We have crossed the midway point of the 30 day fast of Ramadan. I’m reminded of the two swimmers who challenged each other to an endurance race across a huge lake. Well past the halfway point, one said to the other, “I’m tired, you win, I’m going back.” The other laughed and said, “It’s too late to turn back now, the end is closer than the beginning.”
The end of Ramadan is in sight, and the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr awaits us. We’ll start that morning with the various communities coming together for a congregational prayer, then we begin a 3 day celebration (eid) of buffets, banquets, brunches, picnics, and gift giving. The fast and the celebration are about the renewal of the human spirit, returning to and reinvigorating the best of the human nature (fitr).
I have no thoughts of turning back. My five senses have been restored and reawakened. My tastebuds are alive, my sense of smell is sharp, my hearing is more acute, my sight is more perceptive, and I’m more sensitive to touch. But beyond the flesh senses, my taste has become much more refined. The everyday onslaught of vulgarity, profanity, and ridiculousness is no longer digestible.
Fasting has sharpened my sense of intuition and perceptibility. I can smell and anticipate what’s coming, both good and bad. I can discern through the noise and clamor of conversations and hear what really matters.
Both my vision and insight are more focused. I’m more sensitive and more empathetic. My soul has been touched and stirred, my spirit is refreshed and responsive.
Fasting reminds us of who we really are or who we can and should be. We are so much more than flesh, appetites, urges, habits, and circumstances. Sometimes we just need to be still. At times , we all just need to step outside of the daily routine, to actually step outside of ourselves, and take a real hard and serious look, to see the gifts, smell the potential, taste the dignity, heed to the wisdom, and touch the beauty and sanctity of the life that is ours.
Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) advised us of another five. He said:
“Make use of five before five prevent you:
1) Your youth before old age incapacitates you;
2) Your health before sickness visits you;
3) Your wealth before poverty strikes you;
4) Your leisure before business occupies you; and
5) Your life before death overtakes you.”
Submitted by Imam Plemon T. El-Amin