Ramadan Diaries
 

Hunger

Our only knowledge of desperate hunger comes from the war and famine stories told by family elders and the novels we read. The deprivations suffered in various parts of the world do not affect those that are well-off and comfortable in the slightest.

Hunger, as told by Knut Hamsun’s stomach-pains-inducing descriptions, leads to rebellion when it is brought about by injustice in the allocation of resources among human beings and by desperation. (In Hamsun’s novel the tragedy that the protagonist suffers results in rebellion to God.) However, the hunger of the one who fasts is not like this. He is hungry, despite having all the means to feed himself, because his Lord wants him to experience this feeling. His hunger is a beloved hunger. That’s why it leads not to rebellion, but to empathy.

While people who have never fasted in their lives probably have no idea about hunger, the magnificent iftaars awaiting those who fast at the end of the day prevent them from truly appreciating the state of those who suffer from perpetual hunger. Nevertheless, the close association that arrogance has with all sorts of satiety is temporarily broken, and the subdued state that the fasting person finds herself in tames the potential to transgress bounds. And if you come across people that haven’t developed in themselves the modesty to respect bounds despite their years and years of fasting, then try thinking like this: What if they hadn’t been fasting! 

 

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