Jun 9, 2016, 11:39 AM
This Ibadah [Fasting] is one of Islamic pillars and compulsory for all Muslims, except for children below the age of puberty, the very old, the permanently sick, and so on. It also may be temporarily exempted for some excuses like pregnancy, lactation, menstruation, blood of childbirth, illness, and journey. All of these excuses allow postponing fasting to another time.
When Islam introduced this matchless institution, it planted an ever growing tree of infinite virtue and invaluable products. To make the point more specific let us discourse each of the three aspects as mentioned before:
a. Spiritual Objectives of Islamic Fasting:
Fasting is usually combined with additional prayer, mediation, reading and translating the Holy Quran and this combination helps in:
1. Closeness to and consciousness of Allah. The Quran says: “O you who believe! ObservingAs- Sawm (the fast) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious believers of Islamic monotheism who fear Allah much, abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden and love Allah much, perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained). Observing Sawm for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (needy person) (for every day missed). But whoever does well of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for if only you know.
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, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fast) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make this difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e.to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar; Allah is Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him”.
How dose fasting helps us to attain Taqwa. (Consciousness of Allah)? Fasting is a denial of the body’s physical needs. The body sends us signals that it wants food and water. We feel hungry and thirsty. The stomach is uncomfortable. The mouth is dry. At some stages of the day we may feel weak. It is within our power to remove these discomforts by eating or drinking, openly or secretly. But the discomforts also remind us that we are fasting in full obedience to Allah. He sees us wherever we are so there is no “secret” eating. He knows our intentions so there can be no “accidentally-on-purpose” swallowing of water during ablution.
The sincerity of a Muslim’s Iman (faith) is thereby tested many times a day while fasting. Every time he succeeds on overcoming the urge to eat or drink he weakens the domination of his own body over his mind, and strengthens his link with Allah.
With this daily experience of remembering Allah and submitting our wills to Allah there grows a greater closeness to Him. We are more ready to submit to Him in other aspects of our lives. We remember Him when we have to take moral decisions. This is what is meant by having “Taqwa” (consciousness of Allah). It helps us to take the right decisions even though this may involve temporary inconvenience or hardship.
2. Fasting teaches man the principle of sincere love; because when he observes the fasting he doses it out of deep love for Allah. And the man who loves Allah truly is a man who really knows what love is.
3. It equips man with a creative sense of hope and an optimistic outlook on life; because when he fast he is hoping to please Allah and is seeking His Grace.
4. It imbues man with a genuine virtue of effective Devotion, honest and Dedication and closeness to Allah because when he fasts he dose so for Allah alone.
5. It cultivates in man a vigilant and sound conscience; because the fasting person keeps his fast in secret as well as in public. In Fasting, especially, there is no mundane authority to check man’s behavior or compel him to observe the fasting, he keeps it to please Allah and satisfy his own conscience by being faithful in secret and in public. There is no better way to cultivate a sound conscience in man.
6. It is an effective lesson in applied moderation and willpower. The person who observes his Fasting properly is certainly a man who can discipline his passionate desires and place his self above physical temptation. Such is the man of personality and character, the man of willpower and determination.
7. It provides man with a transparent soul to transcend a clear mind to think and a light body to move and act. All this is the never-failing result of carrying a light stomach. Medical instructions, biological rules and intellectual experience attest to this fact.
8. It shows man a new way of wise savings and sound Budgeting; because normally when he eats less quantities or less meals he spends less money and effort. And this is a spiritual semester of home economics and budgeting
9. It enables man to master the art of mature Adaptability. We can easily understand the point once we realize that fasting makes man change the entire course of his daily life. When he makes the change, he naturally adapts himself to a new system and moves along to satisfy the new rules. This, in the long run, develops in him a wise sense of adaptability and a self-created power to overcome the unpredictable hardships of life. A man who values constructive adaptability and courage will readily appreciate the effects of fasting in this respect.