Some of my non-Muslim friends ask me how do we bear from morning to evening without eating nor drinking. Also I have often seen them question on whether it is just a time when Muslims sleep, fast and hardly work all day; and then eat, drink, enjoy and stay awake all night?
In much of the Muslim world today fasting has been reduced to a mere ritual, a month for celebration and festivities instead of religious contemplation and abstinence. Parties are organized with sumptuous meals. As a result, many Muslims complain about gaining weight during Ramadan and doctors regularly warn people about the medical consequences of overeating.
Ramadan is not the time to waste away sleeping and eating only. Nor is it a time to enjoy watching TV serials and other programs to pass time. I was surprised to read some articles in newspaper regarding Media channels getting ready with their schedule for TV serials during Ramadan. With all this, it is easy for a Non-Muslim brother or sister to get the wrong idea about Ramadan and fasting.
What really is the spirit of Ramadan?
The primary reason of fasting is to bring one closer to God.
Because of this intimate aspect of fasting, Allah was quoted by the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying,
“Every act of Adam’s descendants is for themselves, except fasting. It is meant for Me alone, and I alone will give the reward for it.” – (Sahih Muslim)
It has been noted by medical experts that fasting encourages the endorphin neurotransmitter system, related to the feeling of well being – and euphoria, to produce more endorphins and, in fact, makes us ‘feel’ better.
This is similar to the effect of exercise (but without the physical work).
During the fast the body uses up stored cholesterol (fat) that is often deposited in the blood system, as well as in other fatty areas of the body.
In the matter of eating food, Islam always supported eating in moderation. Eating your fill till you cannot stand or walk is never supported. Following are some Hadith about eating :-
by Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi
- Narrated by Al-Miqdad ibn Ma’ad Yakrib (R.A) – Prophet Muhammed (S.A) said, “No human ever filled a container more evil than his belly. The few morsels needed to support his being shall suffice the son of Adam. But if he must eat his fill then he should allow one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.”
- Narrated by Abu Huraira (R.A) – Allah’s Messenger (S.A) said, “A Muslim eats in one intestine (i.e. he is satisfied with a little food) while a Kafir (unbeliever) eats in seven intestines (eats much).
- Narrated by Abu Juhaifa (R.A) – While I was with the Prophet Muhammed (S.A) he said to a man who was with him, “I do not take my meals while leaning.”
- Narrated by Abu Huraira (R.A) – Allah’s Messenger (S.A) said, “The food for two persons is sufficient for three, and the food of three persons is sufficient for four persons.’
Wisdom behind fasting
‘O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious)’ [Noble Quran 2:183]
- Makes us appreciate and give thanks for pleasures which we abstain from while fasting (food, drink, sexual intercourse, etc..).
- Means of giving up forbidden things, because if a person can give up halal things in order to please Allah, he will more likely abstain from the forbidden deeds.
- Enables us to control our desires and become more patient.
- Makes us feel compassionate and empathetic towards the poor.
- Fasting humiliates and weakens the Shaytan (devil); it weakens the effects of his whispers (waswaas) on a person and reduces his sins.
- Helps one recognize that one can change for the better
- The fasting person is training himself to remember that Allah is always watching.
- It makes the Muslim get used to doing a great deal of acts of worship.
I pray you all have a blessed Ramadan and many more!
Ramadan Kareem! 🙂