Why do we fast Ramadan?

The acts of worship that the Muslims practice seek to achieve certain goals and benefits that Allah wants His slaves to acquire knowledge in them and to comprehend and achieve them. Among these acts of worship is fasting during the lunar month of Ramadhan, which has several goals that the Muslim must strive hard to achieve with his heart and by his actions. These goals are as follows:

1. Achieving At-Taqwa, that is, the fear from Allah. Allah said, what translated means, {O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).} [2:183]. Hence, fasting is a means to achieve At-Taqwa. In fact, all the acts of worship and Taw’hid are methods and means to achieve At-Taqwa, as Allah has said, what translated means, {O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqun.} [2:21].

Adhering to the religion and implementing the Book of Allah are beneficial means and methods of achieving At-Taqwa. Allah said, what translated means, {Hold fast to that which We have given you, and remember that which is therein so that you may become Al-Muttaqun.} [2:63], and, {It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him.} [22:37]. At-Taqwa, as Talaq ibn ‘Habeeb has explained, “Involves worshipping Allah, on a Light from Allah and anticipating the reward with Allah and also involves avoiding disobeying Allah, on a Light of Allah and fearing the punishment of Allah.”

Achieving At-Taqwa is therefore a goal behind fasting, not just refraining from eating, drinking and fulfilling the desires. Allah is far Richer than what this type of people stands for. The Messenger of Allah said, what translated means, “Whoever does not abandon uttering Az-Zur (falsehood, false speech, etc.) and abiding by it, then Allah has no need for him to refrain from eating and drinking.” [Al-Bukhari]. He also said, “There may be a Sa-im (one who is fasting) who only gains hunger and thirst from his fast.” [Ahmad & At-Tabarani].

We must remember that the goal that we seek to achieve from fasting consists of achieving At-Taqwa and purity of the heart and staying away from sin and all acts of disobedience to Allah. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that Abu Hurayrah related that the Messenger of Allah said, what translated means, “As-Siyam is Junnah (a shield), so let him not utter foul speech, and if a person fought him or cursed him, let him say, ‘I am Sa-im – twice.’ By He in Whose Hand is my soul, the odor that comes out of the mouth of the Sa-im is better in the Sight of Allah than the scent of Misk (musk).” An-Nasaii and Sa’id ibn Mansur added in another narration for this Hadith, “Junnah (shield) from the Fire.” Al-Baydhawi said, “Fasting does not only involve hunger and thirst. Rather, it involves what accompanies that of defeating the desires and one’s compelling his own self that commands (to commit evil) to be subservient to the good innerself. When this does not occur, Allah does not judge the act of worship favorably, and this is the meaning of, ‘Then Allah has no need for him to refrain from eating and drinking.’”

We must remember that the goal that we seek to achieve from fasting consists of achieving At-Taqwa and purity of the heart and staying away from sin and all acts of disobedience to Allah.

2. Acquiring the rewards of Allah. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that Abu Hurayrah related to the Prophet that he said, what translated means, “Allah the Exalted said, ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are his, except for As-Siyam, for it is Mine and I will reward for it.’”.

3. The Prophet also said, “The fasting person has two happy moments: when he breaks his fast he is happy, and when he meets his Lord he is happy because of his fast.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]. About his saying, “When he breaks his fast he is happy,” and Imam Muslim’s addition, “Because of his breaking his fast,” Imam Al-Qurtubi commented, “It means he is happy because his hunger and thirst have ended, since he is allowed to break his fast. This happiness is natural and this is apparently the desired meaning. It was also said that his being happy is because of his breaking the fast, means that he has fulfilled his fast, and as a culmination for his practicing the acts of worship. His saying, ‘And when he meets his Lord he is happy because of his fast,’ means he is happy because of the rewards for fasting and its complete awards.’”

4. As-Sawm purifies the soul and helps it acquire the habit of obeying Allah and His Messenger by defeating the desires of the heart. Fasting teaches refraining from following the desires because the soul of the fasting person has become obedient to Allah’s commands. Also, Satan has a stronger hold over the souls that often obey the desires. When the soul abandons its desires, it will become more difficult for Satan to have a hold on the heart.

5. Being saved from the Fire, for the Prophet said, what translated means, “And Allah has those whom he frees from the Fire, and this occurs every night (meaning in Ramadhan).” [At-Tirmithi & ibn Majah].

Fasting teaches refraining from following the desires because the soul of the fasting person has become obedient to Allah’s commands.

6. Ash-Shafa’ah (the right of intercession). Abdullah ibn Umar related to the Prophet that he said, “As-Siyam and the Quran will intercede on behalf of the slave. As-Siyam says, ‘O Lord! I prevented him from food and obeying his desires in the morning. Therefore, accept my Shafa’ah on his behalf.’ And the Quran says, ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night. Therefore, accept my Shafa’ah on his behalf,’ and they will be accepted as intercessors.’” [Ahmad, Al-’Hakim & Al-Bayhaqi].

7. Having the sins forgiven. There is no doubt that fasting directs to having one’s sins forgiven and erased. The Messenger of Allah said, what translated means, “The five prayers, and from Friday to the next Friday, and Ramadhan to the next Ramadhan, are erasers for what occurs between them, as long as major sins are avoided.” [Muslim]. Also, the Messenger of Allah said, what translated means, “Whoever fasts Ramadhan with Iman and I’htisab, will have his previous sins forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]. Imam Ahmad and An-Nasaii added to the following to the above narration, “And also what will occur later on (meaning future sins, as well).” “With Iman”, entails fasting while believing with the heart in the obligation of fasting during Ramadhan. As for I’htisab, it means that one anticipates the reward and his fasting is therefore only for the sake of Allah and not to imitate his people and community or for any other worldly gain.

share

Leave a Reply