The month of Ramadan has once again begun. This month is a very special time in a Muslim's heart and soul. It is a time that Allah has bestowed much blessings in our lives. It is also a time for forgiveness, repentance, and an opportunity to earn countless rewards. It is very important to increase one's worship during Ramadan by reading Quran, praying 'extra' prayers--such as Tahajjud and Taraweeh, and being kind and doing good deeds. These good habits during Ramadan should also, God-willing, continue after the month of fasting has ended.
Fasting develops self-control and helps us to overcome selfishness, greed, laziness and other faults. It is an annual training program to refresh us for carrying out our duties towards the Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer. Fasting gives us the feeling of hunger and thirst. We experience for ourselves what it is like to have an empty stomach. This develops our feeling for the poor and hungry people. Fasting teaches us to control the love of comfort. Also, it helps us to keep our sexual desires within control. Hunger, comfort, and sex are three factors which must be kept under control to behave as the Almighty's servants.
The purpose of fasting is to make a Muslim able to control his passions, so that he becomes a person of good deeds and intentions. Anger, a common human weakness, can also be brought under control by fasting. A Muslim is expected to keep away from all bad actions during his fast. He should not lie, break a promise or do any deceitful act.
On both the individual and social levels, fasting has many virtues and benefits. Of these we can mention the feeling of sympathy for the poor. After all, man's sense of compassion springs from his feeling of pain, and fasting is a practical means to develop compassion in his spirit. In this regard, it is reported that Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was the most generous among people, and he was especially generous during Ramadan. Moreover, fasting establishes equality among the rich and the poor. In a way, it is a compulsory experience of poverty in that it is meant to make all people share an equality, not diversity, of feeling and to sympathize with one another through a collective sense of pain, not through a discord or diversity of desires. It is also during fasting that Muslims can really sympathize with the starving people everywhere in the world and see the hardship that they go through everyday of their lives.
However, the mere abstinence from food and drink is not the real meaning of fasting that God enjoined on the righteous. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) declares: "God does not accept the fasting of those who do not restrain themselves from telling falsehood or from doing false deeds." The basic truth of fasting in Islam springs from God's Watch over the faster, as well as the latter's carrying out of his fast for the cause of none but God. To this effect, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) explains: "God will forgive all the sins of those who fast during Ramadan out of true belief and in anticipation of God's Reward in the Hereafter."
Fasting also promotes the Islamic form of sociability. Muslims are urged to invite others to break the fast with them at sunset, to gather for the Qur'anic study, prayer and visitations. This provides a better chance for socialization in a brotherly and spiritual atmosphere.
Hazrat Zaid bin Khalid al-Juhani (R.A.A.) related that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said: Anybody who offers meal for the breaking of the fast of another person, earns the same merit as the one who was observing the fast without diminishing in any way the recompense of the fasting person. (Tirmizi)
A quote from another Hadith states: "The month of Ramadan is the month of endurance and the reward for endurance is paradise. It is a month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle is forgiveness and whose end is freedom from hell."
The Islamic Bulletin
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