Mumtaz Moosa Saley
My mother walked into the house bright and early with my sister. Tasneem is usually extrovert, full of life kind of person but today she’s seems to have lost her sparkle.
We’re sitting around chatting about Eid preparation, in the hope that this year, we plan well enough to save time and more importantly save the drama! My mother is still trying to decide whether we should do a full family lunch or dinner but my thoughts are with my sister and her sullen mood. I can’t help but wonder what’s up with her.
Almost an hour after they arrived, we’re still going back and forth about where each family would prefer to be at what time and I inform my mother that Ahmed and I had decided to spend our morning at home, a simple Eid breakfast with the family and maybe Uncle Abdul, if he chooses to. My mother hearing this goes into drama queen mode. I choose to let her vent and instead turn to Tasneem, as I can no longer bear to see her so unusually quiet.
“I’m not depressed. No. nothing going on really. But I’m frustrated that I’ve not lost an ounce of weight even with all the fasting!”
I’m quite surprised about the reason and it shows all over my face especially as my jaw dropped wide open in disbelief.
Tasneem reacts by storming out of the room and my mother begins shouting at me, reminding me of the days we were teens at home, disagreeing about something, that brought out my mother’s protective instinct.
“Sabreen! What on earth is wrong with you?” “You know full well how Tasneem has been battling with her weight and it’s not like we all don’t hope to lose some in Ramdhaan. When did you become so holy than thou and so judgemental?” she yells.
I remain silent in the face of the truth my mother has unleashed and to stop myself from making any further stupid comments. But my mother is not appeased.
“Sabreen! I’m waiting for an answer here and all you do is carry on like you are better than Tasneem. You’ve gone and upset her so.”
“Mum, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound condescending but I do believe that the point of fasting in Ramadhaan certainly isn’t for weight loss! We have to check our intentions and understand that this month is about spirituality. If we don’t fast with the intention of pleasing Allah and start thinking about the weight we have lost and gained we need to re-evaluate our intentions If we say it’s in hope to lose weight our intention is not for the pleasure of Allah but instead we’re doing it for our own gratification.
My mother sits down and after a moment of silence responds, “Sabreen, you’re right. We’ve been taught to fast mostly out of fear for Allah and as a ritual rather than for His pleasure as that is the point. Shukran for the reminder my dear.”
My mother's words comforted me but I suppose I had reacted harshly toward my sister although that was not my intention at all. Swallowing my pride, I went to find her to apologise and this time I would choose my words to be more kind and gentle.
We’re taught as children about niyyaah or intention, that value is based on a person’s action by intention. However, the intention should always first be for the pleasure of our Creator for when we seek His pleasure, we grow closer to Him and He rewards us greatly.
And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good. (Chapter (29) sūrat l-ʿankabūt (The Spider)