by Damon, Pennsylvania, USA, Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 17:48 (2134 days ago) @ jawaid ahmed

Salaamun Aleikum Dear Jawaid Saheb,

BROTHER JAWAID: " I also believe the physical aspect of the Quran to abstain from eating and drinking strengthens us as well.

What I was trying to say is that in order to do the all encompassing training programme of saum/abstinence, there is no need to drop the ‘traditional’ no eating or drinking part, which is being advocated by some, we can do both."

Dear Brother, is there a verse in The Quran which categorically tells us to abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset? To command us not to eat and drink would simply be the imperative made negative and the imperative is made negative by simply placing the Arabic word لا at the beginning of the imperative. So in Arabic, the command/imperative to abstain from eating and drinking would be لا كلوا واشربوا - DO NOT eat and drink from sunrise until sunset.

Notice that such a command is not given in The Quran and yet such a command is clear and straightforward and leaves no room for misunderstandings. If the Momineen were meant to abstain from eating and drinking as per Quran, I can see no reason why The Quran would not just clearly say so.

Also, Surah 19, ayat 26 puts the N2I understanding of Saum into quite a pickle. In that ayat, Maryam is COMMANDED to eat and drink with the words كلي واشربي and in this ayat she is ALSO OBSERVING SIYAAM.

So, here's the problem. If eating and drinking are meant to be understood literally then obviously Saum in this ayat is not abstaining from eating and drinking. Saum in this ayat cannot be a vow of silence either because she is VERBALLY SPEAKING to other human beings and letting them know that she is observing siyaam. If eating and drinking are to be understood idiomatically then I would have to ask how and why it is idiomatically in 19/26 but it is supposedly literal in 2/187 even though the Arabic word Ta'am is NOT mentioned anywhere in this ayat. However, the two verses preceding 19/26 (verses 24 and 25) imply the provision of water and dates preceding the command to eat and drink. And I think it's important to point out that eating and drinking in 19/26 are given in the imperative voice. She is TOLD/COMMANDED/INSTRUCTED to eat and drink while she is observing Saum.

If we agree that Al-Islam is not a religion, but a DEEN, a SYSTEM of Human Rights and Social Justice, then we must cease interpreting The Quran with religious, mythological ways of thinking. Just like namaz is not unique to N2I, traditional religion, neither is fasting is unique to traditional Islam "Religion".

STATEMENT: 2/183 says As-Siyaam is observed and performed so that the Momineen attain "Taqwa"...that is, they become Muttaqee.

QUESTION 1: HOW does abstaining from eating and drinking make a person attain Taqwa?

QUESTION 2: What is your understanding of what Taqwa is?

QUESTION 3: If fasting makes a person become Muttaqee then WHY does it not work with the traditional Muslim world? Just look at the entirety of the traditional Muslim world who have been engaging in this ritual every year for the past 10-12 centuries and tell me why this ritual routinely fails to make these people Muttaqeen.

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