Between 2.51am and 9.05pm today, the 23rd day of Ramadan, faithful Muslim people of our area will fast by totally abstaining from food and drink. This pattern, with times varying according to sunrise and sunset, is held throughout the Muslim Holy Month.
Recent statistics show that 24% of the parish St Chrysostom’s serves is Muslim. It is good to learn from one another and to encourage one another in faith. With this in mind:
A female Islamic scholar, Fariha Fatima, writes about the meaning of Ramadan. So much of what she writes can inspire Christians to seriously consider the nature of fasting:
There are as many forms of fasting as there are organs of perception and sensation, and each of these has many different levels.
So we ask to fast from all that Allah does not love for us, and to feast on what the Beloved loves for us. Let us certainly fast from the limited mind, and all that it conjures up. Let us fast from fear, apart from fear and awe of Allah’s majesty. Let us fast from thinking that we know, when Allah alone is the Knower. Let us fast from thinking negatively of anyone. Let us fast from our manipulations and strategies.
Let us fast from all complaint about the life experiences that Allah gives us. Let us fast from our bad habits and our reactions. Let us fast from desiring what we do not have. Let us fast from obsession. Let us fast from despair. Let us fast from not loving our self, and from denying our heart.
Let us fast from selfishness and self-centered behavior. Let us fast from thinking that only what serves us is important. Let us fast from seeing reality only from our own point of view. Let us fast from seeing any reality other than Allah, and from relying on anything other than Allah. Let us fast from desiring anything other than Allah and Allah’s Prophets and friends, and our own true self. Essentially, let us fast from thinking that we have any existence separate from Allah.