Shahadah, salat, zakat,saum and hajj are the five pillars of Islam.
Saum is fasting in the month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Calender.
Ramadan comes from the root word – Ramad, which means to burn.
Imām Qurtubi narrates:
‘’It (this month) was named Ramaḍan because it burns the sins of people with righteous deeds’’.
The Prophet pbuh said in an authentic hadith (narration) that “fasting is a shield.”
The Prophet said: “He who fasts Ramadan, due to belief in God and hoping for reward from Him, his past sins are forgiven.”
The reward of good deeds in this month is seventy times more than in other days.
And these are only few virtues of fasting.
Abu Hurairah, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), relates that the Messenger said, “Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then God the Mighty and Majestic has no need that he should leave his food and drink.” (Bukhari)
SubhanAlah! From dawn to dusk,without even eating and drinking the halal things,we abstain from the evils like oppression, falsehood, indecent acts and in addition to this we also worship more when it comes to optional prayers.
Such a rigorous training, isn’t it?
So, when Alhamdulillah we can do this all without food and drink then why not rest of the eleven months when we are permitted to drink and eat?
Though, it is appreciated that many people change from the very moment the ramadan moon is sighted or declared but it is sad to see that they come back to square when eid moon is sighted, the very purpose of ramadan seems bleak then.
So, what’s the main purpose of Fasting ?
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may attain taqwa and become righteous[muttaqūn].
What is Taqwa?
Taqwa is being conscious of Allah swt, of the truth that He is Al Aleem – All Knowing and He knows what we conceal and what we reveal.
It is also said as fear of Allah swt and Love of Allah swt.
It is evident when we love someone, we remain conscious of their likes and dislikes and we fear their anger, their displeasure.
Allah swt, The Creator, The Magnificent cannot be compared to anyone. Loving Him means it is evident that one is mindful that he/she fears His displeasure and it makes one to stop from what He has asked us to stop and enjoins what He has commanded, making one mutaqqioon (righteous).
La’allakum tattaqoon – So that you may achieve Taqwa is
the main purpose of fasting.
Yes, Nodoubt while hungry and thirsty throughout the fasting day, we have a constant reminder of the suffering of the poor, and it makes one empathetic and thus more giving for the sake of Allah swt, but this is the additional benefit, merit, advantage of fasting, and not the purpose of fasting, the purpose is very clearly mentioned in Holy Quran as discussed above La’allakum tattaqoon – So that you may achieve Taqwa.
Being empathetic towards the suffering of the poor, had it been the purpose of fasting then fasting would not have been prescribed for the poor, they would have been exempted from this obligatory act of worship!
As we have just touched the word worship here, let’s talk briefly about this concept too which is highly misunderstood these days.
The purpose of the takhleeq of jinn and insaan is to worship Him alone as He Himself has said in Quran, in surah ad dhariyat ayat 56 –
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.”
Now, what is worship?
Obviously one cannot pray and fast all the time, throughout the year, so along with the five pillars of Islam that is shahdah, salat, zakat, saum and hajj, living life as per His will and enjoining what is permitted and stopping from what is forbidden and doing anything for His sake is all worship, ibadah.
For example – Taking care of kids, being well to the parents and other human beings, even taking care of yourself is all ibadah. Earning halal income, being aware to know what is happening around the world and raising the voice against the wrongs, is all ibadah, if the sole intention of doing this all is to please The Creator.
Yes! The establishment of justice and peace at home and in society on larger levels, is all ibadah.
Didnot He say in surah nisa ayat 135?
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.”
So, ibadah is not observing few rituals only, it covers a broader spectrum, our individual, social, political, infact as said by a knowledgeable person – hamatan hamawaqt hamari zindagi Allah swt ke hisaab se guzaarna hai ibaadah, in every aspect, every time our life should be as per His way, the way His Prophet pbuh has directed us to live and this is ibaadah.
This ramadan, let’s revive our Ibadah and build a relationship with Holy Quran which was revealed in this blessed month as a Furqan – The Criterion to judge between right and wrong. Let’s take our lessons from The Book which brings one from zulumaat to noor (from darkness to light).
AND Let’s reflect upon this heavy admonition and ask ourselves sincerely how much we have humbled ourselves individually and how much we are striving to establish the ahkaam collectively?
“Had We sent down this Quran on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rending asunder by the fear of Allah. Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect.”
Surah hashr ayat no 21.
SubhanAllah! This ayat is more than enough to send shivers down the spine!
Let’s learn seerah parallel to learning Holy Quran, as seerah (the life of the Prophet Muhammed pbuh) is uswatun hasanah (the best example) to follow as mentioned by Holy Quran.
Let’s try to grab the blessed tahajjud salah and the last ten nights, be they odd or even nights should not be missed in the least bit as we dont know which night will be the night of Qadr also known as laylatul qadar about which the whole surah is there in Quran and reflecting upon that surah makes one realise what a treasure that night is.
Let’s grab this ramadan in the best possible manner.
Everyone has their own role to play, we all strive differently, better not to compare how productive we are as compared with others, our own competition should be with ourself and every act should be sincere, and that is what in reality matters at the end of the day.
Needless to say as the oppressed ones will obviously be in our duas as usual.
May Allah swt make it easy for those as well where the countries have banned their citizens to keep fasts like Xianjang, China.
May Allah swt keep us all safe and provide us with His shade.