Ifeoluwa Siddiq Oyelami
In the northern hemisphere, summer has arrived. The flowers are in blossom, and the weather is warm. While employees are taking time off from work, schools are on break. Although the season is lovely and provides some relief, we Muslims shouldn’t let it rob us of our awareness. Hellfire breathes twice, once in winter and once in summer, as the Prophet said, alluding to the cold and heat of each season. Whether we interpret it literally or figuratively, the lesson in this hadith is crucial. We shouldn’t forget our obligations to Allah, regardless of the season—winter or summer, cold or hot, dry or wet.
In the summer, the beauty of liveliness serves as an excellent metaphor for Allah’s mercies and blessings. On the other hand, the extreme heat should remind one of His severe punishment. Based on this consciousness, as a reminder this summer, I have highlighted a few essential points to take care of:
· Dressing and Lowering the Gaze
Summer brings about a noticeable shift in our daily routines, including how we dress. Winter’s heavy, dingy clothes get replaced by bright and lively ones, which help bear the heat and ease mobility. But since we are Muslims, we are bound by Allah’s commandments, that even when we change our dress code, we should not remove our clothes of taqwa. Many men wear shorts that don’t cover their knees in the summer, against shariah’s provision. Similarly, some women get carried away by the “summer vibes”, throw away the hijab prescribed by the shariah or disguise themselves in the present fashion industry-constructed hijab mimics. These are, without a doubt, in violation of the Islamic rule, and by dressing in such a way, one is generating a societal nuisance and directly violating Allah’s command.
While many would like to bring up the issue of heat, we should keep in mind the verse that says, “Say, “The fire of Hell is more intense in heat” - if they would only comprehend.” (Tawbah 9:81). In point of fact, loyalty to Allah should not cause any cause for concern, particularly considering the fact that we dress far more heavily for human functions.
Since we are aware that not everyone in our immediate vicinity is a Muslim or abides by the natural law of modesty, it is crucial that we lower our gaze and prevent ourselves from sinning. As we can see in Surat al-Nur verses 30-31, the subject of modesty, as well as the lowering of gaze by both genders, was discussed in the same context in the Qur’an.
· Ceremonies and Merrymaking
Many cultures schedule their weddings and other seasonal celebrations, such as school graduations, during the summer. Unfortunately, various non-Islamic practises are sometimes observed during these ceremonies due to ignorance or cultural factors. People freely mingle with no caution, and alcoholic drinks are served. At times, modesty is disregarded, and people appear to be wearing unislamic attires. In addition, many events are marked by extravagant behaviour that defies the Islamic concept of moderation.
In Islam, celebrations are lawful and are seen as inevitable cultural practices of which the primary ruling is mubah (neutral) or, in some instances, mustahabb (encouraged). However, when participating in celebrations, it is vital to keep them halal, spend prudently, and direct resources toward what will benefit the family and the ummah.
· Time Management
In summer, there is extra time at our disposal, so we sometimes use it irresponsibly and waste it. Summertime gallivanting may be appealing due to the comfort it provides. The cool night-time temperatures also encourage individuals to remain outside late at night as the phenomenon of long days and short nights plays its role.
Summer’s issue of time management has also had an impact on our daily prayers. Because of the length of time between the hours of the salah, it is not uncommon for individuals to delay their salah. On the other side, staying up late at night has been a chief cause of difficulties in rising up for fajr, which begins relatively early during the summer.
Ibn Mas’ud reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The son of Adam will not be dismissed from his Lord on the Day of Resurrection until he is questioned about five issues: his life and how he lived it, his youth and how he used it, his wealth and how he earned it and he spent it, and how he acted on his knowledge.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhī)
Without a doubt, we will be questioned about every single instant of our lives. Therefore, we need to make prudent use of it. Hence, in order to make the most of this summer, let’s put our time to good use by engaging in productive activities such as learning and reciting the Quran and other religious texts, acquiring new skills, enrolling in educative online courses and spending quality time with our families. A summer spent in this manner is the only kind that deserves the name “great summer.”
Several studies have found that people spend more money on non-essentials during the summer. During these months, there are discounts everywhere, and some individuals choose to spend their time shopping or window-shopping as a form of relaxation. This is rational because time and weather are favourable. Markets are open, and things are openly exhibited outside. Moreover, schools are closed, and families are enjoying time together.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah Almighty loves to see the traces of blessings on his servant. He does not love one who wallows in misery and pessimism.” (Sahih al-Jami)
As mentioned in the hadith above, Allah desires that we spend our legitimate wealth on ourselves. Similarly, our Lord does not want us to be stingy to ourselves or our families, just as we should not be stingy with the poor and needy. However, prudence has always been a Muslim’s watchword. Allah says, “And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate” (Furqan 25:67)
That wonderful time of year is here again: summer vacation! Recreation, sports, and gaming activities draw people to various locations. Some people prefer to go to the beach or camping in the countryside, while others prefer to work out in the gym. While exercising and spending time with our families is desirable, we must do so in line with Allah’s commandments. We should stay away from areas where there are haram activities. We don’t want to put our loved ones at risk of contracting fitnah. And let’s stay away from where our awrah (intimate parts according to Islamic law) will not be protected, nor our eyes are safe.
Archery, horseback riding, running, and swimming are just a few sunnah-compliant summertime pastimes to explore. Eschewing betting and playing outside of salah time, we can participate in these and other halal sports as well. This summer, we can also try our hand at gardening. In addition to producing our food, it will help us reduce our stress levels and combat polluted air.
· Healthcare and hygiene
Summer is a terrific time for health care because there are no colds or many cases of flu to contend with! Despite this, summer also brings its fair share of sickness. For example, seasonal variations in sleep length and difficulty falling asleep during the summer months have contributed significantly to the prevalence of insomnia during this period. Food poisoning, like dehydration caused by hot weather, is also a typical summer ailment due to the variety of meals and activities.
As Muslims, we are responsible for protecting our physical and mental well-being in accordance with the Prophet Muhammad’s widely known hadith, which states, “Verily Your body has a right over you.” Thus, I n the summer, we should get enough rest, eat healthy foods, and drink plenty of water.
Personal cleanliness is another important consideration. We need to be cautious enough to take care of our body and hair to prevent odours that will annoy other people because of the heat and sweat.