Monday, September 1, 2008

A Perspective on Fasting

Well, Ramadan has come around again whereby Muslims across the world refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset for a whole lunar month. It is projected to start on 1st of September this year, but could be on the 2nd according to the sighting of the new moon. Ramadan is a special occasion for Muslims as the holy month replenishes their spiritual side, makes them more reflective, and is a time for meeting of friends and families, especially as they break their fast together. More importantly, it is a distinguishing mark of a devout Muslim who is performing the 4th pillar of his religion.

However, I would like to point out that fasting is not about refraining from food and drink, but rather, it is much deeper and symbolic than that. Fasting is about discipline, it is about resisting temptation, and it is about “turning the other cheek.” After all, the hardest part of fasting is not the sustenance/nourishment aspect although that is the aspect most widely discussed, especially with non-Muslims. The hardest part of fasting, and one that I am especially attracted too, is the ability to forgive and not answer back those that have attacked you.

What does that mean? It means refraining from cursing, shouting or showing belligerence towards others. It means not waving your hands when someone cuts you off on the road. It means not responding to a verbal assault, but stating: “God be my witness, but I am fasting!” It means having the discipline and the self-consciousness to elevate yourself and self-worth to a higher moral ground than others. And you do that as further evidence of your devotion to God. It means holding your temper in check, and not justifying those around you that are not sure of themselves. That is the essence of fasting, but how many people actually think of it in this way?!?!

May the Almighty grant you the health and prosperity to enjoy many more Ramadans!

1 comment:

Omar & Farida said...

Well put Siwash. While so many people get caught up with lavish foods and drinks to dine on & long TV series to watch, i'm sure this is not the point of Ramadan. It is a time of cleansing one's soul, new beginnings, and establishing a closer relationship with God.