The truth is heavy. It’s heavy because it’s not picked up by retinas or eardrums, but can only be understood through intuition, through the heart. And we go through life piling on armours, masks, defensive mechanisms, walls, attachments that obscure our window,as it were, to perceiving the world and situations for what they are.
We can only focus on one thing at a time and by default that is the habits, thought patterns, social norms that we’ve grown up with. It makes us feel safe so we justify the cons of remaining stuck and we discount the incentives for growing.
So, fasting is like a pause button in the brain that stops everything in their tracks. This is one of the reasons ( or so I think) that the divine books, Qur’aan being one of them, were all revealed during Ramadaan. It’s like a spiritual retreat that allows the true message of Allaah to hit us.
The shaytaan doesn’t control us, but uses our weaknesses to lure us in. To the degree that we have conscious control over our impulses do we resist the shaytaan’s misguidance. Our power comes from taking responsibility for our actions and not using the shaytaan as a scapegoat.
Advertising works in the same way as the devil; identifying our weaknesses and insecurities and luring us in by them. They exploit fear, body negativity, ageing, desire for social approval to push their products.
So the shayateen are locked up because a portal of our desires are locked. I’m not saying they are locked up *just* because of fasting, but I’m pointing to the underlying dynamics. Allaah mentions in the Qur’aan ( the translation)
(And Shaytan will say when the matter has been decided: “Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, and you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Shaytan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the wrongdoers.”)
Guidance only comes about through sacrifice. We have to sacrifice the comfort of food to receive the Raxma of Allaah and the Qur’aan. We have to go through the tedious process of preparing for hajj and travel and the different rituals before we reach Carafah where Allaah comes down to the lowest heaven. We have to sacrifice sleep to get up in the middle of the night and meet Allaah’s call for the seekers of forgiveness and ducaa.
Allaah says ( the translation):
And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.
I’ll pick apart this verse some other time because it’s chock-full with wondrous insights and mind-blowing connotations. This shows the correlation between struggle (jihaad, in this verse it means jihaad an-nafs because this verse came down before the legislation of military jihad came down) and hidaayah ( guidance).
– truth is seen through one’s heart
– truth requires vulnerability
– conformity is an obstacle in finding the truth
– The shaytaan only uses what’s in our hearts against us.
– Level of guidance depends on how much we’re willing to sacrifice