Muslims begin Ramadan fast—a spiritual catharsis says Halifax Imam
The Islamic Holy Month runs from 20 July to 19 August. It’s a period of fasting and abstinence from dawn to dusk for all Muslims. Imam Zia ul Khan of the Islamic Centre for Development in Halifax provides a perspective on the fast quoting the Prophet Muhammad as saying: “whosoever does not give up lies and acting upon it, Allah is not in need of his giving up food and drink.” ~ Editor
The word Ramadan has been heard by most people of the world, thanks partly to the talking heads, the punditry of media. Many have heard of the Muslim fast, few know the true essence.
In our ethnocentric culture, others and their faith practices are, if you are open-minded, viewed as novelty– a glance of compassion and curiosity at best and at worst, ridicule and contempt.
As the world shrinks we ought to know about other faiths so that we can jettison our squalid misconceptions, distorted perceptions and find true understanding in human brotherhood.
Ah, fasting! Who is talking about fasting in the din of enveloping materialism? Well, the Muslims, 1.8 billion people, instructed to fast.
The messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “whosoever does not give up lies and acting upon it, Allah is not in need of his giving up food and drink.”
It is rendered eloquently in the following verse of the Quran, “Oh you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you may become God conscious.”
Fasting is a shield from our evil inclinations, it is a spiritual catharsis, a purging of our shortcomings, it is food for the soul, it is a drink of morality and it is a beacon of light to show humanity, even temporarily, the plight of the poor and down-trodden.
My angle is different from the many articles and books written about Ramadan. I believe, if Ramadan is practiced properly with true piety, it can slow the pace of this pernicious material life, keeping neutral the noisome noise, it can give discernment of the noxious news, that we don’t fall prey to the ugly head of bigotry, to temper the onslaught of trivial conversations, to have silence in the soul- introspection, to find meaning in the banal busywork, ultimately to find out the real intent of life, and most of all to be at peace, knowing our rights to our Creator and rendering our obligations to creation.
Ramadan, you may ask, is all that? It is much more, a few columns will not do it justice. On a second thought, even a column given these days is a great feat when Ramadan teaches to live with less, to give more, to spend more on others and less on ourselves, to shun materialism, to seek salvation of our souls and not our social status, and to seek justice for all–it is not corporation friendly but human friendly.
Ramadan will pass, for some it will be like sand, washed away indiscriminately by the ocean waves and to others it will be a healing for their lacerated souls, endeavoring to seek the night of power and bounty and to ask forgiveness from the one who is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Many well wishes to our kind–the human one.