Posted on 4/10/2022 in Ramadan

Ramadan the Blessed Month

Siyam (Fasting)

Fasting is one of the five pillars of the faith. Fasting is an exercise that enables Muslim to realize the value of hunger and thirst of deprivation and poverty. Fasting is primarily a spiritual discipline. A new consciousness of higher life, a life above that which is maintained by eating and drinking, is awakened by fasting. Fast does not mean only to control on food and water but it means to control oneself from evil thinking, evil looking, evil listening and evil talking.

Concept of Fasting

It means ‘to be at rest’ and ‘to abstain’. It has been so named for the reason that while one is keeping fast he abstains from eating, drinking and sensual indulgence from dawn to dusk.

Importance of fasting in Quran

The fast creates piety and fear of Allah. The Quran, the sunnah and the human reason provide ample evidence to this effect.

This fact has been stated in Quran where fasting has been declared obligatory in Surah Al-Baqarah verse 183-185:

O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you1—so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah˺. ˹Fast a˺ prescribed number of days.1 But whoever of you is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramaḍân˺. For those who can only fast with extreme difficulty,2 compensation can be made by feeding a needy person ˹for every day not fasted˺. But whoever volunteers to give more, it is better for them. And to fast is better for you, if only you knew. Ramaḍân is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramaḍân˺. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful. [2:183-185]

Importance of Fasting in Hadith

  1. “When there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained.”{Sahih Muslim, Book 13, Hadith 1}
  2. “The Messenger of Allah said: "On the first night of the month of Ramadan, the Shayatin are shackled, the jinns are restrained, the gates of the Fires are shut such that no gate among them would be opened. The gates of Paradise are opened such that no gate among them would be closed, and a caller calls: 'O seeker of the good; come near!' and 'O seeker of evil; stop! For there are those whom Allah frees from the Fire.' And that is every night."[Tirmidhi 682, Book 8, Hadith 1]

Upon whom Fasting is Obligatory

Fasting is obligatory on a person if he fulfills following conditions:

  1. He is Muslim.
  2. He is accountable [has attained the age of puberty].
  3. He is able to fast.
  4. He is settled [not travelling].

Breaking Fast and its Consequences

During Ramzan, if one unintentionally breaks the fast by eating or drinking then one must continue for the rest of the day and the fast remains valid. For those who intentionally breaking fast then they must compensate that by: Free a slave, and if that is not possible, Fast for two consecutive lunar months, and if that’s not possible; Feed or clothe sixty needy people.

Days for Voluntary Fasting

  1. Any 6 days in the lunar/ Islamic month of Shawwal.
  2. Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is desirable if convenient.
  3. The 13th, 14th, and 15th day of each lunar month.
  4. The day of Arafah 9th of Dhul-Hajj.
  5. The day of Ashura 10th of Muharram- plus on additional day of fasting before or after it.
  6. As often as possible in the months of Rajab and Shaban before Ramzan.
  7. First 9 days of Dhul-Hijja in the lunar calendar(but not for those who are performing Hajj).

Days when Fasting is forbidden

Although fasting is considered a pious act in Islam, there are times when fasting is prohibited:

Eid al-Adha: and three days following it, because the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said,

“You are not too fast these days. They are days of eating and drinking and remembering Allah.” (sunan an-Nasai 4230, Book 41, Hadith 9)

Eid al-Fitar: It is also forbidden to single out Fridays and only fast every Friday, as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said

“Verily, Friday is an eid (holiday) for you, so do not fast on it unless you fast the day before or after it.”(Sahih al-Bukhari 1985, Book 30, Hadith 92).

Fasting every day of the year is also not encouraged because Islam is the most balanced religion. As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said

“There is no reward for fasting for the one who perpetually fasts.” (Sahih Muslim Book 13, Hadith 242).

Spiritual Impacts

  1. Attainment of piety:
  2. Fasting induces piety. Quran says in surah Al Baqarah verse 183:

    “O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you1—so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah˺.” (2:183).

    The basic meaning of piety is observance of Allah’s commands and prohibitions out of a feeling of being answerable to Allah.

  3. Reward in Hereafter:
  4. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said on behalf of his Lord:

    “He who leaves his food and drink for My sake and fasts for Me, I will reward him for it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 7492, Book 97, Hadith 118). According to Hadith Prophet (PBUH) said: “Fasting is a shield”. (Sahih muslim book 13, Hadith 211)

  5. Purification of Soul:
  6. Just as fasting liberates the will of the Muslim from subjection to various evil habits etc, fasting is also beneficial in purifying the Muslim’s soul.

    Quran says in surah Al-Hashr verse 9:

    "As for those who had settled in the city and ˹embraced˺ the faith before ˹the arrival of˺ the emigrants, they love whoever immigrates to them, never having a desire in their hearts for whatever ˹of the gains˺ is given to the emigrants. They give ˹the emigrants˺ preference over themselves even though they may be in need. And whoever is saved from the selfishness of their own souls, it is they who are ˹truly˺ successful.”(59:9)

  7. Fasting Protects Soul from vice:
  8. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “On a day of the fast, let not one of you act in an obscene manner or speak boisterously. And if someone curses him or seeks to quarrel with him let him say: “I am fasting. I am fasting.” (Tirmidhi 781, Book 8, Hadith 100)

  9. Reward for offering IFTAR:

According to Hadith Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:

“Whoever in Ramzan provides a person who is keeping fast with iftar, this act will become a source of forgiveness for his sins and safety from Hell fire and he will get as much reward as will the keeper of fast get without any reduction in the recompense of the latter.” (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, vol. 3, pp. 192, Hadees 1887)

Ramadan is indeed the most beautiful month which brings loads of blessings. The most important benefit of fasting is that Islam teaches in this way the value of food and money.