My wife and I were flying back from a brief family trip to Chicago where we celebrated the end of Ramadan feast with our son. The flight was cruising steadily at 25000 feet; the calm skies and the layers of clouds below created a serene environment.
Three scenes of happiness kindled a light of hope in my mind last weekend. In a land normally filled with fear, strife and violence, there were scenes of joy, jubilation and harmony, if only for a little while. Indeed, Pakistanis are truly resilient. They celebrated the end of Ramadan feast – Eid El Fitr – with high spirits and enthusiasm despite an overall environment of uncertainty and chaos.
So, what is fasting all about? Indeed, fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and a very special form of worship. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk every day for one lunar month; this could be 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the new moon. During their fast, the faithful abstain from food, drink and sexual intimacy. They forgo these legitimate desires and actions in obedience of their Lord. They also practice more vigilance than usual in abstaining from sins.
I have often been asked: ‘So you can’t even drink water or any other liquids?’ When my answer is in the negative, the questioner is usually stunned. Frankly, one cannot remain without food or drink for long durations under normal circumstances but once the concept of religion and spirituality sets in, it becomes not only feasible but also enjoyable and inspirational.