The Wisdom And Virtue Of Fasting

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

Ali Hifni Ibrahim

Indeed, piety is one of the high and sublime ends which is attainable only by people of high determinations. Piety is the final end of worshippers, and the Glorious Qur'an is the caller to follow the way of piety, and explained the ways of ascertaining it. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "It is not Al Birr (piety, righteousness, and each and every act of obedience to Allâh, etc.) that you turn your faces towards the east and (or) the west (in prayers); but Al Birr is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allâh, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, and to Al Masâkîn (the needy), and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves free, and performs As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and gives the Zakât, and who fulfil their covenant when they make it, and who are patient in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during the battles). Such are the people of the truth and they are Al Muttaqűn (the pious)." [Surat Al Baqarah: 177]. The Ayah mentioned the rules of keeping to promises and covenants, mentioned patience and its positions, and concluded by truthfulness and piety. "Such are the people of the truth and they are Al Muttaqűn (the pious)." Hence, we recognize the value and virtue of fasting which is enough to achieve piety if the fasting person understands the meaning of fasting and acts according to it. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fast) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqűn (the pious)." [Surat Al Baqarah: 183].

The virtues of fasting are many of which is: It connects a person with his Lord (Glory be to Him) through fixing creed as the Prophet delivered from his Lord (Glory be to Him): "All the deeds of Adam's sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it." The Hadith guides a person to the obligation of purifying his heart from hypocrisy while he is doing righteous deeds for the sake of Allah not for the sake of worldly benefits. Hypocrisy or worldly actions are reasons for wasting the reward of actions where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "He who does not acquire knowledge with the sole intention of seeking the Pleasure of Allah but for worldly gain, will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection." [Reported by Abu Dawud from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him]. If this Hadith is applied in knowledge, its application in actions is more entitled.

Of the benefits of fasting: It promotes within man the ability of fearing Allah (Glory be to Allah) by preparing a fasting person for holding himself accountable. A person stays alone in a locked room and no one sees him and it is easy for him to eat and drink, but the only thing prevents him from doing so is fearing Allah and His Retribution. Although these foods and drinks are lawful in themselves but a person abstains from them in compliance to Allah's Command. Thereby, his ability of abstaining from prohibited desires and observing patience becomes easier.

This fear of Allah is part of the perfection of faith, feeling shy of Him, and exaggeration in glorifying Him. Fasting is the main preparation to souls to control the body and achieve their integrity in the world and their happiness in the Hereafter. When this virtue increases in souls, it will accompany a person in all his conditions, and all his actions and sayings become virtuous. Hence, when a person intends to do a sin or transgress the limits of Allah, the virtue of fearing Allah prevents him from falling into prohibited matters. This confirms Allah's Saying: "Verily, those who are Al-Muttaqűn (the pious), when an evil thought comes to them from Shaitân (Satan), they remember (Allâh), and (indeed) they then see (aright)." [Surat Al A'raf: 201]. The world is reformed by this type of people who spread reformation, but when they neglect, reformation ends. Such people are counted faithful not liars, sincere not hypocrites, reformers not corrupters because they advance the rights of Allah to the rights of themselves. Here, we know that fasting in Ramadan is a preparation for Muslims' actions and sayings after Ramadan because if a person learns this virtue, he shall benefit for the rest of his life. So, fasting is one of the greatest factors of social and moral reformation.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling." This Hadith corrects a conception to some people who think that a fasting person should abide by the manners of Ramadan during the daytime, but when the night comes, he plays or turns away from Allah's Obedience. This is the problem of the Muslim society because how many people do not get the reward of their fasting but they only feel hunger and thirst. The Hadith speaks about the day of fasting which includes day and night, and if we are allowed to meet our basic needs during the night, we have to abide by the manners of fasting during the night as we observe it during the day to make it our nature. This is part of the benefits taken from fasting Ramadan as it is a cure for social and moral diseases, moreover it accustoms a person to do righteous actions frequently. In addition, the Qur'an says: "The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'ân, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)." [Surat Al Baqarah: 185]. Gabriel (peace be upon him) used to study the Qur'an with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) during Ramadan. Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) exhorted people to perform the Optional Night Prayer when he said: "Whoever performs Salah at night the whole month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, all his previous sins will be forgiven." They are eight Rak'ahs during which we prolong the recitation of the Qur'an, kneeling down, and prostration in accordance to the description of 'A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) to the Prophet's Salah as she said: "He used to perform four-Rak'ah Salah, do not ask about their excellence and their length then he used to pray four Rak'ahs. So, do not ask about their excellence and their length."

If fasting means abstaining from food, drink, and desire during daytime, one of its conditions is the Optional Night Prayer and reciting the Qur'an. Then a person should check his response to the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him) so as to obtain the manners of Islam: Obey its commands and stop at its prohibitions, and this is not hard for man. The manners of the Prophet (peace be upon him) were the Qur'an as 'A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said.

Fasting is not only abstaining from food and drink only, but also reformation to belief, purification of manners, and accustomedness to virtue. The life of a person depends on many factors such as food, drink, air, sun rays, sleep, and wakefulness, and none can live without one of them. The same thing goes for fasting which depends on food, drink, abstention from prohibited matters, reciting the Qur'an and offering Optional Night Prayer to complete the favor of Allah upon His Servants.

Hence, we know that the month of Ramadan is one of the great favors of Allah upon His Servants.

May Allah guide us to the best!


EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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