Ramadhan should be a transformative journey, not a self-inflicted battle


by Mohamedarif Mohamed Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

Mohamedarif-Suleman Mohamedarif Mohamed Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) is a digital marketing specialist and an Educator-cum-Trainer. He has involved himself in community organisations and matters from a young age, and through his writings, continues to speak of social and cultural reform to this day. He is also the founding moderator of this forum.

A Journey of Reflection and Renewal

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” – Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah (2:183)

The arrival of Ramadhan brings with it a sacred invitation – a call to embark on a transformative journey. Beyond the mere act of abstaining from food and drink, fasting during this blessed month holds profound significance. It is a holistic practice that nourishes not only our bodies but also our minds and souls.

Physical Benefits 

During fasting, our bodies undergo a natural detoxification process. As we refrain from consuming food, our digestive system gets a much-needed break. Cells repair themselves, and toxins are flushed out. The result? A rejuvenated body ready to thrive. Fasting during Ramadan can lead to weight loss and improved metabolic health. However, moderation is key. The iftaar and suhoor meals should be balanced, avoiding excessive indulgence. Let us remember that fasting is not a license for overeating – it is an opportunity for mindful nourishment. Additionally, fasting stimulates autophagy – a cellular process that removes damaged components. Our immune system becomes more robust and better equipped to fight infections. As we fast, we strengthen our inner defence mechanisms.

The Mental Landscape 

Fasting cultivates discipline. When we resist immediate gratification, we exercise our willpower. This discipline extends beyond food – it spills into other aspects of our lives. We learn to prioritise higher goals over fleeting desires. The hunger pangs serve as constant reminders. We pause, reflect, and acknowledge our dependence on sustenance. But this mindfulness transcends food. It encourages us to examine our intentions, actions, and relationships. We become more present and more aware. With fewer distractions (no lunch breaks, no snacks), our productivity soars. The quiet hours of fasting become moments for worship, self-improvement, and creativity. We reclaim time – time that would otherwise slip through our fingers.

The Spiritual Awakening 

Fasting draws us closer to Allah (SWT). The hunger and thirst are not mere physical sensations; they are pathways to spiritual intimacy. Our prayers become more heartfelt, our connection deeper. As we experience hunger, our hearts soften. We empathise with the less fortunate. Acts of charity flow naturally. We share our blessings, recognising that abundance is meant for sharing. Ramadhan is a season of repentance. Fasting allows us to seek forgiveness – to cleanse our hearts and renew our intentions. We emerge lighter, forgiven, and hopeful.

Breaking the Fast: A Self-Inflicted Battle

“The greatest victory is over self.” – Imam Ali (a.s.)


As the crescent moon graces the sky, Ramadhan descends upon us – a month of spiritual rejuvenation, self-reflection, and discipline. Yet, paradoxically, many of us sabotage this sacred objective. We wage an internal war against the very purpose of fasting, undermining its transformative potential. We fall into what one can call the Nightly Dilemma because as soon as nightfall arrives, we stand at a crossroads. The night beckons with its allure – the thrill of recreation, the camaraderie of friends, and the feast that promises temporary bliss. We yield to its seduction, surrendering our resolve. The consequences unfold silently, like shadows creeping across our souls.

We move through the night, oblivious to the toll it takes. We munch through most of it. Our bodies tire, our minds blur, and our spirits dim. The dawn approaches, and we stumble into suhoor – a half-hearted meal that barely sustains us. The day ahead looms, heavy with fatigue. We repeat the cycle – Iftar becomes a carnival of indulgence. We pile our plates high, forgetting that fasting is meant to break worldly desires, not our waistlines. The consequences? Sluggishness, bloated regret, and a heart weighed down by excess.

As the month wanes, we count the days. Relief awaits – the end of fasting, the return to normalcy. But what is normal? We slip back into old habits, forgetting the lessons learned. Our souls, once cleansed, gather dust again.

Imam Ali (a.s.) spoke truth into existence:

“Incapability is a catastrophe; endurance is bravery; abstinence is riches; self-restraint is a shield (against sin); and the best companion is submission (to Allah’s will).”

So, what should be the path forward? For starters, Self-Reflection: Pause. Look within. Why do we sabotage our growth? What tempts us away from the path of discipline? Another key thing to observe is moderation. Feast, but with restraint. Revel, but not at the expense of our well-being. Balance the objective of the month of Ramadhan with the comfort we desire. After all, it is the purpose of the Holy Month to kill the desire of the self and the appetite of greed; to purify our hearts, to cultivate gratitude, and to break the chains of materialism

Then, what are we trying to do by going against the purpose? Is it not a self-inflicted battle?

As Ramadhan concludes, let us carry its essence forward. Discipline need not vanish with the moon. Let us break free from self-defeat, for the greatest victory lies within. Fasting is not a burden; it is a gift – a chance to conquer our lesser selves and emerge stronger.

“And when My servants ask you concerning Me, indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.” – Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah (2:186)

May our hearts remain illuminated long after the crescent fades

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