There is a famous hadith commonly quoted by Muslims on Ramadan. The hadith goes as follows:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 1899)
According to this Hadith, the devils are chained. The devils are what causes evil desires and actions. By this logic: [the Islamic version of] evil is chained.
But is it really?
- I lost faith in Islam during Ramadan of 2012 after a long period of doubt and critical examination.
- Indonesian Police forces warn their local communities on rising crime rates (such as theft, prostitution and mugging) in Ramadan compared to the rest of the year. (Also try this article.)
- Egypt has witnessed rising crime rates in Ramadan
- Child trafficking increases in Yemen during Ramadan.
- According to a study in Morocco, irritability increases in the month of Ramadan.
Keep in mind I did not even do a complete examination of crime during Ramadan worldwide.
If the popular hadith claims that devils are chained in Ramadan because of its purity how can there be crime and sin in the month of Ramadan? If the sources of evil are chained, there should be no evil corrupting humans. But while the sources of evil are chained, misdeeds [against Islam] still take place.
Zakir Naik attempts to answer this question by saying that the devils are not annihilated during Ramadan but restricted of their abilities. He states how even though the devils are chained, they still have a commanding presence and lasting impact. The devils use the other 11 months to corrupt human hearts and the lasting impact of these 11 months of corruption can affect people in the month of Ramadan. Zakir Naik also says how the Shaytan’s whispers from the chained positions can be powerful and effective at a distance.
If the devils are chained, that means there is no force corrupting humans during Ramadan and they are exposed only to Allah’s light. Is this exposure not powerful enough to dominate mere remnants of the devil’s corruption? If the devils can whisper from their chained positions into human’s hearts, then are they truly jailed? Doesn’t that mean that Allah’s imposed chains on the devils don’t work? That certainly brings into question Allah’s perfection.
Let’s not forget that Allah has the power to annihilate them from existence, and demolish all evil; but doesn’t. But okay, let’s leave this point alone (for now).
Crime rates don’t decrease while maintaining some presence during Ramadan. If they did, then that would support the claims of Shaytan’s limitations. In many cases (like the ones mentioned previously) they spike! If they increase does that mean the devils’ powers are truly “restricted?” It sure seems like a busy and successful season for them.
Contradictions. That’s what they are.
Maybe we can consider the fact that not only are the devils not chained, but they do not exist. Muhammad made a holy claim that is impractical in our reality. Hopefully readers will begin to critically examine the relationship between Islamic metaphysical claims and the logical reality of the world.
On that note, Ramadan Mubarak!
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