FASTING: Delusion Or Development?


A friend of mine and a fellow book reader paid me a visit for our usual intellectual discussions and arguments. He does not believe in God, he is secularist with a major interest in classical and modern politics.

While I am a God Faithful and a Moralist with much of my interests subjected on Science, Technology and Philosophy.

After the pleasantries and an offer of snacks from me, we began to dive into our usual discussion of the various books we read lately and relating them to the Concept of God and his existence. At a point, he asked that I joined him to enjoy his package.

He knew fully well that we are in a Sacred month when eating is prohibited during the day. But he asked anyways, just to tease me maybe. He could have observed that I looked weak, hungry, exhausted and dehydrated. Yet, I served him and denied myself. Why???

He laughed impulsively while we chatted and while he enjoyed his package and I could not tell exactly why. At a point, he could not hold on anymore and he was forced to express.

“Sabah, it surprises me so much that a man of your knowledge and readership will purposefully deny yourself of food just to fulfil some religious requirements. Wake up from the delusion, you are are only starving yourselves and suffering for a whole nothing” He laughed ceaselessly.

“Really?” I responded with a smile “I would have called you a fool but I am not usually hurt by your words to be abusive. But I am quite disappointed by your ignorance my friend. Nonetheless, I shouldn’t be disappointed because it simply shows you don’t know and you are wanting to.

I explained further “If only you are well versed and thoughtful of the ideals and realities of life, you should know that you don’t need to believe in God to realise that stopping yourself from eating sometimes is good for your body, soul and psych.” He was puzzled and it showed in the change of his face form.

Religions could have unconditionally instructed adherents to observe total abstinence from foods and desires during a time when there was not much of science and logic, but the growth of information and sciences today are quite enough to teach us why we must continue do it.

Biologically, abstinence from food and water for a period of time makes one’s body feel free, detoxified, filtered and less saturated of the junks we consume everyday without breaks and it gives the organs and tissues adaptive abilities and the abilities to regenerate their disturbed cells.

Don’t you think that these adaptive abilities developed by the religious ones could be of a great advantage in an event of famine? Famines have wreaked havoc on the people of the past and we are uncertain of our own fate. I am not sure it is a thing of the past already.

Nature will never be in our control.
This is just a few of the many biological benefits of fasting.

Now coming onto the philosophical points: What defines true strength and weakness? Ever wondered why the Buddhist monks refrain from eating, drinking and even, speaking; as forms of ritual to build up strength and to develop their minds? Why the teachings of Buddha is centred on controlling your cravings and ensuring peace of mind.

Eating can only be a compensation for hunger or a reward for cravings; both of which are weaknesses/urges that align perfectly with every other weaknesses, desires and emotions of men. A truly strong human is he/she who is able to stay focused on his goals while avoid distractions no matter what. Food is a major distraction in this very period of our spiritual development.
Therefore, it is a recommendation for every truly learned human to seek for ways to vanquish their weaknesses, desires and emotions. Have them all under their control. This is the definition of true strength. You don’t need to be religious to do these.

My stultified friend kept staring at me in amazement of my explanations as I concluded. But it didn’t show any sign he was ready to quit enjoying his snacks.


Article Owner: Abdulsalam Sabah

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