Reflections from Receiving Nur community
- living with Divine light and wisdom -
When we talk about fasting in Islam, the month of Ramadan comes to our mind. At the end of this month of fasting comes the Feast of the Breaking of the Fast. This is the first of the two main feasts of Islam. The second is the Feast of Sacrifice, and it is celebrated about two months after the end of Ramadan.
Why does the month of fasting culminate in feasting?
First let us remember that fasting is one of the pillars of Islam (“islam” literally means surrendering to the will of God and making peace, or silm); fasting brings about spiritual fulfillment and baraka, i.e. goods are multiplied many fold. For the surrenderer, the muslim, it is a month of blessings.
What happens when we fast? What is so special about fasting?
This piece is a bit personal. I hope it will be useful despite its particularity, or rather through it, inshallah.
It was a Thursday two weeks ago, April 5th, when I taught my morning class, entitled “The Quran and Its Interpreters.” The topic was the story of Adam in the Quran, and we had two insightful interpreters who appreciated this apparently simple story as teaching about what it means to be human, and how to make sense of the existence of apparent evil in our world, including the creation of Satan. During that class period, one of my students asked me whether I was pregnant, and I said yes, with a smile, and also with a sense of stress at the back of my mind. I was almost five months pregnant, and I felt I had a lot to do before the baby would arrive…
As is well known, Joseph’s brothers were so jealous of him that they wanted to get rid of him. Can you relate? Well, not in the sense of killing someone out of jealousy, but in the sense of being jealous? If so, let us see what is that makes jealous so tempting and how we can transform it…
We are all born as vulnerable beings, and remain as such throughout our lives. As a baby, our vulnerability and needs are obvious, we cannot even chew our food or take a trip to the restroom. To be sure, as we grow older, we learn to take care of many of our needs “on our own,” yet our needs grow with us, too. As we become older, we gradually need more: our needs for safety, security become refined, our needs for deeper personal connections appear…and now that we are not babies any more, we now want to consciously make sense of our lives and the lives of others around us and all other various emotional and spiritual needs show up more clearly…