January 1998: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 2


Continued from page 1

And of Adam and Eve, we read:

As for you, Adam, dwell with your wife in Paradise, and eat therefrom as you please, but do not approach this one tree, lest you fall in sin. The devil whispered to them, in order to reveal their bodies, which were invisible to them. He said, “Your Lord did not forbid you from this tree, except to prevent you from becoming angels, and from attaining eternal existence.” (7:19-20)

Of all God’s food provision, only four are prohibited and if forced to eat these, we will not bear the consequences (2:173; 6:145; 16:115). God is so merciful as to provide for every possible circumstance of the human being’s life. All things are lawful to eat.

And He speaks frequently of water. He uses “pure drink” and “flowing streams” to describe the heaven we all strive for. He knows us and knows water is a source of life and internal peace for us. We are carried in water through nine months of pregnancy. It provides great comfort to us, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. God describes water and its source in many ways.

Recall that Moses sought water for his people. We said, “Strike the rock with your staff.” Whereupon, twelve springs gushed out therefrom. The members of each tribe knew their own water. Eat and drink from God’s provisions, and do not roam the earth corruptingly. (2:60)

Despite this, your hearts hardened like rocks, or even harder. For there are rocks from which rivers gush out. Others crack and release gentle streams, and other rocks cringe out of reverence for God. God is never unaware of anything you do. (2:74)

In the creation of the heavens and the earth, the alternation of night and day, the ships that roam the ocean for the benefit of the people, the water

that God sends down from the sky to revive dead land and to spread in it all kinds of creatures, the manipulation of the winds, and the clouds that are placed between the sky and the earth, there are sufficient proofs for people who understand. (2:164)

And when implored by Job, God said, “Strike the ground with your foot. A spring will give you healing and drink” (38:42).

Such a precious commodity and so freely given by God in His infinite mercy.

What are the conditions of fasting? These are explained in the following verses:

O you who believe, fasting is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation.

Specific days (are designated for fasting); if one is ill or traveling, an equal number of other days may be substituted. Those who can fast, but with great difficulty, may substitute feeding one poor person for each day of breaking the fast. If one volunteers (more righteous works), it is better. But fasting is the best for you, if you only knew.

Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. God wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify God for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.... You may eat and drink until the white thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of night at dawn. Then, you shall fast until sunset....(2:183-187)

God decrees fasting at other times as well. As atonement for violating our oaths (5:89), for killing game during Hajj (5:95), and for estranging our spouse (58:4). God knows that fasting can be very difficult, but God also knows how

quickly He can get our attention by decreeing it for us. These very basic needs are constant reminders of God’s absolute mercy.
Preparation for the month of Ramadan extends beyond the 30 days of fasting. We are aware of the calendar, the months passing. As the days approach, we begin to plan for them and pray that we will have a better Ramadan this year, and thus, commemorate God more frequently. We are grateful for shorter days and we pay more attention to weather forecasts, hoping for cooler days. During the days of fasting, we look forward to a “family celebration” with our brothers and sisters each Friday evening. We spend time planning for that meal with joy. Some may experience headaches, lightheadedness, stomach rumbling, etc. We count minutes and hours more closely. Our attention is more focused on our bodily needs. Or is it?
The effects of fasting are many. What is perceived as a loss by some, is a real gain for our soul and its growth. We have the chance to focus on our “real self,” our soul and its nourishment. Our body’s needs turn into reminders of God and the growth of our soul. We grow more alert to our provisions and their source. And through God’s mercy, He weaves reminders of Zakat for the poor. And we know hunger and thirst as the poor often do, to better understand why Zakat is so important. And each Salat prayer brings us closer to the day’s end and provisions. More reminders. We come to understand the words “steadfast” and “patience” more specifically, as the days of fasting proceed and we refrain from suspicion, anger and bad thoughts. Verse 33:35 takes on new meaning, “for the fasting men and women, for the commemorating men and the commemorating women... forgiveness and a great recompense.
All of these activities and thoughts are opportunities to remember God alone, from whom all things come. As we reflect on God’s creation, we might notice that even the animals, plants, and mountains, who did not accept the responsibility of “freedom of choice,” are not exempt

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