In a secular society, a Muslim woman is always at gunpoint. Constant attention and questions ranging from friendly to disturbing standards of decency are an everyday routine of a woman in hijab, an obvious representative of Islam.
And here is the month of Ramadan. What do the uninitiated know about it? They heard that Muslims do not eat during the day, but what else? Of course, they can google it. But a provocative question to a living person gives much more emotion. And how can a Muslim woman not get confused? Here are our tips on how to reply to tricky questions from non-Muslims about fasting.
WHY DOES ALLAH NEED YOUR FASTING? WHAT’S SO SPIRITUAL ABOUT FASTING? WE ARE ON A DIET SOMETIMES, TOO.
Not eating and drinking is only a visible basis, but the essence of fasting is not about just that. The goal is to reduce worldly degrees to a minimum and twist spirituality to the maximum. It includes reading the Quran, special night prayers, and working on your temper. And who continues to swear, lie and behave nastily, may not get a gram of reward. According to the hadiths, fasting can only be a hunger strike for those who have not changed their bad behavior.
FASTING, PRAYERS, OTHER RITES ARE ALL FOR YOURSELF. ISN’T IT BETTER TO DO SOMETHING FOR PEOPLE?
Islam regards the human being as part of society. The reward for any good deed in the month of Ramadan increases. To feed a poor man, to give alms, to take care of an orphan, to treat a neighbor, to visit a sick man (don’t do it during COVID-19 pandemic, as Islam teaches to avoid danger and self-harm) and even to take a stick out of the way – all these are mentioned as good deeds in the Quran and hadiths. There is no need to contrast personal worship with the good for society. It is possible to combine and work hard in all directions.
WHAT’S THE POINT OF NOT EATING DURING THE DAY IF YOU ARE ALLOWED TO EAT EVERYTHING AT NIGHT?
The etiquette of eating in Islam aims at moderation. Gluttony is condemned. Total abstinence during the day creates a bright contrast to complete freedom at night. It makes you feel more grateful for every bite and sip. If you concentrate on your body during the day, it is free at night. The night is the time of the soul. And it’s tamed in the extra prayers of the tarawihs.
AND WHAT IF YOU HAVE TO TAKE PILLS?
You can shift your medication to suhoor and iftar time. If it is impossible, a person can make up for the missed fast in winter, when the days are short. For those who are seriously ill or weak and cannot fast, redemption is offered instead of fasting. Allah does not wish us any hardship. There are also reliefs for travelers, the elderly, pregnant women, lactating women, and women during menstruation.
AND WHY CAN’T A WOMAN FAST DURING PERIOD? IS SHE DIRTY? MAYBE SHE CAN’T EVEN COOK FOOD.
Some teachings consider women to be unclean during this period. They isolate her completely, and even food from her hands becomes nasty. That’s not present in Islam. On the contrary, she may receive a reward for cooking iftar. During menstruation, the woman does not perform some worship rites, and among other things, she does not hold fast until she is purified. It’s about ritual purity, not literal mud. It can be compared to a disease. In the Quran, it is said that menstruation causes suffering (Sura: Cow, Ayat 222). Fasting could aggravate the general weakness caused by blood loss. Like the sick one, the woman does not fast during this period and then makes up for the days she missed.
COULD A NON-MUSLIM TRY FASTING?
Yes, of course, there is the full freedom of the experiment. What begins as a curiosity or a challenge to oneself may be the first step towards Islam. But for a good deed to be accepted by Allah, a person must be a Muslim. And if he converts to Islam, then, who knows, maybe this post will also be counted in. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said to his companion that he had converted to Islam along with all the good deeds done before (al-Bukhari 1436).
The mercy of Allah is great. May it be extended to all of us in this blessed month.