelation of Qur'an, the month of reading and reciting the whole Qur'an, the month of Tahajjud and Qiyam al-layl prayers, Sadaqah, Zakah al-Fitr and Zakah al-Mal.

2. Mouth

The mouth area which also included the tongue should be well guarded by a Muslim what’s more in the holy month of Ramadan. 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).

Therefore 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 drinks 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.

Thus during Ramadan, try not to ‘take in’ all types of drinks and food during ‘iftar’ just to replace what we do not take during the day for it would just make us ‘heavy’ to perform our duties such doing our ‘solat’ (prayers) including the recommended (sunat) ‘tarawikh’ prayers. Taking food beyond our needs would only jeopardize our heath.

We should discipline ourselves when taking food and drinks. Remember the armies of of Talut (Saul) and Daud (David) who fought Jalut (Goliath); only those who follow Talut orders to drink only a scoopful water managed to fight on, others were too heavy to carry on the war campaign.

During Ramadan, in fact at all times, please guard our tongues. Our tongues if are not controlled, are keen to do all types of wrong-doings such as back stabbing, gossiping, slandering, cursing, lying and so on. Yes, please do not curse, insult, mock, raise voice and be obscene.

Please use our tongues for good purposes such as reading the Qur’an, its translation and ‘tafsir’, reciting ‘dhikir’ (reciting religious verses to Allah SWT). Make du’a (supplication) and try to ‘da’wah’ non-practicing Muslims and those who are not yet Muslims.

And to those who smoke, Ramadan is the best time of the year for you to stop smoking. If you could keep at bay cigarettes for about 14 hours during the day, why not extend it for another 10 hours at night?

3. Private Parts

Lastly, the ‘ustaz’ told his audience to guard their private parts. Even sex between husband and wife which is ‘halal’, during fasting time it is ‘haram’.  But it is permissible to have sex outside the fasting time such as at night. For spiritual purposes, it is best to abstain from sex during the last 10 nights of Ramadan for during this period Muslims are encourage to do ‘iktikaf’ (staying) in the masjid.

Remember 'heavy penalties' awaited to husbands who cannot control their 'nafsu seks' (sex desires) during the fasting time of Ramadan!

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