By Imam Abdullah Bey El-Amin, MMNS
Note: Brothers and sisters. This article I repeat every year to help us gear up for the fast. It is vitally important to enjoy Ramadan â€“ not fear it. So EAT.
â€œâ€¦..He doesnâ€™t wish for you to be in difficulty. He wants you to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perhaps you shall be grateful. Holy Qurâ€™an 3:185
ALLAH (swt) says in Qurâ€™an that He has ordered us to fast so that we may learn self-restraint. So that we may gain more mastery over ourselves. But ALLAH knows that many of us look upon the advent of Ramadan as a time of difficult existence for those 30 days. So if we focus on the words of ALLAH that He gives us as instructions, we find the difficulty is not as difficult as it seems.
It is amazing the extent to which perception can play a role in our thinking. For instance, you can describe Ramadan as a period when we must refrain from food and drink ALL DAY – just thinking about it can make you very apprehensive. It is not uncommon or unreasonable to feel this way. Anytime a change or new discipline comes upon us, it is natural to feel a little anxious.
But there is another way you might describe the fast. Try this looking at it this way and say: â€œYou know, during Ramadan, we can have ONLY two meals a dayâ€. Now thatâ€™s a perception that makes the fast easier. Would you fear that you cannot survive on two meals a day? Many people over the world have no meals a day. It is amazing that ALLAH is so merciful to the Muslims that He allows us to eat two meals while fasting. Remember, ALLAH loves us and only orders us to do that which is good for us. So if He wants us to fast, it just stands to reason that He will make provisions for you to do it.
Now in order to partake of these two meals, you must eat or drink something before Fajr everyday. Prophet Muhammad (s) said â€œpartake suhoor (morning meal) for there is blessing in suhoor.â€ Perhaps the blessing is that you wonâ€™t be as hungry during the day and the fast wonâ€™t be as difficult for you.
I understand that some people canâ€™t (or donâ€™t) eat in the morning. We are not all the same in our physical make-up. But if you discipline yourself during Ramadan and eat something in the morning, it will make your day a lot easier – the Prophet (s) said so.
This religion is so merciful and rational that provisions are also made for those who are unable to fast. Suppose you are a diabetic and must eat during the day to maintain life. What kind of God would order this person to fast? So ALLAH says if any of you is ill, you can either make up the fast, or if that is not possible, you may feed a poor person everyday. But He says it is better for you if you fast. Of course no one knows your true circumstance besides you and ALLAH so you have to make the choice. Just remember, ALLAH judges our intentions.
Let us focus on ALLAH this Ramadan season and let us accept all the blessings that ALLAH provides for us so that we can be the absolute best we can be.
Eat in the morning during Ramadan. Which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?
As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin