Ramadan is Coming
Ramadan is a much-anticipated month in the year for Muslims. Yes, the thought of fasting all day—no food, no water, no cigarettes or sex—can be daunting. But Karaz’s Yousef takes a moment to illuminate why Ramadan is so important…and so worth it.
Ramadan is a time when people who choose to fast abstain from food, drink, sex, cigarettes from sunrise to sunset to achieve piety and righteousness in their religion. They break their fast when the sun sets, also called iftar, and are joined by family and friends and nourish themselves with food and drink.
Fasting is not easy. One suffers as they are supposed to continue their normal day without food and water, and restrict themselves from desire. So why do they do it?
Fasting gives perspective. Not only do you start to empathize with those who are not as blessed, and live in chronic hunger—but it is also a practice in discipline both physically and spiritually. Having a little insight into the lives of the poor, and feeling their plight—if even for a limited time each day for a month—creates a sense of unity and deeper understanding.
In turn, this also nurtures a sense of gratefulness for the blessings many of us take for granted on a daily basis—such as a sip of water in the blazing heat, or a bite to eat when your stomach starts to grumble. Being thankful for God’s grace upon us reminds us of how lucky we are to be in the position that we are in, and hopefully motivates us to be better people, to remember those less fortunate and do something about it, as well as strive to remind ourselves and thank God for the small things that matter most.
Purifying one’s heart and tongue during fasting…abstaining from small talk, lying, cheating and other things reigns us back in from being caught up in the drama of daily life. Fasting also helps one learn to control the base self, and restrain from urges and desires. Fostering control of such urges and desires, which if left to their own accord can run rampant, also promotes a sense of understanding the greater picture in life. By giving up worldly comforts, focus is shifted on thinking of the more important questions—such as what is our true purpose in life?
Gaining perspective once in a while, which many of us lose in the distractions of our lives, helps us as individuals to grow spiritually, physically, and mentally. “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, so you may remain conscious of God” (Quran, 2:183).
And what better journey is there, than the journey of self-awareness, self-improvement, and self-growth?
So while in the pangs of hunger…remember why you are doing this. Don’t manifest your anger and frustration of the process, but rather strive to live the essence of Ramadan while you fast.
May you all have a blessed month, and Ramadan Kareem!