I was all alone at home, no one was watching me. The fridge was full of yummy food and my favourite chocolate was well within reach. But I wouldn’t eat. The world would still think I was fasting if I quietly took a sip of water or a chunk of chocolate. But I wouldn’t. Why?
When a drop of water got into my throat during ablution, I persistently tried to cough it out as I didn’t want to ruin my day long fast due to that one drop which I didn’t deliberately take in. Why?
A month long tough exercise of abstaining from Halal (permissible) things and be extra watchful of forbidden stuff, staying hungry for on the average 16 hours, bearing thirst during the hottest days of the year; Was it just an annual ‘Mega Event’? Was hunger and thirst prescribed and acted upon for no reason? Avoiding lies and abusive language, opting out of a useless quarrel, being polite and good mannered, tolerant and caring for humanity; was it for one month only?
It doesn’t make any sense, does it?
It was an extremely private form of worship, only between me and my Creator and that is why Allah promised that all good deeds are rewarded up to 70 times but for fasting He Himself is the reward. Such a special form of worship can’t be accidental part of the syllabus. A time when good deeds were multiplied with matchless profit rates, charity was encouraged, and the less fortunate were thoroughly reminded of through hunger pangs, dizzy spells and promised rewards. What was all that for?
It was an exercise just like the ones designed for making of a tough soldier against the enemy. It included protecting eyes, ears and tongues from the wrong, and stopping hands from engaging in the forbidden and withdrawing feet from the wrong path. The goal of this exercise was to make a stronger person from the existing ‘me’, to have excellent self-control in the materialistic world, a strong posture, a beautiful tongue and a soft heart. It was to attain a higher level of piety and God consciousness (as described in the Qur’an as ‘La’allakum Tattaqoon’) and it would surely not make any sense if it went futile and didn’t bear any fruits in myself, in particular, and the society, in general.
It was the best time when there was no external push from Satan and I could evaluate my inner weaknesses and correct them. The soft heart, crying eyes, repenting forehead cannot be a pointless workout.
Yes! It was an important drill. The reason why I wouldn’t eat despite no one watching and why I would cough the one tiny drop out was nothing but God-Consciousness (I was on CCTV).
Then, how come when Ramadan ended, God Consciousness just evaporated like it was never there. How come lying, dishonesty, abuse, deceit, and small & big corruption at all levels became so acceptable. The ban was lifted on Satan, not on me. God is still there, isn’t He? So how did the CCTV affect die out so soon?
Obeying Allah when asked to leave Halal things was so easy and abstaining from the forbidden became a burden. How the ‘home alone pious’ state was replaced by ‘boasting about my sins’ attitude?
Ramadan is ‘a month of blessings’; Oh yes! I know that but why did I pack those blessings away and ruin my one month long vigorous exercise with my own hands? What would happen to those rewards I collected?
I starved the body, fed the soul, cried for repentance, sought refuge from hellfire and started disobeying the Lord again? I opened the Quran, tried to understand and packed it away for next year as if it was part of the Ramadan Plan and had no role in my day to day life? Do I even know the message inside? Am I a seasonal Muslim? I don’t want to be amongst those for whom the Quran says ‘Habi-tut Aamaluhum’ (their (good) deeds went wasted), do I?
Enjoining the good and avoiding the evil needs strength, togetherness and eyes fixed on the goal. And the goal, for good, is seeking peace in the obedience of the Creator, just like it was in Ramadan.
No, I am not a seasonal Muslim. I won’t let it go waste. I’ll save it, utilize it, trend and multiply it with togetherness, till the next refill becomes available.