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THE VALUE OF FASTING IN BOTH MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN FAITH

By Milly Babirye Babalanda

I thank all believers that have observed the holy months of fasting both in the Christian and Muslim faiths. Christians started their Lent last month while Muslims started observing Ramathan, the fourth pillar of Islam, earlier this month. The convergence signifies togetherness of humanity, which is the foundation of the communion of believers.

In Islam, Ramadhan is observed all over the globe. It begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon. It’s is a period of introspection, communal prayers and reciting of the holy Quran.
Primarily, fasting is a requirement from Allah as evidenced in Quran 2:183 where Allah the Almighty says: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” By obeying His command, Muslims are exonerated of their sins.

Through fasting, one gains piety, tranquility, and refrains from wrong doing. This is to be celebrated and a price that every believer should willingly pay.

During the overlapping months of self-denial, believers choose to deny themselves certain pleasures including food so as to deepen their devotion to the Almighty Allah! Fasting tames human cravings as we focus on what Allah wants for our lives.

To me, as the faithful submit to the command to fast, it is the depth of one’s faith, and a test of their firmness in their devotion. One’s mind and heart are focused on the Almighty, reminded that He is our only want and whoever loses anything for Him gains much more in Him. By obeying Him, everything else is added unto us. Want of earthly things makes us worship those things in His place, and that does not guarantee a believer’s earthly wellbeing and diverts the stream of angels preparing one’s way in the afterlife.

Fasting teaches one to be patient and long suffering. One learns to save for the future, and not to hanker for quick gains that do not come with sacrifice.

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This is the community we are building, one where people aspire for better by investing for the future and not eating their seed. This is a route by which we can fight corruption; when people have self-control, they can hold themselves accountable and let pass opportunities that they have not rightly earned, it’s a step towards inhibiting the temptations that lead to corrupt acts.

A believer learns to obey authority, as it says that “all leaders come from God”. Fasting also builds the communal spirit.

As you fast, always remember the needy and extend a helping hand to them so that they may see the hand of God working through you. Visiting the sick and those in prison, opening our houses to those who seek shelter and who need assistance increases one’s blessings. We are called not to be gloomy as if in mourning but be cheerful as if fully nourished.

I urge all to maintain the same behavior and spirit exhibited during fasting season and through the resurrection of Christ so as to set an example of how good citizens behave at all times.

Peacefulness and welcoming all people, even those of different faiths, makes us admirable and a shining light for all to see. Let these admirable attributes resurrect in us.

We are reminded to work hard for prosperity of our families, community and the country at large.
Be part of Government’s Wealth Creation programs which seek to uplift all the people to a standard that truly glorifies God! God is a God of plenty and he asks us to fill the earth and bring it under our dominion. When you gain more from the work of your hands, you are able to give more and in turn earn more blessings from He who has endless streams of benefaction for His creation.

In this regard, I, once again, pledge Government’s ready support to members of all faiths, through organised groups. All Government programs are designed to address the needs of all people from their diverse backgrounds and beliefs. It is a Government for all.

This was taken into consideration while crafting the concept for programs such as Emyooga and Parish Development Model (PDM). These are revolving funds which are interest free and which I urge all believers to join organised groups and benefit from.

This will teach our people to work with their hands while praying for divine blessings to prosper them. A society of believers is easier to transform than that of nonbelievers, and Uganda is a society of believers. I see our blessings raining down as we bow more to the Almighty God.

Once again, I thank you for observing Ramathan and pray that Allah rewards you with whatever it is that you wish for in life, not limited to good health, wisdom, wealth, peace and unity.

Happy Ramathan, to the Muslims and Happy Easter season to the Christians!

The author is the Minister for the Presidency

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