Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem!
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Merciful!
Faiths of the World Unite!
Dr. Pasha Issues Call for Joint
World Day of Fasting 2010/Ramadan
Faiths of the World Unite!
Faiths of the World unite! For, to parody Marx, what do you have to lose except maybe your prejudice, fear and distrust of one another?
And maybe a little bit of your smugness and arrogance that you alone are right and everyone else is wrong?
For, your shared motto in this time of peril for humanity should be: Serve Humanity or Perish! And that, if you haven’t noticed, is what is happening to so many religions around the world. They are withering on the vine through their lack of relevance and applicability to the human situation in its totality and full diversity.
It is, therefore, in our view, time for the different faiths, religions and cultures of the world to come together to create a common culture of hope for humanity!
Not by compromising or giving up all or any of the core elements of your unique identity or belief, but by exploring commonalities and continuities in your several faiths, belief systems and experiences.
For, as God is the God of all, mutual cooperation should also be the joint motto, spirit and common goal of all – at least all those seriously searching for or sincerely professing faith in God.
And It Makes Perfect Sense
And it makes perfect sense.
For, if the entire universe is one inter-correlated kaleidoscope of diversities and multiplicities, then it makes sense for the ultimate origin and source of that universe to be one too.
Again, it stands to reason that the central message going out from that one central seat of power, knowledge and authority – God Almighty – to the peripheries of the universe should also be one.
That is why all divine sources of guidance to humanity, no matter how you look at them, in one way or another they all come round to talking about one God, the maker and master of all.
The Bible Has Only One God
That could be the reason, do you think, why there is such striking near-unanimity among the Biblical Prophets – and the Bible – in their basic message of monotheism, notwithstanding eons separating some of them from some others?
The Bible and the Prophets agree on one thing: There is only one God.
If Abraham was an uncompromising iconoclast, and monotheist, the first article in the Law of Moses, hundreds of years later, The First Commandment, proclaimed: Thou shalt have no God besides God.
For Jesus, hundreds of years later, the most important commandment was also: Thou shalt have no God besides God.
Don’t take my word for it, read your Bible.
And yet hundreds more years later, the alpha and omega of the message of Muhammad – May God bless him and all the other prophets of God – was Laa Ilaaha Illaa Allah, meaning: There is no God but God.
Hindus claim the freedom to apotheosize, venerate and worship anything that makes sense to them. But the cognoscenti among the followers of the Hindu faith would concede that presiding over all the wealth of numbers and variations in the Hindu pantheon is the Supreme Lord, referred to by many names, including Brahman.
Engage the wise and the learned among Native Americans in a discussion on this topic and they will keep bringing you back to what they would call the Great Being.
So, if, more or less by common consent among the belief systems and faiths of the world, God is one, and his core message to his creation is also one, it makes sense that at least some of the basic practices emanating from that divine source should also be bound by a common thread.
Don’t you think so?
Divine Law of Cooperation
Muslims, why not tell the world a simple and most basic truth about Islam – that Islam is about the divine law of cooperation?
That is right. Divine Law of Cooperation – that is what Islam is all about.
I don’t know. So, help me if you will – Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Which other system – from 1400 years ago – tells its people, in such clear and categorical terms, to let cooperation be the guiding principle in their life?
Which other system – from 1400 years ago – issues a general call to the adherents and practitioners of all other systems in the world to come and sit around a table to thrash things out between them and emerge with a commonly agreed agenda or set of beliefs and principles?
I know for a fact that Islam does those things: from 1400 years ago. Those are then among the guiding principles of the Islamic way of life. At least they should be. Those then should be among the fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam, right?
Hear the Qur’an Speak
Don’t take my word for it; hear the Qur’an speak – in God’s own words.
Here is the Qur’an on the subject of cooperation:
Ta’awanoo ‘alal birri wat-taqwaa.
Work together – Cooperate! – in matters that pertain to goodness and that are based on the true fear and love of God. So when it comes to these things — Birr and Taqwaa: meaning “virtue” and “piety” – make sure you extend your fullest cooperation.
Now tell me something: How can someone, totally illiterate, sitting in a cave somewhere in the barren desert of 7th-Century Arabia issue such a lucid call for cooperation? And also, at the same time, lay out such unerring framework for that cooperation – 1400 years ago?
So, it makes sense that something like this had to have divine roots, correct?
So, let us not forget the divine expression Ta’awun – Cooperation.
Divine Law of Non-Aggression
But that is not all. Now look to see if the call to cooperation is a sweeping and unconditional one.
Let us continue with that beautiful and most glorious and miraculous Aayat of the Qur’an.
And this is what we are going to see: This most amazing and divinely ordained Cooperation Principle stops at the door when there are bad things involved – such as sinning against God or hurting and causing injury to human beings or to God’s other creation.
Divine Law of Non-Aggression. So, there is to be absolutely, positively no cooperation to commit aggression – to causing injury to people and committing all kinds of wrongs and excesses against them.
I did not make up that word. It is the expression the Qur’an uses: ‘Udwaan, which means “Aggression” – pure and simple.
There is no other way to translate it from its original Arabic, the language in which the Qur’an was revealed, and in which it is preserved, and read and recited and committed to memory, to this day – verbatim: just in the form and shape in which it was revealed to and given out by Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
May God Almighty bless him and all the other prophets of God!
So also, there is to be no cooperation when it comes to betraying God’s trust in you and committing all kinds of sins against him.
Want to hear the Qur’an again? Here goes:
Wa laa ta’awanoo ‘alal ithmi wal ‘udwaan.
Do not cooperate when it comes to committing a sin or an act of Aggression – ‘Udwaan in the words of the Qur’an.
So, let us remember this: No Ta’awun when it comes to ‘Udwaan! Meaning: No Cooperation when it comes to Aggression!
I am sorry, but my head is spinning under the momentous impact of these divine expressions. And their relevance to the human situation in all places and at all times, including our own times today.
Divine vs. Human Legislation
This is divine legislation – for all of humanity, and for all times. You violate it, you pay a penalty – just like all other laws in life. And that is what human beings have been doing all their life: Persistently violating God’s laws of Non-Aggression and mandated Cooperation and paying a dear, dear price throughout their history.
It takes your breath away.
These are God’s eternal and invariant laws on earth. Violating them and trifling with them would unleash the floods of all kinds of chaos and mayhem on earth. Entire human history is testimony to the truth and validity of this divine piece of legislation.
Folks, just tell me this: How much clearer does it get? And when, and from what divine or human source, did you last hear a clarion call like this against all forms of aggression?
And then why are we not paying any heed to it? And, instead, why are we continuing to create mayhem and mischief on earth by violating God’s Law of No-Aggression and Mandated Cooperation over and over again?
Don’t quote me the United Nations. For, the UN is but a babe-in-arms, born yesterday. And also, what many people don’t realize is that what the United Nations says today, the United nations can UNSAY or change or go silent about tomorrow.
That is the nature of human legislation – and human life in general.
I am talking, instead, about something that is as eternal and as immutable as an Aayat – a passage – of the Qur’an: From 1400 years ago. I am talking about divine laws, not about human legislation.
And also tell me this: If you don’t think this is from God, then who do you think this is from? Who do you say made this up – something as modern, as profound and as revolutionary as this?
And then, finally as they say, tell me this: How different do you think our world would have been if this Aayat – this miraculous passage from the Qur’an – had been the guiding light of our national and international policies, legislation, ideologies, doctrines and practices over the past hundred years or two?
Islam Is about Finding Common Ground
Given the overarching Cooperation Principle mandated by God, Islam then becomes another name for the process of ceaselessly searching for Common Ground and shared culture.
Islam teaches people to constantly inquire and ask: What is it in our culture, experience and background that may have something in common with what someone else may have in their own culture, experience and background?
The Qur’an, of course, takes the existence of such commonalities and shared experiences among cultures and peoples and societies for granted. After all, the creator knows, right?
God then requires people to make these shared nodes of culture and history the basis for future cooperation and joint enterprise to create a richer human experience overall.
“Come, let us link hands and build on what we share,” says the Qur’an.
Hear the Qur’an outline this most revolutionary idea in its own words – and do so no less than 1400 years ago:
Ta’alau ilaa kalimatin sawaa-in bainanaa wa bainakum.
“Come, let us work together on the basis of our shared beliefs and behaviours.”
That is my paraphrase. More literally, it would translate something like: “Come to an equal ‘word’ between us and you.”
But the word “Kalimah” in Arabic could be deceptively broad. It could mean a word; it could mean an expression; it could mean more. Jesus Christ is referred to in the Qur’an as Kalimah – God’s Word.
Those familiar with the Christian appellation of Jesus as “Word” should marvel at this.
But the point is this:
First, the Qur’an invites those we may consider to be its rivals – the competition as it were – to come work with it.
Second, the Qur’an offers a basis for such potential cooperation: shared belief, behaviour, culture and experience.
So, let us not forget these two divine words: ‘Udwaan (Aggression – NO!) and Ta’awun (Co-operation – YES!).
An Entire Theory of National and International Cooperation
There is an entire political and sociological – not to say cultural and psychological – theory of group, national, institutional and international cooperation and joint enterprise here.
Again, what is most amazing is the loudness, the firmness, the authority and the clarity of these calls.
This phenomenon defies imagination and boggles the mind. In the absence of a more convincing explanation, it only serves to make the God-explanation stronger than ever and makes it unassailable by default: that it is God, and not a human source, that is behind it.
That means this book, Qur’an, with aayat after aayat of this kind, could have come only from one source: God Almighty.
These things then are among the most basic teachings of the Qur’an. I don’t know who else does or does not have them, but this is what the Qur’an teaches: Cooperation (Ta’awun) on a common platform of shared beliefs, views, goals and approaches.
And all this 1400 years ago? Not the most likely thing in human terms, wouldn’t you say?
We can understand this being a plank or an article or chapter in one of the major declarations or charters of a world body in the middle of the 20th Century like the United Nations.
But coming out of the mouth of an illiterate man in a cave in Arabia in early 7th Century? Simply does not make sense.
And that is what a miracle is: something that simply does not make sense in human terms.
Shared Culture of Fasting
So, based on this analysis, what do many cultures and religions of the world have in common? Qur’an says fasting – the shared culture of fasting, Siyaam as the Qur’an calls it.
Do Jews, Christians, Hindus and others have any kind of background or experience in fasting? Sure they do, says the Qur’an.
Is that assertion of the Qur’an independently verifiable in terms of historical records and data? Sure it is.
And the Qur’an makes a point of noting that shared background and experience of fasting among the earlier nations, societies and peoples of the world.
“O those who believe,” says the Qur’an addressing the followers of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. “Fasting is required of you, as it was required of those who were before you.”
In the language of the Qur’an:
Kutiba ‘alaikumus siyaamu kamaa kutiba ‘alal-ladheena min qablikum!
Make a special note of these words: “as it was required of those who were before you.” Give some serious thought to the clarity; the authority; the simplicity; and the historic authenticity of these words.
And then ask yourself: How did an illiterate man sitting in a cave nearly a millennium and a half ago ever manage to get any sense of this historical verity or truth in its full and sweeping spectrum?
And unless you rule out the existence and involvement of God totally and from the beginning – ab initio – what makes more sense:
God is behind it?
A least likely human being all of a sudden hit the biggest cultural, historical and so-called religious jackpot in the world?
Which one of these two explanations, would you say makes more sense to you personally? I mean purely in human terms, as a matter of common sense and simple logic and probability.
A World Day of Fasting
Following the clarion call of the Qur’an for cooperation based on our common cultural, religious and historical heritage, we say:
“People of the world, unite! People of different faiths and cultures and religions of the world, let us all come together to observe a World Day of Fasting!”
This September 5, 2010, Sunday.
In these troubled times, as the saying goes, let us work to create a new international and inter-cultural alliance of peace, love and hope for humanity among all the diverse and even competing segments of the human population on earth.
Let all of us human beings together celebrate a common World Day of Fasting – this month of Ramadan and every Ramadan thereafter.
Let us do so regardless of all the differences of race, religion, denomination, nationality, culture, territory and everything else that divide and consign us to special, unique and seemingly exclusive bins of history and geography.
Let us rise above our own special coordinates and configurations of time, space, belief and behaviour, and come together as a united human race in the common enterprise of observing the World Day of Fasting together.
And let us do so in this most beautiful and blessed month of Ramadan 1431. And during every Ramadan thereafter.
That means, we hereby call upon all the non-Muslims of the world – all the Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and all others on this planet, in every part of the world – to let us all set aside Sunday, September 5, 2010, to fast together as one human family united in our fellowship of faith in God and in his Prophets and Books.
Let the world’s 5,000,000,000 non-Muslim men and women of all faiths, races, nationalities and political ideologies join their 1,500,000,000 Muslim brothers and sisters around the world in a joint World Day of Fasting.
In the midst of all that may divide and trouble us, in this 2010th year of the birth of our beloved Prophet Jesus, ‘Alaihis Salaam, let us stand united and holding hands on this island of commonness that the Qur’an has created for us, holding aloft the banner of our shared humanity and our joint cultural and faith heritage of Siyaam.
And in doing so, let us turn a new page in human history.
And let us – Muslims as well as non-Muslims everywhere, all the 6,500,000,000 of us or whatever our real number is – together write a new joint chapter of cooperation and shared enterprise in this most glorious, wonderful and divinely scripted book that we refer to as human life on earth: using the twin divine laws of Non-Aggression and Mandated Cooperation.
Let Leadership Everywhere Issue a Common Call
Let leadership – political, religious and all other kinds and forms of leadership – in all parts of the world, issue a call to its following everywhere to join this great march of humanity toward a common cause in the relentless pursuit of common human good: sharing the common and shared experience of fasting together.
Therefore, let leadership everywhere issue a common call for a common World Day of Fasting in this Ramadan 1431 coinciding with 5th of September, 2010.
And let everyone everywhere join this united human caravan of people from different religious and cultural traditions fasting and moving together to a more joyous state of living.
In the meantime, leadership around the world – religious, political, governmental, organizational, United Nations – support our call by issuing a proclamation identifying September 5, 2010 as World Day of Fasting.
But if for some reason some of us cannot do it on that day, let us do it on some other day. Let us do it how best we can. But let us do it. For, that is what Islam is all about: doing things however best we can.
Doing the Best You Can: That Is the Islamic Way
The Islamic way of doing things is doing them how best we can. In fact, that is what Islam is in a nutshell.
“What a Deen!” I keep telling myself. “What a way of life! What a way of doing things! Just do the best you can and leave the rest to God.”
How can we devise a better method? Compared to what God has given us: the method of telling everyone with regard to everything to do the best they can and then leave it at that.
Hear the inimitable Qur’an say it in its most simple and clear manner: Fattaqullaha masta-ta’tum.
“Fear Allah however much you can.” And, perhaps, in all the ways you can.
That means fear, love and obey God Almighty all you can and, of course, to the extent you can and in ways you can. That means bend every fibre of your body, mind and soul and spend every ounce of your energy and resources in doing that.
But, all of it, to the extent and how best you can, because, that is all you can do as a human being. That is how far your powers will carry you. And those are the abilities – and education and skills and resources – with which God has endowed you.
And alerting them, at the same time, not to forget that the eyes of the whole world, and of God Almighty himself, are on them as they act and as they go about doing what they must do.
That means they are not just on candid camera, they are on the divine radar.
Once again, listen to the Qur’an address this issue in its own words that God preserved for us in their original purity and integrity all these 1400 years:
Quli’amaloo fa-sa-yarallahu ‘amalakum wa rasooluhu wal mu’minoon.
Say to them, go and do what you must. Surely God and his blessed messenger, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and the believers all will watch you keenly.
So, everyone, everywhere: “Forward March, United Children of God! United Faiths of the World! On to the World Day of Fasting! On to a Common Culture of Hope for Humanity!”
World Day of Fasting 2010: Ramadan 1431 – The How-To Part
But the question is: How do we do it?
Muslims generally know these things – the routine procedures of fasting I mean – because fasting during the month of Ramadan has been so much a part of their culture and tradition for so long. And starting right at childhood.
But how about non-Muslims – close to 5,000,000,000 of them that we are inviting to come and join their 1,500,000,000 Muslim compatriots of the world in fasting together on this 2010 World Day of Fasting, coinciding with 1431 Ramadan? What are they supposed to do? And how are they supposed to do it?
Here are some ideas to help the non-Muslims of the world on how best they could go about observing the World Day of Fasting.
So, let us start out by posting here the flyer we created for the occasion. I shall then follow that up with some comments and specific pointers.
People Cooperating for a Common Culture!
World Day of Fasting 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010/Ramadan 26, 1431
“Come, let us join hands and see what we have in common,” says the Qur’an.
Read-the-Qur’an Committee & Dr. Pasha Center for Culture & Community Service invite the world’s 5,000,000,000 plus non-Muslim men and women of all faiths, nationalities, cultures and races to join their 1,500,000,000 Muslim brothers and sisters around the world in a World Day of Fasting on Sunday, September 5, 2010/Ramadan 26, 1431.
Here is how:
- Wake up a couple of hours before sunrise.
- Bathe, shower or wash up.
- Have a hearty breakfast. Stop eating at least an hour before sunrise.
- Make the intention to fast and that you were doing it purely for God and for no one else.
- Eat and drink nothing the entire day – till you break your fast at sunset.
- But if you feel ill or overly weak in any way, break the fast immediately.
- Watch your blood pressure and other vital signs as you need to. For, Islam is all about being safe and healthy.
- Stay away from all things you know to be bad.
- Try to do whatever you believe to be good.
- Be extra nice, sweet, loving, generous, kind and compassionate to your family.
- And to your friends and neighbors.
- And to everyone else whether you know them or not.
- Stay away from alcohol the whole day.
- Stay away from smoking the whole day.
- Stay away from sex with your spouse (I am saying spouse because sex outside marriage is an absolute no-no in Islam) during the fast – from before dawn to sunset. After sunset, you can be intimate with your wife or husband again.
- Promptly at sunset break the fast, preferably by eating one or three or five dates. But if you don’t have dates, just drink some water and give some time before you launch full-force into the feast on the table.
- Worship God Almighty for about 30 minutes – don’t think of anyone or anything, but only and purely of God Almighty, the one and only.
- Have a light supper. Eat and drink in moderation. Do so always, for, it is good for you. And moderation is what Islam is all about.
- Pray to God Almighty to bless you and your family and friends.
- And your neighborhood, community, society and the whole world.
Let us all come together to celebrate World Day of Fasting 2010! Ramadan 1431!
Let us create a new common culture of peace, love and hope for humanity!
End of Flyer
Some Comments and Explanations
Now here are some comments on some of the points covered by the flyer you read above.
Wake up before sunrise. Take it from me, it is good for you. If you get used to it, you will feel great that day.
I am not saying all this stuff about “Morning Person,” “Evening Person” and all that does not make sense. And there isn’t some kind of scientific evidence to back it up. But surely you can find ways of beating that science with some effort.
Bathe, shower or wash up. Nothing puts oomph in your life and your day better than that.
Have a hearty breakfast. You will need that fuel to burn throughout the day.
Intention Is Key to Action
Make the intention that you are doing this fast purely for God. Not for anyone else, and not for any worldly reason, even though all kinds of worldly benefits may flow out of it. But you are doing it purely and solely to please your God, the all-mighty creator.
Intentions – motivations – are often central to human life and actions. And purity of motives and intentions is the very essence of Islam.
So get on the right side of this equation. Resolve that you are doing what you are doing for God, and for no one and for nothing else.
In general, the purer your motives and intentions are, the better effect they will have on your body, mind and soul. Don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of their glow on your face.
Quite possibly, no plastic surgery and no chemical lotions can give you that or replace that divine effulgence – God’s Noor or radiance on earth.
Eat and drink nothing the entire day.
Now, that is fasting for you.
So do all this to the extent you can. But if this is your first time doing it, be on the alert and monitor your condition and your body response carefully.
Do not in any way jeopardize your health and wellbeing. Surely, that is not what God wants from you.
Generally speaking, putting one’s health and wellbeing in jeopardy is not Islam. And that is directly from the Qur’an.
Stay Away from All Things Bad – And Try to Do Whatever Good You Can
You know what bad things are, right? You also know what the good things are, correct? At least for the most part. Am I right or wrong in thinking that?
So stay away from bad things and do the good things – as much as you can. That means stay away from all things you consider to be bad. And try to do all things that are good. That is, as many of them as you can. For, no one can do everything that is good.
If you ask what bad things, all I will say is, you know what they are, so make your own list and stick to it. Bottom line is, whatever your heart says is bad, chances are it is bad stuff.
That is the general formula given by Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And whatever your grandma may have taught you was bad stuff, stay away from it too. Chances are you and – your grandma – would be right, at least in the majority of cases. Or at least you would err on the side of caution.
Consult Your Friendly Family Bible
If you ask me again what the bad things are you must avoid, or what the good things are you must do, this is what my answer is going to be: What is wrong with consulting your Bible and starting out with the Ten Commandments?
And by refreshing your memory of the Seven Deadly Sins?
And by visiting and revisiting the concept of the Seven Virtues that the Catholics are so proud of?
Can you imagine a Muslim putting his readers on track to study and follow Jewish and Christian teachings and traditions? That is what I am doing here, am I not?
Now that is creating a Common Culture of Hope for Humanity, is it not?
World Day of Fasting combined with the Ten Commandments of Moses and Jesus and with the Seven Deadly Sins of the Bible on the one hand and the celebrated Seven Virtues of Catholic litany on the other hand – that is our shared culture: between Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
And so says this Muslim son of a thousand years’ worth of unbroken Muslim family chain – all confirmed and authenticated through unassailable genealogical charts of the most rigorous kind in the world.
So, continuing what I said earlier, all you need to do thereafter is add to this mix the relevant teachings from Hindu, Buddhist and other traditions.
How much more of a Common Heritage in tandem with Islamic tradition and culture does it get?
That is God’s Kingdom come – right here on earth and right before our eyes and right in our own lives.
Was God right when he said in the Qur’an: We are asking you to fast, the same way we required of the earlier people before you to fast?
How beautiful and blessed is this commonality of human culture!
And do you think that this World Day of Fasting 2010, Ramadan 1431, jointly celebrated by all of us, could be, no matter to how small a degree, a cause and basis for hope for humanity?
Love Your Family: For, That Is Islam
Here is something special you can do when you are observing the fast during this forthcoming World Day of Fasting on September 5, 2010: Be extra loving, generous, kind and compassionate to your family. For, your family is the focus of God’s way called Islam.
And of God’s love.
If you want me to be specific, here are a couple of details:
You want to go to Heaven? Your best guarantee is go serve your mother and make her happy. For, said the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, “Paradise lies under the feet of mothers.”
And bring up three daughters – or two or even one daughter – in the best way you can, give her the best education and training you can, and help her find the best husband she can.
Again, that is according to the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And be the best you can be to your wife. That again is directly from the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And Love Your Neighbour. For, That Is Also Islam
Thus, treating the three key female figures in your life – your mother, your wife and your daughter – in the best and nicest possible manner is your passport to Paradise.
At least so says Islam – and for all these 1400 years.
These are some of the most glorious facts about Islam that maybe some narrow-minded, small-hearted and ill-intentioned people do not want to see get out about Islam. That may be one reason for all this evil and false propaganda against Islam that is sweeping the world these days.
And don’t forget to be nice to your friends and neighbours as well. That is because after your own family, no one is more important than your neighbours.
And God particularly loves that arrangement.
But don’t send to inquire what religion or race your neighbour is. For, then you would have lost the game before you even started it. For, the religion, race or nationality of your neighbour does not really matter. Not in Islam.
For, a neighbour is a neighbour is a neighbour. And Allah loves you to love your neighbour. And that is the Qur’an for you – paraphrased but direct.
And that is what Islam is all about: Loving Your Neighbour.
And also be nice to everyone else, whether you know them or not. Because that is Islam, as they say, in a nutshell. Just being nice to people – the ones you know as well as the ones you don’t. That is directly from the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
Self-evident, wouldn’t you say?
Or would you rather say: Elementary, my dear Watson?
Kick the Booze – and All Other Drugs – Even If It Is Just for One Day
And do you know what? Now is your chance. Kick the booze – and all other drugs, if there are any – even if it is just for one day.
For, to use alcohol is to abuse it. That is the kind of dangerous drug it is.
People may tell you it has some social use here or a medical benefit there. Don’t listen to them. For, the cumulative negative impact of alcohol on individuals, families, workplace and society is devastating.
And it far outweighs any supposed benefit some people may say it has.
Therefore, stay away from alcohol the whole day.
That is right. If you ever needed an excuse to kick the booze, and let yourself out of the bottle, even if it is just for one day, then this is your day.
So, Carpe Diem. Cease the moment. Take time by the forelock and avail yourself of the opportunity sent your way by God Almighty himself.
Do it on this most blessed World Day of Fasting.
Also, while you are at it, stay away from smoking and all other drugs the whole day. Use the World Day of Fasting as the occasion – or excuse if you want to call it that – to liberate yourself as completely as you can from the tyranny of alcohol and drugs on your mind, body, soul, person and life.
Don’t Forget Islam Is Moderation – And Muslims Are People Too!
Don’t forget Islam is all about moderation.
I am not saying that is what Muslims do as a rule all the time in their daily lives. What I am saying is: That is what Islam teaches; that is what Islam stands for; and that is what Islam is.
As for how much of this, or of any of the other teachings of Islam Muslims follow in their life, look no further than your own life for an answer to that – and to many other similar questions.
Ask yourself how much of your divine book if you have one, and how much of the noble teachings of your own faith, you yourself follow, and you will begin to understand a simple truth about life and about our world: Muslims are people too.
They are people just like you.
To some degree, I learned my faith in God by driving on Interstate Highways and watching drivers react to the presence of police cars in the vicinity. If human beings – some of the best of them perhaps – could fear police that much, they must learn to fear God at least equally, I said to myself.
And that changed my life.
Punctuality and Timeliness
So, moderation is what Islam teaches and that is what Islam stands for. It is one of the core teachings of Islam.
So, eat and drink in moderation.
And also don’t forget that Islam is all about timeliness. And Islam is about punctuality.
You don’t believe me, do you? I don’t blame you. And in reality, I wouldn’t believe myself either if all I had to go by was the general lifestyle of Muslims throughout Muslim habitat of the so-called Muslim world.
Looking at their daily life, Muslims are anything but punctual. And I have never seen anyone – other than my late father that is, may Allah bless and forgive him and fill his grave with his light – make any fuss about it either.
So, it is nothing less than miraculous the way it works in Ramadan. And during prayer times, five times a day, every day, on all other days.
The way Muslims leap to break the fast during Ramadan or to catch the Congregational Jama’at Prayers in the mosque five times a day, every day.
Muslims – the same habitually and chronically UN-punctual Muslims in everything else – suddenly leap to life on these special occasions as if hit on the head by a secret clock tower tucked away somewhere in their bosom, which chimes and peals non-stop till they rush headlong to do what they must do: Break the fast during Ramadan or join the congregation for prayers every day.
That is a living miracle of our time everywhere – throughout the Muslim world – which the devil has blinded most people to, including many Muslims themselves.
Muslims do it, but they have no awareness or appreciation of what they are doing. Any better than their non-Muslim friends and compatriots do.
Late Wedding, in America, But Punctual Fast Breaking in India!
O miracle of miracles!
The same people who may think nothing of starting a wedding several hours late in America – I am saying that because I have seen that happen – as immigrants will break down every barrier in sight to rush to break the fast at the stroke of the hour, even in most habitually tardy and unpunctual places like India.
That is what Ramadan does to Muslims.
It is plain out of this world how everyone works to the clock during the beginning as well as the breaking of the fast during Ramadan.
So, promptly at sunset, break the fast, but eat and drink in moderation. This is important. For, after fasting the whole day, your entire body and mind will be agog for any sign of sunset and screaming for food and drink – more and more and more of it.
But it is not good for you to eat a lot of food or consume a lot of liquids immediately after breaking the fast. Because the tighter you pack your body with food and drink, the worse you are going to feel.
So, at the first sign of sunset, break your fast promptly and eat and drink moderately.
And when you set about eating and consuming liquid, make sure you don’t overdo it either, because the temptation to do so will be great.
But if you eat or drink too much, you will begin to feel quite uncomfortable. So, keep it in check.
Sex during Ramadan
While you are fasting, stay away from sex too. Abstinence at the time of fasting is absolutely mandated.
Sex in Islam is neither taboo nor dirty. In fact – now get ready for this! – sex is an act of worship in Islam, provided it is between husband and wife.
Sex outside marriage is strictly forbidden in Islam. No ifs or buts about that.
Intercourse during fast is also not allowed. But you return to normal conjugal intimacy with your spouse during the night, once you break your fast and till you start your fast of the next day before dawn the next morning.
Talk to God Personally and Discover the Power of Prayer
Ramadan is not just about fasting. It is also about prayer. So, this is your opportunity to discover the power of prayer.
Let me ask you this: Did you ever talk to God in private and in person? Did you ever have a one-on-one personal audience with him?
When was it you ever did that?
Did anyone ever tell you that you could? That it was possible for you to do that? And showed you how?
Well, now is your chance of a private, personal and exclusive tete-a-tete with the all mighty God himself.
Don’t miss out. Go for it.
Tell God how happy you are to be fasting. And then pour your heart out to him. And your feelings, and your joys, and your sorrows. And all your troubles.
Don’t hold anything back.
Pray to God Almighty to shower his peace and blessings upon you – and yours.
And upon all of God’s good people everywhere. For, all of humanity is your family too. That is what Islam says anyway.
And bear in mind that what you ask for others shall also be given to you. That is God’s way with people: What you recommend, you also get.
Let us not forget that the right to petition God – alone and in private – is our most sacred and fundamental right. And it is from this divine and most inalienable of all rights that all our other rights flow.
That is why this right – the right to petition God, alone and in private – must be cherished and utilized to the full by every one of us.
And no one should be allowed to take that right away from us: not priests; not rabbis; not pundits; not mullahs; not anyone else.
Talk to God How You Can
You know God. So, talk to him the way it works for you.
You know where and how to find him. So, run to him, says the Qur’an.
The Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, says, God says, he is exactly where you think he is – as far or as close as you think.
Islam says: God is closer to you than you think.
The Qur’an says: Call him and he will respond.
So, go look for him. And then turn to him and pray.
Tell yourself that now is your chance. So, take God up on his word. Ask him for what you want. And ask him to bless you.
And bless your neighbourhood, and your community, and your society and the whole world.
Ask him to feed the hungry; to clothe the naked; to heal the sick and wounded; and to comfort those in pain.
Don’t forget, hunger is a great leveller, and as human beings we are all in this together.
And ask him to protect you – and yours – from all harm and evil. And from the Devil, for, the Devil is no one’s friend.
And ask God to shower his blessings upon your family and friends. And upon your community and society – and upon the entire world, for, there is no shortage in his treasure of what he can give.
Don’t forget we are only limited by what we ask, provided it is something good, both for us and others.
So, this is your chance to discover your God, your maker and master, and say “Hello” to him. How long will you treat him as a stranger? How long will you run or stay away from him? How long will you shut him out of your life – and our world?
Take a chance with God. Give God a try, he won’t mind.
So this is the World Day of Fasting to which we are calling everyone everywhere, this coming 5th of September, 2010, Ramadan 1431.
How Can You Go Wrong?
Now in the end, this is what I want to ask you: How can you possibly go wrong with any of this?
And if you cannot practice or observe all of these things, then do whatever you can. For, that is God’s law for human beings: Do the Best You Can.
So, if you cannot fast for the full day, fast at least for a part of the day. And if you are going to do that, it doesn’t really matter which part.
Do what you can. For, that is Islam.
So, once again, this is the World Day of Fasting we are calling the world to: in this blessed month of Ramadan 1431.
And every Ramadan thereafter.
So, let everyone everywhere come together in a common celebration of the World Day of Fasting.
This year and every following year for the rest of our lives!
Let us join hands to create a Common Culture of peace, joy, love and Hope for Humanity!
By doing this, we may not solve all the problems of the world. But it is a good beginning.
© 2010 Syed Husain Pasha.
Dr. Pasha is an educator and community worker.