By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, July 22, 2012
The morale behind fasting in Islam is to challenge one’s ability to forego some kinds of pleasure, including food and sexual activity from dawn to dusk during the holy month Ramadan. Fasting is a practice common almost to all religions. Some Hindu, for instance, observe a fasting practice named the Karwa Chautt in which married women abstain willingly from food as a prayer for the well being and the longevity of their husbands. They break their fast once they see the moon through a sieve.
In Buddhism, fasting is considered as cleansing practice that shelters the soul from greed and temptation. In this respect, Buddhist monks and nuns usually follow a highly disciplined diet aiding meditation and restoring a good health.
Fasting protocols are also prescribed by some medicine practitioners as part of detoxification process or what is commonly labeled as cleansing diets. Detox diets are believed to remove toxins and poisons from the body. The concept is based on the consumption of pure and natural foods that aid the function of the lymph, kidneys and liver. However, there is a little evidence that these diets have real health benefits.
The interrelation between food and spirituality is drawn in many religions and philosophies. Eating and drinking beyond one’s need for survival is considered as a temptation that corrupts incrementally the purity of the soul. Therefore, the abstinence from food is liable to refurbish the body and reestablish a more balanced life.
In Islam, fasting remains one of the most important acts of worship. Muslims are required to fast during a month each year. They abstain from eating, drinking and engaging in sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk in addition to adopting virtue and avoiding indecent speech. As the body accommodates to this new lifestyle, the control over one’s impulses grows stronger.
Yet, the deprivation of food during the day has become nowadays a synonymous for bad temper and anger rather than decent conduct and patience. In some urban areas, one can witness the manifestation of irritability among Muslims during Ramadan. They tend to lose temper more quickly than in normal days, whereas the primary goal of fasting is to foster righteousness and self-control.
This paradoxical situation stems from the omission of the religious dimension of fasting. Fasting has turned nowadays, for many, into a social ritual rather than an act of worship. Therefore, the moral commitment contingent to fasting during this holy month is gradually diluted into a countless number of self-imposed obligations related to shopping that revolves around storing food rather than worship. It is no wonder that the intake of calories increases considerably during this month, while it is normally expected to decrease sharply.
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