Fasting or feasting?

 Mohamedarif Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

The Holy month of Ramadhan is here again, alhamdulillah, presenting us with yet another opportunity to improve our goal orientation towards the life in the hereafter.  After all, what is the purpose of life besides preparation for the next through learning, praise and obedience of the Almighty (SWT)?

At the onset, the month must not be mistaken as a punitive one where the creator enjoys punishing adherents by depriving them of food and drink.  That being far from the truth, the action of fasting, as repeated severally, is designed to promote the quality of taqwa, or god-fearingness in individuals.  Unfortunately, most of us have turned this into a kind of tough month ion which we not only yearn for food but we obsess about it relentlessly.

The logic of fasting does not limit itself to the abstinence of food and drink, but from every other action that contravenes obedience or those actions that oppose commitment and dedication in prayer.  It is not uncommon nowadays for brothers and sisters to share every one of their most basic feelings – of joy, sorrow or just plain amusement, on a Facebook timeline.  That being the subject fro another day, if we look at the content in this month, it somehow focuses tremendously on food and people’s cravings.  Once the bell rings for home time (read the call to maghrib prayer and iftaar), we rush towards the gates as though our entire motivation of going to school was paradoxically so tht we could go home (read motivation to fast was to break it)

So the question we need to ask is if we are ready for this month.  Are we taking the maximum advantage of Ramadhan? This cannot be derived if we become socially nocturnal birds of prey hunting for food from doorstep to doorstep.  Apart from social actions that are capable of helping others, our maximum dedication of time must go towards reaching the enormous and wide gates of Allah’s acceptance through dua’s and salaat.

If you ate more after dark, will you live a day longer or will you erase the hunger you experienced during the day? For that matter, one of the aims of fasting is to create an empathy in us about those who cannot have access to this basic necessity with the ease that we can.  Whereas we are aware that at Iftar time, we can have all that we want to eat, those who cant, live the whole day in helpless search of food.

Fasting or feasting – ultimately, your choice.  One makes you just one of the billions of basic people roaming the earth, another is capable of elevating your status to a higher station.

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