“I Love The Fast!”
I truly admire those who enjoy the fast because, I am not one of them.
In the Name of God: The Exceedingly and Everlastingly Loving and Caring
Ramadan is more than half over now, and I must say that I admire those who say that they love the fast. Yes, the month is full of blessings and plenty. Yes, the spiritual connection we can make with God and His Word is priceless. Yes, it is a month where we celebrate the tremendous gift that is Revelation and its affect on our lives.
At the same time, I’ve been struggling. I’ve been struggling with the physical toll the fast has taken on me. In short, I’m exhausted. All the time.
It’s not really hunger, for I typically only eat once per day. It’s not really thirst, either. It’s just physical exhaustion, and it lasts all day long. When I finally do have some energy, it’s 10:30 at night, and I have to soon sleep and start the fast all over again.
And as the years pass and I get older, the more difficult the fast becomes. And so, as I said earlier, I admire those who say, “I love the fast!” Whether they be spiritual leaders or friends and family, I look at those who say they enjoy fasting with awe and respect.
I, for one, am not enjoying the fast. The day is long (and getting longer), and it’s hard. And although my friend Lorenzo is right when he says, “It’s supposed to be (hard),” it doesn’t make it any easier.
So — I am sure many are wondering — why do it?
Because of this:
The Messenger of God said, “God has said, ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting. For, verily, it is for Me, and I will give the reward for it (myself)…’”
I do it for Him.
Every other act of worship can be faked: prayer, charity, a Friday sermon, good works, a kind word, and even a smile. Fasting, however, can not be faked. Not by a long shot.
When it’s hot, and the day is long, and there are still hours until sunset, and no one is around: there is no way I would abstain from eating and drinking if I’m fasting for show.
Now, I am sure some may say, “Why does God need to make you suffer a physically exhausting fast? What does He get out of it?”
Nothing. He doesn’t need my fast at all. It is I, rather, that is in need of the fast and the spiritual discipline it brings.
At the same time, is it not the case that we do many crazy things for the people we love? Think of your first love, or your parents, or your children: how many times have we done things that make no rational sense for the sake of love?
For example, I really don’t like going to the zoo. It’s boring, and it’s typically hot outside when we go. All we do there is walk around and look at animals (if we even see them in the first place) doing exactly what I want to be doing: sleeping in the mid-afternoon. Or, we go into a smelly indoor building and watch other animals eat and poop. Not exactly my idea of a fun afternoon.
When I see my children smile, however, it makes it all worth it.
The same goes for the Lord. I struggle a little every year during Ramadan because I long to, one day, meet my Lord with a smiling face, and I pray that He will be looking back at me with His Glorious Smiling Face. And then…all the exhaustion of the fast would have been worth it.