The Day I’m Happy to Fast

In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

Of all the ritual practices of Islam, I find fasting to be among the most difficult for me. For some reason, going all day without food or drink takes a tough toll on me. I think it’s because I’m weak. But I am who I am. I pray the Lord forgives my weakness.

But on this day, the Day of Arafat, I’m happy to fast. That’s because it is in solidarity with my brothers and sisters who were blessed to be able to go to Mecca to perform the once in a lifetime pilgrimage. I was blessed to go on that sacred quest in 2003.

The Day of Arafat is when pilgrims, who number 2.5 million this year, stand in the plain of Arafat and plea for forgiveness from God. It is one of the most emotional and powerful days of a most powerful spiritual experience. I remember sitting down – with tears of shame flowing down my cheeks – and thinking about all the ways I fell short of God’s way. And then I begged Him to look past them and take me into His arms. The moment is one I will never forget as long as I live.

For those who are not on the Hajj, it is encouraged to fast this day in solidarity. And so I’m happy to fast and remind myself of that day when I came to my Lord’s House and He let me in with smiling Face. Arafat was yesterday.

Thanks to Him, the day is short this time of year and thus fasting is easy. But even if Arafat is in the midst of summer – which it will be in a few years – I will fast with a smiling face. Because that day was such a happy day for me.

Let me also send to everyone a prayer for a blessed Eid ul Adha today. May the soothing mercy of the Precious Beloved cover all of us today and every day His Face shines over the world.

In Your Most Holy Name I ask You. Amen.


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