"But, Mum, I do not want to eat. I am a big boy and I can fast," Thabit told his mother.
"But you are fasting, Thabit. 7-year-old children eat in the morning and a little in the afternoon and then they don't eat anything else till evening."
"But you do not fast like that, Mum," the little boy insisted.
"I am older, Thabit. Grownups fast that way."
The young gentleman sat deep in thought and then asked, "Mum, why do we fast?"
"That's a good question, Thabit." She got up and went to the kitchen cupboard. She removed something from it.
"Do you know what this is, Thabit?"
"It's a blender."
"Do you know what it is supposed to do?"
"It blends passion fruit for juice." His mother laughed. "Yes, it does blend. Our body does the same thing. It grinds the food we eat; it takes what it needs and removes the rest. It does this everyday, day in day out."
"Doesn't the body get tired, Mum?"
"It does. Just like the blender. When we have blended juice for too long, it refuses to work. Then it needs fixing. So we have to give our body a rest so it can work better for us. That's why we fast in Ramadan and some other days in the year."
"Does everybody fast, Mummy?"
"Not everybody. If you are ill or expecting a baby or if you are old and weak like Daddy's grandpa or if you are 7 years old then you don't fast.
The little boy thought some more. He ate the food his mother had set before him without much fuss. "What if you don't want to fast?"
"What is your sister Nur's favorite color?" "Pink".
"And what is the color of her uniform for Madrassa (School)?" "Blue".
But she says she'd like to wear her pink hijab when she goes."
"And why doesn't she?"
"She is afraid Ustaadh (Teacher) will punish her."
"You see, she was afraid Ustaadh would punish her. Ustaadh will punish her because she has broken the rule of the madrassa by wearing pink.
You see, Thabit, Allah knows what is good for us and so we have to do as He commands, because He sees and knows everything. We love Him and fear Him and we don't want Him to be displeased with us."
"But don't you get hungry, Mum?"
"Of course we do. But we keep ourselves busy on other important things to take our mind away from the food. We read the Qur'an, or we visit the sick people or we go to the mosque and listen to dars. You see there's plenty to do and before you know it, it's time to eat!"
"Is there another reason why Muslims fast?"
"Yes. You are lucky, Thabit, because you have food everyday. Not everyone has food to eat."
"Like the poor people at Baroda Road?"
"Yes, like them. If we go hungry like them, we will be able to understand that they need help."
The little boy seemed satisfied with the answers, his mother had given him. "Mum, can I go with you and Daddy to help the poor?" "By the Grace of Allah, you can."