I find that a lot of people each year are losing the essence of Ramadan. It's becoming more and more 'fun' and 'traditional' rather than a moving spiritual experience and focusing on self discipline and reflection. This year I've seen it more than ever!
Iftar get togethers are more about (girls mainly) getting glammed up and cooking so much food that half is wasted at the end of the night. I've spoken to several people who didn't even fast that day just to taste the food properly and make sure that it was just perfect.
The barakah of suhoor and iftar are lost with all these extravagant meals which fall into salah time making people pray Fajr and Maghrib a good 20 minutes late!
For some reason, there are some people who think, at the most, praying only Fajr and Maghrib is necessary and they neglect the other prayers of the day. That's not to forget those who don't pray all day and then bust their feet for 2 hours at taraweeh salah!
For many tweens, their parents allow them to go to the masjid and act like taraweeh is one big playdate/get together with all their friends they don't usually see on a daily basis. It is nice to see these people all together in one place, but come on, keep the socialization to a minimum please!
Sisters have been acting very beastly (for lack of better words.. =) )when the masjid kitchen door is left open and there is iftar food left there. Just the other day I saw a woman using a high heeled show trying to break a lock on a closet to find bowls to pack biryani and kheer in. What's sad is that they KNOW this food is left behind for the brothers in 'itikaaf! "It's so much food, what difference does it make if we take some!" Stop acting like you didn't eat before you got to the masjid or have empty cupboards at home!
While at the masjid one night a girl complained to me that her mother is planning to drag her and her siblings out to what is called 'shabeena'. Some masaajid do this, where basically they complete the entire Qur'an in qiyaamul layl within 3 nights. So unlike taraweeh which is 1 juz per night, this is 10 juzzes (I can't remember the plural in Arabic.. haha) that they try to complete between taraweeh and suhoor time. Last year I went by for the first time to see what it was like and saw most of the women chilling in the kitchen chomping away on goodies that were made for the nightlong stay, while kids ran around with bloodshot eyes like maniacs. They needed sleep, but because their friends were there they went bonkers chasing one another and beating their friends. Smaller children laid on the cold tiles asleep, being jumped over by bigger kids and waking up on and off from the loud noise. What sucked was that a lot of these kids still had to go to school in the morning! It bothered me that a lot of these women were hanging out and not even praying, yet inconveniecing their children and wrecking their sleeping pattern, for what? And for those who were praying, I know myself that praying in the masjid is much more motivating than at home.... but why drag them out like that if you know they won't be comfortable or will be causing trouble? As a mother your priority are your children and making decisions that are best for them, especially when it pertains to something you could be doing at home. It's a sacrifice that has to be made until the children become older.
This is one though that I haven't seen until this year. One day while going for Jumu'ah salah I saw someones van pass by blasting Indian music, the following night I heard someone listening to R&B or something while looking for parking outside the masjid. Seriously...? Just last night I went to an iftar and girls were talking about the latest song and how much they liked it and what artist was better looking than the other. When it was time to break our fast we weren't sure if it was the correct time, a girl proceeded to put the date to her mouth and her friend said "NO 5 MORE MINUTES! " The girl stuffed the date in her mouth "5 minutes only, does it really make a difference... I'm so hungry!" Uhmm...?! What's going on?!
Unfortunately I think there will never be a Ramadan free of these things but we can try and make sure we aren't involved in these oddities. I'm not trying to say I'm perfect, there was a time when I probably did most of these things. But the difference lies in changing once you learn you're doing something wrong, whereas some change and others ignore their duties. Allah help us all, I still can't believe Ramadan is near to done! =(