Imam Ghazali’s “Benefit of Fasting/Eating Less”

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    As Ramadan comes to a close, perhaps it is timely to remind ourselves to not go back to our normal eating habits, but to eat less and to fast often inshaAllah. These are notes taken by a sister during the Rihla 2011 with Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad.

    Benefits of Fasting/Eating Less:

    1. Purification of the heart and helping one’s perception to be more penetrating.

    If you don’t eat so much, you will be more perceptive; your basira (insight) will go much further. Ramadan is hard work, but towards the end of it, we do feel that things in deen are coming to us with more ease. We can feel we are detached from dunya and the hunger you feel, you get used to it so you don’t even notice it much or think about it. You are no longer distracted by hunger, and are in a state of greater purity.

    2. Brokenness, humbleness and ending of pride and exuberance.

    The pride we get into after eating good food, if we are hungry our pride is broken. We experience this in Ramadan. In Ramadan if you have been fasting for 10-12 hours, it is harder to be proud, we are broken a little bit. Pride is deadly of the deadly sins and hunger helps

    suppress that.

    3. Through hunger we do not forget Allah’s trials and tribulations.

    The one who is always full ignores the one who is hungry and ignores the reality of hunger. However, when we fast, we empathise with those who are hungry.

    4. Breaks everyone of the desire for sins, and helps control the nafs- the beast that is within us.

    5. Helps us worship more.

    6. No need to earn so much if we eat less. If you eat less, you can spend less, and that extra money you are saving can go towards sadaqa.

    Imam al-Ghazali talks about rejecting the imbalance, he doesn’t say abandon food completely but instead watch what we eat.

    Ramadan is all about sabr- patience.

    To be in a maqam of aboodiya (servanthood) shows us that we are always in need of Allah.

    Allah is active in every moment. He is constantly creating and re-creating. Everything is the unique consequence of Him.

    Allah didn’t just wind the clock at the beginning of the time and sat back to see everything unwind; our needs which we are not even aware of, He fulfills them.

    The benefits of physical discomfort like eating less is that we are in  a constant state of absolute need, absolute dependence on Allah. He doesn’t need us, but we need Him for everything!

    When we start to recognise everything is from Allah and He is al-Wakil, we will find tranquillity. People who have always been in hardship will always be in a state of calmness and ease, then those who always have things their way.

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