Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ramadan is Rehab

Many people would think that rehab is for alcoholics or drug addicts, but the truth of the matter is...we all need rehab. On a daily basis we each often give into the drug more commonly known as the nafs (I think the closest translation would probably be the id - animalistic, non-rational side). We give into our id because its what feels good. Similarly, drug addicts and alcoholics engage in their risky behavior because doing so makes them feel good. Drinking takes there pain away as eating often times takes our pain away (my ticket to pain-free depression is mac and cheese).

In medicine, we often put a patient through rehab by taking them away from the thing that is harming them. At first, we completely isolate them from the drug, be it alcohol or any other recreational intoxicant. We do this to rid the body of the toxin. Its often a painful process resulting in hallucinations, delusions and pain.

In Ramadan we abstain from food and other things as well (swearing, lying, cheating, backbiting, sleeping, having intimate relations, and everything else that can be detrimental to our self). Like drug detoxification the first fast is probably the hardest, the most painful...I mean we are STARVING. This is the detox phase - please note that scientifically the act of fasting is actually a physical means of detoxifying the body, it allows the liver, kidneys, skin, etc to rid themselves and the body of toxins - go figure!

After the detox phase, we often place the addict in programs that teach behavioral modification. We teach him to completely stay away from bars, change his group of friends, even take a different route to work or home. We teach him to eat certain foods to help curb his cravings, etc. This can serve as a very influential, provided the addict takes it seriously and actually tries to modify his behavior. (Notice the similarities?)

In Ramadan, we often find ourselves attending the masjid more often than we do at any other time of our lives. We sit through long lectures, pray qiyam ul layl, give sadaqa, read Quran. We turn of our TVs, put our Tupac CDs away and pull out CDs with Quranic recitations of Shuyukh like Shaykh Al-Effasy or Shaykh Sudais. When someone tries our patience, instead of lashing out like we normally would, we try to refrain. We try to abstain from backbiting. And the list goes on.

There is no benefit to rehab unless the rehabilitation process continues. In medicine we say, "Once and addict, always an addict." Intoxicants are intoxicating, they take over your thoughts, they debilitate you and the truth of the matter is for as long as you live, you will always be in rehab. People don't say that they are Recovered Alcoholics or that they used to be alcoholics. When you go to an AA meeting people introduce themselves by saying, "Hi, my name is HB and I am an Alcoholic." And they proceed to tell you how many decades its been since they're last drink.

Likewise, we as Muslims are a constant work in progress. None of us is immune from the waswasa of Shaytan. Each of us is susceptible to fall into the trap of our desires. So while we go through an intensive one-month rehab session every year, it is up to us to remain in check, to take what we learn in this blessed month and apply it into our lives every day with out fail.

May each and every single one of you have a blessed Ramadan. Please remember me and the entire Muslim Ummah in your dua.


Sara سارة said...

Assalaam Alaikum Hijabified Beauty,

Beautiful post with excellent thoughts through and through, MashaAllah. I couldn't have said it better myself! =)

RedBerries said...

Agree. (I actually have no more words, I agree so much) x