Special Edition on fasting The Spiritual and Social benefits of Islamic Fasting Fasting (SAWM) another tool to unite the Ummah.

Friday, July 03, 2015

10- It grounds man in discipline and Healthy survival.

When a person observes the regular course of fasting in consecutive days of the Holy Month and in the holy months of the consecutive years, he is certainly applying himself to a high form of discipline and a superb sense of order. Similarly, when he relieves his stomach and relaxes his digestive system, he is indeed insuring his body, not to mention the soul, against all harm that results from stomach overcharge. In this manner of relaxation he may be sure that his body will survive free from the usual disorder and break, and that his soul will continue to shine purely and peacefully.

11- Sympathy with the poor and hungry.

Anyone who has experienced the pangs of hunger while fasting must sympathize with the poor and with homeless refugees to whom hunger is a common experience. During the fasting month it is common express this sympathy by giving out food as and when one can afford it, and this practice is encourage at any tie of the year as an important act of charity. The act of giving food to those in need is made compulsory at the end of the fasting month when Zakatul-Fitr is to give out on behalf of every member of the family of those who have the mean.

12- Unity, Brotherhood and Charity.

The fast of Ramadan helps the Muslims to be aware of their unity. From the moment the new moon is seen, the whole Muslim world enters into the spiritual discipline of fasting. Mutual awareness and mutual sympathy between Muslims is increased. We try doing more acts of charity towards each other. We bear in mind that back-biting gossip, quarrelling and so on can take away the spiritual benefits and reward of our fasting, as shown in a Hadith from Abu Hurayrah in which the Prophet is reported to have said: “if a person does not keep away from falsehood and false conduct Allah has no need of his fast.” (Bukhari). According to another Hadith “If someone tries to pick a quarrel with a Muslim who is fasting he is to control himself and reply   “I am fasting.” By all these means Muslims cultivate peace and brotherhood during the holy month.

Therefore, it is the duty of every Muslim to fast the month, however, he who is too sick to fast, or is on travel during the month, can omit fasting during Ramadan, but he has to fast an equal number of days after Ramadan. See Q2/183-5.

Allah the Almighty gives reward in fasting more than any other deed. Abu Hurairah relates that the messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “God the Almighty said: Every deed by a person is his except fasting, fasting is mine, and I reward for it. Fasting is a shield, so if one of you is fasting on a certain day, he should keep away bad language and from noisy exchanges. If someone abuses him or quarrels with him, let him just say: I am on fast. By Him who has Muhammad’s soul in His Hand, the breath of a person on fast is sweeter in God’s sight than the smell of Musk. The person on fast has two occasions to be joyful about: When he breaks his fast, he will feel the pleasure of it, and when he meets his Lord, he will be pleased with his fast.

In another version in Al- Bukhari Allah says: “… he leaves his food, drink, and lust for me. Fasting is mine and I reward for it, one good deed is worth ten with Me.”

In another version in Muslim: “ Every good deed by a person is rewarded manifold: a good deed is rewarded by ten times its worth up to seven hundred times- God  the Most Sublime says – except fasting, which is mine, and I reward for it: a person on fast leaves his lust and food for Me. A person on fast has two occasions to be joyful about: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his lord Verily, the breath of a person on fast is sweeter in God’s sight than the smell of Musk”

In another occasion Abu Huraira (RLA) relates that the messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “ He who spends a pair in the way of God, will be called on the day of Judgment from the gates of paradise, ‘ O Servant of God, this is the good [of your deed], so, a person who is known for his prayer will be called to enter from the Gate of prayer, a person who is known for his jihad (struggle in the way of God) will be called to enter from the Gate  of jihad, a person who used to observe fasting will be called to enter from a gate called AR- Rayyan( literally sated with drink), a person who used to give away in charity  will be called to enter from the Gate  of charity.” Upon hearing this, Abu Bakr (RLA) asked: “O messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be given for you, one who I called from these gates will not be at a loss, but would someone be called from all the gates together?” He said: “Yes, and I do hope you will be one of them”

TYPES OF FASTING

There are two types of fasting: Obligatory and voluntary. Obligatory can be further subdivided into the fast of Ramadan, the fast of expiation and the fast of fulfilling a vow. Here we shall discuss the Ramadan and voluntary fasts.

THE FAST OF RAMADAN

The fast of Ramadan, according to the Quran, sunnah and consensus is obligatory. The evidence from the Quran consists of the following two verses: “O you who believe! Observing As-Sawn (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttagun (the pious)”. (Al-Baqarah, 2: 183). “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fast) that month.” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 185).

From the sunnah we have the following statements of the Prophet: “Islam is built upon the following five pillars: testifying that there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, the establishment of the prayer, the giving of zakah, the fast of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca.” Talhah bin ‘Ubaidullah reported that a man came to the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah, tell me what Allah requires of me as regards fasting.” He answered, “The month of Ramadan.” The man asked: “Is there any other (fast) The Prophet answered: “No, unless you do so voluntarily.” The whole Muslim nation agrees that the fast of Ramadan is obligatory. It is one of the pillars of Islam, and if one disputes this, he cannot be called a Muslim.

The Virtues of Ramadan and The Deeds Done During it.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: “The blessed month has come to you. Allah has made fasting during it obligatory upon you. During it, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates to hellfire are locked, and the devils are chained. There is a night (during this month) which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived (of something great).” This is related by Ahmad, An-Nasay and Al-Baihaqy.

‘Arfajah testifies to this:  “We were with Utbah bin Farqad while he was discussing Ramadan. A companion of the Prophet entered upon the scene. When Utbah saw him, he became shy and stopped talking. The man (the companion) spoke about Ramadan, saying: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah say during Ramadan. “The gates of Hell are closed, the gates of Paradise are opened, and the devils are in chains. An angel calls out: ‘O you who intend to do good deeds, have glad tidings. O you who intend to do evil, refrain until Ramadan is completed.”

Muslims relates that Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet saying: “The time between the five prayers, two consecutive Friday prayers and two consecutive Ramadans are expiations for all that has happened during that period, provided that one has avoided the grave sins.”

Abu Sa’ad Al-Khudry reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan. Obeying all of its limitations and guarding himself against what is forbidden, has in fact atoned for any sins he committed before it.” Ahmed and Al-Baihaqy related this with a good chain.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan with faith and seeks Allah’s pleasure and reward will have his previous sins forgiven.” This hadith is related by Ahmad and the compilers of the sunan.   

To be continued

Author: Alhajie Ousman M. Jah