Social Icons

martes, 14 de julio de 2015


This post is for my non-Muslim friends and readers:
I'm sure you're wondering why we Muslims fast for a whole month in this heat and long summer days? And probably most answers you get from the net or your Muslim friends are even more confusing smile emoticon so here are a few simple facts:

First of all, fasting is not a Muslim invention. It exists as a spiritual practice in most religions, although in varying forms. Muslims fast during Ramadan, the 9th month of the Muslim lunar calendar. They abstain from all food, drink, sexual activity, bad language, and bad habits during daylight hours, from dawn to sunset, everyday, for an entire month. Since it's based on the lunar calendar, the date changes every year. In my lifetime, I've fasted during all seasons and weathers of the year, hot and cold, and it had a different flavor in each of them.
Fasting is not a form of torture though smile emoticon Those who are too young, too old, weak, sick, pregnant, breastfeeding, menstruating or traveling are exempt from fasting.
For believers, it's a manifestation of faith. They show reverence by obeying the God they believe in, to stay away from food, drink, and sex (basic human needs) during daylight hours.
In practice, it's a yearly training course in discipline and self-control. Trust me, it takes a lot of will-power not to reach for that ice-cold glass of water on a hot day, and decide to wait over 16 hours to be able to have it! It also tastes a lot better when you finally have it smile emoticon
You learn to appreciate every drop of water. Every grain of food. You learn gratitude!
Now multiply that by a billion! Imagine hundreds of millions of people, sitting there staring at food and not touching it until they hear the signal: the call to prayer, only then are they allowed to eat and drink again, together, all over the world.
This exercise in delayed gratification changes your life. If you can willingly discipline yourself to abstain from things you love and that are good for you, then you can definitely abstain from things you hate or that are bad for you.
This concept looks logical and simple, but most humans struggle with it. They're stuck in toxic relationships, hooked on bad habits, demotivated to improve, and unable to change. Fasting makes you feel empowered and in control of your life again, so that it becomes easier to change as a result.
Fasting puts you back at the steering wheel of your emotions. You're no longer a slave to your body and your desires. You learn to control them and not let them control you. You tell them when to eat and when to stop, when to succumb to desire and when to abstain. You're freed from your dependence on coffee, sugars, cigarettes...etc. You control your anger, your fears, your thoughts and emotions, good and bad. It's an effective exercise in will-power.
Health-wise, it's a great detox for mind and body, from all the accumulated toxins of the year. When your stomach and digestive system take a break, your mind and your spirit soar. Contrary to what you may believe, you feel and think much clearer and deeper during fasting hours. And it's easier to contemplate, analyze, and find solutions to your pressing dilemmas. (Google: health benefits of intermittent fasting)
Ramadan is also a community activity to strengthen social ties and improve relations in families and among society as a whole. It's a time for connection, group learning, group worship, and mass charity and caring.
In the last 10 days of the months, people are encouraged to spend time alone contemplating, worshiping and planning for making changes to one's life. It's like a yearly self-improvement boot camp for more than a billion Muslims worldwide.
This year, other faith leaders around the world are planning to fast with Muslims to encourage peace, communication, understanding, and respect for diversity. This is the true spirit of Ramadan.
Now, if I were not a Muslim and I read this post, my first logical response will be: "Why aren't Muslims a leading civilization today then?"
Actually, they once were, when they really applied these useful principles. Right now, Ramadan is being more and more commercialized by the media and the shopping culture, just like what has happened to Christmas. During Ramadan in recent years, people mostly feast every night, watch TV, shop like crazy, and stay up chatting all night until it's time for the pre-dawn meal. Unfortunately, many preserved the traditions and forgot the lessons.
Ramadan mubarak to everyone smile emoticon feel free to post questions, reflections, links and personal experiences in the comments.
Link to some relevant posts:…
More in my book Sandcastles and Snowmen
I lecture on creative communication and cross-cultural issues, you can contact me on my site:
You're welcome to follow me for more discussions:

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario