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SPECIAL EDITION ON RAMADAN: The Spiritual and Social benefits of Islamic Fasting

May 15, 2020, 12:54 PM | Article By: Alhaji Ousman M. Jah

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.

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 time 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.

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.”

Night of Qadr, its virtue 

The night of Qadr is the most virtuous night of the year. Allah says in the Qur’an: “We revealed it on the night of power [that is, qadr]. What will tell you what the night of power is? It is better than a thousand months.” Any action therein, for example, reciting the Qur’an, making remembrance of Allah, and so on, is better than acting for one thousand months which do not contain the night of qadr.

  1. Night of Qadr, it is preferred to seek this night

It is preferred to seek this night during the last ten nights of Ramadan, as the Prophet, (WAS), strove his best in seeking it during that time. We have already mentioned that the Prophet would stay up during the last ten nights, would wake his wives, and then would remain apart from them to worship.

  1. Night of Qadr, which night is it?

Scholars hold different opinions as to the night which is the night of Qadr. Some are of the opinion that it is the 21st, some say the 23rd, others say the 25th and still others say it is the 29th. Some say that it varies from year to year but it is always among the last ten nights of Ramadan. Most scholars, though, vouch for the 27th.

Ahmad recorded, with a sahih chain, from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet said: “He who likes to seek that night should do so on the 27th. Ubayy ibn K’ab said: By Allah, and there is no God but Him, it is during Ramadan--and He swore to that--and by Allah, I know what night it is. It is the night during which the Prophet ordered us to make prayers, the night of the 27th. Its sign is that the sun rises in the morning white and without any rays.” This is related by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ahmad, and by at-Tirmizhi who called it sahih.

Praying and making supplications during the night of Qadr 

Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: “Whoever prays during the night of Qadr with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven.”

As to the supplication during the night of qadr, ‘Aishah said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah: ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.’ “This is related by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and by At Tirmizhi, who called it Sahih.

To be continued