Alhamdulillah..I received this good piece of information via email from a bro. Ahmad who's in UK and I can't agree more...
Some Common Mistakes in Ramadhan
By Asma bint Shameem
Taking Ramadaan as a ritual
For many of us Ramadaan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual than a form of Ibaadah. We fast from morning to night like a zombie just because everyone around us is fasting too. We forget that its a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil....we forget to make dua, forget to beseech Allaah to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Fire. Sure we stay away from food and drink but that's about all.
Although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
"Jibreel said to me, 'May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person to who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,' and I said, 'Ameen'. Then he said, 'May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (by not serving them) and I said, 'Ameen'. Then he said, 'May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,' and I said, 'Ameen.'" (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, others. Saheeh by al-Albaani)
Too much stress on food and drink
For some people, the entire month of Ramadaan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salaah, Quraan and other acts of worship. All they can think of is FOOD. So much so that they turn the month of 'fasting' into the month of 'feasting'. Come Iftaar time, their table is a sight to see, with the multitudes and varieties of food, sweets and drinks. They are missing the very purpose of fasting, and thus, increase in their greed and desires instead of learning to control them. It is also a kind of waste & extravagance.
".....and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance) " [al-Araaf :31]
Spending all day cooking
Some of the sisters (either by their own choice or forced by their husbands) are cooking ALL day and ALL night, so that by the end of the day, they are too tired to even pray Ishaa, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud or even read Quraan. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and turn on your Imaan!
Eating too much
Some people stuff themselves at Suhoor until they are ready to burst, because they think this is the way to not feel hungry during the day and some people eat at Iftaar, like there is no tomorrow, trying to 'make up for the food missed.' However, this is completely against the Sunnah. Moderation is the key to everything.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air." (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah. saheeh by al-Albaani).
Too much food distracts a person from many deeds of obedience and worship, makes him lazy and also makes the heart heedless.
It was said to Imam Ahmad: Does a man find any softness and humility in his heart when he is full? He said, I do not think so.
Sleeping all day
Some people spend their entire day (or a major part of it) 'sleeping away their fast'. Is this what is really required of us during this noble month? These people also are missing the purpose of fasting and are slaves to their desires of comfort and ease. They cannot 'bear' to be awake and face a little hunger or exert a little self-control. For a fasting person to spend most of the day asleep is nothing but, negligence on his part.
The month of Ramadaan is a precious, precious time, so much so that Allaah calls this month "Ayyamum Ma'doodaat" (A fixed number of days). Before we know it, this month of mercy and forgiveness will be over. We should try and spend every moment possible in the worship of Allaah so that we can make the most of this blessing. However, there are some of us who waste away their day playing video games, or worse still, watching TV, movies or even listening to music. Subhaan Allaah! Trying to obey Allaah by DISOBEYING him!
Fasting but not giving up evil
Some of us fast but do not give up lying, cursing, fighting, backbiting, etc. and some of us fast but do not give up cheating, stealing, dealing in haraam, buying lotto tickets, selling alcohol, fornication, etc. and all kinds of impermissible things without realizing that the purpose of fasting is to not stay away from food and drink; rather the aim behind it is to fear Allaah.
"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)" [al-Baqarah 2:183]
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allaah has no need of him giving up his food and drink." (Bukhaari)
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing."(Bukhaari, Muslim).
And he (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhoor." (Muslim)
Stopping Suhoor at 'Imsaak'
Some people stop eating Suhoor 10-15 minutes earlier than the time of Fajr to observe 'Imsaak'.
Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said: This is a kind of bidah (innovation) which has no basis in the Sunnah. Rather the Sunnah is to do the opposite. Allaah allows us to eat until dawn: "and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)" [al-Baqarah 2:187]
And the Prophet (pbuh) said: "..eat and drink until you hear the adhaan of Ibn Umm Maktoom, for he does not give the adhaan until dawn comes."
This 'imsaak' which some of the people do is an addition to what Allaah has prescribed, so it is false. It is a kind of extremism in religion, and the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
"Those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed." (Muslim)
Saying the intention to fast 'out loud' or saying a specific dua to start fasting
The intention is an action of the heart. We should resolve in our heart that we are going to fast tomorrow. That is all we need. It is not prescribed by the Shari'ah for us to say out loud, "I intend to fast", "I will fast tomorrow" or other phrases that have been innovated by some people. Also, there is no specific dua to be recited at the time of starting the fast in the correct Sunnah. Whatever 'dua' you may see on some papers or Ramadaan calendars, etc. is a Bid'ah.
Delaying breaking fast
Some people wait until the adhaan finishes or even several minutes after that, just to be 'on the safe side'. However, the Sunnah is to hasten to break the fast, which means breaking fast whenever the adhaan starts, right after the sun has set. Aa'ishah (RA) said: This is what the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to do. (Muslim)
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to break the fast." (Bukhaari, Muslim)
Determine to the best of your ability, the accuracy of your clock, calendar, etc. and then have tawakkul on Allaah and break your fast exactly on time.
Fasting but not praying
The fasting of one who does not pray WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. This is because not praying constitutes kufr as the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: "Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer." (Muslim)
In fact, NONE of his good deeds will be accepted; rather, they are all annulled.
"Whoever does not pray 'Asr, his good deeds will be annulled." (Bukhaari)
Fasting and not wearing Hijaab
Not wearing the Hijaab is a major sin as it is obligatory for Muslim women. (See Surah Nur, Surah Ahzaab). So fasting and not wearing hijaab certainly takes away enormously from the rewards of fasting, even if does not invalidate it.
Mixing fasting and dieting
DO NOT make the mistake of fasting with the intention to diet. That is one of the biggest mistakes some of us make (esp. sisters). Fasting is an act of worship and can only be for the sake of Allah alone. Otherwise, mixing it with the intention of dieting may become a form of (minor) Shirk.
Fighting over the number of Rakaah of Taraweeh
There is no specific number of rak'ahs for Taraweeh prayer, rather it is permissible to do a little or a lot. Both 8 and 20 are okay. Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen said: "No one should be denounced for praying eleven or twenty-three (raka'ah), because the matter is broader in scope than that, praise be to Allaah."
Wasting the last part of Ramadaan preparing for Eid
Some people waste the entire last 10 days of Ramadaan preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting Ibadah and Lailatul Qadr. although, the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to strive the hardest during the last ten days of Ramadaan in worship (Ahmad, Muslim) and not in shopping. Buy whatever you need for Eid before Ramadaan so that you can utilize the time in Ramadaan to the max.
Aa'ishah (RA) said: "When the (last) ten nights began, the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam)) would tighten his waist-wrapper (i.e., strive hard in worship or refrain from intimacy with his wives), stay awake at night and wake his family." (Bukhaari and Muslim).
Although inviting each other for breaking fast is something good and encouraged, some people go to extremes with lavish 'Iftaar parties' with all sorts of disobedience to Allaah, from flirting, mixing of the sexes and hijaab-less women, to show-off and extravagance, to heedlessness to Salaah, and Taraweeh to even music and dancing.