By: Shazia Yousuf
“The true believer resembles a lute whose voice will not improve, unless its belly is empty.” [A Hadith attributed to Phophet Muhammad s.w].
For Muslims, the month of Ramadan is the month of obligatory fasting, during which one is required to abstain between dawn and sunset from eating and drinking.
The abstinence could go beyond the obligatory requirements to include anything that might stimulate the outer senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. This would mean anything such as violent images, strident sounds, gossip or slander, obnoxious or sweet smells, and so on.
It could even be extended to include the inner faculties, such as thought, memory, emotions and imagination, and all the attractions of the phenomenal world.
The more we fill ourselves with images, sensations and thoughts from the phenomenal world, the greater the spiritual distance we place between ourselves and Allah. Abstaining from the things of this world reduces this distance, demolishes the wall of separation brick by brick.
The spiritual distance may further be reduced by giving alms, as much as we can during the blessed month of Ramadan. Even a little charity with true spirit is much in the eyes of The Most Great. Just like you bury a single date-stone in the ground, entrusting it to Allah, and He makes that stone turn into a tree which yields much fruit from the Divine command. Therefore, let your alms be given to the poor, and entrust them to Allah, for alms first fall into The Divine hand, before reaching the hands of the poor.
“Through fasting we sacrifice ourselves for the life of our soul. Let’s sacrifice the whole body, since the soul is its guest!” [Divan by Maulana Jalauddin Rumi]
Extracted from The Essence of Rumi by John Baldock.