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Fasting of the Heart



1.
yaa Ayyuhal-ladhina amanu
Kutiba alaykumus siyamu
kama kutiba alal-ladhina min qablikum
la 'allakum tattaqun.


O you who securely believe!
Fasting is prescribed for you
just as it was prescribed for people of the past,
so that you may attain Taqwa.

~ The Qur'an 2:183

The word TAQWA is a very special term in the Qur'an, which can be translated as God consciousness or holiness. Every spiritual practice has a goalThe Goal of the month of fasting or Ramadan is to attain TAQWA.


Blessed are those who hunger and thirst (fast) for righteousness (TAQWA),
for they shall be satisfied. - Beatitudes of Jesus


In continuation of the Divine Message transmitted following the Old Testament and New Testament - from the same source fountain - each Word of the The Final Testament, Quran, is considered a Sign (Ayah), a Sign that guides to truth and inspiration, unfolding moment by moment to its readers, speaking of what is yet to come and born within our consciousness.

When we turn to the original verses of the Quran where message regarding the month of Ramadan is spoken of: we have five verses together all of which ends with keywords (all of which ending with the same letter Nun) which, according to many scholars and mystics of Islam are pointers to the intention and the destination to which Ramadan beckons all who find it.

These five verses are in the 2nd Chapter of the Quran beginning with: verse 183: O you who securely believe! Fasting is prescribed for you just as it was prescribed for those who came before you, in order that you might (lead yourselves) to Taqwa (tattaqun).

The next four verses ends with the words:
- Ta'lamun (from 'ilm, meaning 'knowledge', 'knowing')
- Tashkurun (from shukr, 'thankfulness')
- Yarshudun (from rashad, irshad, 'guidance', 'to be guided')
- Yattaqun (from taqwa, to attain higher consciousness, 'divine consciousness')


Venerable Ali has this poetic saying:

Taqwa is: to be in awe of the Supreme Divine Awesomeness (Jaleel),
Acting upon the Tanzeel (divinely revealed message, Quran),
Being content with Qaleel (little),
and preparing for the day of Raheel (Journeying from this world).


ON TAQWA


Wat-taqu-Llah!
Be conscious of Allah!

Taqwa is an unique word in the Quran and almost impossible to translate properly in any other language. The meaning of this word is a composite of the following meanings:

- to preserve, to safe guard
- to take good of something,
- to shield,
- to become conscious,
- righteous, piety,
- to attain divine consciousness and through that awareness taking (imbuing) what is good and guarding against that which is base.


Having Taqwa allows a person to be constantly aware of both God's omnipresence and attributes and a reminder of one's relationship and responsibility to God as creation and servant. The scholars explain that the way to Taqwa is through obedience of God, avoiding disobedience, and striving to stay away from doubtful matters. Put simply, Taqwa is awareness of God's presence as one moves through life.

To place it in the context of the month of Ramadan and the practice of Siyam (fasting, abstinence) - Taqwa is placed at the beginning and at the end as a goal to be obtained. Taqwa is God consciousness which has no limit and one can deepen one's taqwa to an indescribable height, beyond the idea of beyond.

Such height of realization of Taqwa gives rise to blessed prayer such as, "I take refuge in Thy approval, in Thy contentment from Thy discontentment, Thy rejection!" (for a lover the severest of punishment is the punishment that the Beloved rejects the lover, forsaking, turns away and be discontent with) (as Quran warns against this reality, They have forgotten Allah and so He has forgotten them. - Q 9:67)

And while attained even higher stage one utters, "I take refuge in Thee from Thee!"

At its apex the theophany arrives where the heart song becomes:

What shall I do
if not fly from Thee to Thee?
To whom shall I go,
to whom recite my tale?


The most common thing which leads people to Paradise is Taqwa of Allah and good conduct (akhlaq), and the most common thing which leads people to the Hell Fire is the mouth and the private parts. - Saying of the Prophet, in Tirmidhi

Taqwa is an ocean and only lovers (of God) who understand the secret of it can dare to dive into it. As gnostic and sufi poet Attar said, "He who would Know the Secret of both Worlds will find that the Secret of them both is Love."

Approaching Taqwa is striving towards that divine awareness, that God consciousness which makes the lover not be forgetful for a moment, to be in love constantly in every moment to such degree that a gnostic's Eye of Certainty opens and starting inwardly at himself, he finds himself lost, bewildered and vanished ... but ... he finds the Friend, the Beloved and when he looks still deeper, realizes the Friend is here:

Beloved, I sought You
here and there,
asked for news of You
from all I met:
then saw You through myself
and found We were identical.
Now I blush to think I ever
searched for Signs of You.

Taaqwa is occupation with the Beloved to such degree from which the beloved Jesus could say, "I and the Father are One, the Father in me and I in Father." This comes from merging into the Divine Consciousness (the apex of Taqwa) to such degree about which the gnostics wrote:

O BELOVED,
Occupy me so
with Thy Love
that in such Love I no more
busy myself with Thee.


A knower of Allah used to define taqwa as the shunning of everything and anything that causes a deficiency in one’s relationship with Allah.

O believers! Have Taqwa of Allah as is His right to have Taqwa. And die not except while you are one who submits to Him. ~ Surah Al-Imran: 102

TAQWA IS IN THE HEART


Once the blessed Prophet pointed to his heart, not once, not twice but three times and said, "TAQWA IS HERE, TAQWA IS HERE, TAQWA IS HERE!"

~ Hadith found in Tirmidhi and Ahmad

If the goal of Ramadan is to attain TAQWA, and TAQWA being a practice and function of the HEART, then the practice of Fasting is best done when we can practice the fasting of the heart. 

The goal of Fasting is to attain Divine Consciousness (Qur'an 2:183) and since the Heart is the Seat of Consciousness, the highest form of Fasting is Fasting of the Heart.

Yes on gross level, fasting is about abstinence from food and bodily passion, but on subtle level, it is about becoming more and more conscious of bout the higher levels of consciousness, the pinnacle of which is Divine consciousness.

Robert Frager in the Book, The Wisdom of Islam said, "Fasting of the heart is to keep only the love of God in our hearts, instead of the love of the world. For one day, try to keep your heart filled with the love of God as you carry out your duties in the world. In the evening, review your day. When did you manage to remember God, and when did you forget?"

Thus Fasting of the Heart means to turn away from everything other than God (ghayrullah), and to occupy the heart with the remembrance and consciousness of God and God alone, ie, with the essence of La ilaha illaAllah. 


La ilaha illaAllah 


There is no other reality that is real other than the Real.


Nothing else is real other than the Reality of God.


Nothing else matter but God.




May our Fasting in this month bring us to the true Fasting of the Heart, which is to abstain more and more from anything other than God. May in this sacred month we are helped by God to raise our awareness, our consciousness to the highest degree where we envision, we feel and we immerse ourselves in nothing but God in the heart of our heart. Thy will be done. Amen.



And the good end [Paradise] is for the [people of] taqwa.
~ Surah Taha:132

Let us flee to God for shelter.


# Related Posts / Resources On Fasting and Taqwa:


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