Ads by Muslim Ad Network

Comfort of the Heart vs. Comfort of the Body

The first few days are a breeze. I always worry if I will make it through them before Ramadan even begins. But they always end up being the easiest.

Then the dark circles set in, the lips begin to chap, and, if I let myself, I could sleep 12 + hours a day.

These symptoms usually set in around day 10 for me. But this is also the time I hit a rhythm in Ramadan and despite eating less, I can taste a different kind of sweetness.

“Indeed he who is pleased (and content) with Allah as his Lord (Rubb), Islam as his Deen and Muhammad as his Messenger has tasted the sweetness of faith (iman).” (Muslim)

I know this is true, but it is hard to describe the feeling. Even though the body is uncomfortable, the heart finds solace in the satisfaction of striving in Ramadan. It is a feeling to which nothing else compares.

Hold this World in Your Hand

I am ashamed to admit it but sometimes I try to fit the life of this word into a vessel that will never accept it. It’s so easy to be seduced by all the things that glitter around us. It is comfortable to fall back on old habits. It’s our nature to seek the path of least resistance.

Ads by Muslim Ad Network

And so I try to force a square shaped object in an octagonal hole. Like a child learning (or failing to understand) her shapes, I often fail to see that the life of this world will not fit into a heart that is created to fit only one thing.

And I try to force it, all the while wondering why I feel something missing, something deeply wrong and lacking. In order to numb the pain, I seek the comfort of the body- food, drink, sleep, entertainment. I make my body comfortable. It makes it easier to quite the yearning of the heart, or so I delude myself.

{Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children. (It is) like a rain (Ghayth), thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment, and (there is) forgiveness from Allah and (His) pleasure. And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.} (Quran 57:20)

But during Ramadan, these comforts are removed. I am reminded that we are only here for a little while. I have nowhere else to turn but to Allah (SWT). I start to feel some physical discomfort and without thinking, my mind goes to trying to find a solution.

My stomach grumbles, I think about eating. My throat is parched, I think about drinking some water. My eyes are heavy, I think about having some coffee. I am bored, I think about watching some TV.

feed soul

My mind constantly returns to comforting the body. Then I remember it is Ramadan and I cannot rely on these avenues of comfort. The comfort of the body must wait. It is time for the heart to be filled.

Hold Faith in Your Heart

Ramadan makes us uncomfortable to remind us that there is only one true comfort- the comfort of the heart. This month comes to us by Allah’s (SWT) will, to teach us what real comfort is. To show us that even though it is our first impulse to turn to worldly comforts, it is far better and more lasting to seek the comfort of the heart.

“You will not abandon something for the Sake of Allah, unless Allah replaces it with something, that is better than that, for you.” (Ahmad)

I must train myself to think bigger, better, and beyond my body. My stomach grumbles, I read Quran. My throat is parched, I thank Allah for all that I have. My eyes are heavy, I make wudu. I am bored, I turn to prayer. And my heart tastes something that can only come from its Creator-sweetness of faith.

Dr. Yasir Qadhi said in a lecture that: “Ramadan introduces us to the greatest of all pleasures, which is the pleasure of having a relationship with Allah and being a true servant of Allah (SWT). […] Stand up, listen to anything that Allah and His Messenger say when they call you to that which will give you hayaat [life]. This is exactly what Ramadan does. We feel alive again because this is the real life – the life of the soul, the life of the ruh [spirit], the life of the heart. This is far more important than the life of the body.”

It is not a secret that Muslims around the world are euphoric with the advent of Ramadan. It is because Ramadan is a time when we remind ourselves what it feels like to seek the comfort of our hearts. It is a time when we stop trying to fill the heart with the comforts of the world. They don’t fit there. They never will.

It is hard to understand when all you know is comfort of the body, but the taste of faith and the fulfillment of the heart is sweeter and more satisfying than anything the tongue has relished. It is the reason that so many Muslims smile while feeling the physical discomfort of fasting.

{Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.} (Quran 13:28)

As Ramadan wanes, it is my hope that we are all be able to put things in their proper place. It is my hope that we are all able to put the life of this world in our hand and put the remembrance of our Creator in our heart, today and throughout the year.

(From Discovering Islam archives)

About Theresa Corbin
Theresa Corbin is the author of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book and co-author of The New Muslim’s Field Guide. Corbin is a French-creole American and Muslimah who converted in 2001. She holds a BA in English Lit and is a writer, editor, and graphic artist who focuses on themes of conversion to Islam, Islamophobia, women's issues, and bridging gaps between peoples of different faiths and cultures. She is a regular contributor for and Al Jumuah magazine. Her work has also been featured on CNN and Washington Post, among other publications. Visit her blog, islamwich, where she discusses the intersection of culture and religion.