Are you really fasting?

The beautiful thing about doing tadabbur (deep contemplation) on Quran is that it lets you see your whole life in a new light and you begin to understand things which you never did before. On surface it seems just an intellectual exercise focused on the sacred text… therefore for most people studying and understanding Quran from a qualified teacher, in a structured and organized way, still seems like something not related to real life… but the closer you come to the word of Allah, the more the secrets of your own life and its complexities are revealed before your eyes.

But you have to experience it… taste it… feel it… in order to believe in the fact that living without Quran is the same as walking without having any idea where you are going. You might think you know but you really don’t…

An example is the month of fasting… millions of muslims all over the world observe this annual ritual… they remain hungry and thirsty, and yet when the time comes for iftaar, it becomes so evident by the way they start filling their bellies to the point of overflowing… that they have no idea what do they fast for… but why? Its because most people don’t even know that Ramadan is not the month of fasting but the month of Quran… while fasting has been prescribed so that we have taqwa… which means Allah consciousness… so that we can celebrate the revelation of Quran and redevelop our bond with it once again… the taqwa attained through giving up our desires of food and drink gives us the clarity to receive the Quran in a way that it gives a meaning and purpose to our lives… only then we can become the best of nations which we were supposed to be…

But then why don’t we see this happening around us or even within our own hearts? Why is there the same blindness to truth despite the fact that the whole muslim world devotes so much extra time reading the Quran? Why doesn’t our fasting give us taqwa?

The reason is that even though fasting was meant to train us to become strong against our desires, yet we create even more reasons for ourselves to drown even more under the flood of desires. If my words are not making any sense just stop reading and bring to the mind the picture of an average muslim family at the time of breaking their fast…

What are they thinking as they watch the clock ticking the last few seconds and minutes before the time for aftaar? Are they pondering over the day they have just spent in a state of hunger and thirst only for Allah? Are they wondering whether their fast will be accepted by Allah? Are they worrying over the way they talked during their fast… losing temper… hurting other’s feelings… spreading gossip or just sharing petty jokes and stuff… are they worried that they have contaminated their fast? Are they making istighfaar for all the lost opportunities of attending study circles of learning Quran etc? Do they know that these last precious minutes are the time for acceptance of duas… so are their eyes moist with emotions as they whisper to Allah their most heartfelt duas?

Most probably there will be a NO after each of these questions… why? Because their attention is focused on the food that is in front of them… food that they don’t normally eat but what they have prepared especially for the aftaar… prepared so religiously as if the acceptance of their fasts is depending upon it… So now either their eyes and minds are glued to what what they have in front of them or they are thinking wishfully of all the things that they don’t have… and are planning or demanding that they should be compensated for that loss on the next aftaar!!

Because you see most of us view fasting as if we are in a state of loss… and that is why aftaar has become a time for compensation… instead of contemplation…

The mind has to be free from all this petty stuff if you want to ponder upon the higher purpose of life… it cannot comprehend the benefit of living a life for Allah when you are too weak to sacrifice the pleasures of your taste buds…

If you are constantly satisfying yourself with junk food, how can you ever develop a taste for natural wholesome food?

Eating and drinking and having pleasures in life are not prohibited but they are not the purpose of our lives…

Allah created all these attractions of the world as a test… to see who will be wise enough to make a better choice…

Will we choose to have these temporary pleasures that make us blind to our ultimate success in Paradise?

Or will we choose to fast in the real sense so that we can have pleasures for ever and ever… pleasures that no eyes have seen, no ears have heard, and no mind can even think of…

May Allah help us to attain taqwa through sacrificing petty things so that we can absorb the ultimate wisdom of Allah’s words which will give us the energy to walk on the path of ultimate success and pleasures… ameen

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