Page 69 - Islam In Focus

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said “ When anyone of you is observing Fasting on a day , he should neither indulge in
obscene language nor should he raise his voice; and if anyone reviles him or tries to
quarrel with him he should say: ‘I am observing Fast’ ”
4. Other moral philosophies and religions teach man that he cannot attain his moral
aims or enter the Kingdom of God unless and until he uproots himself from the stem
of worldly affairs. Accordingly, it becomes necessary for such a man to divorce his
mundane interest, to retreat from the normal course of life and to resort to some kind
of severe asceticism of which fasting is an essential element. But Fasting in Islam is
not a divorce from life but a happy marriage with it, not a retreat but a penetration
with spiritual armaments, not a negligence but a moral enrichment. The Islamic
Fasting does not divorce religion from daily life or separate the soul from body. It
does not break but harmonizes. It does not dissolve but transfuses. It does not
disintegrate but bridges and redeems
5. The timetable of the Islamic Fasting is a striking phenomenon. In other religions
and dogmas the time of Fasting is fixed at a certain time of the year. But in Islam the
time of Fasting comes with the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the year. The
Islamic Calendar is lunar one, and months go according to the various position of the
moon. This means that over a period of a limited number of the years the Islamic
Fasting covers the four major seasons of the year and circulates back and forth
between the summer and the winter through the fall and the spring in a rotating
manner. The nature of the lunar calendar is such that the month of Ramadan falls in
January, for example, in one year and in December in another year, and at any time in
between during the succeeding years. In a spiritual sense this means that the Muslim
enjoys the moral experience of Fasting on various levels, and tastes its spiritual
flavors at variant seasons of variant climates, sometimes in the winter of short and
cold days, sometimes in the summer of long and hot days, sometimes in between. But
this variety of experience remains at all times an impressive feature of the liveliness
of the Islamic institution. It also stands as an unfailing expression of readiness,
dynamism and adaptability on the part of the Muslim believer. This is certainly a
healthy, remarkable component of the teachings of Islam
The Period of Fasting
It has already been indicated that the period of obligatory Fasting is the month of
Ramadan. The daily period of observance starts before the break of the dawn and ends
immediately after sunset. Normally there are accurate calendars to tell the exact time,
but in the absence of such facilities on should consult one’ s watch and the sun’ s
position together with the local newspapers, weather bureau, etc
The Fasting of Ramadan is obligatory on every responsible and fit Muslim
(Mukallaf). But there are other times when it is strongly recommended, after the
Traditions of Prophet Muhammad. Among these times are Mondays and Thursdays of
every week, a few days of each month in the two months heralding the coming of
Ramadan, i.e., Rajab and Sha’ ban, six days after Ramadan following the ‘Eed-l-Fitr
Day. Besides, it is always compensating to fast any day of any month of the year,
except the ‘Eed Days and Fridays when no Muslim should fast. However, we may
repeat that the only obligatory Fasting is that of Ramadan – which may be 29 or 30
days, depending on the moon’ s positions. This is a pillar of Islam, and any failure to
observe it without reasonable excuses is a severely punishable sin