By Nasra Al Adawi
We are a prey to distractions. We are distracted by all the exciting things that happen around us. Distractions hit its peak when we are on the verge of calming our mind and trying to shut out the noise surrounding us.
That is when the sweet distractions appear on our landscape. Sometimes we pin these distractions to availability of all these modern gadgets with enticing social media that coax our minds to wander as well as wonder.
We are not spared of these distractions even during the Holy Month, the month of spirituality.
In fact, temptations abound all around us. While the purpose of the Holy Month includes abstaining from food, and be mindful of those who are less fortunate than us, through deeper connection of spiritual practices to increase inner faith and being mindful of all the blessings that we receive.
However, the core of the distractions sneaks as a game into our mind with thoughts of hunger and craving for food. The distraction accumulates further to a level where we almost lose the essence of spirituality because our focus has shiftd to the more mundane aspects of how lavish the Iftar table should be.
Yet, for the younger generation, it is the collective digital exposure (smartphones, games, or television, or any other electronic appliances) that distracts and hinder the true fasting experience.
We are distracted by maybe the latest TV episodes or just simply the use of various social media platforms or even over sleeping during the day and indulging in wasteful social engagements during the night.
The mindful fasting is a call for each of us to capture the true essence of fasting. It is about cleansing the heart from day-to-day distractions and stop falling into the trap of preoccupying our mind to trivial, worldly matters.
The presence of now through seclusion of worship requires collective spiritual practices and what best than during this Holy Month to silence collective distractions of whatever type. The steps may sound simple, but every deed requires absolute effort starting from the need to increase level of remembrance (Dhikr) of Almighty the creator, which has to be accompanied by supplication (Dua’), along with recitation of the Holy Quran (Qira’at Al-Quran) and to encompass more acts of charitable giving (Sadaqah).
The recommended spiritual deeds will surely support our journey to a mindful fasting that enrich the idea of fasting from the heart instead of just indulging in a ritual.
If this is not convincing enough and if you are, like me, distracted and simply googling to find more information about the act of mindfulness, here is a quick place to start :
How To be a Mindful Muslim by Justin Parrot from Yaqeen Research Institute https://yaqeeninstitute.org/justin-parrott/how-to-be-a-mindful-muslim-an-exercise-in-islamic-meditation/