Wants and needs
Written by: Khadeja
The holy month of Ramadan is a time of spiritual solace and balancing dunya and akhira. However, I have only come to this realisation during this Ramadan. Previously, my focus during the blessed month was only on prayer, Quran recitation, and supplication. I would focus on these practices heavily but not necessarily think about the dunya or carry over some of my Ramadan habits to the rest of the year. This year something clicked! I realised that fasting gives you a chance to differentiate between your wants and your needs. I am stating the obvious here, but we have become a society of consumption. In the past, consumption, to me, just meant overindulging in luxury items or big ticket electronics. But when you really look into it, anything has the potential to be the object of over-consumption.
Take food, for example. When you fast for the whole day and it is finally time to break your fast, it is very difficult to go crazy and eat too much. Even water can have an uncomfortable aftermath if consumed quickly in large quantities. What fasting can teach you is that you really do not need as much as you think you do in terms of food, but for some reason our modern way of living teaches us otherwise. The whole concept of an all-you-can-eat buffet does nothing but promote gluttony and wastefulness. I mean, we may love an all-you-can-eat sushi set-up, but let’s be honest: That “yummy in my tummy” feeling after a pig-out only lasts for less than an hour and then the waves of regret come rushing over you and you swear that you will never do that again. But after you fully recover and that unpleasant feeling is but a distant memory, you take your seat at your favourite sushi place…again.
What about all those long hours in the office? Especially if you sit at a desk all day. For some reason there is an association with sitting and snacking. Personally I’ve caught myself thinking on several occasions, “I feel like chewing something.” Yes, I have even said that out loud. So I’m conscious that I do not feel hungry but I just want to graze…a word that is otherwise used for cattle. At least when cows do it, they are fueling their bodies to produce milk…what is my excuse?!
The Prophet (s) laid out a perfect plan for us when he said, “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is enough for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls to keep him going, but if he must (fill his stomach), then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for air.”
Let’s go back to eating food as it was intended, in reasonable portions. Let’s eat food that is as close to how it looked in nature as possible, and feel pleasure in knowing that we are taking responsibility for what goes into our bodies. Not only will we feel better, but we’ll be showing gratitude to God for blessing us with food and with the ability to eat it.