As I blur out the outside world and dwell within this month, I would like to share with you what the month of Ramadan and Fasting truly mean to me.
Having studied almost every religion under the sun, I know for a fact that every community, every faith has a form of fasting embedded within their system. Fasting that is meant to inculcate spiritual growth.
Here are some in depth quotes by highly eminent beings, that will give you an idea as to how I see fasting as a means for spiritual growth.
1) O people! A month [Ramadan] has approached you laden with blessing, mercy and forgiveness; it is a month which Almighty Allah regards as the best of all months. Its days, in the sight of Almighty Allah, are the best of days, its nights are the best of nights, its hours are the best of hours. It is a month in which you are invited to be the guests of Almighty Allah and you are regarded during it as worthy of enjoying Almighty Allah’s generosity. Your breathing in it is regarded as praising Almighty Allah and your sleep as adoration, and your voluntary acts of worship are accepted, and your pleas are answered. [Prophet Mohammed's(pbuh) Sermon on the Month of Ramadan.]
2) The Holy Prophet said, ‘Fasting is a protection from the calamities of this world, and a veil from punishment of the next.’ When you fast, intend thereby to restrain yourself from fleshly appetites and to cut off those worldly desires arising from the ideas of Satan and his kind. Put yourself in the position of a sick person who desires neither food nor drink; expect recovery at any moment from the sickness of wrong actions. Purify your inner being of every lie, turbidity, heedlessness and darkness, which might cut you off from the meaning of being sincere for the sake of Allah. [Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq, The Lantern of the Path, Fasting].
3) Fasting kills the desire of the self and the appetite of greed, and from it comes purity of the heart, purification of the limbs, cultivation of the inner and the outer being, thankfulness for blessings, charity to the poor, increase of humble supplication, humility, weeping and most of the ways of seeking refuge in God; and it is the reason for the breaking of aspiration, the lightening of evil things, and the redoubling of good deeds. It contains benefits which cannot be counted. It is enough that we mention some of them to the person who understands and is given success in making use of fasting, if God wills. [Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq, The Lantern of the Path, Fasting].
4) The Prophet(pbuh)said: Whoever spends more time praising and worshipping God and spends less time eating, drinking and sleeping is more eagerly welcomed by the divine angels. (Mizan al Hikmat, v1, p 116)
5) Imam Ali(a.s) said: Eating light meals, and nobility are more lasting for our health. When God the Glorious wishes the well being of His servant, He shall inspire him/her to talk less, to eat less and to sleep less .
6) There is an unseen sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness! Man is like a lute, neither more nor less: When the lute’s stomach is full, it cannot lament, whether high or low. If your brain and stomach burn from fasting, their fire will draw constant lamentation from your breast. Through that fire you will burn a thousand veils at every instant–you will ascend a thousand degrees on the Way and in your aspiration. [Rumi, Divan: Ghazal 1739].
7) When satiated by food and drink, an unsightly metal statue is seated where your spirit should be. When fasting, good habits gather like helpful friends. [Rumi, Divan: Ghazal 1739]
I am sure you see the immense wisdom in the above words as do I.
Fasting of any kind has its spiritual benefits. We just need to make up our mind and hearts to nurture our soul relentlessly as we do our bodies.
Thank you for stopping by and may this Holy month of Ramadan shower its blessings on you too.
With Immense Love & Gratitude,
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