With the recent spat about intolerance to those who are fasting in the fasting month, I am quite determined to revive my blog and dribble something here.
"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." - Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV) -
Fasting is supposed to allow us to spend more time praying and less time indulging to our nafsu for food. At the same time, it is time to deny our physical body's needs to gain our spiritual food. Those who fast are supposed to be tested, so that, when we pass the test, we can rely on God's strength to lift us up, God's wisdom to conquer temptation, God's spirit to allow us to be patient, and God's charity to love and help others who are really in need.
If you ask whether a Catholic does fast, throw a stone out of the window, and you will hit a FEW who DOES fast. Do we complain when we fast and others tempt us with food? No, because we know man does not live on bread alone!
If you ask whether any Christian does 72 hour fast (and, that is at least 5 times longer than the hours between 'sahur' and 'buka puasa'). Yes! Even within the community that I know, I can tell you there is more than a handful. Do they complain? No, because we are supposed to be in prayer and have our hearts purified through the denial of our flesh.
Why do people even complain that people are intolerant when they eat in front of those who fast? Perhaps they forgot that it is what God sees in our heart that matters. They forgot that showing sour faces to others means they already had their reward. That, for them, the fasting month is nothing other than showing off that they could fast and make others like him. Or, simply, misery loves company (yes, I am actually saying that fasting is equivalent to misery to some).
Wake up, and be a more charitable person and less hypocrite. Otherwise, the "Maaf Zahir Batin" greeting would mean nothing after all.