Some people say that these winter fasts are easy - understandable considering that at the moment they are over by six. Indeed, when I think back to when I became a Muslim where the fasts would go on until nearly nine, I suppose they are easy in comparison. And yet I still find not eating and drinking hard.
|`God sustains you, not just spiritually or emotionally, but physically. Ramadan helps give recognition to that reliance upon God. Ramadan helps one realise that everything we have is given to us from the Sustainer of the Universe.'
You see, food means a lot in my daily life. In fact I have to confess that food is what gets me through the day. With three small children and a busy schedule, lecturing and editing a magazine, it is food which sustains me. I might be near collapse, but after a cup of tea and a slice of toast, I'm good for the next task. So Ramadan presents me with a problem what is going to get me through the day? What is going to keep me going? My schedule is not going to ease up there are no moments of rest or a lie-in with children around!
It is then that you have to rely on the firm belief that God sustains you, not just spiritually or emotionally, but physically. Ramadan helps give recognition to that reliance upon God. Ramadan helps one realise that everything we have is given to us from the Sustainer of the Universe. On a normal day I may believe that it is the tea and toast which is getting me through sustaining me. Actually the tea and toast is from God and it is the Sustainer who is getting me through by giving me the blessing of food and a warm drink.
This, I feel, is one of the ultimate lessons that Ramadan teaches reliance upon God. When I think about it - when I have faced any hardship be it through voluntarily entering into difficulty as in Ramadan or be it through life events beyond my control - I am acutely aware of the Sustaining presence of the Creator.
Whilst He has made it His way that we require physical sustenance, God is how I get through every day. The tea and toast and a million varieties of beautiful food are gifts from Him. In Ramadan they are taken away during the day so that I am able to be aware of just Him.
`Just Him' and it is this awareness - the increasing love for and closeness to the Creator - that is one of the gifts of Ramadan.
So when I return to my daily routine I hope I am able to be brought closer to Him by that cup of tea and slice of toast which He provides for me to get me through the day!