I agree with Brother Dr. Shabbir. Forum is the best place to discuss these issues, not emails. This is a healthy discussion as long as we respect each other’s opinions and avoid using any insults and degrading remarks. Like Brother Anwer, I do not know Arabic well. That is why it is taking me longer to translate “Haqiqat Soam”.
Here is my opinion about Soam. As I am not a scholar of Arabic language, I cannot go into syntax or semantics of the words or terms used in the verses related to Soam. Hence, my opinion is based on rational approach alone.
I had accepted Dr Shabbir’s view that Fasting in Ramadan was training. Then, I came upon Dr. Qamar Zaman’s book “Haqiqat-e-Soam” and it changed my understanding of Soam entirely. Why did I accept Dr. Qamar’s views instantly? The answer is that his views were rational and they appealed to my common sense. I hope Dr. Qamar Zaman allows me to post a summary of the book on the Forum, so that English readers can learn about his views regarding Soam.
I respect Dr. Shabbir’s views. However, I have a problem with the idea of calling fasting training. If fasting is indeed training, how come we keep repeating it every year? Are we the dumbest people on earth? We continue with the training over and over again and never able to make the grade and graduate. When will the trainees graduate and start applying what they have learned from the training? Those who go to a medical school, eventually, graduate with medical degrees. Then, they start treating the sick and injured. What do the Rozadar do if they ever complete the training of fasting?
We start our fasting training in teens and continue it as we age. Finally, we reach the stage when children start calling us Babay (old folks). But the training continues. We still fail to make the grade. What a shame!
Far from becoming Mutaqi (God Conscious, God Fearing, Righteous, Pious, Truth Seeker or whatever you call him) and establishing God’s Supremacy on the earth, a Rozadar is not even able to do anything for the society or nation. Just take a look at Pakistan. The country is plagued with so many problems. Have any Rozadar tried to tackle even one? The reality is that these hungry folks are preoccupied with thoughts of food and drink from dawn to dusk. A large part of the day is spent planning and preparing foods for the Iftar feast. In one of his posts Dr. Shabbir rightly called fasting feasting.
As a matter of fact people rarely think of fasting as training. Rather it has become the end objective. We are taught that the rituals, such as Namaz, we perform during the “holy” month of Ramadan fetch us multiple rewards. No wonder folks rush to Masjids to perform additional Nafal (nonobligatory) Namaz. They try to complete at least one round of reading the Quran albeit without any understanding. Of course the propelling force behind fasting and its rewards is Hadith, not the Quran.
“Whoever observes the fasting of Ramadan with Imaan and the hope of getting reward from Allah, his past sins will be forgiven for him.”
“Whoever observes night prayers during Ramadan with Imaan and seeking reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven for him.” Al Bukhari and Muslim)
Hence, the whole purpose of fasting is to earn rewards and get sins erased from our record books. And there is the lure of Jackpot (The Night of Power) as well. According to Hadith worshiping in that one night can bring us rewards that are equal to 1000 months spent in worship. Now pleas read the Hadith and ponder.
"Ibn Abu Hatim narrates that Mujahid reports that once Prophet Muhammad (saws) mentioned a story of a Mujahid of the Bani Israel who spent 1000 months continuously fighting in the path of Allah (swt). For 1000 months he never laid down his weapons. On hearing this, the Muslims were stunned. On this occasion the Verses of Suratul-Qadr were revealed, wherein Allah (swt) granted the Ummah of Nabi (saws) the gift of the night of Power – a night which is better than one thousand months spent in the worship of Allah (swt)."
Hadith also tells us that Ramadan is a blessing. Sure it is but only for hoarders and profiteers, not for the ordinary people in Pakistan.
Soon Ramadan will fall during the hottest solar month of the year. Assume you are a construction worker working during the day shift repairing the roads in intense heat. You are sweating profusely. If you do not drink water, you will dehydrate and may risk losing your life. Did not God know about construction workers, road crews, and farm laborers who have to work during the day in scorching heat? Dehydration has caused deaths among players during practices as well as army and police trainees. Doctors advise us to drink plenty of water during summer to avoid dehydration. But God tells us to avoid eating and drinking altogether during Ramadan even if it falls in summer. Who is right?
Doubtless, God will never command us to do anything irrational. Misinterpretation of God’s Message is the problem, not the Message.
Unfortunately, Namazi and Rozdar folks have invested too much in fraudulent schemes (Namaz, Roza, & Hajj etc.). It is very difficult for them to realize and accept the fact that all their investment is going down the drain.
Now let us find out how Mutaqi (pious or righteous) the fasting folks are. Here is just one example. This story was told by a “Maulana” in one of his weekly columns for Urdu Times sometime ago. An 85 year old grandbaba got furious, as he thought he might miss the reward of eating Sahri. His daughter-in-law had her period that caused her to spend a little more time in the bathroom. Grandbaba was unable to tolerate even a few minutes delay. His bad mouthing hit the poor lady like a tornado. His obedient son came running and, without checking the facts, struck his wife with the ferocity of a lightning bolt. The grandbaba had been fasting and performing Namaz for at least 65 years. This life long training failed to teach him even simple manners.