Family in Ramadan: A Time to Reconnect?
Home is the safest personal space on earth; and by home we mean the place where the members of the same family can peacefully coexist. However, life in our modern time is so hectic, busy and fast-paced that interaction and communication within the family is no longer on our list of priorities. In the midst of losing the ground to an effective family communication and due to being overwhelmed by the individualism tide created by the widespread of social media platforms, parents might think about a plan or tips to regain the essence of relations with their children. The one and only question is how to reconnect with one's children? Or what is the convenient way to spend a quality time with one’s family?
The month of Ramadan is always the perfect answer
The blessed month of Ramadan is finally around the corner and as usual it brings the keys to resolving our questions regarding reconnecting and spending quality time with one’s family in a digitalized age.
It is important to admit that the use of social media contributed to creating a state of estrangement inside the family. Parents do their best to secure a good life for their children, while children, especially those belonging to generation Z are living in their own bubbles.
It is unquestionably that the new life style that Muslim families are living has affected the normal or regular routine of the day during the month of Ramadan. Many families share the same comments of losing communication even at times of family gatherings as everyone is busy following their personal accounts on social media platforms!
The month of Ramadan comes with a soothing spiritual energy that helps us reconnect to real life and get off the virtual world willingly. So, Ramadan is the key to regaining our real social life if we could realize the following meanings and apply properly to our life:
Live Ramadan as it never ends
Ramadan is not just the ninth lunar month in the Hijri calendar; rather, it is a method to live by throughout the entire year. It is the only month that teaches Muslims a practical lesson on how to live a purpose-driven life. The highest moral objective of fasting is to attain “taqwa” (be mindful of God), “O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you—so perhaps you will become mindful of God” (Quran 2: 183). Hence, taqwa is the highest objective a believer must keep as a provision throughout their life “surely the best provision is righteousness (taqwa). And be mindful of Me, O people of reason!” (Quran 2: 197). From this subtle meaning, the members of the family have to cooperate and help one another in reaching this level of mindfulness by realizing that maintaining the ties of kindship is the key to all blessings and success in this world and the hereafter; accordingly, dedicating a time for communication and dialogue according to our modern day terminology. Living this state of sustainable connection with the virtues of the blessed month can be deduced from the three great generations at the time of early Islam. Those were the generation of the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions, the generation of the ta’biin (the righteous predecessors) and the generation of tabi’i al-ta’biin (the followers of the righteous predecessors). How was their Ramadan? Was their Ramadan like our Ramadan? How was their feeling when Ramadan started?
Ma’ala ibn Fudail said, “They (the Companions) used to ask God the Almighty six months before Ramadan to grant them long life so that they could reach the next Ramadan. And they used to ask Him six months after Ramadan to accept their fasting”. This attests to the believer’s commitment to get the best out of this blessed month and live Ramadan as it never ends.
If we could realize this meaning and apply it to every activity of our daily life, many complains will disappear and communication will find its way back to family life.
Iftar Time: A doubled sense of joy and Mawadah
It is not a secret that serving meals is a time of joy and real connection with our beloved ones. However, Ramadan adds more joy and sense of unmatched love (mawadah) to the people invited to the Iftar table.
This joviality is established by the Prophetic tradition in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “For the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord” [Bukhari]. The source of this joy is that a believer completed an entire day fulfilling an obligation and is seeking the big reward from His Lord. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: God says: Fasting is a deed done for My Sake and I am the One Who gives the reward for it” (Muslim).
Iftar brings the best out of Muslims due to the big reward for serving meals at this special time and having this sense of collaboration. This feeling of happiness and connection starts within one’s family and is extended to the entire community. We, for instance, rarely see a fasting person breaking their fast alone at sunset without receiving many invitations from different people around to share Iftar meal. So, Ramadan is a time when family gatherings become a priority and the surprise is that we manage to arrange for it with very high sense of enthusiasm.
The time of this special meal creates a sense of connection, communication, joy and mawadah and that is what every family is trying to find and achieve along the year.
Receive the gift and invest in it
The month of Ramadan is a gift that guides the believers on rearranging their disturbed affairs and recharging their spiritual batteries. This philosophy of seeking the reward from none but God, can be easily applied to every act in our daily life. So, spending quality time with one’s family outside Ramadan can be maintained through sharing meals, dialogue and interest in making others happy. This would create a safe space for everyone away from the hectic busy life or the virtual world and get us closer to respect and real constructive communication.