“How many are not there whose fasts obtain them no more than thirst and hunger!” – warned he whose words manifested the will of his Lord, the Lord of all.
That people filling spaces of the lands whose eve of existence has arrived, should carry goodly amount of fat on their body, has been predicted by he after whom there will be no one to predict correctly.
That the bulged bellies replicating E. Coli by the trillions every second, should fill the beds of increasing number of hospitals, demanding unending billions of taxes on the low-belly wealth-producers, as the consequence of the replications, are less realized and lesser acknowledged, does not seem to bea problem of attention.
Another statement of he born not one and a half millennium years ago, but, as if, just about recent days, informs us how to recognize the final evening of the world: “Shop-full markets and women-full shops,” warning, at the same time, “Commercial centers are the dens where Shaytan lays his eggs.”
He capped it with: “Nothing can fill the mouth of Adam’s son, but dust.”
Little wonder, most of them leave with their mouths open, when dead.
So, what’s the escape?
“The Devil swims through the blood-vessels, you fill them with hunger,”thus leads the Prophet his caravan into the Spiritual realm.
The Lord God was never to create and then abandon His creation. Fasting is an unfailing cure. Self-control, self-discipline, self-reliance, self-development, and all those self’s are little more than slogans, or, at best, half-truths. They are manufactured by the cold-blooded Western brooders, and distributed by their warm-hearted Eastern followers.
Fasts change those empty ideas of self-development into reality. Self-realization is at the doorstep of Ramadan. One never knew before Ramadan he could live on so little, and could take on the hardship and yet come out so well, so healthy, so energetic. “Come on,” he can say like a Mujahid, “bomb me out if you will, you coward, but I don’t bend.”
Come the Qur’an into wide open hearts, the Devils move out from the environs of a believer, and, the veil removed, he sees beyond the earth and beyond the seven heavens–into the Powers of His Lord, and the powers of his own self.
Not every striver, every walker, every seeker, has the same destination in mind. To abstain from food and sex is the fast of the slowest, the weakest, the lowliest. At the second, upper level, to abstain from evil talk, thought, sight and hearing, is the goal of middle order (Khawaas) fasting men. For this class, back-biting, for instance,breaks the fast.
According to this middling class, six things must be realized to validate their fast:
First, lowering the gaze and avoid looking into anythingcensurable, anything which would busy the heart against Allah’s remembrance. The Messenger said, “The sight is a poisoned arrow of the nature of Iblis’s arrow, may Allah curse him. So whoever avoided it – in fear of Allah Most High –will have Allah reward him with a conviction (Eimaan) whose sweetness will be felt in the heart.”
Second, saving the tongue from uttering the nonsensical, backbite, slander, obscene, argumentation, letting it silent, freeing it for Allah’s remembrance and recitation of the Qur’an. This is the tongue’s fast. Imam Ahmad reports that two women who had fasted during the time of the Prophet felt extreme pain and discomfort in their stomachs as if about to burst. They were sent to the Prophet seeking his permission to break their fasts. He asked for a basin and told them to vomit in it. One of them vomited filling the basin half with blood and chewed flesh. Then the other vomited filling the basin with the same stuff. People were much bewildered. The Prophet explained, “The two of them took their pre-dawn meal on the lawful, but broke the fast over that declared unlawful by Allah. One of them squatted with another and began to backbite the people.” (Pointing to the basin), “This is what they ate of the (people’s) flesh.”
Third, preventing one’s sense of hearing from anything disapproved, remembering that everything that is unlawful to say is unlawful to hear. Allah has equated eating of the unlawful with “listening to lies” when He said about hypocrites (in 5: 42), “(They are) Great patrons of lies, great devourers of the unlawful.”
Fourth, preventing rest of the limbs from sins: hands, legs, and the stomach from breaking the fast with the unlawful. He who fasts but breaks the fast with the unlawful is like he who built a palace but destroyed the town. The lawful is like medicine: its little is beneficial but plenty harmful.
Fifth, avoid consumption of large amounts of food at breakfast and pre-dawn meal time. No filled container is more disapproved by Allah than a stomach filled with the lawful. How is one going to fight his enemy, the self, if he fills the stomach, eating in Ramadan what he would not ordinarily eat in other months, thus aiding Shaytan? It is when one loses sleep in the night of Ramadan, and, having eaten little in pre-dawn meal, that a man feels the thirst and hunger, weakening his self, thus purifying the soul, and begin to peep into the spiritual realm.
Ahnaf b. Qays was told, “You have grown old. Your fasting makes you weak.” He replied, “I am preparing myself for a long journey.”
Sixth, he should be in a state of fear and hope after breakfast: fearful that his fast was not accepted so that he is hated in the heavens or, or accepted, so he could be of the Muqarrabeen.
If such were the conditions of fasts for the `Awaam, and the Khawaas, higher and more refined are the parameters of the Khawaas al-Khawass.
Those who swim in the world of spirits in the company of angels aim at loftier heights. Their abstention during the fast is from any “this-worldly” thought – unless the thought of“this world” is for the sake of the Next world. Otherwise, attention to anything “other than the Lord” is taboo. To them, as Ghazali would put it, (whose ideas influence these lines), any thought of “other than He” breaks their fast. “Men of hearts” have said that any thought of, or preparation for, the means for breaking the fast is a sin written down, and points to lack of trust in He who alone feeds all. This is the way of the Prophets, Messengers and those “close-by”(the Muqarrabeen).
Yet, “how many are not there whose fasts obtain them no more than thirst and hunger!” – warned he whose words manifested the will of his Lord, the Lord of all.