By Ishola Balogun
RAMADAN is a month of reflection, giving and devotion. It is not a month for the gluttons. There are traditions, values and objectives of the blessed month. We have earlier discussed sahur but in order to elucidate on a question on sahur, I found it necessary to share it in this column.
It is one of the blessings of the month. There is no act, in any manner of fasting like we have in Islam and with particular reference to sahur. It is Allah’s favour bestowed to fasting Muslims to be blessed as they eat sahur. As He provides the food, He further blesses anyone who wakes up in the first rays of dawn to eat the same food for fasting purpose. The philosophy behind it is wake up before dawn and commune with Allah to kick-start your fast. Therefore, it does not matter whether you take heavy food or not, what matters is your sincere devotion to obey Him. A cup of water could serve as your sahur if you do not have anything or appetite for food. That cup of water for sahur is blessed and better than anyone who fasted without taking anything. The Prophet (s.a.w) was reported by Anas to have said: “Eat something for sahur even if it is a date. For there is in it barakah.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Isn’t it great that Allah is rewarding us for eating?
A lot of people though find it difficult to wake up and eat before the wee hours and so would like to skip sahur. It is advisable to drink enough water at sahur if you can’t eat to keep you hydrated throughout the day. Don’t forget that fasting is not a punishment; Islam is a religion of ease, and Allah does not intend for us hardship (Al-Baqarah 2:185).
The prophet taught his companions and by extension, every Muslim that they should begin their fasting by taking something. It does not necessarily have to be heavy meal, in fact, over-eating negates the spirit of fasting. It is advised to wake in the pre-dawn period to appropriately kick-start fasting by eating sahur among other things. Eat moderately even as you remember those who could not afford a meal for that purpose. Some people have asked whether there is need to wake up for sahur if one has nothing to eat. What is, however, appropriate is to wake up, carry out other activities of the Ramadan night and when it is time for sahur, get some water to drink. In it, there is barakah.
It should be noted that there is no sin in not waking up for sahur if it was done inadvertently, however, the inability to take sahur does not vitiate fast. The point we are emphasising here is that even as you eat, you must not eat so heavily until you become inactive to do other things for the day. It is not the opportunity to store your bowels with food that will take you for another 12 hours or so, but to reflect and feel the pulse of those who have not. Ramadan Kereem!