Fasting, A Gift from Your Creator

Through fasting we seek closeness to God by obeying him sincerely and carrying out his will in our daily life, our actions and thoughts, till our days and nights bear witness that He is dearer to us than anything else. Look at the time schedule of a believer during this month; getting up early before dawn for a light snack, stopping all eating and drinking all day, being anxious to devote himself to prayers and adoration of God, eagerness to do good and eschew evil, and during the nights of this month to stand in prayer for hours, sacrificing sleep and comfort, offering special extra prayers: more or less like one of a soldier under rigorous training. The only difference here is that it is not just one physical battle he is training for, but an all-comprehensive and continuous war against evil, both from within and without.

Special Rewards…..

It is well known that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) regularly observed fasting in other parts of the year besides Ramadan, and he always exhorted his followers to do the same. But it is in the month of Ramadan when the entire Muslim community all over the world observes fasting that a special meaning emerges. It transforms fasting into an institution that elevates the human soul to unprecedented heights. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Every good deed is rewarded from ten to seven hundred times over, but God says fasting is the exception; it is for Me, and My servant forgoes his eating and drinking for my sake, so I Myself will reward My servant for it.”

Gift of Qur’an……

Association of fasting with the month of Ramadan reminds us that it was during this month that Allah perfected His blessing upon mankind by giving us His last book, the Qur’an. “Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Qur’an as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgement (between right and wrong). So everyone of you who is present (at home) during that month should spend it in fasting.” (The Qur’an, 2:185)

Fasting in the month of Ramadan thus takes on a new spiritual and moral significance. It is the month in which we celebrate the praises of our Lord God for the great gift of the Qur’an. We glorify Him and extol His holiness by fasting during this month.

The Qur’an not only shows man the right path, but also guides human reason and lays down a clear criterion between right and wrong, good and evil. It is not just a book of do’s and don’ts, but is the repository of infinite wisdom, and a guidance to the highest moral and spiritual excellence as well as to material and temporal success.

The Qur’an regards human reason as the greatest single gift of God to man, and addresses its message to it, but it can function properly only if it is free and objective in its outlook. Fasting helps free human reason from the tyranny of unruly lusts and appetites, whims and caprices, individual and social, which often overwhelm and enslave it. Fasting puts human reason back in the driving seat by restraining, not suppressing or destroying three dominant human desires: desire for comfort, desire for food, and desire for procreation of his species. The Qur’an liberates human reason from the clutches of blind but powerful and unbridled emotion and sentiment.

THE STRAIGHT PATH…………

Following the path of good is often unpalatable, and involves struggle against one’s own desires and interests. It may also sometimes mean doing or saying what one considers true but is not popular and hence risking the anger and displeasure of others, sometimes of those most dear and near. To stand firm under these circumstances steadfastly following the right path requires a great deal of inner strength and self-restraint – a prime moral and human quality – to choose what is right and then abide by it notwithstanding the difficulties and sacrifices. “Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there are that follow it,” whereas “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few are they who find it.” (Matthew 6:13-14)

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