SHAFAQNA -Â Besides the feeling of hunger and thirst, fasting teaches us to control the love of comfort.Â It helps us to keep our sexual desires within control.Â Fasting builds and nourishes the soul of the fasting Muslim.Â The fasting person enriches his fasting by the remembrance of Allah, the recitation of the Qurâ€™an, the night prayers, Zakah, Sadaqah(charity), and by refraining from sins and obscenity.
The fasting person lowers his gaze and suppresses his desires. Â He guards his tongue from vain talk and obscenities. Â He guards his hands and legs from the prohibitions of Allah.Â He employs his hands and legs in the good and various deeds.Â Fasting is not the mere refraining from eating and drinking, it is also refraining from vanity and obscenity.
Fasting builds a strong will and nourishes the truthful zeal in the soul.Â This is achieved when the fasting person struggles to work for his livelihood and resists his desires and temptations. Â Fasting builds the strength to bear difficulties and hardship and instills the character of perseverance.Â The fasting person by depriving himself from food and drink, and other necessities of life becomes capable of controlling his desires, capricious whims, and temptations.
The purpose of fasting is to enable a Muslim to control his passions, so that he becomes a person of good deeds and intentions.Â Â If one fasts from dawn to sunset, but continues to be abusive to oneâ€™s spouse and children, tell lies, swears wrongly under oath, commits zina, cheats Â oneâ€™s children by not giving them what is duly theirs of nafaqah in the form of care and love and indulgence in other wrongful acts, then the objective of fasting has not been achieved. Â Anger, a common human weakness, can also be brought under control by fasting. Â A Muslim should keep away from all bad actions during his fast. Â He should not lie, break a promise or do any deceitful act.
Fasting in Ramadhan helps one to develop good habits and suppress or eliminate bad habits such as smoking. Â One can avoid or cut down on excessive consumption of food.Â Â Â A fasting person has feelings of sympathy for the poor.Â The sense of compassion springs from the feeling of pain.Â Fasting is a practical means to develop compassion for other peopleâ€™s sufferings.Â The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself was very generous during Ramadhan.Ramadhan instils unity and equality among all the members of the Muslim ummah.Â T
he Muslims fast during the same month perform qiyaam al lail during the nights of this month and all seek the night of Qadr. Â They offer zakat-ul-fitr at the end of the month and celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr together.Â By doing this together during this month of Ramadhan, the ummah becomes like one body living in harmony.Â The fasting person is alert and cautious not to fall into something that might spoil his or her fasting or seek the wrath of Allah.Fasting elevates the person from the material life to a higher spiritual life and helps him or her to approach a spiritual level that of angels who worship Allah day and night without tiredness.Â Â Â Fasting builds important Islamic values, such as compassion, cooperation, diligence, firmness, affection, fear of Allah, trust in Allah, and many other qualities.Â Fasting establishes equality among the rich and the poor.
It is a compulsory experience of poverty in that it makes all people share a quality, of feeling and to sympathize with one another through a collective sense of pain.Â Fasting Muslims can really sympathize with the starving people everywhere in the world and see the hardship that they go through every day of their lives.Â This compassion increases the practical aspect of the unity of Muslims and will reduce the idea of nationality and geographical identity.Â Allah is pleased with his servants and answers the duaâ€™a of the fasting person, when he supplicates to Him.Â Â Â During the month of Ramadhan, one should visit and offer prayers more frequently in the local mosques.
Ramadhan is a special time for visiting friends and family and sharing meals with the less fortunate.The Prophet (PBUH) said, â€œO people! Â The month of Ramadhan has come with His mercy, blessing and forgiveness. Â Allah (SWT) has decreed this month the best of all months.Â Its days are the best among days, its nights best among nights, and its hours best among hours. Â This is a month in which you have been invited by Him to fast and pray. Â Allah (SWT) has honored you in it. Â Every breath you Â take in this month has the reward of praise of Allah(SWT). Your sleep is worship, your good deeds are accepted and your invocations answered.Therefore you must invoke your Lord in earnest, with hearts that are free from sin and evil, and pray that Allah (SWT) helps you fast, and recite the Qurâ€™an. Give alms to the poor and the needy.
Pay respect to your elders, have sympathy for your youngsters and be kind toward your relatives and kinsfolk.Â Guard your tongue against unworthy words, and your eyes from scenes that are not worth seeing and your ears from sounds that should not be heard.Understand well that Allah (SWT) has promised in the Name of His Majesty and Honor that He will not take to task such people who perform Salaat and Sajdaand that He will guard their bodies against the fire of hell on the Day of Judgment.Â Â Oâ€™ people!Â If anyone among you arranges Iftar for any believer, then Allah (SWT) will reward him and forgive him his previous sins. (A companion of the prophet (PBUH) asked: â€œBut not everyone among us have the means to do so.â€? The prophet replied: â€œDo it even if it be with half a date or some water if you have nothing else.â€?)Â Â Â Oâ€™ people! Anyone who cultivates in this month good manners will walk over the bridge leading to paradise on the day when feet will tend to slip. Â Anyone who treats his kinsfolk well in it, Allah will bestow His mercy on him on the Day of Judgment while anyone who mistreats his kinsfolk, Allah will keep him away from His mercy. Â Whoever recites a verse of the Qurâ€™an in this month, his reward will be that of reciting the whole Qurâ€™an in other months.Oâ€™people!Â The gates of paradise remain open in this month: pray to your Lord that they may not be closed for you.
The gates of hell are closed during this month: pray that they may never be opened for you. Â Satan has been handcuffed: invoke your Lord not to let him dominate you.â€?May Allah(SWT) make us become kinder people, better neighbors and set good examples of the teachings of Islam which we present. Â Ameen!’
Ref: By Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed, President of the Islamic Research Foundation of Louisville, KY