Le Moulinet: Indigenous French Muslims
The amazing, first-time visual documentation of a handful of French families living in seclusion in secular France, after having converted to Shi’a Islam
Le Moulinet: Indigenous French Muslims
The amazing, first-time visual documentation of a handful of French families living in seclusion in secular France, after having converted to Shi’a Islam
Free to Give from the Heart*
By Caroline Garnet McGraw
How to Not Respond
Have you ever beat yourself up over not responding to every message you received in a day?
Me too. I know how it goes. On one hand, you’re tired and overwhelmed. But on the other hand, there are emails! Texts! Calls! All demanding a response!
If we check in with ourselves, we can sense which messages require our attention. However, we have trouble heeding that inner knowing because it conflicts with what we’ve been taught…
If someone writes, we must write back.
If someone starts talking, we must converse.
If someone moves in for a hug, we must embrace
I Don’t Want to be Rude
It doesn’t matter if we feel uncomfortable, exhausted, or just plain unwilling. If we don’t do these things, then we’re unkind and rude. Right?
In the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt pilot episode, reporters interview women who spent 15 years underground in a doomsday cult’s bunker.
One woman shares the story of her involvement:
“I had waited on [the cult leader] at a York Steak House…and one night he invited me out to his car to see some baby rabbits, and I didn’t want to be rude, so … here we are.”
It’s a searing example of how the fear of being rude and impolite can put us in real danger. And sure, the character is exaggerated to the point of parody, but I recognized myself in that woman.
The Loving Choice
What time have I wasted in needing to be seen a certain way? What danger have I courted with my inability to say a direct no? What have I sacrificed on the altar of being too nice?
A while back, I was struggling with whether or not to respond to some troubling emails. I didn’t feel comfortable keeping in touch with the sender, but the thought of not responding triggered feelings of guilt and insecurity.
What if I hurt this person’s feelings? Was I not being compassionate enough? Should I be polite, or listen to my intuition?
Eventually, I asked my husband Jonathan for his perspective. He said, fiercely,
“You don’t owe anyone an interaction.”
When Jonathan said those six words, they freed me to delete those emails. Sometimes, not interacting is the most loving choice.
Protect Your Time
Yes, I practice good manners, sending thank you notes, and staying connected to friends. But I also set boundaries and trust my intuition. There’s a balance.
If you don’t have practice with boundaries, though, it’s hard to protect your time. You’ll feel like a bad person when you step back or say no. When the false guilt strikes, remember that there is a difference between hurt and harm.
When you say, “I don’t owe anyone an interaction,” you’re not harming anyone. You’re just reminding yourself of what is true. It’s not your job to people please or walk on eggshells. Rather, your job is to live with love and integrity.
You have the authority to decide how to spend your time and energy.
Free to Give from the Heart
Will some people have hurt feelings if you decline their invitations and delete their messages? Probably. That’s tough to accept, but the alternative is worse. Trying to manage other people’s emotions while tuning out your own is exhausting. It harms your health and your relationships.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that being kind means being available 24/7. But if we don’t guard our time, our ability to be kind erodes.
So the next time you feel pressured to respond, try taking pause and reminding yourself that you don’t owe anyone an interaction. Revel in the reality that you get to choose. You have the authority to decide how to spend your time and energy.
And here’s the real beauty of it: when you don’t owe anyone an interaction…you’re free to give from the heart.
The Beast of Burden on the Path of Enlightenment*
By Jennifer Deisher
Where else would “God” be found but in the service of Creation itself?
The Earth is a living entity and an intricate, diverse web of all kinds of systems.
As an invited guest, we are living and functioning within her ecosystem because she welcomes us and allows us to be here. We are made of her elements and we are occupants of her Body and Heart.
She is, quite literally, the key to everything in our known universe. She is under our feet and in the air we breathe.
Our planet is our Mother, our home, and our Life-force. It doesn’t matter how skilled we are at meditation or connecting with Spirit because we always come home — right where you are right now.
Through our relationships to the Earth, we find the spiritual and energetic connection that is available to all of us when we leave our hearts and minds open.
That energy – the flow of life – is a continuous cycle of growth and decay, chaos and order, and an ever evolving ecosystem (including humanity) that reflects the nature of our ever-evolving Universe.
But, in our illusory co-existence, we have come to put a “price tag” on Mother Earth and on ourselves by extension, all the while forgetting she is the divine giver of Life… and she can shake us off like a flea at any moment.
The Nature of the Beast
Every intellectual, artist, spiritual leader and scientist will tell you that their inspiration comes from studying the delicate and intelligent design of natural Creation.
Its intricate intelligence is an overwhelmingly profound but consistent and logical interpretation of “God” — the expression of a universal consciousness.
By the expression of this live-giving consciousness, the Earth herself shows a Loving intention; through her thriving beauty and nurturing abundance.
It’s an honestly wonderful and natural epiphany when we can finally come to terms with the fact that “God” has been right here all along, revealing intricate miracle after miracle, right before our eyes. The miracle of Life itself.
Just as intricate, however, is an ancient web of lies that has kept humanity from truly living its divine truth.
As a species, we should feel honoured and humbled to participate in the interactive evolutionary experience that is Earth. But today, something has gone terribly awry.
Steve Taylor Ph.D, author and senior lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, described this phenomenon in his recent article, Ecocide: The Psychology of Environmental Destruction:
…‘Climate change’ is just one of the environment-related problems we face. Others include the destruction and pollution of ecosystems, the disappearance of other species (both animal and plant), water shortage, over-population, and the rapacious consumption of resources…
Would a sane species abuse their own habitat so recklessly? And would they allow such dangerous trends to intensify without taking any serious measures against them?..
In my view, there are two main psychological factors. The first is what I call our “over-developed sense of ego,” or intensified sense of individuality… Our ego-separateness means that we don’t feel connected to the “web of creation,” the network of life on Earth.
As a result, we don’t feel a responsibility to the rest of the network, or a duty to preserve its harmony.
Instead, our separateness makes us feel entitled to dominate the rest of nature, which is why we feel entitled to own land and natural resources.
The second factor is our “de-sacralised” vision of nature, our inability to sense the “being-ness” of natural phenomena.
As children, we perceive the world around us with intense and vivid perception, and the natural world does appear alive to us, but as adults, our vision of the world becomes de-sensitised and automatic.
We “switch off” to the vivid “is-ness” which we experience as children. The phenomenal world becomes a shadowy, one-dimensional place.
Oh what a tangled web we weave!
This sickness in our collective psyche – this beast of illusion/delusion – is something we have learned to deny to ourselves at all costs, to our own detriment.
We have come to compartmentalize our own existence, believing ourselves to be separate somehow from Mother Earth and the Universe at large.
Stranger Than Fiction
The deceptions that lead us to this false sense of separation go to our very foundations, distorting our sense of self and all that is sacred.
So, when we first begin to see though the illusion, the unbearable emotions of betrayal and fear many of experience can feel like too hard a burden to bear.
It can chill our bones and stoke our innermost fears. Heartbreaking. Painful. And usually very lonely.
Sometimes the truth is hard and, more often than not, much stranger than fiction. Ultimately, however, the truth is unavoidable. It is also extremely empowering.
By first understanding the nature of these deceptions and distortions, and the energy that brought us here, we can begin heal from them on a collective, vibrational level.
“Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” ~ Micheal Ellner
Deception is not necessarily natural to our being rather it’s something we learn to live with at a young age. As a society, we have learned to adapt to a near impossible situation; a false dichotomy of separation, imposed and implanted by deceit.
An unnatural consciousness has pervaded our collective mind, and its effects have permeate our shared existence in a multitude of ways; through paternalistic governments that presume to dictate our rights, not protect them; through divisive religions that teach separation from god, and from other faiths;
Through illusory media, which deliberately sells fiction as fact; through manipulated economies, founded on a presumption of inherent debt; through poisonous “health” practices; through the suppression of history; through spiritual misinformation; and through educating our kids in a way that steers, not expands, their natural way of thinking.
All of these distortions serve to manipulate the collective conscious into submission perpetuating an imbalance that provides power and sustenance to those in energetic control.
But today, we have reached a breaking point. The cycle of consensual abuse is breaking down. We are realizing en masse that we have lived out of balance for too long.
We are questioning our existence at a fundamental level, and re-discovering the divine power we have in our lives; power that we have unknowingly given up for so long.
And so, realizing we are a conscious part of the Earth’s eco-system and energy-system, we are being compelled to take responsibility for co-creating a more authentic future, restoring the balance and harmony to Earth – with and for one another.
Finding Order in the Chaos
We can no longer stand quietly in a corner in fear of making the necessary and emotionally uncomfortable changes.
If we don’t turn our fear into courage, our fears will either consume us or they will become manifest. It’s a beast of a journey, but there is a clear path just ahead.
The collective identity crisis we are going through is an opportunity for humanity to find order in the chaos we have allowed to overtake our existence.
It doesn’t matter if we call it archons, satan, or an opposing consciousness. It doesn’t matter whether you see its effect in government or religion, banks or media; it is all part of the same illusion.
Unseen forces have deceived humanity into a state of confusion and disconnection, and we now have the opportunity to reclaim our spiritual center and create a culture that leads us home, not astray.
There is nothing wrong or out of place with this kind of identity crisis, rather it’s a natural process of evolution as we adapt to seemingly overwhelming situations.
But it is vital we realize these situations are the creation and perpetuation of a blatantly unnecessary struggle. We have spent eons chasing our collective tails and our “leaders” could end it all with the stroke of a pen.
They know it and we know it. We have both the resources and the will to support peace, prosperity, health, respect, connection and co-operation, but our institutions have become twisted into machines of war, competition, imposed poverty, illness, and control.
How? Because we tasked someone else to do it for us. We became comfortable separating ourselves from ourselves. As it turns out, we were our own worst enemy; our very nature carefully manipulated against us.
There are many ways we can begin to find order in the chaos. Start by looking in the mirror. Ask questions of yourSelf, and open your perspective.
Connect with the Earth. Our intuition is clearest within the realms of nature. Know your ‘enemies’, both seen and unseen. Know that only light can eliminate darkness.
Transparency ensures Truth. Understand that, if it operates in secret you can be sure it is not operating in your favor.
If in doubt, follow the ‘money trail’. It’s a sure way to know what path someone is truly walking.
Most importantly, come to know your infinite power. Recognize where you give your power away, and where you can reclaim it. That’s where your new path becomes most clear.
The Path of Knowledge
It is true, we have been moulded with deliberately altered perspectives and values into a society dependent on the undependable. But that doesn’t make us victims;
Most of us have unknowingly enabled the power structure that has manipulated our collective consciousness, working for and even defending the status quo, following orders and “bringing home the bacon” in a sleepy state of unquestioning compliance.
What it does make us is responsible for contributing to the solution, through conscious action.
Simply speaking, we either consent to the deception, or we stand up together and change it, each contributing in whatever unique way the universe provides us individually.
Trust the path of knowledge that you are walking down. As we share our truth, we test our own knowledge and knowing, and cultivate a healthy relationship with our truth. We realize our new awareness is not “all in our head”.
We begin to remove the emotional blocks (humiliation, self-doubt, fear) that stop us from speaking our own truth more freely, and we more easily find others to share our path.
We learn to live as spiritually sovereign “masters of our domain”. We begin to forge healthier relationships with our Self and others. And by living in our Truth, we find sustenance, guidance and inspiration in new and surprising ways.
We re-establish our unobstructed connection to the divine. And we create a blueprint of purpose that benefits us on a vibrational level, as well as Mother Earth. (We’re all interconnected, yeah?)
It’s not always easy to burden a deeper level of awareness but it’s no longer an excuse to “let someone else handle it” either.
We have reached a choice point in our human history and we have to decide whether we’re going to stand tall in our humanness and, to find a strategy to turn this energy around, we have to truly understand our position and our part in getting here, and bravely be the change our most authentic self wants to see in the world.
It can feel isolating and chaotic, but in the big picture, we’re right where we need to be on the path of our evolution. These are exciting times!
We know what it’s like to destroy together, but do we truly know the power of what we can create together if we’re on the same page? Remember your light and your own power. Our potential is infinite.
Home is Where the Heart Is
“God” is found in the service of Creation itself. She is in the air we breathe and the Earth beneath our feet, the fire that burns the cobwebs away and the spiritual river that cleanses our hearts; not a paternalistic figure in the sky but the divine Mother of Life from whom we are born and sustained, and to whom we finally return.
We are a part of her and she is an inextricably part of us. The history we share with her is important.
We must learn to recognize her (and ourselves) as the manifestation of divine intelligence, and honor her in our words and deeds.
As we each adopt the common philosophy of “home is where the heart is”, we can begin to heal and re-build our planet and our societies in a grassroots way (literally), supporting and co-creating in our physical communities, online and otherwise.
There is no way to truly live authentically from inside an illusion. As we move into our new awareness, our inner truth and our outer world can become increasingly incompatible.
We find ourselves dissatisfied with small changes, feeling compelled to take the leap and re-shape our lives at a fundamental level. This takes trust.
Just know that when we begin to walk a different path, new roads will always be waiting for us up ahead. The path of true enlightenment has no dead ends.
So, if you’re in the process of questioning that toxic relationship in your life or the job that makes you feel less than honourable, stop and consider if this article is the ‘nudge’ you’ve been waiting for.
At some point, we each have to begin to trust in the process of disconnecting from illusions of the world around us, and all its trappings, and let go of external factors and emotional attachments that speak of our consent and support of this distorted state of existence.
It’s so important right now, as things are surfacing so quickly, to stay in our hearts. On this path of awakening, our “self-work” is never, ever done… because we are infinite and we never stop creating.
Creation is, and always has been, all around us. We are a part of creation, and it is a part of us. Co-creating is our purpose for being here together.
It is time we take our power back from alphabet agencies and secret agendas.
Sharing our unique insights and gifts, we can shine light into the shadows and create a future of enlightenment, not illusion.
Use of the Pythagorean Theorem and its Three Dimensions in Ancient Babylon*
By Luis Teia
Very much like today, the Old Babylonians—20th to 16th centuries BC—had the need to understand and use what is now called the Pythagoras’ (or Pythagorean) theorem. They applied it in very practical problems such as to determine how the height of a cane leaning against a wall changes with its inclination. This sounds trivial, but it was one of the most important problems studied at the time.
A remarkable Old Babylonian clay tablet, commonly referred to as Plimpton 322, was found to store combinations of three positive integers that satisfy Pythagoras’ theorem. Today we call them primitive Pythagorean triples where the term primitive implies that the side lengths share no common divisor.
Why was the tablet built?
Unlike what one may imagine, the reason behind the tablet was not an interest in the number-theoretical question, but rather the need to find data for a ‘solvable’ mathematical problem. It is even believed that this tablet was a ‘teacher’s aide’ for setting up and solving problems involving right triangles. This sounds like an environment not so different from our classrooms today.
How is this related to us?
As human beings we share the same nature as the Old Babylonians – in solving problems to live and evolve. The problems nowadays are normally more exotic and elaborate than a cane against a wall, but they share the same legacy. Right-angles are everywhere, whether it is a building, a table, a graph with axes, or the atomic structure of a crystal. While these are our contemporary challenges, we, like the Babylonians, strive to deepen our understanding of the Pythagoras’ theorem, and on the various triples that generate these useful right-angles for our everyday practical applications.
Were the Babylonians so different from us?
Babylonians may have used algorithms to compute side lengths of right-angled triangles into areas, and vice versa, similar to our contemporary numerical methods of analysis. These areas were farming fields, while the side lengths were canals for irrigation. Maybe the canals were structured to distribute a certain amount of water per canal.
Nowadays, in a very similar manner, computers are used to find the distribution of properties (e.g., stress, deflection, etc.) along a material (e.g., a metal beam), or even the displacement of fluids through volumes (i.e., computational fluid dynamics).
To find a solution to a problem, analytical solutions are often not available. Hence, numerical methods are employed. These consist of splitting the volume that is being analyzed (say the material of a beam, or the air in a room) into small elements (typically Platonic solids like prisms or tetrahedral). It is interesting to think that this so-called “meshing” in the engineering world, or splitting a calculation into small portions, was already applied by the old Babylonians.
Overall, one could say that the tendency to split a problem into pieces, and solve them individually to find the answer, is a human characteristic that we share with the people of Babylon. From this perspective, the Babylonians were not so different from us.
Did the Babylonians know the Pythagoras’ Theorem?
Some argue that scribes in Old Babylonian period knew Pythagoras’ theorem 1,000 years before he did . The most famous tablets here – one showing a square with two diagonals, and Plimpton 322 containing a table of numerical symbols – suggests that the Babylonians knew at least some of the consequences of the theorem . Whether they derived the proof as Pythagoras did, it is unknown.
It is clear that the Pythagoras’ theorem has greatly helped humankind to evolve. It is universally applicable, but still it is exclusively binding to two dimensions. Since we live in a three dimensional world, the awareness of this gap in knowledge poses the question…
What does the Pythagoras’ Theorem look like in three dimensions?
Until recently, this was not known. For the past five years, Luis Teia has conducted a one-man quest to shed light on this mystery. Based on his recent paper, Pythagoras triples explained via central squares published in the 2015 edition of the Australian Mathematics Senior Journal, he derived the proof. It is not philosophically farfetched to say that even the simplest things escape great minds. For example, Teia shows how to hand draw all the Pythagoras’ triples starting from the first (3,4,5) together in one outward evolving infinite spiral. This is something Pythagoras himself could have drawn some 2500 years ago, but the fact is, it eluded him and his followers, until now. Similarly, the three dimensional version of his theorem also eluded him, and is now presented.
Why is the 3D Pythagorean Theorem important?
Considering the radical technological leap that Pythagoras imparted on mankind with his theorem some 2.5 millennia ago, the implications of this new 3D version can be equally significant today. Perhaps, it leads to an “upgraded” three-dimensional version of our current trigonometry. Who knows?
As for Teia’s next dream, he will be exploring the physical meaning of the three dimensional theorem (ergo the 3D “cane against the wall” problem), and the practical impact it has on contemporary science.
The Spread of Written Languages
Makes you wonder if the top of the global elite pyramid is trying to eradicate their origins…
By Alexander Bruce
Business Insider makes great little animations. This animated map is both beautiful and sad,
when one sees that some of the earliest written languages were developed in areas which have been recently been under so much assault by the Military Industrial Complex.
Muslims Ramadhan Waking may have saved Grenfell Tower Residents’ Lives*
Residents have told of how they didn’t hear alarms as the fire swept through the 24-storey tower block in West London. But they were instead alerted to the blaze by fellow residents, some of whom may have been Muslim people who were awake early in the morning because of Ramadan and were among the first to notice the fire.
The fire broke out not long after midnight and when many people living inside the tower block were asleep.
Muslims were among the first people on the scene as people were evacuated from Grenville Tower.
Andre Barroso, 33, told The Independent: “Muslims played a big part in getting a lot of people out.
“Most of the people I could see were Muslim. They have also been providing food and clothes.”
He said lots of people were still searching for friends and relatives who lived inside the tower.
Many people have donated water, food and clothing to the nearby St Clement church, where locals have taken refuge. Others are distributing water bottles to those waiting outside.
“Everybody was hands on. It was wonderful to see everyone come together.”
Rashida, a local resident, told Sky News how Muslim’s observing Ramadhan may have saved lives in the tower block, as many were awake, which would have helped.
She said: “Most Muslims now observing Ramadhan will normally not go to be until about 2am maybe 2.30am.
“Until they have their late night last meal. They do their last prayer.
Forty fire engines rushed to tackle the enormous fire that destroyed Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate.
Desperate residents trapped high in the enormous tower built ropes from sheets in an attempt to reach the ground.
Grenfell Tower ablaze
A deadly overnight fire raced through a 24-story apartment tower in London on Wednesday, killing at least six people and injuring 74 others. One desperate woman threw a baby out of a high window and a man on the ground managed to catch the child, a witness said.
Flames from the inferno lit up the night and black smoke spewed from the windows of the Grenfell Tower in North Kensington where more than 200 firefighters battled the blaze. A plume of smoke stretched for miles (kilometers) across the sky after dawn, revealing the blackened, flame-licked wreckage of the building, which was still burning over 12 hours later.
“This is an unprecedented incident,” Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton told reporters. “In my 29 years of being a firefighter I have never, ever seen anything of this scale.”
She told reporters she feared firefighters would find more victims still inside the building.
People in apartments enveloped by the quickly advancing flames and thick smoke banged on windows and screamed for help to those watching down below, witnesses and survivors said. One resident said the fire alarm did not go off.
Police commander Stuart Cundy gave the death toll but added the figure was likely to rise “during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days.”
Paul Woodrow, head of operations for the London Ambulance Service, said 20 of the injured were in critical condition.
The London Fire Brigade received the first reports of the fire at 12:54 a.m. and the first engines arrived within six minutes, Cotton said.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the blaze, but angry residents said they had warned local authorities about fire issues at Grenfell Tower. The public housing block of 120 apartments was built in 1974 and recently upgraded at a cost of 8.6 million pounds ($11 million), with work finishing in May 2016, according to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Samira Lamrani, a witness, said a woman dropped a baby from a window on the ninth or 10th floor to people on the sidewalk.
“People were starting to appear at the windows, frantically banging and screaming,” Lamrani said, adding the woman gestured that she wanted to drop a baby.
“A gentleman ran forward and managed to grab the baby,” Lamrani told Britain’s Press Association news agency.
“The flames, I have never seen anything like it, it just reminded me of 9/11,” said Muna Ali, 45. “The fire started on the upper floors … oh my goodness, it spread so quickly. It had completely spread within half an hour.”
Other witnesses described a white, polystyrene-type material falling like snow from the building as it burned. Some feared the charred tower block might collapse but a structural engineer said the building was not in danger, London Fire Brigade said, adding “it is safe for our crews to be in there.”
Ruks Mamudu, 69, escaped from her first floor apartment wearing only her purple pajamas and bathrobe. She and her grandson sat outside the building and watched people trapped on higher floors cry desperately for help.
“I sat there watching my house burn down and watching people cry for help who couldn’t come down,” she said.
People at the scene spoke of being unable to reach friends and family inside. Others said they could see people inside using flashlights and mobile phones to try to signal for help from higher floors.
Nassima Boutrig, who lives opposite the building, said she was awakened by sirens and smoke so thick that it filled her home as well.
“We saw the people screaming,” she said. “A lot of people said ‘Help! Help! Help!’ The fire brigade could only help downstairs. It was fire up, up, up. They couldn’t stop the fire.”
The disaster occurred 10 days after a terror attack at London’s Borough Market. Some residents initially feared the fire was also terror-related, though authorities discounted that possibility.
Edward Daffarn, a 55-year-old who lived on the building’s 16th floor, said the fire alarm didn’t ring. Daffarn said residents had complained for years to London City Council about building safety, to no avail.
“I’m lucky to be alive. A neighbour’s smoke alarm went off and another neighbor phoned and told me to get out,” he said. “I consider this mass murder.”
The Grenfell Action Group, a community organization formed to oppose a nearby redevelopment project, has been warning about the risk of fire at Grenfell Tower since 2013. The group has raised concerns about testing and maintenance of firefighting equipment and blocked emergency access to the site.
“All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time,” the group said in a blog after the fire broke out.
A July 2014 newsletter for residents said the building was designed “according to rigorous fire safety standards” and recommended that in case of a fire residents should stay inside their apartments.
The British company that carried out the tower’s 2016 refurbishment, Rydon, said in a statement its work “met all required building control, fire regulation, and health and safety standards.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said many questions now need to be answered about tower blocks around the city.
“There will be a great many questions over the coming days as to the cause of this tragedy and I want to reassure Londoners that we will get all the answers,” Khan said.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s Downing Street office said she was “deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the Grenfell Tower and is being kept constantly updated on the situation.”
Inner Dimensions of Ramadhan Fasting*
By Abu Hamid al-Ghazali
It should be known that there are three grades of Ramadhan Fasting: ordinary, special and extra special.
Ordinary Fasting means abstaining from food, drink and sexual satisfaction.
Special Fasting means keeping one’s ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet – and all other organs – free from sin.
Extra special Fasting means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but God, Great and Glorious is He. This kind of Fast is broken by thinking of worldly matters, except for those conducive to religious ends, since these constitute provision for the Hereafter and are not of this lower world. Those versed in the spiritual life of the heart have even said that a sin is recorded against one who concerns himself all day with arrangements for breaking his Fast. Such anxiety stems from lack of trust in the bounty of God, Great and Glorious is He, and from lack of certain faith in His promised sustenance.
To this third degree belong the Prophets, the true Auliya and the intimates of God. It does not lend itself to detailed examination in words, as its true nature is better revealed in action. It consists in utmost dedication to God, Great and Glorious is He, to the neglect of everything other than God, Great and Glorious is He. It is bound up with the significance of His words: ‘Say: “Allah (sent it down)”: then leave them to play in their vain discussions.’ [al-An’am, 6:91]
Inward Requirements for Ramadhan Fasting
As for Special Fasting, this is the kind practiced by the righteous. It means keeping all one’s organs free from sin and six things are required for its accomplishment:
A chaste regard, restrained from viewing anything that is blameworthy or reprehensible, or that distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of God, Great and Glorious is He. Holy Prophet Mohammad, on him be peace, said: ‘The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be God’s curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of God will receive from Him, Great and Glorious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart.’
Jabir relates from Anas that Holy Prophet Mohammad, on him be peace, said: ‘Five things break a man’s Fast: lying, backbiting, gossiping, perjury and a lustful gaze.’
Guarding one’s tongue from idle chatter, lying, gossiping, obscenity, rudeness, arguing and controversy; making it observe silence and occupying it with remembrance of God, Great and Glorious is He, and with recitation of Holy Quran. This is the fasting of the tongue. Sufyan Said: ‘Backbiting annuls the Fast.’ Layth quotes Mujahid as saying: ‘Two habits annul Fasting: backbiting and telling lies.’
Holy Prophet Mohammad, on him be peace, said: ‘Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is Fasting he should not use foul or foolish talk. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say: “I am Fasting, I am Fasting!”‘
According to Tradition: ‘Two women were Fasting during the time of Holy Prophet Mohammad, on him be peace. They were so fatigued towards the end of the day, from hunger and thirst that they were on the verge of collapsing. They therefore sent a message to Holy Prophet Mohammad, on him be peace, requesting permission to break their Fast. In response, Holy Prophet Mohammad, on him be peace, sent them a bowl and said: “Tell them to vomit into it what they have eaten.” One of them vomited and half filled the bowl with fresh blood and tender meat, while the other brought up the same so that they filled it between them. The onlookers were astonished. Then the Holy Prophet Mohammad, on him be peace, said: “These two women have been Fasting from what God made lawful to them, and have broken their Fast on what God, Great and Glorious is He, made unlawful to them. They sat together and indulged in backbiting, and here is the flesh of the people they maligned!”‘
Closing one’s ears to everything reprehensible; for everything unlawful to utter is likewise unlawful to listen to. That is why God, Great and Glorious is He, equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer, in His words, Great and Glorious is He: ‘Listeners to falsehood, consumers of illicit gain.’ [al-Ma’idah, 5:42]
God, Great and Glorious is He, also said: ‘Why do their rabbis and priests not forbid them to utter sin and consume unlawful profit?’ [al-Ma’idah, 5:63]
Silence in the face of backbiting is therefore unlawful. God, Great and Glorious is He, said: ‘You are then just like them.’ [al-Nisa, 4:140] That is why the Holy Prophet Mohammad, on him be peace, said: ‘The backbiter and his listener are copartners in sin.’
Keeping all other limbs and organs away from sin: the hands and feet from reprehensible deeds, and the stomach from questionable food at the time for breaking Fast. It is meaningless to Fast – to abstain from lawful food – only to break one’s Fast on what is unlawful. A man who Fast like this may be compared to one who builds a castle but demolishes a city. Lawful food injurious in quantity not in quality, so Fasting is to reduce the former. A person might well give up excessive use of medicine, from fear of ill effects, but he would be a fool to switch to taking poison. The unlawful is a poison deadly to religion, while the lawful is a medicine, beneficial in small doses but harmful in excess. The object of Fasting is to induce moderation. Holy Prophet Mohammad, on him be peace, said: ‘How many of those who Fast get nothing from it but hunger and thirst!’ This has been taken to mean those who break their Fast on unlawful food. Some say it refers to those who abstain from lawful food, but break their Fast on human flesh through backbiting, which is unlawful. Others consider it an allusion to those who do not guard their organs from sin.
Not to over-indulge in lawful food at the time of breaking Fast, to the point of stuffing one’s belly. There is no receptacle more odious to God, Great and Glorious is He, than a belly stuffed full with lawful food. Of what use is the Fast as a means of conquering God’s enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking it one not only makes up for all one has missed during the daytime, but perhaps also indulges in a variety of extra foods? It has even become the custom to stock up for Ramadan with all kinds of foodstuffs, so that more is consumed during that time than in the course of several other months put together. It is well known that the object of Fasting is to experience hunger and to check desire, in order to reinforce the soul in piety. If the stomach is starved from early morning till evening, so that its appetite is aroused and its craving intensified, and it is then offered delicacies and allowed to eat its fill, its taste for pleasure is increased and its force exaggerated; passions are activated which would have lain dormant under normal conditions.
The spirit and secret nature of Fasting is to weaken the forces which are Satan’s means of leading us back to evil. It is therefore essential to cut down one’s intake to what one would consume on a normal night, when not Fasting. No benefit is derived from the Fast if one consumes as much as one would usually take during the day and night combined. Moreover, one of the properties consists in taking little sleep during the daytime, so that one feels the hunger and thirst and becomes conscious of the weakening of one’s powers, with the consequent purification of the heart.
One should let a certain degree of weakness carry over into the night, making it easier to perform the night Prayers (tahajjud) and to recite the praises (awrad). It may then be that Satan will not hover around one’s heart, and that one will behold the Kingdom of Heaven. The Night of Destiny represents the night on which something of this Kingdom is revealed. This is what is meant by the words of God, Great and Glorious is He:
‘We surely revealed it on the Night of Power.’ [al-Qadr, 97:1]
Anyone who puts a bag of food between his heart and his breast becomes blind to this revelation. Nor is keeping the stomach empty sufficient to remove the veil, unless one also empties the mind of everything but God, Great and Glorious is He. That is the entire matter, and the starting point of it all is cutting down on food.
After the Fast has been broken, the heart should swing like a pendulum between fear and hope. For one does not know if one’s Fast will be accepted, so that one will find favor with God, or whether it will be rejected, leaving one among those He abhors. This is how one should be at the end of any act of worship one performs.
It is related of al-Hasan ibn Abil Hasan al-Basri that he once passed by a group of people who were laughing merrily. He said: ‘God, Great and Glorious is He, has made the month of Ramadan a racecourse, on which His creatures compete in His worship. Some have come in first and won, while others have lagged behind and lost. It is absolutely amazing to find anybody laughing and playing about on the day when success attends the victors, and failure the wasters. By God, if the veil were lifted off, the doer of good would surely be preoccupied with his good works and the evildoer with his evil deeds.’ In too full of joy to indulge in idle sport, while for one who has suffered rejection laughter will be precluded by remorse.
Of al-Ahnaf ibn Qays it is reported that he was once told: ‘You are an aged elder; Fasting would enfeeble you.’ But he replied: ‘By this I am making ready for a long journey, Obedience to God, Great and Glorious is He, is easier to endure than His punishment.’
Such are the inwardly significant meanings of Fasting.