Ramadan Mubarak! Or Ramadan Kareem! Whichever way you prefer it.

Ramadan is here my brothers and sisters! Ramadan, the month of fasting, the month of piety, the month of charity, the month of forgiveness and the month of TELEVISION!!!

Very few today can bear Ramadan without their faithful companion…. the cable TV!

Sehri begins with guidance from a neatly trimmed beard and ends with the tick-tock of the clock on the 32” screen.

Iftaar is preceded by another beard with “kaajal” flowing out of his eyes telling you the virtues of Ramadan and the fast is broken by the same tick tock clock. It seems every channel has their own beard of the month to help them rake in the blessed moolah.

Throughout Ramadan these beards keep us so busy telling us about our “religion” that we have no time to actually PRACTICE it.  When it’s time for tahajjud we are stuck to the telly, when it’s time to make dua – right before Iftaar – we are being mesmerized by the echoing naat’s and hamd’s. And eventually we end up watching more TV then we watch in regular life!!

The worst part is that we think we are being very pious and this is all ‘ibaadah when in fact most of the time we are just watching the jingles and dancing people in the advertisements. This is how the average show in Ramadan goes:

Minute 1: Assalaam u Alaikum, mai hoon aap ka host <random host name>, bohut kushaamdeed meray show mai!

Minute 2: Aaj hum baat karaingay Rozay ki Ehmiyat ki, lekin is se pehlay aik National ka chatpata break hojayay

Minute 3-10: Waves, Naam hi Kaafi hai! – Dawlance liya tau baat bani! – Pepsi, Dil Mangay Abhi!…etc

Minute 11: Welsome back khawateen o Hazraat. Ramadan maheena hai Quran ka. Aayiyay tilawat suntay hain mulana hafiz shaikh <maulvi’s name here> se…lekin us se pehlay aik khattee meethi break ho jayay chilli milli k saath!

Minute 12-20: Ufone, tum hi tau ho – Qmobile abcd1234 aap ka saathi – Mobilink, Har dil Har din…etc

Yes, the above is a slight exaggeration… but not by much! The end result of all these shows is that we waste the extremely short and precious period of time we have been given this month to have our sins forgiven and gain Allah’s pleasure for the sake of watching some cheap entertainment, the only purpose of which is to sell us something and make a quick buck for the media companies!

Brothers and sisters, the objective here is not to make these channels look bad. After all, they are just doing their job… producing entertainment in order to make money. What we need to remind ourselves is that Ramadan is the month of ‘ibadah (worship). Every second of Ramadan is precious and full of barakaat. Each sunnah this month is worth the reward of a fardh and the reward of each fardh may be multiplied by 700 times, or even more if Allah Wills.  In a famous hadith, Rasool Allah (SAW) prayed that the one who witnesses the month of Ramadan and doesn’t have all of his sins forgiven as a result should be destroyed!

And guess what? Ramadan will leave us just as quickly as it came. Leaving us to wonder where the time went… and what we gained from it.

Let’s all try and spend this Ramadan engaged in praising Allah and worshiping Him.  Let’s try and spend this Ramadan in the company of those who are also earnestly trying to seek Allah’s pleasure and His forgiveness.

Let us not waste this precious month in the company of our television!