"It's clearly more important to treat one's fellow man well than to be always praying and fasting and touching one's head to a prayer mat." - Naguib Mahfouz
Ramadan started on May 6th for Muslims around the world. Like I have since I was 12 years old, I am fasting. Since I am Muslim Light, that may seem like an a odd choice. Still, there are several reasons why I fast when I am Muslim Light.
Before I get into those reasons, let me explain what Muslim Light is. It’s a term I invented to describe myself when it comes to how religious I am, which isn’t that much, clearly. It’s also a bit cheeky because it reminds me of Miller Light or Bud Light.
Which leads me to why I am Muslim Light. I find organized religion to be rigid and confining. I don’t care what religion you practice. The idea that one false move can keep you from God’s love is ridiculous. To me, God is unconditional love. Unconditional love has no judgment. So, the notion that something as arbitrary as eating with the wrong hand or how you pray keeping you from God’s grace is fucking ludicrous.
I use these examples because when some pious Muslim wanted to religion shame me, they pointed out my wrongness in those areas and many others.
Let’s call these random rules what they are: control mechanisms. If someone doesn’t like what you’re doing, they’ll tell you it’s a sin. Since I am a contrary being of light to begin with, how much of a sinner do the Quran thumpers think I am?
So why would a sinner such as me fast? Because, for me, fasting is not a meaningless ritual. It’s a spiritual and enlightening one. I actually get excited for Ramadan because it is a time of great learning for me. When I fast, most of the time, I’m barely aware that I am not eating or drinking. It’s beyond the physical.
That’s the point. To focus beyond the physical and focus on the spiritual. At the end of the day, our souls are who we really are. Our bodies are just the vessel.
Fasting enlightens me. It nourishes my soul and helps to strengthen it.
And that’s why Muslim Light fasts.
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer