Sunday, January 16
01:47 PM

Fasting and self-reflection

24 Apr 2021

Ramadan gives us a temporarybreak to forget the worries that we are constantly bombarded with. In our hectic schedules, this is the valuable time to think about our lives. It is a unique month for self-analysis.

While I was trying to reflect on myself as I waited for iftar, I talked to myself, pondering on what I need to develop to be a more thankful person for the little that I have.

I was reflecting on a viral video about poor people somewhere in the world asking one of the prominent Islamic scholars if their fast is valid if they did not have anything to eat to break their fast. The clip showed the scholar crying instead. It made me cry too. If you think men don’t cry, then you should have seen me.

People have been crying throughout the ages to be accepted, to belong, for unity, for brotherhood, for equality… but it is sad to see how our brothers and sisters spend their days without food as we watch. This was a wake up call for me to thank Allah for what I have on my table to eat.

So, my point here is that fasting is an opportunity for improvement of moral and spiritual character of human beings. The purpose of fasting is to help develop self-restraint, self-purification, the spirit of caring and sharing, the love of humanity and the love of Allah.

I do understand that fasting is a universal custom and is advocated by other religions, too, but in Islam fasting is an act of worship and obedience to Allah, a way of giving thanks, seeking forgiveness, spiritual training, and self-examination.

The Islamic fast, recommenced for mental and physical cleansing, dates back to centuries – much before modern science and benefits of intermittent fasting was studied.

When one fasts, there are several physical transformations – the digestive enzymes, liver and intestinal walls go into ‘rest’ mode. Blood pressure reduces and the continuous stress on our digestive system takes a break. This trains the mind to be calmer and focused. There are initial pitfalls but with patience and faith in Allah, all desires diminish and gradually a sense of spirituality takes hold.

One must understand that fasting is not a rigorous, uncomfortable or forced practice. It is a method and belief  – with both practical and emotional reasons – that fasting, one of the five pillars of Islam, will definitely make us more humane and bring us closer to Allah, the most Merciful. 

Till the next time, sit alone and do some self-analysis.

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