Summer fast a transformative experience | Worship

By Aziz Junejo, Muslim of Mukilteo | Jun 25, 2014

Very few experiences can produce such an intense spiritual and social impact on a Muslim as fasting the month of Ramadan. Its annual honorable exercise in self-discipline and self-restraint are for God alone.

Refraining from food, drink, sex, smoking and anger from sunrise to sunset are some of the basic elements of this fast, but ultimately achieving a deeper spiritual relationship with creator is at its heart.

Interestingly the word “month,” is derived from “moon,” basically measuring a lunar cycle, and Islam’s lunar calendar shifts Ramadan 10 days each year. This year, Muslims will experience longer days of fasting.

Ramadan is scheduled to begin Saturday, June 28, this year and fasting will be 18 hours a day over 30 days. For Muslims in Mukilteo and around the world, the challenge of hunger and thirst will be arduous, but the transformative experience is unmatched.

For me, Ramadan is a personal, spiritual and moral calling to revisit my life’s mission: to be a more thoughtful human being through reflection and introspection, and intensify my love for the creator.

I love Ramadan perhaps because its self-control and self-discipline, which looking at the world today, seems to be in short supply. Effective and positive restraint is not limited to training and guiding our desires.

I improve my appreciation level by becoming more thankful for our countless blessings and reaffirm my commitment to serving humanity as much as I can. Understanding hunger and poverty can be an important manifestation of fasting.

Tasting hunger can be an inspiring experience; educating us on why and what we eat. Thankfully, we live in a country where every kind of food is available and a system that could feed our local poor better than the world’s poor.

Yet hunger and food uncertainty among our needy is our nation’s hidden dilemma of sorts. The challenge of our poor’s condition is both obesity and hunger – serious health issues that deserve more attention.

Food is a blessing and, during Ramadan, Muslims tends to eat more nutritious foods in smaller quantities; perhaps something we should be doing throughout the year because it not how much you eat, but what you eat.

In Ramadan, there is no room for anger, arrogance, rash talk or backbiting. Keeping control of my emotions is obligatory while fasting and, by not reacting to things that I dislike, pleases God.

Being kinder, polite and greeting everyone with a sweet smile becomes an effective tool in spreading peace. It is like a human tune-up when kindness and compassion affect everyone around you at home, the office and in society.

Because we live in a diverse society, Ramadan is a perfect time for Muslims to advance their relationships with neighbors and community – improving the true understanding of Islamic character in a free and open society.

Fasting too offers a connection with other faiths and religious communities. As Lent is for Christians and Yom Kippur for Jews, it’s a sacred bridge builder for dialogue and understanding.

At the end of the day, Ramadan can benefit Muslims and society. Despite the physical toll of fasting, our hearts and spirits can find comfort in completing a moral exercise that pleases God and benefits humanity.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.