How the Deprivation of Ramadan Helps Care for the Spirit

Source: The New York Times

By Fariha Roisin

For Muslims, the afterlife guides much of our spirituality. “Die before you die,” the Prophet Muhammad once said. As in: Let that ego go, divorce yourself from your earthly body, seek oneness with God and radiate kindness, humility and compassion. Rabia of Basra, a Muslim saint and Sufi mystic, (who was said to have greatly influenced Rumi, the great Persian Muslim poet) wrote: “Ironic, but one of the most intimate acts of our body is death.”

Ramadan is a time for fostering this kind of intimacy. And it’s done through a kind of inverted regimen of self-care. The fasting and prayer of Ramadan are, in part, undertaken to be awakened. But they require rigor. This practice “teaches me community and humility, both of which are the antithesis of ego,” as Huda Hassan, a writer and researcher, put it to me in an email.

This is an idea the current iteration of the self-care movement has tapped into — coming back to oneself — but its often without a holistic, reverent or spiritual, perspective. “Detoxing” has become popular among wellness gurus for supposed health benefits, commodified and stripped of religious ritual and ceremony.



Categories: The Muslim Times

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