Ramadhan is coming up in the next week or so and it will be one of the longest fasts for many of us. It will be easier on some of us and harder on others. It is an obligation for those who are able to fast to do so.
I always find the first week of fasting the most difficult. It is the period when your body adjusts to the sudden nil consumption of food and drink and the last hour to sunset seems to stretch on for hours on end. Physically and mentally, it is draining, it is exhausting; some of us cope better than others but at the end of our experiences, we all feel the same things - hunger, thirst and exhaustion. And through these come reminders. Reminders to tell us how thankful we should be and how much more thankful we should aim to be.
I’m not speaking for all in this article but I assume that the majority reading this have access to the internet and are fortunate enough to have a modern average lifestyle. We should be thankful because we are obligated to fast for only a month. Imagine those who have no choice and have to go without or lack of food or water for months or even years and because of this it's uncertain if there is a tomorrow.
At the end of the day most of us can look forward to a wholesome dinner. If I wanted a chicken kebab, I can buy it. If I wanted risotto, I can buy that too. Name anything else and I can most likely get my hands on it. If I wanted home cooked, then I can look up any recipe online and I’m sure that I can obtain ALL the ingredients to make the dish. I highlight ‘ALL’ because........ isn’t it amazing?!
We live in a world where our wish is our command. Whereas the less fortunate will be happy to obtain any food in any form, as long as it is edible it’s good enough. We can have a 3 course meal if we wanted, choose your location, at home or the restaurant perhaps?
This is why we have to abstain from greed. Stuffing ourselves after fasting is all too tempting because we’ve been anticipating food all day long. There are some who wake up and have an early breakfast, only with the aim of eating as much food as possible to get ready for the next day. Of course, needless to say, this is not the way. Ramadhan teaches us all to have self control. Patience. It truly is a virtue.
This month also emphasizes the importance of Zakat. What a difference we could make by donating our lunch money to those in need on top of the charity we should already be giving.
We also learn once again how to remain even more humble and compassionate towards others who have less. This is how we can narrow the gap between the less and more fortunate of us, between the richer and the poorer. Everyone of us needs a helping hand at some stage in our lives.
So the next time you have something to eat, remember to say 'Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem' and once finished 'Alhamdulilah'.