The weather was heavenly yesterday. After months of scorching heat filled days followed by weeks of hot,humid weather which makes one feel like a chicken being cooked inside a pressure cooker,yesterday was surprisingly pleasant, with clouds looming low over the horizon and a slow breeze blowing. To make things even more perfect the last class for the day was canceled giving us teachers an extra hour and a half before we rushed over to our respective homes or hospitals.
My professor offered to take us all out for coffee and dessert. We bundled into two cars joking how teachers loved canceled classes more than students. We drove for an hour outside the city to get to this cafe situated in the middle of somewhere(the place was really neat and didn't look like middle of nowhere so it must be somewhere :P )
Getting carried away by the picturesque surroundings,relaxed ambiance, my bubbly co-workers chatting away without a care in the world and the general buzz of Imran Khan winning the elections in the atmosphere ( yes,that was the last nail in the coffin, his win. For the next five years everything that goes wrong, blame it on Imran Khan!!) I ordered a chocolate lava cake also called molten lava cake or simply chocolate molten cake. I am not a foodie by nature and over the years I have learned to like food even less, but this is one of the few things I LOVVVEEEE! so much so that one time I made a post on my social media about missing this chocolate filled delight! (go ahead, judge me lol)
While enjoying the plateful of yummy goodness I commented to my friends that even though this was something I loved and thoroughly enjoyed I was eating it after more than three years. Sitting there, devouring spoonful after spoonful of the gooey, rich filling I couldn't remember or more accurately did not care to remember what was the reason behind avoiding it for three years. Satiated, our stomachs full of good food,moods elated by the good company and guilt free after seeing our professor giving good tips to the parking valet and the person working at the gas station, we drove back home two hours later.
I reached home around maghrib, somewhat tired, a little bit sleepy and very full.I prayed maghrib and Isha, gave dinner to the kids and slept. I slept. I slept through the night barely waking up in time for fajr. Last night,on a shab e juma(friday night) of all nights, I missed Salat ul Layl after .... well..after a very long time. Missed,as in a complete blindness towards night prayers,as in completely forgetting it's shab e juma the most auspicious night of the week, the night when we read Dua e Kumayl, the night before friday where Allahسُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى asks 'isn’t there any believing servant who calls upon Me until before dawn so that I will grant his worldly and spiritual request?' and I just slept.These thoughts engulfed me when I woke up in the morning.
Silently cursing myself I got up offered fajr, qadha of namaz e shab and friday morning prayers and went to work where I spent a busy day. It wasn't until I was offering Isha namaz today that the thought came to me that the probable reason behind such a spiritually low thursday night was a full stomach and not just a full stomach, one that had been filled with indulgence and worldly pleasure.That made me reflect on our eating habits, the food we eat, the money we spend on the buying the finest ingredients or ordering delicacies in the restaurants, the time we waste on thinking and planning the lavish dinners, sometimes to show off, how we focus on taking twenty or so pictures of our food, so one can come out good enough to go on our social medias and give us that fleeting pleasure....all that food loses its taste for us, in seconds...in seconds once swallowed past the pharynx, converts into an acidic mixture as it goes to the stomach,the sight and smell of which repulses us if we ever happen to vomit it out and finally transforms into najis excrement in the intestines within a few hours.
This is the reality of food we spend a big part of our money and time on. Don't get me wrong, I am not criticising people for spending money and effort on providing healthier food for themselves and their families, neither am I trivializing the blessings of a meal that a wife or mother spent hours slaving on, out of the love for her husband and children, there is nothing more beautiful than this, nor am I discounting the barkaat and islamic recommendations of serving a good meal to friends and fellow momineens and humans in general. I am talking about the times when food takes over our lives, it makes us forget the purpose of our existence in this dunya, when we care only about filling our stomachs with the best we can get and as soon as we have stuffed ourselves full with one meal we start thinking about the next.
Thinking all this made me remember why I had given up on one of my favourite desserts three years ago, why Allahسُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى and our Ahlebayt(as) tell us to leave one third of our stomachs empty or filled with air. Our sole reason for existence is to worship Allah. Our bodies are the carriers of our soul in this dunya and whatever we feed our bodies will have detrimental or beneficial effects on the soul, depending on the type or quantity of food. Consuming haram food takes you away from Allah, gluttony leads to sluggishness and negligence in prayers,inclination towards dunya and its pleasures make you spiritually low. Being content with one type of food was how the righteous lived, eating less keeps the body light and healthy, keeping our food simple leaves us time and energy for more worthwhile endeavours.
So, the next time the weather is lovely and my boss is feeling generous and the coworkers are high-spirited........ I am not going to let myself forget the purpose of my existence and ask for coffee with milk,no sugar, thank you! :d