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Fasting for Allah vs starving for no good reason

A striking analogy was demonstrated to me today when discussing what to eat for dinner with my husband. He had decided to fast today which is something that I forgot during our phone conversation this afternoon.

Near the end of our conversation I exclaimed passionately, "I haven't eaten since 9:30 this morning". He did not share my sentiment. It wasn't until after we hung up, that I remembered he was fasting, and thus, hadn't eaten in an even longer time than I.

How was it that I was more hungry than he? Was I imagining my feelings? Was I exaggerating my hunger? Well, yes and no--I concluded that what I was experiencing was primarily based on my frame of mind. I was able to acknowlede that in the past when I did something for the sake of Allah, the task was often easier for me. Today my husband made the intention to fast, fee sabeelillah, and I did not. I was going hungry for no good reason; which made me all the more hungry!

As Muslims we should think about everything in the right frame of mind. If we understand and acknowledge that whatever we are suffering through we are doing it for Allah, then the experience becomes less difficult.

Think of it like this: When you don't eat or drink for 9+ hours for Allah, it means you are fasting.  But when you don't eat nor drink for 9+ hours, for any other reason, it only means that you are on the path to starvation.