Published by Robert on 02 Sep 2010 at 02:36 pm
The Oregonian has been running several articles depicting a number of Muslim’s fasting during Ramadan (a month of fasting). Dr. Sam Hassan an anesthesiologist states, “whenever, I encounter stress I turn inward and ask God for forgiveness and guidance.” He goes on to say Ramadan is a more intense expression of the faith that I practice all year long.”
For many Muslims they do this as a ritual and have difficulty remembering the reason they fast. The mind will gravitate to that which it thinks it cannot have. I know from a personal experience that when I fasted, I longed for food and after three days I could not wait to eat. Hence I focused more on food then on God.
I do not profess to judge how or why Muslims fast on Ramadan. According to this article Dr. Hassan seems to do it for the right reasons. My teacher, Meher Baba of India states, “By bringing into action the vital forces to withstand the craving for food, it is possible to free the mind from attachment to food.” He goes on to say, “external fasting has no spiritual value when it is undertaken with the motive of securing the health for the body or for the sake of self-demonstration.”
I further would shed some light on this subject as stated by Meher Baba. Muhammad incorporated Ramadan originally as a social measure in Arabia so that the rich people would become more aware of the hunger of the very poor people. It was never intended to be carried on over the centuries and in other countries as a religious dictum.
In closing, if fasting helps one focus on God more then food it helps the individual become more in tune to the God within. If one does it to master craving or from the perspective of rituals it loses its true meaning.
Wikipedia: Discourses by Meher Baba and Avataric Advents by James H. McGrew