May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you. First of all I want to say to everybody Ramadan Mubarak. May God bless your Ramadan. May this Ramadan be a time of purification for you.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said [phrase in Arabic]: “Everything has a zakat [charity] or purifying due”.
And he said [phrase in Arabic]: “That the zakat [charity] of the body is fasting”. Because it’s the way we purify our bodies.
We now know that intermittent fasting is very good for your health by science, but we didn’t need science to tell us that because our Prophet [peace be upon him] told us that centuries ago. He said [phrase in Arabic]: “fast and become well”.
So, my recommendation for myself and for all of you, use this month as an opportunity.
It’s the month of Qur’an. When Ramadan came Imam Sufyan, Imam Malik, and the great imams of our tradition put everything away except for the Qur’an. And they would take out the musahif [Qur’an] and read from the mushaf [Qur’an]. Even if they memorized the Qur’an, because there is the blessing.
And the other thing, it’s the time for fasting not just from food and drink, but also from images. And so I would recommend setting aside any viewing like television, if you watch television, just stop for a month and see how it goes.
I would recommend fasting even from your cell phone, don’t take it with you unless it’s absolutely necessary to keep in contact for work or something like that.
Take this as a time to just go in, because I think too many of us are overwhelmed by the culture we’re in, the global culture, and just distractibility that surrounds us.
Everybody is in a state of distractibility, and so this is a time to try to restore our relationship with Allah [glory be to Him, the Most High], and to really focus on aligning with our tradition, with our Prophet [peace be upon him]. And also that horizontal line, aligning with our community, So it’s the time of coming together for tarawih [additional prayers]. It’s a time of breaking the fast with our brothers and our sisters.
So, may Allah bless all of you and bless your Ramadan.
Hamza Yusuf – President, Zaytuna College