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Juz’ 30 – Fasting and Service

Today’s Juz’ covers Al-Naba’ [78]:1 – Al-Nas [114]:1.
The themes discussed in these ayat include (1) events on Resurrection day; (2) a condemnation of human ingratitude; (3) the eternal consequences of dishonesty; (4) God’s omnipotence; (5) social justice; (6) elements of basic religion; and (7) invocations against evil.

 

 

Ramadan Mubarak.

The selected ayat for the day address our responsibility beyond the fast.

“What will explain to you what the steep path is? It is to free a slave, to feed at a time of hunger an orphaned relative or a poor person in distress, and to be one of those who believe and urge one another to steadfastness and compassion. Those who do this will be on the right side, but those who disbelieve in Our revelations will be on the left-hand side, and the Fire will close in on them.” (Al-Balad [90]:12-20)

 

 

For the past month, millions of the faithful have denied themselves nourishment throughout the daylight hours. While fasting (sawm) has definite health benefits, it is done for spiritual reasons as those who sacrifice acknowledge that God is the true source of their sustenance. Fasting highlights our dependence on God and reminds us that “humans should not exist through food alone, but by every word that comes from God’s mouth.” (Matthew 4:4)

 

While fasting forces the worshipper to look inward, it also has an outward dimension. Those who refrain from readily available food have entered into solidarity with countless others who are deprived of food, shelter, clothing and power in this world of plenty. For thirty days, they learn what it means to do without.

 

However, Ramadan means absolutely nothing if after the fast is over, people revert to selfish lives that ignore the greater needs of society. The meaning of the fast is exhibited in a life of charity in which believers share God’s beneficent mercy to the least in our communities. The prophet Isaiah expounds further on the spiritual fast.

 

 

Listen:

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)

 

 

Prayer:

In the name of God the Merciful and Compassionate, I thank You for the lessons from the fast. Please fill me with Your Spirit so that I can accomplish the fast You have chosen—to feed the hungry, help the oppressed and demonstrate Your Love and Grace to everyone I meet. In Your Holy Name I pray. Amen.