Editor’s note: Ramadan is undoubtedly the month of blessing from Allah and every conscious Muslim seeks to utilise the period judiciously in order to gain more rewards from the Creator of the universe.
In this piece, NAIJ.com examines 10 reasons Ramadan is prescribed for all Muslims by Allah, the Ever living.
In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful, whoever Allah guides, no one can lead him astray and whoever Allah sends astray, no one can guide him.
Verily the best of speech is the Book of Allah (Qur’an) and the best guidance is the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah give him peace and bless him), and the most evil matters are those that are newly invented, for every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hell fire. May Allah save us from the torment of Hell fire, (Aameen).
Basically, Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan because Allah has commanded them to do so. Allah says in Qur'an 2 verse 183 (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (pious)."
The believers hasten to obey the commandments of Allah and His messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Allah says in Qur'an 33 verse 39 (interpretation of the meaning):
“The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah (His words, the Qur’an) and His messenger, to judge between them, is that they say: ‘We hear and we obey.’ And such are the successful (who will live forever in paradise)."
“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed into a plain error."
It is by His wisdom that Allah has prescribed a variety of acts of worship, so as to test people with regard to how they will obey all these commands. Will they only choose to do that which suits them, or will they do that which pleases Allah?
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked about the reason fasting was enjoined? He replied by quoting Qur'an 2 verse 183 that, "we will know the reason fasting was prescribed, which is taqwa (piety) and submission to Allah."
According to him, Taqwa means giving up haraam things, and in general terms includes both doing what is commanded and abstaining from what is forbidden.
Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it and offensive speech and behaviour, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” The hadith was narrated by Al-Bukhaari, 6057.
Based on this, it is important for the one who is fasting to carry out religious duties and avoid haraam (forbidden) things in word and deed. So he should not backbite about people, tell lies, or spread malicious gossip among them, or engage in haraam (forbidden) transactions, and he should avoid all haraam things.
The Islamic scholars (May Allah have mercy on them) have mentioned some of the reasons fasting is prescribed, all of which are characteristics of taqwa, but there is nothing wrong with quoting them here, to draw the attention of fasting people to them and make them keen to attain them.
Among the reasons behind fasting are:
1. Fasting is a means that makes us appreciate and give thanks for pleasures. For fasting means giving up eating, drinking and having legitimate intercourse, which are among the greatest pleasures. By giving them up for a short time, we begin to appreciate their value. Because the blessings of Allah are not recognised, but when you abstain from them, you begin to recognise them, so this motivates you to be grateful for them.
2. Fasting is a means of giving up haraam things, because if a person can give up halaal things in order to please Allah and for fear of His painful torment, then he will be more likely to refrain from haraam things. So fasting is a means of avoiding the things that Allah has forbidden.
3. Fasting enables us to control our desires, because when a person is full, his desires grow, but if he is hungry, then his desire becomes weak. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O young men! Whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting one’s chastity. Whoever cannot do that, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.”
4. Fasting makes us feel compassion and empathy towards the poor, because when the fasting person tastes the pain of hunger for a while, he remembers those who are in this situation all the time, so he will hasten to do acts of kindness to them and show compassion towards them. So fasting is a means of feeling empathy with the poor.
5. Fasting humiliates and weakens the Shaytaan (devil); it weakens the effects of his whispers (waswaas) on a person and reduces his sins. That is because the Shaytaan “flows through the son of Adam like blood” as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, but fasting narrows the passages through which the Shaytaan flows, so his influence grows less.
Undoubtedly blood is created from food and drink, so when a person eats and drinks, the passages through which the devils flow – which is the blood – become wide. But if a person fasts, the passages through which the devils flow become narrow, so hearts are motivated to do good deeds, and to give up evil deeds.
6. The fasting person is training himself to remember that Allah is always watching, so he gives up the things that he desires even though he is able to take them, because he knows that Allah can see him.
7. Fasting means developing an attitude of asceticism towards this world and its desires, and seeking that which is with Allah.
8. It makes the Muslims get used to doing a great deal of acts of worship, because the fasting person usually does more acts of worship and gets used to that.
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9. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity, and performing the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
10. The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Qur'an; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong).
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported about ten best ways Muslims should prepare for Ramadan in order to receive the full blessing in this Holy month.
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