Fasting is an old ritual observed in many cultures, traditions, and religions, including but not limited to, Christianity, Hinduism, and Judaism. People in different traditions do it for many reasons, some of which, spiritual growth, reconnect with God to seek his blessings, and to be able to achieve self-control.
Although it is by no means is an easy task, especially when most of us have work to do, events to attend, and other obligations, we must persevere through them to excel in our faith and seek God’s blessings.
As for Muslims, I believe that if we have a deep understanding of why fasting is prescribed, it will have a positive effect on our souls and bodies. One of the most important aspects of Syam is to increase our consciousness of God. By depriving our bodies from necessary needs it reminds us of our weak nature in comparison to God. Fasting allows oneself to become less demanding and more humble through their increased awareness. Fasting binds the poor and the rich together, where the rich feel the everyday struggles of the poor, making society stronger.
In addition to the spiritual gains, research shows that Routine-Periodic Fasting contributes to the overall health. In a recent study at the Intermountain Heart Institute, they found that fasting could prevent coronary heart disease, eliminate bad cholesterol, and thus reduce risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
There are many challenges to fasting, especially if you have a job. You will be probably sleeping less hours at night, long hours of fasting during the summer, it is hot and humid. Yet, the struggle that we go through during the fast is what really strengthen our faith.
“It is difficult, that is the purpose so to speak, to struggle in order to truly understand the blessings you take for granted” Tamer Al-Amour, a Law clerk in the Civil Rights Department at CAIR-Chicago said, when asked about work and fasting.
Ramadan, is a good time for us to reflect on the purpose of our lives, find some time to pray, read Quran, and reconnect with, friends, relatives, family members who we haven’t seen in a while.“Ramadan is a time of reflection, so it forces me to reevaluate my actions and work harder to become a better person” Sara Abdeljalil, a Communication Intern for CAIR-Chicago, said, when asked about change in Ramadan. I really hope that all of us get the maximum benefit of this month of mercy.