Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ramadan Reflection: Taqwa

I haven't written in here in about a year. Since that year I've completed my second year of law school, traveled a lot, and then now I'm back. Finishing law school in December of this year, just a few months, then I plan to do some more (non-legal) writing!

My other blog for traveling - ayycarumba.blogspot.com - has a bit on my China trip from last summer, and a little on my recent trip to Geneva in February. I still haven't written in it about Dubai, Oman, and Bahrain, where I went in December-January. I haven't had time to write or even think. Ramadan is a time for self-reflection, though, and as a result I always find myself writing a little bit in Ramadan. I try to limit myself so I can use Ramadan time towards reading Quran,etc. and to save the inspiration for after Ramadan. Clearly last year it didn't work.

This is something short and simple I wrote this Ramadan about Taqwa, loosely translated to "God-consciousness."

Tonight in the nightly prayer, I heard a verse that translates into “God loves those who are God-conscious.”  There are many benefits to fasting in Ramadan – spiritual, emotional, and physical. However, I realized that the largest benefit of fasting is that it makes one more God-conscious. While fasting I am forced to think before I do or say something, to make sure that it does not violate my fast: I have to think before I speak to ensure that I do not talk negatively of anyone, lie, or use foul language, and I have to think before I act to ensure I do not hurt anyone in any way and that I always act with good intention.

Fasting is the ultimate act of submission. If I wanted to eat, I could, and no one would know. I could create an image that I am fasting and secretly deceive it. There could be food in front of me and I will not eat it because I know that God is watching. To be “God-conscious” includes the realization that God is always watching; an elementary teaching but one that we frequently forget. It takes between 8 and 21 days to break an old habit or create a new habit.  Ramadan is 30 days: 30 days of thinking before speaking or acting, of constantly reminding oneself that God is watching and that we are liable for each and every one of our actions. The ideal hope is that this habit will carry on after Ramadan’s fasts are over. For me, this is the most rewarding outcome of Ramadan: this beautiful way in which God helps us become those who are God-conscious, whom He loves so much.

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