By Umarrah Javed Al-Hadi
Fasting is a way to achieve taqwa (God-consciousness). It helps develop self-control and mindfulness of our actions and words, as we abstain from physical pleasures and distractions during the day. This increased mindfulness and self-control can lead to a stronger sense of awareness and connection with Allāh.
Khutbah: The Meaning of Taqwa
Fasting is a reminder that many people do not have access to basics needs including food and water. Fasting increases one’s sense of empathy and understanding of the suffering of others. Ramadan is a month of increased compassion and charitable giving.
Khutbah: Helping Others in Islam
Sabr is a concept that is reiterated throughout The Qur’ān. During Ramadan, fasting helps believers develop patience and perseverance. The fast of Ramadan requires discipline and commitment, as it is observed daily for an entire month. This helps Muslims develop their ability to persevere through difficult circumstances and to be patient in the face of challenges that take place throughout the remainder of the year.
Read: The Meaning of Sabr
Fasting can increase one’s sense of gratitude and appreciation for the blessings that Allah has given. In the small window where believers eat and drink, they are able to focus on the true value of a glass of water or a few dates in ways that would not be as easily achievable in everyday life.
Believers increase in humility when deprived of food and water. The fact that Allāh is The Provider really comes to light when one realizes that one is wholly dependent on Allāh for all provision.
Khutbah: The Meaning of Tawakkul
Read: The Meaning of Rizq
Fasting can help to purify the heart and mind by eliminating everyday distractions and focusing on spiritual matters. The fast of Ramadan requires Muslims to abstain from not only food and drink, but also from negative thoughts and actions. By avoiding these things, Muslims are able to focus more fully on their relationship with Allāh and to cultivate a sense of inner peace and clarity.
Read: The Meaning of Qalb
In addition to the spiritual benefits, fasting for a cycle of 30 days can improve one’s physical health by regulating one’s eating habits and by helping to reset the body’s natural rhythms.
Khutbah: Finding Balance in Our Lives
Believers increase in mindfulness during this month and the habits they cultivate can be carried through to the remainder of the year to translate into a mindful life. The fast of Ramadan requires Muslims to be present in the moment and to be deliberate with their actions and words. This helps to shape a greater sense of awareness and presence in daily life and truly allows for the believer to realize that spiritual nourishment is just as, if not more, important as physical nourishment.
Read: Mindfulness in Islam
May Allāh allow us to benefit from the blessings of this Ramadan and allow us to carry the lessons we learn from this month into the rest of the year.
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