by Damon, Pennsylvania, USA, Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 23:00 (2131 days ago) @ amirabbas

Dear Amir Abbas,

Thank You for your post. I'll respond point by point.

"one can realize that there's a prohibition on "Eat and Drink" because the verse clearly states that we may eat and drink until a certain period and after that, we must complete the abstinence!"

This is not a prohibition and I base that on two different concepts.

The first concept is the fact that Kul/Eat and Ashrab/Drink are used in The Quran idiomatically to mean enjoy something and take pleasure in it. We only need to go to the very next ayat (2/188) to see that the Arabic word Kul is used idiomatically and not literally and we can go to 2/93 to see how wishrabu is used idiomatically as well.

The concept is another fact and that is there many commands given in the Quran. Both imperative and Negative imperative. And I point you towards just one verse that so happens to have BOTH types of commands (do something and do not do something). Just have a look at 2/104.

Putting those two concepts together and looking at 2/187 I simply do not see the idea of abstaining from eating and drinking especially since The Quran could have CLEARLY given the imperative/command to NOT eat and drink OR given the command to ABSTAIN from eating and drinking.

The word Saum itself DOES NOT mean abstinence from eating and drinking. It simply abstinence/Cessation.

The idiom Al -Sayyam is derivative of the word صا م, it means he abstained or refrained from doing some thing. It can be from eating, drinking, walking or talking or from anything.

The term صا م عَنِِ ا لسير means he abstained from going on journey.

The expression صا مت ا لر يح signifies wind becoming calm or motionless.

The phrase صا م الماconnotes, water becoming still or motionless.

The dialect ا ر ض صَوَ ا م stands for dry land in which there is no water.

The word مصا م denotes the station or standing place.

So the meaning of the term Al-Sayyam or صو م is to abstain or to refrain from doing some thing which people WERE ALREADY DOING and order them to start the new training program.

Brother Amir Abbas, "Laa Kuloo Washraboo/DO NOT eat and drink" is a very, very simple command and it is also clear-cut. It leaves absolutely no room at all for misunderstanding what The Quran is instructing us to do. 36/69 and 15/1 tell us that The Quran is CLEAR. So does 27/1. To tell the Momineen to NOT eat and drink OR to ABSTAIN from eating and drinking would be VERY CLEAR.

Another thing I think you should keep in about 2/187 is that according to the traditional understanding this verse is discussing nightly relations between a man and a woman; between man and wife. In fact, according to the traditional understanding this verse starts off with discussing the nightly relations between man and woman, SHIFTS GEARS in the middle of the verse to tell the believing men and women to abstain from eating and drinking during a certain period of time and then SWITCHES GEARS AGAIN and GO BACK to the ORIGINAL subject of the verse which is nightly relations between man and woman. So we are talking about two completely different and totally unrelated topics being addressed IN ONE VERSE!! Brother, can you point out to me just ONE OTHER VERSE in The Quran that is like this? Meaning, any other verse in The Quran that starts with one topic, switches to another topic in the middle of the verse and then go back to the original topic towards the end of the verse.

Although I am very open towards what you are suggesting and there are doubts on my mind as well, but, we cannot easily reject the traditional aspects because it's been already stated that, "O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Abstinence (from food, drink and sex during the daytime) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you get empowered against evil."

Brother, notice how I had highlighted in blue color the words in parenthesis. Those words ARE NOT in the original Arabic text of The Quran. They are the words of an English Translation.

Also, I think we CAN and SHOULD reject any tradition once we've ascertained that it is not Quranic. Indeed, we are OBLIGATED to do so.

According to Merriam-Webster, tradition can mean "the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction."

Certainly, you do not really think that everything traditional is absurd, religious, offensive and destructive!

I certainly think that THIS particular tradition is DEFINITELY absurd, religious, offensive and totally destructive.

It is absurd because it DOES NOT make a person a Muttaqee and has failed to do so for hundreds of years.

It is religious because all religions that I know of engage in it in one form or another. N2I isn't the only RELIGION which observes this practice.

It is offensive because innocent and unsuspecting people are being lied to and told to engage in something that is pointless and worthless. They are not allowed to examine this "tradition", question it and reject it.

And it is most certainly destructive because EVERY YEAR when these people engage in this ritual, they become irritable and short tempered. The Non Muslim foreign workers from South Asia in the oil rich countries of Saudi Arabia, The U.A.E. and Bahrain are lodging their complaints YET AGAIN just like they do every year about the Muslims SLACKING OFF in their work duties and how the South Asian's workloads double and triple because they have to pick up the slack. Just three years ago, an Arab Muslim by the name of Muhammad was working on my car while he was fasting and it was in the summer time so it was very hot and humid. He was very, very, VERY irritable, moody and short tempered. AND on top of that, he did a bad job at fixing my brakes and FORGOT to put brake grease on them. Maybe his mind was occupied with other thoughts. ;-)

I think we need evidence, from those that were before us, on how to complete "SAUM"! And if Mary did indeed eat, drink and speak while observing "SAUM", then what else can this abstinence program be apart from desisting from eating, drinking, excessive speaking, and behaviors?!

I personally do not feel that we need evidence from anyone, whether before us or after us. I am quite content to go directly to the source (The Quran) to gain an understanding of Saum and what it entrails. At the very least, you are able to acknowledge and admit that Saum in 19/26 cannot be abstaining from eating and drinking or a vow of silence. So by that admission now we know what Saum IS NOT. ;-)

I am aware that Zoroastrians, have instruction on not to eat meat (or maybe other stuff) for certain numbers of days in a month (ROOZAH!)... and throughout the history (those before us!) there have always been instructions on similar abstinence programs whether we see them strictly religious or not!

That is the mechanics of RELIGION. Islam is not a religion and The Quran is not a book of Religion.

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