27 Jun Awakening the Senses: The State of Fasting
I could feel the heat of the night air as the rest of the jema’ah (congregants) that have just completed the witr prayers are all sitting down and making supplications. Everyone then made the niat (intention) to carry out the fast the next day together before everyone starts to salam and embrace each other while reciting the salawat (praises and blessings upon the prophet) and eventually leave to go home one by one.
Beads of sweat trickled down my chest, along my already drenched long dress as I removed my prayer cloth to pack and take my leave. Walking slowly home, I started to feel the wind finally blowing softly against my skin. It cools softly, calming me, reminding me that winds are indeed bringers of glad tidings.
The moon was peeking out from within the veil of darkness of the night amidst glittering and scattered stars. I do not see the stars that often but I know by heart they are diamonds in the sky from which we get direction, from which we get the beauty of hope. Subhanallah.
A few more steps and I would be home.
This was a memory from a year or two ago. I could not recall exactly the date and time but I could remember clearly that sense of quiet peace in Ramadan. The night indeed felt young even after a long day of fast and terawih prayers. Maybe the moon was extremely beautiful to me that night. Maybe it was the stars. Maybe because the zikr (remembrance) of Allah was wedded into the night air, occupying the very spaces around me. Maybe because there was constantly people fasting and praying around the globe at that exact moment, filling up time with immense love for the Creator. Maybe hearts were beating as one that night. Subhanallah. Indeed, I do not know.
The recollection of that peaceful night made me start to think about being in a state of fast throughout the month. (Do we call someone who fasts, a ‘faster’? Hehe. ) For a whole month, we fight aware and awake on different battle fronts, on both our physical and spiritual planes.
Home is where the heart is.
The physical aspect of fasting from food is like cleaning your home don’t you think? Our body are like the homes for our soul and our heart and through fasting, we purify and cleanse. Fasting allows our soul and heart to reside within a cleaner and a more peaceful home. As we fast, we also restrict the entry ways for Satan through our body, like a guard or shield so that there will be no way for Satan to enter our hearts. We keep our homes safe and more secure for our souls and hearts. The air becomes fresher and the water becomes cleaner and purer.
This acts as a reminder to me that what we choose to put into our body daily is indeed important. If you wish for a beautiful home for your soul, choose what is beautiful and permissible by the Almighty. Out of all the countless types of food that we can consume, He has chosen the best for us and those are what have been made halal for our consumption. On top of that, He who provides has arranged for the best time to fast and the best time to break our fast. Subhanallah, He is indeed the best of planners and provider.
This is like home away from home.
Yet, like this world, this home of ours is temporary. Our original and more permanent homes in Jannah, we want to return to it in a good state. We hope our soul and hearts could be the illumination and source of light for our home. When we are always in remembrance of Allah, abstain from all that which has been forbidden out of our fear of His Wrath, and continually repent and remain hopeful for His forgiveness and mercy, we are on our way to the purification of our hearts and soul. Do not we see that the most beautiful of faces are those which glow out of the goodness of their hearts and actions, and in their constant remembrance of the Most High?
This month we fight the laziness, gluttony, greed and other vices. We curb our anger and arrogance in the hopes that the Most Forgiving One will protect us from His anger and forgives us. Even when our energy goes low, we fight with the snooze monster and keep our senses awake to continue working for our families and society. We train ourselves to control our tongues and channel our speech for good. We move our limbs to help, even if a little, where we can although we do feel a little tired. We learn to make a lot from the very little bit we have: energy, money, food, talents, clothes etc. We learn to become a more productive people.
Amazing isn’t it, so much struggle and effort we have to put forth during this challenging month, yet we cannot contain the excitement of meeting the truly blessed month of Ramadan? We miss Ramadan before it comes to us and we miss Ramadan as it leaves us. Ramadan reminds the soul of its deepest yearning for the Most Merciful One who has placed so much blessings both hidden and revealed within the month for us to benefit and enjoy.
Home sweet home.
Let us try to light our homes with a spirit kindled with love, humility and genuine goodness. It begins with our spiritual homes and then to our earthly human homes where our family and neighbours are. Let us be consistent and steadfast in performing good deeds.
May we meet the Night of Decree in a state of peace and goodness. May our good deeds be accepted by the Almighty. May our fasts be a means to attaining closeness to Allah Azza wa Jall, not simply to experience hunger and fatigue. May He rewards us for our fasts as He has been narrated and reported as having said: “Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except Fasting; it is for me and I shall reward for it.” [Bukhari]
JOM.sg Guest Writer