Fasting during the month of Ramadan – and everything that goes with it – is extraordinary. It is one of the best heavenly gifts to man.
No wonder it is one of the pillars of Islam, and also one of the best ways to experience the beauty of submitting one’s self to, and worshipping, the only Creator and Master.
However, people experience fasting in different ways. Experiences vary from ecstasy and euphoria, to mere formalism, apathy and exhaustion, with many different conditions in-between.
The following are some ingenious tips that aim to improve our experiences and appreciations of the inexhaustible realm of fasting.
The tips are conceptual and reflective. They are deliberately steered away from the pure technical and legalist, or jurisprudential (fiqh), matters, which nevertheless are extremely important in their own right.
Congratulations, You Are a Believer!
Because you fast, you are a true believer. Authentic fasting is such that it cannot accommodate elements of hypocrisy or any form of non-belief or scepticism. The two are simply incompatible. One neutralizes the other. Fasting is the most convincing evidence of faith (iman).
That is why when Allah prescribed fasting, He addressed the believers only:
O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you… (Quran 2:183).
No other category of people can be affiliated with fasting.
Cherish the Status and Experience
Therefore, enjoy your heavenly status and take pleasure in experiencing its infinite treasures. You are both encouraged and entitled to do so.
Everything from the notions and phenomena of life and death, to the Hereafter and Jannah (Paradise), have been created for the sake of faith and worship, and for such as exemplify them in their lives and become of the faithful (believers) and worshippers.
You belong right there as well. You are connected with the highest order of value, meaning and beauty. Unleash your innate spiritual capacities and keep growing and rising steadily. The sky is the limit, Heaven the goal. Let your pure heart and soul, as well as enlightened mind, lead the way.
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
The Quran says that fasting was decreed upon us “as it was decreed upon those before you” (2:183).
That is how truth generally is. It operates beyond the precincts of time and space. People – and all the vicissitudes of life – are but its means and instruments. It has neither beginning nor end.
It is unconfinable.
Most surely this (the revelation given to Muhammad) is in the earlier scriptures, the scriptures of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses) (87:18-19).
This means that fasting is inseparable from the human presence on earth. It is ageless and enduring. It is identifiable with people’s humanity and their noble life purpose. It lies at the core of truth. It is of those things that make people exceptional, setting them apart from other species.
Therefore, when you fast bear in mind that you belong to a global and unbounded fraternity.
You walk in the footsteps of the best members of the best generations of humankind.
You follow those individuals (the Prophets and their faithful followers) who charted most conspicuously the courses of human history.
You stand on the shoulders of giants.
Due to that kind of people, and for them primarily, this world has been conceived and has been created in the first place, and will be sustained until the end.
Always remember that you are one of them, or maybe almost there. In any case, just to be invited to join the league is a treat good enough.
Hence, be excited and positively proud. Feel indebted and live responsibly. It’s your turn now to leave a mark on life proceedings. Let your exemplary fasting this year be the beginning.
Freedom versus Inhibition
Do not be trapped in matter and in the trivial worldly concerns. Fasting is there to liberate you. It is your launch pad.
Fasting, and everything it entails, is not a one-dimensional activity. Rather, it is a process that involves you, your spiritual forte, and the whole spiritual Kingdom. Nor is it confined to the month of Ramadan only. It is the whole life. It is a lifestyle.