SAUM(Fasting) MEANING AND IMPLICATION

Prior to the creation of man, it was envisaged by the Angels that mischief making and rebellion would be part and parcel of man’s nature. Very remarkably, the Supreme Creator Allah did not rebut this cry of the Angels, but instead only answered with the caution of, “Certainly, I know what you do not know.”

Thus, history testifies that Messengers of Allah (alaihimus salaam) have been sent to every nation upon the face of the earth, and this is also confirmed in the Glorious Quran, the purpose of which is for the physical, moral and spiritual enlightment of man. One of the tenets of the final Scripture, the Holy Quran, and a Command of Almighty Allah is “Fasting” – an institution which is generally accepted as a means of subjugation of man’s baser self, and helping him to be more moral and earning spiritual advancement.

The Divine decree of Fasting is a universal enjoyment. The Encyclopedia Britannica says: “It would be difficult to name any religious system in which it (fasting) is wholly unrecognised.” The Bible tells us that the Prophet Isa (alaihis salaam) and Prophet Musa (alaihis salaam) fasted for full 40 days. Gautham Budda fasted until he was actually reduced to skin and bones, as can be ascertained from his statues. And for a surety, all spiritual luminaries cannot omit this indispensable essential pillar for the physical, moral and spiritual purification of their respective adherents.

Why is it, that mankind must undergo this gruelling task of Fasting? The Holy Quran furnishes this reason: “That you may guard against evil.” (2: 183) This is the special beauty of the Divine Command – it plainly spells the most significant importance of the Ramadaan fast. Evil, as we see today, circumscribes the very foundation of man’s character and the society where he lives.

Today’s rational, scientific and modern man is living in a world that is seething with indescribable crimes and rampant acts of unrighteousness. Various man-formulated deterrents and laws which have been enacted to conquer evils, have absolutely failed. A proof of this lies in the numerous courts of laws that conduct cases of diverse crimes and injustices every day; and also the cells of prisons are clear signs that man-made laws have had very little effect or no effect for the curbing of sins and other evils.

Today, we notice that evils such as gambling, prostitution, alcohol, and a host of others have been legitimised by certain Governments. Yet there is a hue and cry at the consequences of these and many other evils which are made legally permissible. Since it is now indisputable that man-orientated cure for evils are ineffective and impotent, it thus necessitates the intervention of the Divine hand. Fasting now plays the role as the firmest reign for the control of the widespread, sin-plagued humanity.

Man and animal share the same physical characteristics and physique. But since animals are not gifted with the faculties of speech, reason, understanding, choice, etc. man emerges as the higher creation. In fact, man is Allah’s Khalifa (representative) on earth. When man becomes oblivious of his higher objective, when he is indifferent to the Commandments of Allah and his duties as a Muslim, he is likened to an animal. He confines his energies and aspirations within the boundaries of his life, and ponders not on the life hereafter.

Like the physical animal, his object is just to live for this material world. Eating, drinking, sleeping, multiplying, etc. become the “be all” and “end all” of his life, too. What difference is there now between the animal and the “modern,” “rational” and “intellectual” man? It is this animal in man that has to be subjugated before man can reveal his true identity.

Our studies of animals would show that they can only be tamed when deprived of food, drink and sensual desires for a limited period of time. You can confirm this from a zoologist. So is it with man: depriving him of these intrinsic daily requirements for well over 12 hours daily for an entire month, may undoubtedly bring about a spiritual transformation within, when his animal desires are tamed and this ultimately result in his magnetic affiliation with the Divine Being.

Almost every man, with the exception of Prophets and spiritual luminaries, have the tint of the animal characteristics within him. But many, with Allah’s Help, do control it. The desire to amass more and more wealth (lawfully or unlawfully), injuring our fellow human beings, and a host of other vices which we are lured to, display the animal instinct within humans.

The Holy Quran says: “Look at him who takes his desires for his god” – a practical Divine observation of man’s character. As can be seen, the object of Fasting is to help us become masters of our passions and materialistic cravings, and becoming alive to the need of others, instead of us being slaves to them. We must aspire and work to become that “Mutaqqi” (pious through Allah-consciousness) – with whom Allah is pleased with. This goal can only be achieved if we fully comprehend the true implications of our fasting during the month of Ramadaan.

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RAMADAAN

O peopIe, there comes upon you a great month, a most blessed month, in which lies a night greater in worth than one thousand months. Allah has made compulsory Fasting in this month and has decreed wakefulness at night (i.e. Taraweeh) Sunnah. Whosoever tries drawing nearer to Allah by performing any Nafl (optional) deed in this month, for him shall be such reward as if he performed a Fardh in any other time of the year. And whosoever performs a Fardh, for him shall be the reward of seventy Fardh in any other time of the year. This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah; it is the month of sympathy with one’s fellowmen; it is the month wherein believer’s Rizq (provision) is increased.

The month of Ramadhaan, the month of blessings has come to you wherein Allah turns towards you and sends down to you this special Mercy, forgives your faults, accepts prayers, appreciates your competition for the greatest good and boasts to the Angels about you. So show to Allah your righteousness; for verily, the most pitiable and unfortunate one is he who is deprived of Allah’s Mercy in this month. (Tabraani)

The Doors of Jannah are opened up on the first night of Ramadhaan. Not a single door is closed until the last night of Ramadaan. (Bayhaqi)

And in this month, four things you should endeavor to perform in great number; two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot make do. Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should in great quantitv recite the Kalimah Tayyibah, “Laa ilaaha illallah”, and make much “Istighfaar” (beg Allah’s forgiveness). And as for those, without which you cannot make do, you should beg Allah for entry into Jannah and seek refuge with Him from the Fire of Jahannam. (Ibne Khuzaymah)

When the month of Ramadaan comes, the Doors of Jannah are thrown open and the Doors of Jahannam are closed and the Shayateen are chained up. (Bukhari, Muslim)

Suhoor (Sehri)

1. Verily, Allah and His angels send mercy upon those who eat Suhoor. (Tabraani)
2. Eat Suhoor because in Suhoor lies Barakah. (Mishkaat)

Days of Ramadaan

1. Ther fishes in the sea seek forgiveness for those fasting until they break their fast. Allah decorates His Jannah every day and then says, “The time is near when My pious servants shall cast aside the great trials and come to me.” (Ahmad)
2. During each day and night of Ramadaan, Allah sets free great number of souls from Hell. And for every Muslim, during each day and night, at least one Du�a is certainly accepted. (Bazzaaz)

Sawm (Fasting)

1. Sawm (Fasting) is a shield, as long as he (the fasting person) does not tear it up. (Nisaai)
Note: Fasting is a protection from Shaytaan or from Allah’s punishment in the Hereafter. One who indulges in sins whilst fasting such as lies, backbiting, etc., they become the cause of the fast becoming wasted.
2. All good deeds are for the one who renders them, but Fasting is exclusively for me (Allah). (Bukhari)
3. Fasting is a shield and a powerful fortress. (Ahmad, Bayhaqi)
4. I swear by that Being in Whose possession is the life of Muhammad! The odour of the mouth of a fasting person is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk. (Bukhari)
5. Fasting is exclusively for Allah(Azzawajal), the reward of it (being limitless) no one knows besides Allah. (Tabraani)

Iftaar

1. Whosoever gives something to a fasting person in order to break the fast, for him there shall be forgiveness for his sins and emancipation from the Fire of Jahannam; and for him (the one who gives) shall be the same reward as for him (whom he fed), without that person�s (the one who was fed) reward being diminished in the least. (Ibne Khuzayrnah, Bayhaqi)
2. Whoever gave a person, who fasted, water to drink, Allah shall give him a drink from my Fountain where after he shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah. (Ibne Khuzaymah)
3. The fasting person experiences two (occasions) of delight: at the time of Iftaar and at the time he will meet his Rabb. (Bukhari)
4. Not a single prayer made by a fasting person at the time of breaking fast is rejected. (lbne Maajah)

Nights of Ramadaan

1. Whoever stands in prayer and worship in (the nights of) Ramadaan, with lmaan and with sincere hope of gaining reward, his previous sins are forgiven. (Bukhari, Muslim)
2. Allah Ta�ala has ordained Fasting in Ramadaan compulsory, I have decreed (by the Command of Allah) wakefulness at night (that is Taraweeh, etc.) Sunnah. Whoever in the state of Imaan and with the hope of gaining reward fasts in Ramadaan and stays awake at night (Taraweeh), emerges from sin, purified as the day when his mother gave birth to him. (Nisaai)
3. For every Salaat performed during the nights of Ramadaan (that is Taraweeh, etc.) Allah Ta�ala records one and a half thousand goods deeds for every Sajdah (prostration). (Bayhaqi)

I’tikaaf

1. It is related by Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) observed I’tikaaf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadaan. In the year he passed away, he observed it for twenty days. (Bukhari)
2. Those who observe (I ‘tikaaf) are prevented from all sins and they obtain reward as if they are rendering all good deeds. (Mishkaat)
3. He who observes the ten days of I’tikaaf during Ramadaan will obtain the reward of two Hajj and two Umrah. (Bayhaqi)

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