Meaning of Fasting


Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, for God has made it an obligation. Fasting is the light of the heart. It is what wipes off the dust and dirt of egotism from the mirror of sacred secrets, it cures the heart from the love and ambition of this world.

Allah Most High says in the Holy Qur’an:

fastingTranslation: O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint,- [Qur’an 2.183]

……And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. [Qur’an 2.184]
In that known month of Ramadhan It’s made it an obligation for believers to fast from before the time of morning prayer until after sunset, with the intention of doing this for Allah’s sake as a sign of their faith in Him, and for no other purpose. They are to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual acts. Fasting was ordained to the followers of all the other prophets that  God has sent before us , as it is ordained for the ummah(nation) of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Now with what we will receive in return for our efforts, we will be protected from what Allah has forbidden to us and be a true servant, close to Him.

Everything that Allah Most High orders us to do has an outer and an inner meaning. The outer meaning of fasting during Ramadan is not eating, drinking, or having sex from before sunrise until after sunset. But take heed: our being is not only our stomachs and sexual organs. Fasting is ordained for all our physical being. Therefore, as we abstain from taking nourishment and making love, we should also abstain from lying, gossiping, or pronouncing any words that might hurt the feelings of any human being. We must prevent our eyes from looking at anything around us heedlessly. We must prevent our ears from listening to anything that is forbidden by Allah. We must prevent our egos from their ambitions for this world and their lusts for its pleasures and from selfishness and arrogance.

The inner fasting is undertaken by the heart and the soul. The fast of the heart, which is Allah’s house, is to empty it of worldly concerns. Thus it is lightened, lifted from the attraction of material things, and protected from the invasion of the desires of our flesh. The fasting of the soul is to keep it from wanting even the beauties of Paradise and the eternal life of bliss. In this way the soul becomes blind to anything but truth, the divine. If we could fast like this and taste what the fasting brings, then we might receive what the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) promises: When the fast is broken, what peace and joy the faithful receive! (Appears in Sahih of Muslim and An-Nissai)
If we fast without knowing what we are doing and spend no more effort than simply not eating, we certainly will not obtain what Allah promises, nor be protected from what He forbids, nor come closer to Him. Fasting and praying may cause only hunger and fatigue, and nothing else, if we do not realize their true meanings and try to act accordingly. The ordinary hunger we may feel is not a sufficient effort to fulfill our obligation. At least we should seek out those who are not only hungry while fasting in Ramadan, but always, and endeavor to help them. Fasting is a proof that all your physical body and spiritual being believes in Allah Most High. It is also a way toward the unification of all human beings through caring for each other. The one who fasts yet thinks only of himself and breaks the hearts of others is just torturing himself with hunger. He will receive nothing else.
Our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said: The one who fasts becomes beautified by the attributes of Allah Most High. A human being contains the divine attributes, for our father Adam (a.s.) was given all the beautiful names of Allah. Fasting is an obligation for human beings, not for animals. Someone who does not care for others and who is able to hurt and break the hearts of others is not a human being. A human being does not destroy, he constructs. A human being who fasts transforms his material being of coarse matter into the fine matter of his spirit. When he does that he becomes pure compassion, the manifestation of his Creator’s rahmah, the divine beneficence and compassion. That is what Allah Most High means when He declares in a divine tradition: ‘I love the smell of the breath of the one who fasts for My sake.’

This is not the bad odor from the mouth of someone who is hungry. What He means is, “Whoever truly fasts, who truly transforms himself into My divine attributes, who shows My creation a love and compassion that recalls My love and compassion, each of his breaths contains the perfume of compassion. This breath is sweet to his Creator.”Allah Most High also says: All the work of a son of Adam belongs to him except fasting. It is only for Me, and only I will give its reward. (appears in Sahih of Muslim) All rewards for our worship and good deeds are given by Allah Most High. So what does this saying mean? On the Day of Judgment the sum of our sins will be deducted from our good deeds. Yet when it comes to our fasting for Allah’s sake, no sin will be permitted to eliminate this good deed. Allah Most High will declare that He Himself will pay for the remainder of our sins, and His rewards for our fasting will not be touched.


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