The first day of Ramadan is always a whole new experience. You wake up in the morning and are about to tramp towards the kitchen when you realize it’s no-breakfast day. Oops! “Better get to work as there is nothing else to do”, you say to yourself. You start working and realize after 10 minutes that it’s no-snack day. Uh-oh! So you get back to work and then you keep remembering this after every few minutes and continue your work. By the time you realize it’s no-lunch day, you’re half done. And voila! You end up finishing your work miraculously without any food!
Wait! You think you finished even though you didn’t have any food? Nah! You finished because you didn’t have any food. Oh yes! Most of us in the Muslim world of Asia have food on our minds pretty much all day (maybe people of other continents have the same problem too, not sure). That is the No. 1 Undesirable desire that we find so hard to overcome. All our day is spent either dreaming about it, looking at drool-able food pictures, searching for delicious recipes or snacking. Women specially have to spend long hours in the kitchen. Eliminate all this and you end up with so much time on your hands. Allah SWT is our Creator and He knows this about us, hence the 30 day fasting.
He says in the Quran,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous -” (Al-Baqarah 183)
The purpose of fasting cannot be achieved unless there is some space to fit in the taqwa. We spend the whole year chasing our desires, chasing this dunya. A bit of this and a bit of that. This is the time gifted to us to leave all those things aside and focus on our soul, on our hearts. We have so much time on our hands without food and specially these summer fasts are long, more time to spend time with the Quran. More time to make dua with nothing else on our minds. More time to pray nafal with the fard as it’s just prayer-break now, no lunch to go with it.
With the first grumble of my stomach, I say ‘alhamdulillah’ and smile. For all I know it might be rejoicing and whooping with joy for being able to breathe once instead of being dumped with food. We need to swap our complaining negative glasses with the grateful positive ones.
Be happy that you get to empty your tummy for a bit. It’s not a good thing to stuff yourself anyway.
As is mentioned in a hadith,
“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)
However, this does not imply that you should always starve yourself, it’s just a reminder to eat moderately and focus on other things in life. Allah says, “eat and drink, but be not excessive”. (Al-A’raf 31)
Have a great Ramadan, folks! 😉