By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
May 14, 2018
Shock is a kind of treatment adopted by
nature. Throughout life, there are different kinds of shocks nature exposes us
to and one among them is hunger-shock. Hunger and thirst are part of a shock
treatment that re-boots one’s ability to Self-realise. Roza, fasting, is a
treatment of this kind.
Roza is prescribed in Islam on an annual
basis. The Quranic verse in this regard is as follows: “Believers, fasting has
been prescribed for you, just as it was prescribed for those before you, so
that you may guard yourselves against evil.” (2:183) This verse alludes to the
fact that fasting was prescribed in all religions, in some way or other. Roza
is not specific to Islam alone but is a practice which exists in all religions.
The easiest way in nature to re-activate
the human body system is by way of a hunger shock. Hunger is a reminder that
food is an important part of life. We must preserve food and avoid its wastage.
This is essential for sustaining life.
Roza is an annual reminder of the
importance of food and water in our lives, in the absence of which, it is
impossible to continue life on earth. Nature has produced food and water
abundantly and because of its free supply, people take these for granted and
lose sensitivity about them. Therefore, world over, people waste great
quantities of food and water.
A study done by National Geographic in
2014, found that the annual estimated food wastage in the United States ranges
from 35 million tons to 103 million tons. The surveyor, Elizabeth Royto, also
remarked that in the United States, food valued at $162 billion is annually
wasted. Same is the case with many countries.
The most important purpose of annual
fasting prescribed in Islam is to sensitise its adherents about food and water.
Sawm, fasting, is prescribed once a year during Ramzan, the ninth month of the
Islamic calendar. The fast of Ramzan lasts the whole month, beginning from
sunrise and ending at sunset.
‘Roza’ literally means ‘abstinence’, where
one refrains and abstains from dawn till sunset, from food and drink. Fasting
in the month of Ramzan begins with the sighting of the new moon, and it ends
once again, with the sighting of the moon of the next month of Shawwal. The
following day is the day of celebration of Eid festival. ‘Eid’ literally means
‘coming again and again’. This is the real spirit of Eid. It reminds man to
re-plan his life by taking lessons from the past and applying it to the future.
When the fast is broken in the evening, at
the time of Iftar, the first sip of water serves as a reminder of the supreme
power of the Creator who created water by using two gases: Oxygen and hydrogen
and then stored it abundantly in the ocean and preserved it, thereby
inculcating gratitude and thankfulness.
Roza is a way of self-empowerment. It is a
saintly method of self-uplift and fasting inculcates the spirit of
self-control. Self-control is the other name of spiritual strength. The spirit
of self-control is key to all kinds of success and one who can control himself,
can control the whole world. Roza is a course of annual re-strengthening of
one’s inner personality.