Day 2 – TOO MUCH OF A HALAAL THING
O children of Adam! Beautify yourselves for every act of worship, and eat and drink [freely], but do not be extravagant (waste): verily, He does not love the extravagant!
Oh man! This one’s a toughie. Reason being that with the forbidden stuff, we know its a no-no. But this is all allowed, in fact recommended stuff….Allah has allowed us to eat well and dress well and enjoy the blessings He has given to us, but be thankful and share with those who have less than us. So far so good. But that’s not all. The use of all things good is conditional – do not overspend or waste or use it for means of being pompous and showing off.
Ramadan, ironically enough, is the toughest time to act on this verse. On one hand during Ramadan charity flows like water, for Muslims do believe in charity as one of the paths to Paradise. Yet, because the affluent Muslims give so much for Allah’s pleasure, they assume that if they are giving enough charity, that is a licence to be spendthrift and waste and flaunt. “Itna to deti hoon Allah ke raastay mein. Phir agar iftar par dus dishes rakh leen to kya farq parta hai (I give so much in the path of Allah. So what if I serve prepare 10 food items for iftar)” is the common retort. Fact is, giving charity does not justify overspending and wasting. One of the very things Ramadan aims at developing in us is accountability for Allah’s blessings. Extravagance saps that sentiment. Those who can afford it buy two dresses per day for the three days of Eid, run to “all you can eat” deals, and host iftars that are elaborate spreads fit for kings. So much time, effort, and money goes into all this. And to what end?
In our over zealousness for Ramadan, we over-buy, overspend, overeat, overdress, overcook, over-hoard groceries pre Ramadan. We overdo everything. The word for this is “Israaf” and one who does this is a “Musrif” and that is precisely the person Allah does not want us to become. Irony of ironies – we really work hard in Ramadan to ward off haraam (and even halaal during the fasting hours) to please Allah, but end up displeasing Him (God forbids) by extravagance.
Very related to Israaf is “Tabzeer” – wastage. There’s only so much you can wear or eat or hoard. When we overdo it all, we end up wasting it all. Food in the bin after a dinner is testimony of this – the over-piled dinner plates are the issue.
I found it fascinating that as I searched for verse 7:31 on the internet, I came across 1 Corinthians 7:31, and here is what the biblical verse says: “Those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.”
Extravagance is a symptom of a deeper disease: We are too attached to this world, and too involved in its hedonistic pleasures.
Islam is beautiful. We are advised not to renounce any pleasures, but just keep it under check and balance. So let’s try and do that, lest overdoing halaal makes it the opposite.