Culture

Ramzan Fasting enables promotion of spirituality and human excellence

June 16, 2017 03:36 PM
Muslims Praying at Jama Maszid, delhi

M Aslam

Fasting, during the month of Ramzan, not only serves as annual training for body and soul -- which helps in renewal of life and encourages the spirit of sharing and giving -- it also enables the promotion of spirituality and human excellence.

The basic objective of this month-long annual process is to alter the behaviour and pattern of life of its practitioners in such a way that they turn out to be ideal human beings. It implies that a person observing fast will not only observe abstinence from eating and drinking but will get into a sublime state of mind in order to develop positive feelings. It essentially means restraining oneself from listening, speaking, hearing or thinking negatively about others. The expectation is that if one passes through this process of self-purification for a period of one month, its impact will last at least for the remaining eleven months.
 
I have practically observed that fasting instils moral courage and guides the heart. Fasting leads to tranquillity and calmness in the face of adversity, and helps one cultivate patience.
 
We are creatures of acquired habits. Some of these are good habits and some are bad, like smoking. Fasting provides the observer an opportunity to change his habit, as smoking is prohibited during this period. I was a chain smoker 12 years ago and it was fasting which created in me the necessary level of determination that enabled me to give up the bad habit.
 
Ramzan fasting can help us guard against obesity and blood pressure, provided the faster follows the strict dietary rule: Eat at the designated time when you break your fast and avoid over-eating. "...Eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not wasters." (Al-Quran, 7:31).
 
Charitable acts recommended during Ramzan help us bond with the less privileged.  And as the family comes together to break the fast at Iftar, and eat together at least twice a day for a month, and pray together, ties deepen and members of the family draw closer to each other.
 
Tajuddin B Shu`aib, in ‘Essentials of Ramadan, The Fasting Month,’ summarises the essence of fasting as a tool for reconstruction of our spiritual faculties: “The institution of fasting is a unique form of worship prescribed as part of an overall system of Islam. Its uniqueness mirrors the uniqueness of the human being, a creature of physical and spiritual parts whose excellence depends on the right proportion of these two parts. Too much of the physical material will ruin man, and too much of the spiritual will, too. Fasting orients the observer to the art of balancing the spiritual essentials with physical needs, a vivid proof that there is in all of us the will power, a pivotal element that controls our actions.
 
“This will be needed to help us curb the animalistic tendencies originating from the stomach, in full. It awakens the mind and kindles clear thinking and consciousness of Allah. Fasting is the sobering of a mind and reconstruction of our spiritual faculties.”
 
I only pray that our spiritual faculties get awakened during this month of fasting and we are able to balance spiritual essentials with our physical needs to receive God’s blessings and protection, which we all need so desperately in these turbulent  times.

 

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