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Interfaith Dialogue ( 8 Jun 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Fasting Is a Practice of All Chosen Prophets and Messengers of the Divine

By Tayyaba Sadaf

June 8, 2018

FAITH shovels human life. An invisible belief becomes a rock-solid reality in one’s life. Afterwards people do and die to protect their doctrines. Life, on the contrary, always survives and thrives in between extremes. Life can neither exist on boiling point nor on freezing degree. It always needs moderate temperature to boom. Extreme climates kill life. Moderation is a key factor in having a beautiful, energising, nourishing life. Nature nurtures all. Prophets and messengers appeared in the whole sphere of the world in different times. They came to humankind to make their life, purer and easier. None of them preached extremism. They gave a set of rituals to their people. The sacraments were quite suitable to their consciousness and the need of their time. Those directions purged the people of their mundaneness, selfishness, greediness. Those instructions aimed at to connect the human with his/her inner, where dwells the soul.

Ramazan or fasting is one of coal-and-ice constituents of all revealed religions. Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Jainism, and Hinduism preach avoiding some certain or all food drink, or both, for a period of time. The followers of different religions adjust their diet and the timings of their food intake according to the discipline of their religions. Fasting can last for just a few hours or even a few weeks, usually with practitioners eating at night. For instance, within Christianity, there are several different churches that guide fasting at different times and in different ways. Catholics do not eat meat on Fridays during Lent. A sect of Christians lives in Egypt. They identify themselves as Coptic Christians. “Coptic” means “Egyptian. They have eight main fasts, and each lasts for a different duration and restricts the diet in a unique way. The total duration of their fasting time is 210 days throughout the year.

There are three fasting religions under Chinese Salvationist religions. They are known as Dragon Flower, Golden Flag, and the Way of Former Heaven. They observe a kind of strict vegetarian fasting. Likewise Hindus also believe in fasting. Their scriptures direct that fasting develops alignment between body and soul. There are types of fasting: full fasting and partial fasting. Hindus fast on certain days of the month such as Purnima (full moon) and Ekadasi (the 11th day of the fortnight). Certain days of the week is also marked for fasting, depending on individual choices and on one’s favourite god and goddess. People even fast for non-religious reasons in some cultures. People of Geneva keep ‘’Jeune Genevois’’— Fast of Geneva’ in September. It is a day of fasting and a public holiday in the canton of Geneva. Since the Middle Ages, a few days were officially decided to be fasting days as penitence after calamities such as wars, epidemics, or the plague.

Hence fasting is meant to cleanse human body and soul. It is meant to obtain salvation. It is meant to renew humans’ contract with their faith. The procedures are more or less same in every practice of fasting: to stop doing certain things, eating certain food and drinks for a certain period of time. Nevertheless the purpose is same. It is to remove the impiety from within so that the ones who fast could mingle with the Purity. They could come closer to their Creator. They could please the Supreme Being. They could be among the righteous people. But its results are remaining with the Entity. The fellow beings of the fasting people only experience their patience, ethics, and moral values. It is to see if the communities of fasting people are honest and healthy; if prosperity is prevailing there; if negative emotions are being dissolved.

Fasting is a cheerful asceticism. There is no force. There is no compulsion. There is no extreme. After all it is a practice of all chosen prophets and messengers of the Divine. The Almighty Divinity never shuns life to its deniers until they become ruthless to their fellow beings. It is the high time that we should revise ourselves as members of a Muslim community in the holy month of Ramazan. Are we letting people live? Are we taking and exerting our peer pressure for making life easier? Are we purging ourselves of guilt, depression, anger and revenge? Are we getting rid of gluttony? Are we detoxing our bodies? And above all are we treading upon the path of moderation which is life for all?

Tayyaba Sadaf is an ESL expert & Business Manager based in Beijing, China.