Ramadan – A War between Mind and Matter

MV: Well its the holy month of Ramdaan, and we all know what that means; its time for us to fast. We don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset and one of the benefits from this, is that we MAY get skinnier when we fast. It may be worth a shoot (eat some fruits after you break your fast) however its  obvious that, that’s not why Allah SWT has ordered us to fast. One reason we fast is for us to get control of our body using our will power

“Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting. But if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.”

MV: These Qur’anic verses (Surah Al-Baqarah: 183-185) guides one through Ramadan and it teaches the essential reason of why we fast. Clearly the reason is that we fast for Almighty Allah SWT  – It is a month devoted to worship but that does not mean we should leave all of our responsibilities behind. One will remain abstinent from food and drink for a certain amount of time. The stress is on self-discipline. Fasting is not meant to punish the body, but to strengthen the mind, directing it to higher things.

When you are fasting it can easily be difficult, you will always have Shaitan reminding you, that you have not eaten or have had water in hours. You will become hungry and thirsty, but you have to push Shaitan away and show him your strength. That is a key part of Ramadan. You weaken your body, which will lead Shaitan to attack you, but you have to stand your ground. Use your mind to think what is right and use it to make your body do the right thing. A mind is a very powerful thing, one can use it to control their body and its urges. That is partly what Ramadan is about, its about having your mind control the needs of the body and to ignore Shaitan when he attacks those needs.  

The strengthening of the mind can be taken to a scientific approach:

 From Whyislam.org:

Scientists agree that machines require a rest period due to “metal fatigue”. Almighty Allah created us and knows that we are weak in body and spirit; we are in need of occasions to boost and revitalize our weak Iman (faith) so that we may adhere to the commands of Allah in the way shown to us by our beloved Prophet Muhammad .

During Ramadan, mosques are full of worshippers, and acts of charity increase, ties of brotherhood strengthen, anger and temper are controlled and an atmosphere of peace prevails. According to psychologists, these are several of the beneficial aspects of conscientious fasting.

We should also resolve to be steadfast in the good habits acquired during the holy month of fasting. Let us all once again pledge ourselves to follow the example of the Holy Prophet who was the most active during the month of fasting.

So in Ramadan we should do good things, but why should we do them? Well Ramadan is as I like to say a battle between ones mind over their body and their natural urges. This is something that makes us different from animals, we can control our wild nature so we can rise up to Allah SWT expectations and recognize the force of our spirit. 

Ramadan is kind of like running a marathon! Most marathon runners never actually practice running the entire distance of a marathon they usually just practice about 16K but for a 25K. All marathon runners say this one thing, “after the 16 its just sheer will power that will drive you to the end.” 

The Human mind is an incredible thing, we have people on this earth who have traveled to the moon because of

 someones mind. Some people are so mentally strong that they can climb Mount Everest and that goes to show that the our mind can take us anywhere. 29,000 ft in the sky and 238,000 miles in space proves what the mind has

 capability for us to do.

Those who make invalid excuses about fasting and say, its too hard,  or ,to long, are mistaken. If one man can climb a

 mountain then who’s to say that you cannot fast for 30 days. All you need to fast, is a strong mind and a strong belief in Allah SWT. 

The book What Islam is all About by Yahya Emerick speaks about fasting as it being a way of overpowering your mind over your body:

Anyone who wants to get closer to their spiritual self has had to overcome their body”s desire for satisfaction.  Hence the history of fasting goes way back in human history. Previous Prophets have enjoined fasting upon their peoples and untold numbers of wise men and women have made self denial a part of their life.

When a person denies something to their own body which it craves, they are elevating their mind and showing that their reason and will is the stronger than there animal urges and passions. IN this way our thinking becomes clearer and we learn that we are, indeed , not governed by our lower self. We gain greater awareness and hence we are able to bring our self closer to Allah

For us to become ‘the best creation’ We must be able to separate ourselves from other creations. We won’t be able to do this until we recognize our very own human will. 

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