June 29, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Fasting in the month of Ramadan is an obligation and a great worship. It is among the best acts of obedience. In fasting there is great reward. “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil.” (The Holy Quran, 2:183)
Fasting helps to develop and strengthen Muslims’ powers of self-control so that they can resist wrongful desires and bad habits, and therefore guard against evil. In fasting, by refraining from the natural human urges to satisfy one’s appetite, we are exercising our ability of self-restraint, so that we can then apply it to our everyday life to bring about self-improvement.
Also, fasting in this holy month of Ramadan provides us with the opportunity to attain nearness and closeness to God so that He becomes a reality in our lives. As we bear the rigours of fasting purely for the sake of following a divine commandment, knowing and feeling that He can see all our actions however secret, it intensifies the consciousness of God in our hearts, resulting in a higher spiritual experience.
We learn to refrain from usurping others’ rights and belongings when we are fasting. In fasting, we voluntarily give up even what is rightfully ours; how can then we think of taking what is not ours but belongs to someone else?
Charity and generosity is especially urged during Ramadan. We learn to give, and not to take. The deprivation of fasting makes us sympathise with the suffering of others, and desirous of alleviating it and it makes us remember the blessings of life which we normally take for granted.
Fasting in Islam does not just consist of refraining from eating and drinking, but from every kind of selfish desire and wrong-doing. The fast is not merely of the body, but essentially that of the spirit as well. The physical fast is a symbol and outward expression of the real, inner fast.
One of the doors of Paradise, named ar-Rayyan, is specified for those Muslims who used to fast in this world. On the Day of Judgment it will be opened, and those who used to fast in obedience to Allah will be called to enter through that door.
The Qur’an al-karim descended in this blessed month of Ramadan. The Night of ‘Qadr’ is in this month. In the holy month of Ramadan, it is an act of ‘sunnah’ to have the ‘iftar’ early and to have the ‘sahur’ (pre-dawn meal) late. The Messenger of Allah was careful about performing these two ‘sunnahs’.
Maybe hurrying for the ‘iftar’ and being late for the ‘sahur’ show humans’ incapacity and that they need to eat and drink, and consequently, everything. This is the meaning of worshiping.
We should consider this month as an opportunity. We should perform as many acts of worship as we can, do the deeds which Allahu ta’ala likes, and deem this month an opportunity for earning the next world.
In this holy month of Ramadan, thousands of those Muslims who are to go to hell are forgiven and emancipated every night. In this month, the gates of Paradise are opened. The gates of hell are closed. The devils are chained. The doors of compassion are opened. May Allahu ta’ala bless us all with the lot of worshipping Him in a manner worthy of His greatness and with being on the right way which He likes.
In this month, also those bosses who facilitate the work of those under their commands and who make it easy for them to worship will be forgiven. They will be emancipated from hell. In the blessed month of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah (sall-Allahu ta’ala ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to emancipate the slaves and would give whatever was asked from him. Those who can do good deeds in this month will be blessed with doing such deeds all the year round. If a person disrespects this month and commits sins in this month, he or she will spend all the year sinning.
Those who do not fast and who eat in public are not respectful to this month. Even people who do not perform ‘namaz’ must fast and avoid the prohibited actions. Such people’s fasting is accepted and is a symptom of their faith.
It is an obligation upon every Muslim to fast in this blessed month of Ramadan, and it is a grave sin not to fast without a good excuse.