The month of Ramadan and the act of fasting is so dear to Allah (swt) that He did not restrict the reward of fasting in terms of numbers, but chose to award abundantly as He pleases. Out of immense love for a fasting person who leaves food and desires for His sake, Allah promises joy for him when he meets Allah on the Day of Judgment.
Prophet (pbuh) said: “Every deed of the son of Adam will be given a ten-fold reward, up to seven hundred. Allah says: ‘Except fasting, for it is for Me, and I shall reward for it, for he gives up his desire and his food for My sake…’ and the fasting person has two joys, one joy when he breaks his fast and another when he meets his Lord. And the smell from his mouth is better before Allah than the fragrance of musk.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Allah (swt) has also promised entry into Jannah through a special gate called Al-Rayyan, reserved for those who fast.
Prophet (pbuh) said: “In Paradise there is a gate called al-Rayyaan, through which those who fast will enter on the Day of Resurrection, and no one will enter it but them. When they have entered it will be closed and no one will enter it.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Allah has guaranteed that the dua of a fasting person is not rejected. So one should make lots of dua during fasting, especially before breaking the fast.
Prophet (pbuh) said: “There are three prayers that are not rejected: the prayer of a father for his child, the prayer of the fasting person and the prayer of the traveller.” [Bayhaqi]
For many people, the purpose of fasting is to abstain from food. But Allah explains in His Holy Book the real purpose for prescribing fasting in the month of Ramadan.
“Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many learn piety and righteousness” (Qur’an Ch 2: v183)
There are 3 desires, which if not controlled can land a person into a lot of troubles. These 3 desires include: Food, wealth and sexual desires. Greed for food can cause a person to become obese and hence invite a whole spectrum of diseases. Greed for wealth can cause a person to neglect his health, values and relationships to surmount more and more wealth. Greed for sexual desires can cause a person to fall in illegal relationships and activities, thus spoiling his health, family life and society as a whole.
Allah (swt) has blessed us with the month of Ramadan to put these desires into check, so that we are able to gain control over these desires. For many Muslims, it so happens that the rest of the year sins become a habit and it is only in Ramadan that they become conscious of their sins.
In this article, I would like to clarify the true essence of fasting. Fasting is not just for the stomach, but the entire body should fast.
Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever does not abandon obscene speech and evil action, Allah does not need his refraining from eating and drinking.” [Al-Bukhari]
Related: Ramadan Tips
Throughout the year, our eyes are engaged in watching shameful soaps and movies promoting illegal relationships, music, dance and sadly some may even be addicted to watching obscene content. This is your opportunity to get rid of your habits. Delete all obscene content and disconnect all vain sources of entertainment.
Delete your music library and fill it with Qur’anic recitation, tafaseer, stories of Prophets, sahabas and salaf. This month is the month of falling in love with the Qur’an. So you need to leave music as Abdullah Ibn Masud (RA) said,
“The love of the Qur’an and the love of Music cannot combine in the heart of a believer”
Prophet (pbuh) has clearly stated that if a person cannot control his tongue while fasting, his leaving of food is of no value. One must abstain from lying, foul language, backbiting, slandering, tale-telling and falling into arguments.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Fasting is a shield. When anyone of you is fasting on a day, he should neither indulge in obscene language, nor raise his voice; rather if anyone reviles him or quarrels with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
If someone is not in the habit of doing hijab or following the Sunnah of wearing a cap and sporting a beard, one can make an effort to begin this Ramadan. Read the book “More than 1000 sunan for every day and night” and try following as many Sunan as you can. When you would follow these Sunan for a month, they may become a habit.
Muslims have made the month of fasting, a month of feasting. When we feast at Suhoor and Iftar, we defeat the purpose of fasting which is to make us realize the pain of hunger-stricken people making us humble and charitable. Detox through fasting becomes toxic with intake of oily foods and ends up making us sluggish in our worship. So try to have simple meals.
Also fasting should not be made a reason to be lazy and unproductive. Fasting for a few hours is no reason to sleep the whole day. You should be active in carrying on your duties at work and home. Having suhoor will enable you to be energetic during the day.
As Prophet (pbuh) said: “Eat suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.” (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim)
Hands & Legs
One must not harm another Muslim, be it in the form of physical, financial, emotional or verbal abuse. One should try to gain control over his anger.
If a person is involved in earning his income through haram means, then he should rectify himself immediately. Because consuming haram forbids Paradise for a person, and hence contradicts the purpose of fasting to attain Jannah.
Prophet (pbuh) said, “No meat (i.e. person) that was nourished with haraam will enter paradise. Every meat (i.e. person) that was nourished with haraam is more deserving of the Fire.” (Musnad Ibn Ahmad)
Allah has commanded us to stay away even from legal sexual relationship with our spouse during fasting in order to enable us to gain control over our sexual desires. This would help a person to stay away from illegal physical sexual activities such as zina, masturbation and virtual illegal sexual activities over various forms of media. As Prophet (saw) has explained that Zina (illegal sex) can also be committed by the eyes, tongue and other body parts.
These were a few points one should keep in mind while fasting. If one does not keep their entire body under control while fasting, then Prophet (pbuh) said that such people will not benefit from their hunger or worship.
Prophet (pbuh) said: “There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray qiyaam and get nothing from their qiyaam but a sleepless night.” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah)
Share with us your suggestions as to what other measures we can take to feel the true essence of fasting.
Related Video: Why Fast? – Nouman Ali Khan