Fasting (siyyaam or sawm) is an act of worship which involves abstaining from all food, drink, sexual activity and anything which is bound to break the fast from dawn (the time of calling to the Fajr prayer) till sunset (the time of calling to the Maghrib prayer).
Virtues of the Month of Ramadaan
Ramadaan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar
Ramadaan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is the best month of the year and has a number of virtues, including the following:
- It was the month in which the greatest and most exalted of all divine books, the Holy Qur’an, was revealed: “It was in the month of Ramadaan that the Qur’an was revealed, with clear signs of guidance and a criterion of right and wrong. Therefore, those of you who are resident for the month must fast it.” (Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:185)
- The Prophet ﷺ said, “When the month of Ramadaan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hellfire are closed and the devils are chained.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 3103, Saheeh Muslim: 1079)Thus, it provides an opportunity for the faithful to do their utmost to get closer to Allah by doing righteous deeds and avoiding evil ones.
- Whoever fasts during the daylight hours and stands in prayer at night throughout this month will have his past sins forgiven, as the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadaan, out of sincere faith and in anticipation of Allah’s rewards [in the hereafter], will have all his past sins forgiven.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1910, Saheeh Muslim: 760) He also said, “Whoever offers the voluntary night prayers with sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards [in the hereafter] will have all his past sins forgiven.” (SaheehAl-Bukhaaree: 1905; Saheeh Muslim: 759)
- Laylat-ul-Qadr (The Night of Decree; also called the Night of Power) occurs in this month. The Qur’an informs us that doing righteous deeds during this night is far better than doing them for many years: “The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.” (Soorat Al-Qadr, 97:3) Aposon who proys on this night out of sincere faith and in anticipation of Allah’s rewards in the hereafter will obtain Allah’s forgiveness of all past sins.This night falls on one of the last ten odd-numbered nights of Ramadaan and no one knows its exact time
The Wisdom behind Fasting
Allah ﷻ commands the believers to observe the fast for numerous reasons pertaining to this world and the hereafter. These include the following:
- It helps realise taqwaa (righteousness, piety, consciousness of Allah, guarding against evil) :
Fasting is an act of worship through which the faithful seek closeness to their Lord by giving up their passionate desires and placing themselves in opposition to physical temptations at all times and places, in secret and in public, knowing that Allah is watching them. As the Qur’an states, “O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you, just as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous (Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:183)
- It provides ample training in refraining from sin and wrongdoing
When a fasting person desistsfrom engaging in permissible acts, in total obedience to Allah, he will certainly be able to bring his whims and desires under control, easily avoid sins and will not persist in falsehood and deviation from the truth. The Prophet ﷺ said, “A person who does not desist form deceitful speech and actions [while fasting] must know that Allah is not in need of him leaving his food and drink.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1804) This means that those who do not desist from telling lies and deceiving others do not actually perceive the purpose of fasting.
- It helps us remember the needy and the distressed and encourages us to sympathise with them
Because the fasting person experiences the pangs of deprivation and hunger, which are only temporary, he realises the severe effects of such pains on his fellow Muslim brothers and sisters who might be deprived of the essentials of life for a long time and undergo extreme hunger and thirst. This prompts him to feel more compassion for them and help them.
Virtues of Fasting
Fasting has numerous virtues including the following:
Ramadaan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
- A person who fasts during this month, sincerely believing in Allah, in obedience to His commands and is certain of His rewards in the hereafter for doing so, will have all his past sins forgiven. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadaan, out of sincere faith and in anticipation of Allah’s rewards [in the hereafter], will have all his past sins forgiven.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1910; Saheeh Muslim: 760)
- The fasting person will experience great joy in the hereafter for the great rewards he will get and the bliss he will enjoy for fasting. The Prophet ﷺ said, “The fasting person has two moments of joy: one when he breaks his fast and the other one when he meets his Lord.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1805; Saheeh Muslim: 1151)
- Paradise has a gate called Ar-Rayyaan through which only those who used to fast will enter, as the Prophet ﷺ said, “In Paradise there is a gate called Ar-Rayyaan, through which only those who fast will enter on the Day of Resurrection, and no one but they will enter it. It will be said, ‘Where are those who fasted?’ They will then get up, and none will enter it but them. When they have entered, it will be closed, and no one else will enter.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1797; Saheeh Muslim: 1152)
- Every act of worship has a certain reward except for fasting, for which Allah, in His boundless bounty and mercy, will reward those who observe it abundantly. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah said, ‘All the deeds of the children of Adam are for them except for fasting, which is for Me, and I will reward it.’”(Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1805, Saheeh Muslim: 1151)