Ramadhan – Fast, not Feast

screenshot 20240312 150443

A new crescent in the dominating crimson sky above the horizon heralds the beginning of a new month in the Islamic calendar. Yesterday it marked the beginning of one that urges people of Islamic faith to adhere to a number of actions, fasting which includes controlling one’s anger and behaviour, abstaining from food and drinks, and sexual acts from dawn to dusk, giving alms to the needy in the form of zakat (a percentage of our income), performing supplementary salaat (prayers), in particular, taraweeh after Esha prayer, perusing the Holy Quran, feeding the most needy ones in a gesture to absolve oneself from any involuntary shortcomings.

Fasting is a test of resilience, a test of compassion, and a test of empathy. It is a private act of spiritual enhancement and worship, inculcating self-discipline and closeness to God. It is a moment of sharing and harmonious relations with our close ones and those that are needy. It allows us to mimic and sense the plight of those who are deprived of the basic needs for reasons beyond their control.

Deprive yourself from eating and drinking and having mundane enjoyment just for one day, and you will get the feel what it means to endure deprivation and starvation for uncertain number of days. Think of those people and innocent souls, snatched from their homes and all their possessions, and abandoned to the fate of lingering death, those that have been left roofless by ruthless perpetrators, those that are being subjected to famine and forced to alienation from their own land, the Land of the Prophets, and whose supplication for human justice is a sin, but whose breathless breaths still spell hope in the name of the Almighty. Palestinians, and any oppressed people anywhere in the globe, have a human life. They deserve much better than any treatment that violates human rights and flouts the very rules to protect victims of atrocities and unjust killings by those tolerating armed hatred, cruelty and genocide.

So, Ramadhan serves as a reminder. Ramadhan is a period of fast, not feast. A period that fosters frugality, not one of lavish and futile consuming behaviour. Sehri (meal taken before the advent of dawn to begin the fast) and iftar (breaking of fast at sunset) are solemn moments to seek forgiveness of the Almighty and express gratitude to Him for favouring us with all that we need for a decent living, health, basic necessities, and selfless dedication. Any food intake at these times is sacred to the rozadaar (the one who has observed the fast). Making a feast of iftar is certainly not in the fasting agenda.

Let’s have special thoughts for those that are oppressed and unjustly fettered to the fate of express denial of food, shelter and freedom. Let’s stand guided by the commands of the Supreme Almighty and abstain from any unwarranted show off. Let our heart and mind be where they should, in the path of Allah, not in that of human gods.

Ramadhan Kareem

Note: This article from the author appeared on his facebook page on 12 March 2024

Leave a Reply