“The month of Ramadan is that wherein the Quran was sent down as guidance to mankind, as clear proofs of guidance, and as the Criterion. Let him among you who is present fast during that [month]. And whosoever is ill or on a journey, it is a number of other days. God desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you. [It is] so that you may complete the number and magnify God for having guided you, that haply you may give thanks.” (Quran Ch. 2:185)
Dear Friends around the world,
Ramadan Karim and Mubarak to you all.
Now is the time to give you congratulations for your patience, love, and commitment to the words of God. In this verse from the Holy Quran we can see the beauty of the process of fasting, and the beauty of our response to this verse. This verse is not only for Muslims – this verse is for all of humanity, because I have known many non-Muslims who fast during this month. God in the Holy Quran to hold a fast once a year, not to force the people to a duty, it’s to purify the people through fasting. But what is the meaning of fasting? Is it only to stop eating and drinking? I don’t think so – we need to fast from many other things. The meaning of making a fast is to stop yourself from doing something. It’s not only to stop eating and drinking, it’s to stop bothering other people, to stop fighting, to stop speaking bad things, and to stop every dark thing within our beings. It is to awaken all of the divine light within us. This is the meaning of the fast. If we look at another verse, we can find that meaning:
Ch.19:26: “So eat and drink and cool thine eye. And if thou seest any human being, say, ‘Verily I have vowed a fast unto the Compassionate, so I shall not speak this day to any man.’”
Most Muslims speak during Ramadan, but the issue and purpose here is what kind of speech should we speak? Ramadan is the month of the revelation of the Quran, so Muslims need to speak through the light of the Quran: love and connection, not only with Muslims, but with all people all the way around the world, and to spread the message of God in this way.
We know that some people cannot fast – they are ill, or pregnant, or traveling, or very old – these people can stop from fasting. If they want to reap the reward of the fast during these times, they can do other things, such as feeding poor people or sending humanitarian aid to refugees, and by taking these actions they can receive the same reward as those fast from eating and drinking.
God ordered us to fast because he wants to guide us to the right path – this path can reveal many secrets for us, and lots of mysteries. Because our fast is a beautiful and spiritual journey to our origins, to our roots, we cannot make this journey without tasting the taste of the old history. When we connect to the old history through our innate imagination we touch our origins in God and we can heal ourselves. In this way we can know our essence as spiritual human beings – just as our dreams sometimes take us to that part of God’s creation that can be called ‘the first days on Earth’. When God first sent humans to this Earth he covered all of them with forgetfulness – so we need to revive our remembrance of our divine origin, and fasting is one of our greatest tools for reawakening this great remembrance.
During a time of fasting, when you look into the eyes of another person (never mind if they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist) you can see yourself there just as you can see their self as well, and you can reflect your essence to their eyes, and they can reflect their essence to your eyes. When you see and experience each other’s essence, you can feel the divine light within both of you. When we feel this deep connection we can begin to protect one another, and by doing so we can create a new future for humanity, a new world is possible through our practice of fasting.
May this fast make us clear and clean and healed – because every person and every creature in this world may fast to revive, heal, and renew their external and internal side.
I hope for all of the people, all around the world, a happy and pure and clean fast to connect one with another, and I hope for all the non-Muslims and those not fasting from food and drink that you will find the inner meaning and reward of fasting in these and other times.
God bless you
Sheikh Ghassan Manasra