Dr Zaynab D'Elia

Dr Zaynab D'Elia

As Laila put the finishing touches on the evening meal, she knew exactly where her teenage son, Hamid, would be. Sitting in front of the television watching one of those "Boot Camp" reality shows. One week, it was Weight Loss Boot Camp, another a mock military Boot Camp, and another a Writer's Boot Camp. As he sat at the table he said to his family, those Boot Camp shows are great! It's amazing how a person can change in so little time with the right training and persistence.

After dinner, Hamid's father stopped by his room to say goodnight. Hamid was surprised to see his mother come in the room too, and both of them sit beside him on the bed. "You know, Hamid dear," his father said, "I think you are old enough this summer to go to Boot Camp." Hamid was elated. "Really Dad! You will let me go to Boot Camp?" Hamid could hardly control his excitement and was thinking of how he would add Boot Camp to his Facebook page for all his friends to see.

First though, he had a thousand questions. "But which Boot Camp, father? Where will I be going? What will I be doing? What will I learn? How will I change?" Hamid's mother chimed in. "This year, my dear son, you will be entering the month of Ramadan as a mature person. That will be your Boot Camp!" Hamid was puzzled, but his mother and father explained. What you see on TV are different kinds of Boot Camp.

One is about getting physically fit, another about learning how to defend yourself and your society, another about learning how to develop your potential. The blessed month of Ramadan offers you all this and more! Through fasting, you are burning off the extra accumulated stores in your body. In fact, fasting is one of the best know detox methods in the world! And because you are getting your eating under control for an entire month, you are really teaching your body that YOU are the boss!

The next time you feel like reaching for a snack, you will decide what and when you will eat; your desires and cravings will have been tamed by your will. You also build your stamina, perseverance, and confidence. If you ask someone if they could go without food or drink all day long, they would immediately say, "No way!" And even if they tried, they would abandon the project in a couple of hours.

But in Ramadan, we make a commitment to Allah, and He shows us the great stores of perseverance and stamina that He has given us. We see a side of ourselves we never saw before. Hamid's older brother stopped in and joined the conversation. "When I think of Boot Camp, I think of my military training. We learned to take orders, to wake up early, to train, and finally to be able to defend ourselves and others from attack."

Hamid's father smiled. Well, in the Blessed month of Ramadan, we also practice taking orders. We are obedient to the best Commander of all, Allah (to Whom belongs all might and majesty). We wake up early, we put our self through hardships, and in the end, we are defenders. We learn to defend ourselves from the temptations of the Satan, and by becoming strong ourselves, we protect those around us as well.

And the best thing is, we get to renew this intensive Boot Camp training every year! Hamid was so happy to hear this Blessed month described in this way. He couldn't wait to begin his "training"! May Allah grant us the benefits of this Holy Month, allow us to sit at the table of his Beneficence, and to develop into the human being that He accepts.

Courtesy of the TIES Center: the TIES Center aims at empower Kuwait's expats through social and educational services that promote a positive and productive role in society, and to facilitate opportunities for intra- and interfaith interactions that promote social solidarity. For more information, you can contact TIES at Tel: 25231015/6; Hotline: 94079777; e-mail: [email protected].

By Dr Zaynab D'Elia