DURING HOLIDAYS, HOW IMPORTANT ARE RESTRICTIONS SUCH AS FOOD ABSTINENCE?
Dr. Hafizur Rehman, president of Masjid Darul Quran, Bay Shore, and Council of Mosques of Long Island:
There is a great transformation that takes place in the majority of the Muslims as they eagerly await the month of Ramadan every year. The ninth month of the Islamic calendar represents a great opportunity in the spiritual experience of one's life. The real intention is to seek the greater pleasure of the Lord. It's not only hunger and thirst, but when the intention is pure and sincere it's your "closeness" to Allah that brings satisfaction and peace in one's self. You feel God is watching you observe his command, and you literally feel his pleasure and his rewards coming your way. Along with hunger and thirst, there also must come the fast of the eye, the ear, the tongue, the mind and every other part and sense of the body, so that it's a fast of everything but the presence of God. It helps you identify with the poor and the hungry of the world, and it drives you to maximize your charity. Fasting is a great exercise for the body, for it regiments your every single act. Limited and timely eating - coupled with lengthy prayers each night - tunes the body to its best.