By Farzana Hussain
Samosas, pakoras, chips, pizzas, couscous, pasta, garlic bread, chapattis, rice and much much more…yum…
Ramadan the month of fasting or the month of feasting?
SubhanAllah, we all like to eat; we all love food, yeah? It is a blessing from Allah, but subhanAllah that same blessing can be a curse…
Whilst I was eating, I was watching an appeal for Somalia, and looking at their condition I couldn’t help but feel ashamed; ashamed for the amount of food we eat and waste. After all the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam told us that we only need a morsel of food to survive, so really the rest of it is an indulgence, it is luxury, it is about fulfilling our desires.
We all think we need more food to get us through the day, but if we think about it, this is just a trick of Shaytan, for how many of us were worried before Ramadan about the long days? How many of us thought they would be too hard…that we couldn’t do it?
But now that thirteen days have passed we are fine masha’Allah; we are fasting and we are surviving. You see if Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has ordained something for us, then without a shadow of the doubt, it is only because one, it is good for us, and two, we are able to do it! He would not command us to do something that is harmful to us!
Fasting is beneficial for us, and eating less does actually benefit us. Not only are we saved from diseases, but we function better. I tested this out the other day. I didn’t have enough time for suhoor due to a family emergency, so I just managed to eat some dates and drink some water. My mum was worried that this would not be enough, but subhanAllah I found myself more alert, more productive and I generally felt better about myself ma sha Allah.
Whilst Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has blessed us with food, and there is nothing wrong with eating moderately, we have to remember the wisdom behind fasting, and let me share with you a story which really illustrates the impact eating can have on us:
‘Abdullah bin Muhammad ibn ‘Ubaid reported, on the authority of Wahib bin Al-Ward who said; “It was reported to us that the evil Iblees appeared to Yahya (AS) saying: ‘I want to give you some advice.’ Yahya answered him: ‘Liar, you could never give me sincere advice; but tell me about the children of Adam.’ He replied: ‘For us, the children of Adam are divided into three types:
One type we approach and influence until we make him sin, but then he goes to devote his time to seeking forgiveness and repentance, so he spoils and ruins everything we had achieved from him. We try again, but he still goes to repent again; since we neither fail nor achieve anything from him, we are just patient with him.
The second type is in our hands, like a ball in the hands of the children, we approach them without any difficulty resulting from their wiliness.
The last type is your type; you are protected and infallible, so we are powerless before you.’
Yahya (AS) asked, ‘So have you managed to overpower me?’ He replied, ‘No, except once, when you were having your meal, I kept on increasing your appetite for it until you ate more than your fill; so you slept that night so heavily that you could not perform Salah the way you used to.’
Yahya (AS) said, ‘Certainly, I will not eat to my fill again.’ Iblees replied, ‘Certainly, I will not advise an offspring of Adam after you again.’
(Aakaam al-Marjan (212))
SubhanAllah, if this is the effect eating to one’s fill has on a Prophet of Allah, then what about us?
See, one of the many pearls of wisdom behind fasting is to reduce the effects of Shaytan in our life. The more we eat the more he is able to control us, a bit like the child with the ball mentioned above, because the devil flows through us like the flowing of our blood. As we fast the passageways for our blood become narrower, thus constricting the passageways in our bodies for the devils.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advised us to eat and drink little, for it is when we eat more than necessary that we are able to be influenced by the Shaytan. Remember fasting is a shield. The less we eat, the stronger our protection from Shaytan’s attack, which is why in Ramadan we are able to curb our desires and worship Allah better.
I leave you with these scholarly words of wisdom, ‘Indeed, when the soul hungers and thirsts, the heart softens and becomes pure. And when it is fed, the heart becomes blinded.’
(Abu Sulaymaan ad-Daraani)