Why does God want us to fast? This is because fasting may adversely effect our routines like working, studying, sports and various other life routines. Apparently, it merely looks like depriving our bodies of essential energy and a somewhat needless hardship that religion has asked us to undergo.
The most important message of Ramazan is that we are not just body. We are body and soul. And that what makes us human beings and that determines our value as human beings is the soul and not the body. During Ramazan we deprive the body to uplift the soul. This is all simple and familiar. But we can understand its significance if we remember that the message of the materialistic hedonistic global pop culture that has engulfed every Muslim land today just like the rest of the world is exactly the opposite. It says that body is everything. That the materialistic world is all that counts. That the greatest happiness if not virtue is in filling the appetites of the body. This message produces endless appetites and consequently endless wars to fill those endless appetites through endless exploitation. It produces endless frustrations since the gap between desires and achievements can never be filled. It produces endless chaos and endless oppression. Yet this trash comes in such beautiful and enticing packages that we can hardly resist it. We equate this slavery with freedom. We consider this march to disaster as progress. And with every movement, we get further and deeper into the mire.
Ramazan is here to liberate us from all this. Here is a powerful message that it is soul over body. Take a break from the pop culture. Turn off the music and TV. Say goodbye to the endless and futile pursuit of happiness in sensory pleasures. Rediscover your inner self that has been buried deep under it. Reorient yourself. Devote your time to the reading of the Quran, to voluntary worship, to prayers and conversations with Allah. Reflect on the direction of your life and your priorities. Reflect on and strengthen your relationship with your Creator.
The fast is a symbolic equalizer for all Muslims from every part of humanity. From the very rich to the very poor, the fortunate or the less fortunate, during this month every Muslim finds common goodness in the challenge and rewards of the daily fast. The hunger and thirst is a remembrance of the cornerstone of free will and discipline in faith as much as it is a sign of health. It is a reminder of thanks for our health and a test for Muslims to see and feel the plight of those less fortunate. In hunger and in thirst, we are all equal. It is an equality that not only crosses social boundaries, but religious, political and geographical as well. It is a reminder of our shared humanity with every individual around the world.
In that equality, Ramazan bears significance beyond its spirituality for Muslims. Every year it reminds me of my love of personal liberty and free will from Islamist coercion. A respect for universal equality is a central community value vital to ultimately defeating the theocrats of political Islam. Muslims need an Islam whose laws stay out of government, and instead teach the equality of all humanity regardless of faith practice.
The spirit of Ramazan is a true example of how Islam can flourish under the separation of mosque and state.
You read that correctly. Ramazan illustrates the true potential of Islam under the separation of mosque and state. That’s because no matter where you are in the world, the fast of Ramazan should be a personal practice of the heart shared by all Muslims but imposed by none. Choosing to partake in the daily fast and month of prayer must be an exercise of pure free will outside the purview of everyone but God. Those that partake must be willing and government should certainly stay out of it.
My prayer is that this year during the month-long introspection, our Muslim faith communities begin to come to a universal understanding, that living under the oppressive rule of Shar’iah law (Islamic jurisprudence) is not only strangling our religion, but perverting it. The application of Shar’iah law in government suffocates the basic human right to practice our own beliefs how we freely choose. No matter how benevolent it is packaged, when Shar’iah law is imposed through religious mandate rather than through reason and liberty, it denies the very inalienable rights which Ramazan teaches us to cherish. It is my prayer that the introspection of the month brings millions of Muslims to the realization that the recurrent problem of radical Islam is a symptom of the underlying supremacism of political Islam.
Let us try to understand this.
Each human being has two forms of existence: physical and spiritual. Both forms have separate needs. Our physical needs relate to food, drink and sex. Our spiritual needs relate to connection with God and moral conduct. In eleven months we seem to be fulfilling our physical needs to the utmost. Our spiritual needs are generally neglected if not sacrificed.
In many ways, Ramazan mirrors a form of spiritual renewal a time for new resolutions and a revival of inner peace. Similar to how one might attend a nature retreat once a year to escape the humdrum of a dog-eat-dog world, Ramazan provides an internal retreat where the mind and its natural thirst for knowledge, awakening and reason is given greater precedence over the physical needs and desires of the body needs which are regularly served but rarely satisfied. Human desire in its bare essence is animalistic and somewhat selfish. It has been the evolution of teachings of faith that has kept in check much of our primitive needs for constant self-gratification.
For one month (ie Ramazan), God wants us to pay prime attention to our spiritual needs in such a powerful manner that we forget about our physical needs for a major part of the day. This gives the chance to our spiritual being to develop and grow and prepare itself to function at a high level for the rest of the eleven months.
In other words, it gives us the chance to strengthen our connection with God and also develop our selves into good human beings with little interference from our physical needs.
Let,s make a pledge to help poor ,needy and orphan.Let,s feel the pain of destitutes, poor ,needy and hungry.
O Allah, Allow us to witness Ramazan, benefit from it, use it to earn your mercy, and emancipation from the fire…( Aameen)