Fast Fasting

When I was young, about the age of 5-7 years old, I always wonder to myself during the Ramadan.

Why on earth we are told to fast?

Pardon me for asking such questions as you would certainly pardon a small, cute, cuddly kid when asking such innocence questions, right? (not trying to impute that i am cute and cuddly when I was a kid, haha (I wish...))

Well, for those who are yet to know about fasting in Islam, not just during the Ramadan blessed month of all, but any other regular months as well, fasting or known as sawm in Arabic, is the act of refraining to take any form of food or drink and also having any kind of sexual intercourse from the early dawn (fajr) till late sunset (maghrib). There are a few other things that are not allowed to do as well, but I wouldn't want to go into details here. Anyhow, yeah as a kid, I always asked that to the adults. Most adults here that I know would simply answer that "You are told to do so." or "It's God's orders and one must not question that." and some other forms of answers which you would guess will have the same point. Would you blame a kid asking such innocence questions? They are young and full of curiosity, and shouldn't us adults be a little bit more thoughtful when giving out our answers to these children? Don't let your laziness in explaining or thinking that it would be time consuming since they are still kids and wouldn't be able to understand it anyway prevent you from laying out the foundations to your kids (or nieces and nephews in my circumstances. :))

Personally, if I were to face this situation, where a little boy was wondering the needs to fast during the Ramadan, and were still not satisfied by the answer that 'It's God's orders' I would try to enlighten them a little bit. It would be a good idea to explain the very idea of God or Allah swt, and why we as human beings needed to obey our creater, the All-Mighty One. It doesn't have to be that complex, maybe a simple analogy of a cat and his master.
"The Master has a cat that he loves the most. He showers the cat with lots and lots of love and would never let anything bad befallen the cat. Everything that the cat asked for was always granted, and the cat should feel ever grateful. But in return, the Master asked the cat not to go out from the house and stray away into the wilderness, afterall, the outside world is a dangerous place to live in, and one might not survive the harsh conditions it offers."

So, what needed to be stressed here is that how Allah swt have showered us with so many things that we should always be grateful of. We may not realise it being so important or significance, but every bits of everything in our daily lives are the blessings from Allah swt that we should always be thankful of. So, as a person who should be grateful to their Creator, shouldn't we do what we are asked to do? It isn't hard you know. But then again, one must not forget to explain the need to fast as well.

Al-Baqarah 2:183

"O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous."

If you are a believer (not belieber..euww), if it is made a must for you to fast, then fast you shall.

Thinking back all these years, fasting used to be so simple back then when you were a kid. I could remember clearly like it was yesterday. When I was 5 or 6 years old, I would always asked my mother every half an hour whether its time to break the fast, and my mother with her motherly ways replied patiently each time saying that "Not much longer dear". I could also remember waiting at the dinner table as early as 5 pm whereas in Malaysia, especially in Northern Region, we usually break our fast at around 7.30 pm! Well, you can't blame a kid who is in his early attempts to fast. Not to mention these special incentives that my mom did trying to encourage me to complete my fasting during the whole month. Yes, you guessed it, money. Hehe. (50 cents each day, I think. Good enough for me back then :D) Yeah, you're not supposed to give such worldly incentives to your kids but it does help them to train to do something that they otherwise would feel hard to do so.

Everything about Ramadan that I used to remember is the food, how delicious the food on the table would be or whether there's gonna be dessert tonight. But as time passes by and as I grow older, I'd soon realise that this fasting is more just an act of refraining eating and drinking, or mere guessing of what kind of beverages that will be served on the table each night. It is alone an act of worshiping our Lord, the Lord of All Universe. 

Reported by Abu Hurairah r.a,
Allah says: “All the deeds of Adam's children belong to them, except fasting, which belongs to Me, and I will reward it.  
[Saheeh al-Bukharee (vol: 3, no: 118) and Saheeh Muslim (no: 2567)]

Fasting is special if compared to other deeds that we are obliged to do. According to the hadith above, our fasting is for Allah swt only and surely He will rewards it accordingly. If you see the very reasoning behind it, fasting itself is not a deed that you could show that you are doing it openly, unless you've told everyone in your neighbourhood the night before, no one will know. Only Allah swt the All-Knowing knows that you're fasting.

Did I ever mentioned to you guys how fasting in the overseas is very challenging than fasting back in Malaysia?

Personally for me, fasting in Malaysia is very easy. What would be more easier than fasting in a community where there are muslims all around you. You are fasting within a community where almost everyone are muslims, and as muslims it is our very own duty to ensure that other muslims are doing his deeds (except for the fact that you can't do it for a reason). You can't eat openly, the sellers who are muslim won't sell the food to you and yes, you will be fined if you do so. You see, in a country where Islam is being practiced, it should be a lot more easier to do what your religion have asked you to do. Would it be a shame that you didn't want to practice your faith while you have the chance to do it? Lets look at places where they forbid you to practice your religion, especially Islam. In France, the burqa and niqab is forbidden. In Tunisia and China, the muslims there are not allowed to fast whereas those muslims long to perform their obligations so much that they are willing to get arrested for it! What about us?

I must admit, it is much more challenging to fast overseas. No, not because there's summer/winter so I have to fast longer/shorter, but for the fact there wasn't anyone to enforce the faith upon me. The only enforcer that stands between me and me not fasting is Allah swt alone.There are a lot of temptations here, from food and drinks to entertainment, though not as much as other cities, nevertheless a temptation is still a temptation. I could simply go to the nearest supermarket and pick up several food and drinks, and the local people would never even have the slightest idea that I am supposed to be fasting today. But no, I know that there will always be someone watching, and that is Allah swt, the All-Seeing. Self-control is the main key here.

Fasting in the overseas have taught me so much. There's no Bazaar Ramadan for me to indulge cravings. There's no open house invitations here and there. And obviously, no family to spend your Eid mornings with. But the again, those things were not important during this blessed month of Ramadan. What is the most important thing is to continue increasing your deeds towards Allah swt in the hopes that He will rewards you accordingly and forgive our past sins.

It's nearing the end of Ramadan. Have you speed up your run?

1 comment:

This box must be used with care.