The Friday Message - Issue No: 437 - It's not just avoiding food and water

The Friday Message - Issue No: 437 - It's not just avoiding food and water

Salamun alaykum,

It’s that time of the year again:

A third of Shahrullah- the month of Allah SWT-, has fleeted past. During the Shahru Ramadhan, most honourable of the months, we are experiencing the very special moments for one to seek Divine mercy and draw closer to servitude of Allah SWT

This is a wonderful month where Allah SWT out of His abundantly overflowing mercy has made fasting obligatory upon us. Why? So that we can overhaul ourselves, shed the sins and shame of the past and really start our journey towards Allah. This month is a really great opportunity for us to make gains in our spiritual journey towards perfection.
It is the month in which the gates of mercy are open, and the believers have received an invitation to a Divine banquet.

A Banquet with no meals:

The menu is poor in food for the stomach, but rich in nourishment for the soul or self. Indeed, the main course being laid out in the menu for this Divine Banquet is to observe Sawm (arabic word meaning restraint). In obedience to the commands of Allah SWT, during sawm one resolves to refrain or restrain oneself for the period before Fajr up to Maghrib, from the muftiratus sawm; the nullifiers of fast.

Not only avoiding food and water:

Sawm -fasting- is not just about avoiding food and water, rather more importantly it is an opportunity for us to focus on our spirituality, thoughts and actions.
The Noble Prophet heard a lady who was fasting abusing her slave. He requested for some food and asked the lady to eat.
She said that she was fasting.
The Noble Prophet responded, “What sort of a fast is that you abuse your slave? Fasting is not merely abstaining from food and drink. Allah has surely made the fast a cover over all evil deeds and words. Those who truly fast are very few and those who remain hungry are so many.”

To progress on the spiritual journey towards perfection, reflect on the true meaning of sawm.
By undertaking Sawm during this month we get a wonderful opportunity to keep a leash on our tongues from uttering what should not be spoken, guard our gaze from what is not permissible to be seen, refrain from hearing the forbidden, protect our limbs from carrying out evil and above all to train ourselves in improving our nature; ourself.

In this month our world is turned upside down and a new cognitive frame starts when we are taken away from our usual treats and distractions and forced to be a little more mindful, little bit more aware, little bit more detached from dunya and hence more connected to the real world; the realm of aakhira; the hereafter. Aakhira is the world of meaning, the world of good ness, the world of akhlaaq. So, we need to treat this Shahru Ramadhan and its observances as a valuable opportunity. Grab it with both hands.
We need to make sure that we are really utilising this month rather than just ploughing through the days of this month.

“ ……….O Allah! Fill this month with our worship of You, Adorn its times with our obedience towards You, Help us during its daytime with its fast, and in its night with prayer and pleading towards You, humility towards You and lowliness before You, So that its daytime may not bear witness against our heedlessness, Nor its night against our neglect..." 4th Imam Zaynul Aabidin a.s. (Sahifatu Sajjadiya Dua No 44 Welcoming Shahru Ramadhan)

Wa ma tawfiqi illa billah.

With salaams and duas,

Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo
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Resident Alim
Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat