Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A month of fasting, not feasting.

“A believer eats in one intestine (is satisfied with a little food), and a kafir (unbeliever) or a hypocrite eats in seven intestines (eats too much).” (Bukhaari)

As the blessed month of Ramadan rapidly approaches us, we begin to prepare for it in many ways. Some have already written out a "game plan" for the 30 days of fasting and their intense worship they want to do, others have decided to start increasing in good deeds, and some, well, they have only started to prepare for nothing but a schedule for iftar gatherings with recipes of savory and sweet meals. Yes, breaking your fast is very important and a must, but we should remember that Ramadan is something more than just fasting the entire day and then meeting with friends and family to do nothing but feasting. Since I reverted to Islam, I have met a fair share of born Muslims who are very cultural. Surely there is nothing wrong with incorporating your culture into your daily life but it should never supersede your religion and it should never be the driving force for your actions. Islam is a complete religion and it is a way of life. The Qur'an guides us and the Sunnah helps us understand how to live our daily lives. We all know that Islam is a religion of moderation and that Allah does not like extravagance and those who waste.

The Prophet (pbuh) said:

“The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few morsels to keep him alive. If he must fill it, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for air.” (al-Tirmidhi –saheeh by al-Albaani)

The month of Ramadan is no exception. In fact, during this blessed month, we must remember that it is a month to purify ourselves and our intentions and to strengthen our relationship with Allah the Almighty. Our priority should not be counting down the minutes until Maghrib and then rushing over to our friend's or family's home to stuff our faces at iftar to the extent that we are so full that we can not even stand and pray taraweeh. Ramadan is about fasting, not feasting. In Ramadan, we should be loosing weight (not intentionally) and we should not be gaining weight. We should be gaining spiritual guidance and purity. 

During Ramadan we should focus on taking selfies of our character instead of taking selfies with our food. We should be thinking of ways to help the needy and poor during and after Ramadan. We should reflect on how blessed we are to be given another chance for Allah's Mercy and Forgiveness to be showered upon us. We should remember that there are many starving people all around the world and we should not overeat and waste food. I never realised how many Muslims waste food until I met some who eat and eat and eat and then waste and waste and waste! Can you imagine how many poor people all the wasted food could feed? If you can't finish something, pack it home and eat it the next day, even if you aren't a "I don't eat leftovers" kind of person, at least think about the blessings Allah has blessed you with and do it for His Sake. Also, remember that because you wasted so much food, Allah could easily test you with hunger and poverty somewhere in the near future. 
“And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allâh) likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance)”
[al-A‘raaf 7:31]  
The blessed month of Ramadan is a month where we recharge our emaan battery and to pick up on certain obligatory acts and worships that we were not able to during the year. Fasting is something that is done solely for the sake of Allah and it should be done sincerely. If we really want to earn reward and please Allah, we will remember that once we break our fast, we should not overindulge and stuff our faces until nothing but belches come from our mouths. 
Abu Juhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“A man burped in the presence of the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) and he said: “Keep your burps away from us, for the one who eats his fill the most in this world will be hungry for the longest time on the Day of Resurrection.” (al-Tabaraani–Saheeh)

Let us remember what the purpose of Ramadan is and let us work hard and strive to not waste food and to overindulge in extravagance. As we want to take that extra bite of food, let us remember that extra bite may hinder us from making a long sujood which could earn us the Forgiveness of Allah, the Almighty. Let us remember, before throwing away that plate of food, those who are fasting all year around because they are too poor to eat a warm meal every day. 

Remember that Ramadan is a month of giving and not taking. Ramadan is a month for us to change what is within ourselves and to turn back to Allah and seek His Mercy and Forgiveness. Ramadan is a month where we learn to give up bad habits and try our best to come out fuller and stronger, not with food but with emaan, wisdom, and taqwa.

Ramadan is a month of fasting, not feasting.  

Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "He who observes the fast during Ramadhan out of sincerity of faith and in hope of earning merit will have his past sins forgiven him" (Bukhari and Muslim)

May Allah bless us with many opportunities to fast during Ramadan and may He give us success and a chance to change for His Sake and to come out of this Holy month, better, kinder, wiser, and adhering to the Qur'an and Sunnah. Ameen!