Fasting in Ramadan; Answering the Question ‘Why?’

Bismillahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim

Assalaamu Alaikum & Ramadan Kareem

I think every Muslim blogger at some point has a ‘why do Muslims fast’ post. So I’m just fulfilling my duty, but in a different way. I won’t go into the hows’ and the whens’ and the whats’. My question is posed to myself…why do I fast? Is it habit? After so many years of practicing Islam and taking part in Ramadan? Have I lost the reasoning or have I never noticed until now?

I’ve made so many mistakes this year, subhanAllah. So many errors and misjudgements. May Allah forgive me,  Ameen. But I have also grown closer to Islam. Alhamdulillah. There was a time in my life not very long ago that the mention of seeking Islamic knowledge would give me anxiety and a sense of severe insecurity.  One of the biggest blessings Allah has ever given me, as far as I can understand, is the ability to move beyond this problem, and connect me to my Deen emotionally and mentally, which, Alhamdulillah, is now connecting me to my Deen physically. Allahu Akbar!

If you practice Islam then you are familiar with the Dunya vs Akhira conflict. How do we find balance in getting what we want in Dunya as well as in the Afterlife? This is a crucial concept in Islam. In declaring your belief in Allah (SWT), Master of the Day of Judgement, Lord of the Worlds, and Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) as Messenger of Allah. you MUST place your entire trust in Allah and you MUST relinquish your grip on this world, and everything that distracts you from seeing your true purpose. Live in this world as a traveler or stranger! (Quote from the Prophet (PBUH) as narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar).

Does that mean we cannot achieve success in this world? Does that mean we cannot pursue our worldly dreams of become a doctor, engineer, a famous writer or artist?  Allah does not want us to be miserable and lazy in this world. In my opinion, all this means is that whatever you do, do for Allah. Whatever you pursue, make sure the cause is halal, and the intention is pure and for Allah’s sake. If Allah gives you success in this world, give back with your duty. Your zakat. Your salah. Your nafl and sunnah. Your belief and your time. And most importantly, do not make your success your home. Do not make your gifts from Allah into attachments that will take you away from Allah (because they will).

So…let’s cycle back to our original topic. How does all of this relate to the Holy month of Ramadan?  How does this relate to refraining from food, water, sexual activity, rude behavior and wasting time, as well as refraining from negativity, such as anger, impatience, and ignorance? In other words, why do we, as Muslims, do this, and not something else?

I’m not a scholar. Nor do I have extensive knowledge, but based on what I do know, a thought sort of  hit me square in the face the other day. And it wasn’t from the angle of Dunya. It was from the angle of Jannah. From what I know of Jannah, it is our true home. Our real existence that is promised to us should we succeed in our duties in this life. It is a place with no death, hunger, disease, poverty, anger, jealousy, or injustice. The things that are harmful here are not harmful there, such as wine and excess (you won’t become greedy). The things that distracted us won’t distract us there, rather they will be gifts for us made even more pleasing. such as the love, beauty, and intimacy of our spouses.

In Ramadan, we let go of the Dunya’s version of all these things (and what a poor version it is, when you look at Jannah). Allah is testing you with hunger, thirst, desire, control over your actions and emotions, how you treat your fellow Muslim, your spouses, your children. He, Allahu Akbar, is asking you what you want. Do you want this world and its food that does not satisfy? Its wealth that will lead you astray, that you cannot take with you when you die? Do you want this world, where the objects of your love, desire and affection are never guaranteed to stay, no matter how much you love them?

Or do you want JANNAH? Where our problems cease to exist. Where our greatest mercy from Allah (SWT) becomes our home.

Will you fast in a manner that counts the minutes until the next Iftar? Or will you take advantage of the hours and use them to supplicate, thank, worship, repent, and humble yourself, seeking knowledge and forgiveness from your Lord? Will you be impatient with those around you, your friends and family? Or will you love them and cherish them, and even improve your relations with them for the sake of Allah (SWT)?

Know that Allah is your Master. Only He can correct your affairs. And this is why we let go of Dunya, in the month and hours that Allah has prescribed, in a kind of annual dosage, that, Alhamdulillah, if we live to see it and use it correctly, we reap rewards innumerable,  are brought closer to Allah, and pulled further from Dunya, inshAllah.

We fast to regain sight of the blessings already given to us. We fast to remove ourselves from Dunya and to show Allah that despite our empty stomachs, our greater fear is an empty Emaan. An empty spot in Jannah where we could be, and the fiery realm where we might be. We fast to take advantage of every salah, taraweeh, and every moment  to worship, thank, repent, and supplicate to Allah. Allah, without Whom, we’d be nothing, could be nothing, and with Whom, could have everything He deems best for us. All we need to do is ask sincerely, with a heart full of Emaan. SubhanAllah!

Allahu Akbar.

If I’ve said anything wrong, please correct me, inshAllah.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah give you a Ramadan filled with ease, mercy, rewards, and opportunities to gain His infinite reward.  May Allah correct your affairs for you, and bring you closer to Him. Ameen

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