From Worship to Social Responsibility

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TEHRAN (IQNA) – Eating and drinking are natural acts, but the Qur’an says that this issue is different for men than for animals.

The reference to halal meals in the Qur’an is a reminder of the responsibility that affects our social relationships in simple but amazing ways.

The teachings of Islam contain many references to the subject of eating and drinking. “Make man think about the food he eats” [80:24]. Eating and drinking are among the most critical and basic human acts, and most wars and conflicts are directly or indirectly related to this issue.

A deeper look at Islam’s teachings on eating and drinking reveals that the rituals and duties incumbent on Muslims aim to establish a system of behavior in relation to eating and consequently establish specific rules and regulations governing human relationships and ultimately a healthy society to accomplish . We can see a summary of this system of behavior in fasting.

1. Worship and Spirituality

“Believers, the fast is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you; maybe you’ll be careful.” [2:183] The ban on eating and drinking during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset is a task proposed with the aim of strengthening man’s relationship with God and paving the way for the growth of human spirituality. But one can also identify other aspects of fasting.

2. Pay attention to the cleanliness of food

“People, eat of what is lawful and good on earth and do not follow in Satan’s footsteps, for he is a clear enemy to you.” [2:168]

“Halal” is a universal term that refers to a range of permissible behaviors in Islamic law. The food sector is one of the areas where the term Halal has been mentioned and it has three aspects here. First, the food sourcing method must be halal; that is, Muslim food should not be prepared by oppressing others. Second, the food itself must be clean; i.e. food and drink should not contain dates considered “unclean” (Najis) in Islam. Third, the amount of food consumed should remain within reasonable limits, and any extravagance is strictly forbidden. “Eat and drink from God’s bounty, and do not abuse the earth with corruption.” [2:60]

Any of the above three aspects will result in food or drink being considered haram. And the interesting point is that if a person breaks his fast by eating forbidden or haram food, that fast has no value and is unacceptable to God.

3. Help those in need

Experiencing the pain of hunger makes the fasting person more aware of the plight of those in need of food. This experience, along with many recommendations to help those in need during Ramadan, creates a widespread desire to alleviate poverty and hunger in society. This fact points to the social and reformatory aspects of a religious act, which not only relates to the relationship between man and God, but can also improve an important part of human relationships.

Of course, helping those in need is not limited to the month of Ramadan. Such is the Qur’an’s emphasis on this act that it is mentioned alongside prayer and in 200 verses. “Those who spend their property in the cause of God, at any hour of the day or night, public or private, will have their reward from their Lord. There will be no fear for them, nor will they mourn.” [2:274]

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