I know there are many articles about preparing for Ramadan by increasing acts of worship so that one is accustomed to doing so during Ramadan but one aspect that I do not see frequently discussed is reducing one’s food intake before Ramadan. In addition to being used to functioning with less food, there are also many spiritual benefits of eating less and this does not apply only to Ramadan. When one’s stomach is emptier, one is less lethargic and more focused and, therefore, able to better their acts of worship. Also, at a spiritual level, when one eats less food, this is generally a sign of self-control over the nafs (the worldly self) and withdrawing from this world. Eating too much also imprisons the soul in a certain way. In an age of overindulgence, the Muslims must continue to be the ones who are moderate. Sheikh Mohammad Yaqoubi, in one of his lessons in Damascus, was saying how what Muslims do during Ramadan is not really fasting, rather it is making breakfast earlier and dinner later. Ideally, there should be some asceticism. One of the purposes of Ramadan is to remind us that though we are in this world, we are not of it and that are true home is in Jannah (may Allah unite all of us there) and also to train us to have self control. This is a very extensive topic but I will leave it there. And Allah knows best.
Abud Juhayfa, radiallahu anhu, a companion, ate some bread mixed in with broth along with fatty meat and after eating came across the Messenger of Allah alayhis salaam. While next to the Messenger of Allah alayhis salam Abu Juhayfa belched, upon that the Messenger of Allah alayhis salam said: O’ Abu Juhayfa, many satiated people in the world will be those who are most hungry on the Day of Judgement. After this Abu Juhayfa never ate to this fill until the day of his death. If he ate during the day he would not eat at night and if he ate at night be would not eat until the following day. Imam Quturbi noted concerning this: This is the meaning of the prophetic narration: The believer eats from one stomach. This is from the perfection of ones faith.
It has been narrated from the Messenger of Allah alayhis salam: Do not kill the hearts by excessively eating and drinking for the heart is like a field that dies if it receives too much water.
Mawlana Jelaludin Rumi, the great Jurist of the 13th century said:
We are lutes, no more, no less.
If the sound box is stuffed full of anything,
If the brain and the belly are burning clean
everymoment a new song comes out
of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.
and cry like reed instruments cry.
write secrets with the reed pen …
Imam Nawawi Wrote in his Maqasid:
The principles of curing the ego are five: lightening the stomach by diminishing one’s food and drink, taking refuge in Allah Most High from the unforeseen when it befalls, shunning situations involving what one fears to fall victim to, continually asking for Allah’s forgiveness and blessing upon the Prophet (May peace and prayers be upon him) night and day with full presence of mind, and keeping the company of him who guides one to Allah.
Imam ibn ‘Atillah Askandari writes in Taj-al-Urus that one who indulges in this Dunya is like one who sent by a king to preform an errand but is distracted by the provisions.
Imam Busayri writes in his Qasida Burda:
Do not attempt to break [the worldly self’s] appetite through wanton indulgace
Notice how food only strengthens a guttons craving.
I heard two scholars say:
Those who eat much sleep much.
I ask Allah through his Beloved Prophet, May Peace and Blessing be upon him, to make this beneficial for people.
Also, there will be a Mawlid at ISNA insha’Allah after the Saturday night lecture. I’ll figure out where later insha’Allah.