Sabtu, 20 November 2010

Reality of Fasting

Some think that the most important thing about fasting is the breaking of it, so the whole day is spent in arranging for a variety of dishes & drinks. Others think about it to mean staying hungry all day, & reciting the whole of the Quran each day without stopping to ponder over its meanings. But such acts only serve to turn a purely Islamic worship in to a kind of Christian monasticism. As for what is mistakenly called "dhikr bil Jahr" (Loud remembrance of God)- repetitive recitation & shaking of the body - this contradicts the purpose of fasting, which is spiritual seclusion. The true objective of fasting is withdrawal from everything except essential subsistence & vital duties. In the coursework of this period, ought to reduce conversation, social life, movement, jollity & all kinds of worldly activity to a maximum. For a sure time, ought to lead a life of calm devotion, reading the Quran & pondering over its meaning. Abstinence from food symbolizes not only the eschewing of those forbidden things, which a believes ought to give up for his whole life, but also the renunciation even of lawful things for the devotion to the quick. In seeking meanness to God, the believes must cut himself off from all worldliness.

Although fasting, in its specific & sure form, is prescribed two times a year, the fasting engaged in for this month ought to be a continuous, permanent state, if is to be done in the correct spirit. Fasting is cutting oneself off from the world & turning to God; not in a physical sense, but in ones heart & mind to be continually directed towards God, whatever ones bodily activity. Spiritually, ones whole life ought to be a kind of retreat at all time though not understanding this reality, people have fled to mountains & jungles in order to ideal their faith. But the perfection of faith is for to fulfill ones obligations in the turmoil of the world, while remaining in a state of inward "retreat" & remembrance of God. Abdullah Ibn Masud, of the Prophets closest companions, addressed his contemporaries - those who grew up after the Prophets death - in these word:

You quick over the Companions of the Prophet; you pray over them, & strive over them; but still they were better than you. People asked him why. "They were not so interested in this world as they were in the next", was Ibn Masuds reply (Milyatul Awliya, V.I, P.136).

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