Fasting is not a diet about burning calories. It is about “burning out ego, pride and sins”. The month of Ramadan is the best possible expression of anti-consumerism: to be and not to have, to free ourselves of the dependencies that our consumption-based societies not only stimulate but magnify. Ramadan is the month to fast, pray, read Qur’an and do charity and in return receive rich rewards from Almighty God. But it is not only a time for introspection. Every day on our streets we see persons who are obviously homeless and in need of care. But just as important are the well-groomed clean individuals who go about their daily activities on a diet of water, crackers and sardines, and sometimes not even that. This is a month in which those Muslims who have three square meals a day (as well as those who don’t) physically feel the hunger pains of all of those persons who do not. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions went many nights without a meal. It is a time when we experience the joy of fast breaking, and encourage ourselves and others to ensure that those persons really in need enjoy that experience too.
“(The righteous are those) who feed the poor, the orphan and the captive for the love of God, saying: ‘We feed you for the sake of God Alone; we seek from you neither reward nor thanks.'”