From Passionate to
Ibrahim B. Syed,
Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
7102 W. Shefford Lane
Louisville, KY 40242-6462, USA
O ye who believer!
Fasting is prescribed to
As it was prescribed
To those before you,
That ye may(learn)
(Fasting) for a fixed
Number of days;
But if any of you is
Or on a journey,
The prescribed number
(Should be made up)
From days later,
For those who can do it
(With hardship), is a
The feeding of one
That is indigent.
But he that will give
More, of his own free
It is better for him.
And it is better for you
That ye fast
If ye only knew.
(Surah 2: Al Baqarah,
Islam proceeded step by step and by
degrees in the imposition of most of its obligatory duties and Fasting was no
exception. The Noble Prophet(pbuh) advised Muslims to observe fasts for three
days in a month but this was not obligatory. Then in the second year of Hijra,
the Command(2:183) about fasting in the month of Ramadan was revealed. Verse 185
in Surah Al Baqarah was revealed next year. The first Commandment about fasting
contained in vv. 183-184 was revealed in the second year of Hijrah before the
battle of Badr. The subsequent verse which superseded it was revealed a year
later but was inserted here because it dealt with the same matter.
Siyam or Fasting during the month of
Ramadan is Third Pillar of Islam. Muslims wait all year long for the arrival of
this month of Ramadan. FASTING MEANS from dawn until sunset eating, drinking and
sexual intercourse is forbidden. Ramadan is the month of patience. A person who
is ready to be patient, not to eat while he is hungry, not to drink while he is
thirsty, not to lean to his lusts, such a person is a noble individual. Such a
person will be given paradise by Allah(SWT) as a gift, as a merit of award.
To train yourself to abstain from the
essentials of life is not an easy act. It needs a strong personality to dictate
self-control, self-discipline and self-restraint. Fasting develops self-control
and helps Muslims overcome selfishness, greed, laziness and other faults. It is
an annual training program to refresh us for carrying out our duties towards
Allah. A person who can restrain himself, for the love and pleasure of Allah,
deserves a reward from the Creator Himself. The hardship of fasting brings the
glad tidings that the fasting undertaken for the sole purpose of pleasing Allah
is sure to be accepted by the Most Merciful Lord.
Fast in which the spirit of Fasting is
not observed is only an exercise in starvation but not really a Fast at all. The
prophet(pubh) said " whosoever does not give up telling lies, or
acting in a false manner, Allah has
no need for his giving up his eating or drinking."
The basic purpose of Fasting is to
suffuse us with the quality of taqwa. The term "taqwa"
implies fear and precaution and in Islamic terminology it means fear of Allah or
God Consciousness and avoidance of disobedience to Him. Literally, taqwa
means: Godliness, devotees or piety. According to the scientific meaning, it
signifies a screen between two things. Thus, if the servant submits himself to
Allah's will by carrying out all obligatory duties with which he has been
commanded and abstains from that which Allah has prohibited, then his obedient
actions have placed a screen between himself and Allah's punishment. That is
called taqwa. In our life journey we face innumerable temptations
and we must shun them and stick scrupulously to the path of righteousness and
truth- that is what constitutes taqwa, and for generating this
taqwa. Taqwa is attained through knowledge which is
coupled with true faith(iman). If we do not possess knowledge, we cannot really
show piety. To obey the commands of Allah and to carry out His laws constitutes
taqwa. Fasting has been made obligatory on us. We are made
conscious about the needs and deprivation of those who are more in need than
ourselves. This heightening of one's sense of sacrifice is the opposite of
selfishness and of a desire to exploit or oppress someone for the sake of gain.
Allah(SWT) does not need our hunger, but fasting helps us to develop and refine
our reflex about right and wrong, our sense of love and gratitude. Ramadan
teaches us how to control our animal passions, how to bring them under
discipline. The end result is manifestation of a human personality that loves
Allah and loves His creation, that fears none but Allah, that draws all its
strength from Allah and Allah alone.
Ramadan is also the month of the
Qur'an, the month in which the Qur'an was revealed.The moral and spiritual
climate of Ramadan helps the flourishing of the Qur'anic message which the
ambiance is of goodness, humility, righteousness, love for good and aversion for
BENEFITS OF SIYAAM:
Besides the feeling of hunger and
thirst, fasting teaches us to control the love of comfort. It helps us to keep
our sexual desires within control. Siyaam builds and nourishes the soul of the
fasting Muslim. The fasting person enriches his fasting by the remembrance of
Allah, the recitation of the Qur'an, the night prayers, Zakah, Sadaqah(charity),
and by refraining from sins and obscenity. The fasting person lowers his gaze
and suppresses his desires. He guards his tongue from vain talk and obscenities.
He guards his hands and legs from the prohibitions of Allah. He employs his
hands and legs in the good and various deeds. Siyaam is not the mere refraining
from eating and drinking, it is also refraining from vanity and obscenity.
Siyaam builds a strong will and nourishes the truthful zeal in the soul. This is
achieved when the fasting person struggles to work for his livelihood and
resists his desires and temptations. Siyaam builds the strength to bear
difficulties and hardship and instills the character of perseverance. 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. If one fasts
from dawn to sunset, but continues to be abusive to one's spouse and children,
tell lies, swears wrongly under oath, commits zina, cheats one'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. Anger, a common human weakness, can also be brought under control by
fasting. A Muslim should keep away from all bad actions during his fast. He
should not lie, break a promise or do any deceitful act. Fasting in Ramadan
helps one to develop good habits and suppress or eliminate bad habits such as
smoking, drinking coffee, tea, etc. One can avoid or cut down on excessive
consumption of food.
A fasting person has feelings of
sympathy for the poor. The sense of compassion springs from the feeling of pain.
Fasting is a practical means to develop compassion for other people's
sufferings. The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) himself was very generous during
Ramadan instills unity and equality
among all the members of the Muslim ummah. The Muslims fast during the same
month, perform qiyaam al lail during the nights of this month and
all seek the night of Qadr. They offer zakat-ul-fitr at the end of the month and
celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr together. By doing this together during this month of
Ramadan, the ummah becomes like one body living in harmony. 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
Fasting builds important Islamic
values, such as compassion, cooperation, diligence, firmness, affection, fear of
Allah, trust in Allah, and many other qualities. Fasting establishes equality
among the rich and the poor. It is a compulsory experience of poverty in that it
makes all people share an quality, of feeling and to sympathize with one another
through a collective sense of pain. 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. This compassion increases the practical aspect
of the unity of Muslims and will reduce the idea of nationality and geographical
identity. Allah is pleased with his servants and answers the duaa of the fasting
person, when he supplicates to Him.
During the month of Ramadan, one should
visit and offer prayers more frequently in the local mosques. Ramadan is a
special time for visiting friends and family and sharing meals with the less
The Prophet(pbuh) said, " O people! The
month of Ramadan has come with His mercy, blessing and forgiveness. Allah(SWT)
has decreed this month the best of all months. Its days are the best among days,
its nights best among nights, and its hours best among hours. This is a month in
which you have been invited by Him to fast and pray. Allah(SWT) has honored you
in it. Every breath you take in this month has the reward of praise of Allah(SWT).
Your sleep in worship, your good deeds are accepted and your invocations
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 Qur'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. 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 Sajda and that He will guard their bodies against the fire
of hell on the Day of Judgment.
O' people! 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: "But not everyone
among us have the means to do so." The prophet replied: "Do it even if it be
with half a date or some water if you have nothing else.")
O' 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. 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. Whoever recites a verse
of the Qur'an in this month, his reward will be that of reciting the whole
Qur'an in other months.
O'people! 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. Satan has been handcuffed: invoke your Lord not to let him dominate
May Allah(SWT) make us become kinder
people, better neighbors and set good examples of the teachings of Islam which
we present. Ameen!