As the days near towards Ramadan, my whole family gets really excited, my young girls look forward to how much they can do in the following month compared to last years Ramadan, and my husband looks forward to having suhoor (eating just before fasting begins, before dawn) and Iftari (opening the fast at sunset) with the family. I have four children and the eldest two have just recently begun to join us, whereas before it was just me and husband and I’m really not a morning person, at all. Fasting has been said to be the starvation of the body but the nourishment for the soul and that is evident as soon as the month begins. As Muslims we believe the devil has been locked up so his influence is no longer upon us, therefore during this blessed month ‘the devil made me do it’ is not a viable excuse. This forces us to reflect on our relationship with our Lord as well as ourselves. So as well as the obvious objective of fasting which is refraining from food and drink, for myself and I’m sure many Muslims all over the world, fasting is so much more.
As I have mentioned earlier we believe that during the month of Ramadan the devil is locked up, and this in turn forces us to look at ourselves and really reflect on the person that we are. Reflecting on our good and bad habits whilst at the same time increasing our connection to our faith and our Lord. Abstaining from food is ordained upon us, but following it through is our choice, if I sneak in a sip of water here or a nibble of a chocolate there, breaking my fast will be on my conscious and mine alone. No one will know apart from my Lord, and this makes me look at all the actions that take place in my life, I could do many things that may be ‘wrong’ religiously, morally or ethically, which might make my life easier but would I be happy with the person I’d become? When you choose to make a commitment, whether it is a personal gain or a collective goal (amongst friends or family), could be a healthy eating regime, saving up to get something or giving up a bad habit, giving up or breaking the habit will not only result in you losing out on your end goal, but will show you that you are not committed enough to yourself. Your willpower is a reflection of the strength and love you have for yourself, and how willing you are to go that extra mile and preserver through hardship for your own sake.
Controlling your Anger:
Anger in Islam is Haram (forbidden), and in hindsight nothing good comes out of speaking or acting in anger apart from releasing our wrath upon others. Fasting is not abstaining just from food but it is also abstinence from using bad words, mistreating others and giving in to our anger, that is because when you are not eating and drinking from sunrise till sunset, your patience is really tested my friends. And what would be the point of giving up food and drink for the sake of your Lord, for improving your faith and spirituality if you give in to your temper? During the month of fasting when you are consciously being patient despite the lack of food and water, it really makes you realise that keeping calm for the rest of the year when you are not should be a doddle. In turn another benefit of trying to control your own anger is that it increases your toleration of others. When we struggle with our own mishaps we understand that no one is perfect and sometimes our setback are something we are aware of but struggle to deal with.
Because fasting is so much more than the physical action of refraining from food, it forces you to acknowledge all the negatives traits you may posses and forgo them and focus on the positive and improve upon them. As well as disciplining your body from eating, fasting promotes strengthening your will power, controlling your anger, increasing tolerance, connecting more with your faith and your relationship with your creator. It aids character building of your mental, physical and spiritual well being.
There are many studies showing the detox benefits of fasting, when your body is starved for a period of time it begins to cleanse out the accumulated impurities in the body. You only need to type in ‘the benefits of fasting’ on any search engines to see countless articles promoting fasting. Your body is starved for a long period of time this provides most of the organs to cleanse out and regenerate, thus functioning much better. It is even believed that the long term benefit of fasting is that it increases the longevity of your life span. Many athletes add intermittent fasting as part of their diet to get the best our of their training.
Reflection – Nearness to Allah:
Refraining from indulgence of food and whatever bad habits we may have, increasing in the blessings of every act of worship towards my Lord, allows me to see that My Lord is all I need. When I have to face my death and enter my grave whatever worldly possessions I have and whoever I love will all be left behind. That is when I will have to face my Lord and bring with me all the good deeds I have accumulated in my worldly life. This understanding then always poses a question that lingers at the back of my mind, Will my deeds be enough?
To all those taking in blessed month we hope you have an amazing month, and to all friends that are not we still hope this month continues to be equally fantastic for you. Be sure to read part one of this series to catch up with all the benefits we have summarised for Ramadan: https://musingsofbrowngirls.com/2019/05/07/feeding-the-soul-this-ramadan-part-1-its-really-not-all-about-food-bgn/
Reflect. Love. Heal
Brown Girl R