My First Roza — A practice on ‘Mindfulness’

I am a foodie since childhood. It was difficult for me to imagine how to spend a day without food and water, In my opinion it was a meaningless and absurd idea.

I was born in a secular Muslim family, my parents always supported my wish, and never forced me to perform any religious rituals.

But, It was my mom’s wish that I should try to keep Roza. She is a firm believer in Islamic practises, she once said ‘Roza’ was about practicing ‘mindfulness’ that is to correct and refine our disordered thoughts, to not be ignorant to the sufferings and persecution of others. I didn’t get a single word of it even though she said it in Urdu.

She kept trying for many years, I remember one more thing she said, like food and water are nourishment for the body, similarlily fasting is nourishment for the soul. It’s a spiritual discipline that leads to selfless compassion, a connection with the world around us on spiritual terms. I didn’t got that either.

Then, she started explaining the scientific benefits of Roza like; the body embraces fast and digestive system can take a much-needed rest, focuses all of its energies on cleansing and healing. As we live on a junk-food diet, body’s natural healing ability was compromised. During fast, body’s healing process is at optimum efficiency, also improves memory and concentration.

Much later I decided to join the league and kept a fast just for my mother. This was my first big task, my mom was a little cautious as she knew that it was always difficult for me to control my hunger and thirst. Therefore, she suggested me to prepare. I woke up for Sehri, didn’t eat breakfast but did eat lunch (It was very difficult, my head hurt so much due to lack of breakfast. I felt hungry every hour. It was unbearable already at only 9 in the morning).

So, I fasted from Sehri to Lunch and from lunch to Iftar. I repeated this routine for three days before I took the final challenge.

All my family members were happy as it was my very first fast, my Roza Kushai. I also had a wonderful day at school and not even for a single moment did I felt hungry or thirsty. I was amazed at my spirits as I always used to feel hungry at lunch. Also, as I was supposed to refrain from worldly pleasure as much as possible while keeping fast, I remember I didn’t even watched TV that very day.

Entire day was spent on listening to my mother’s version of Islam. Roza makes me painfully aware of all I am wasteful of, and this awareness aided my health, when I understood that faith is the purification of our morality, the refinement of our intentions; that ultimately our beauty is realised in our character and actions.

When the day came to an end, Evening Iftar was a feast. My mom didn’t forget to prepare all that I love to eat. It was an evening to remember, everyone hugged me and congratulated me for my courage and determination. It has been more than twenty years, and I still remember every bit of my first Roza.

‘May you heal during this Ramzan. Indulge in self-reflection, in bettering yourself, in your relationship with Allah, in self-control, in empathy, and in patience. Allow the holy month to refresh your soul and cleanse your routine’.