Many of us, as Muslims these days look at fasting as something that seems to come around very quickly every year. When we hear that Ramadan is approaching again, we begin to see the look on the peoples faces, like they want to ask … “AGAIN?” Well needless to say, this is the wrong attitude that we need to have towards this blessed month.
Fasting, for those that know it’s reality, is something that all of the benefit only comes back on you. This is not something that anyone else will benefit from. It is not like showing others your good manners. It is not like giving charity or even visiting the sick. This is something that all of the benefits will do nothing but come back to the one participating in the fast. Being as though this is the case, don’t you find it amazing that we don’t take advantage of this type of worship more outside of the month of Ramadan?
But, we must remember that fasting is not just leaving off food, drink and desires. Rather, there are mannerisms the fasting person should have so as to gain the full benefit out of the fast itself. Leaving off those things (food, drink and desires) are the easier part of the fast. Fasting is really about being able to fight against yourself, and preventing yourself from partaking in those things that are not only haraam on you, but also those things that are disliked from the different statements and actions. This is the real challenge. We need to begin to leave off these things as much as possible, especially while fasting. The last thing we want to do is to leave off our food, drink and desires and gain no benefit from it other then hunger. We definitely don’t want to fall in to being of those people that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) warned us about when he said,
“رُبَّ صَائِمٍ لَيْسَ لَهُ مِنْ صِيَامِهِ إِلاَّ الْجُوعُ”
“It may be that a fasting person gets nothing from his fast except hunger.”
[Reported by Ibn Maajah]
There have been some of the Scholars of the past, that use to hold the opinion that abandoning one’s food and drink were from among the easiest parts of the fast. Think about this for a second. It is very true. We find that people do not even think about trying to gain a position of being close to Allah by leaving alone those things that are disliked to do while fasting, until after they have found it easy to leave off those things which Allah has forbidden them from doing.
As Muslims, we understand that there are certain things which Allah has forbidden us from partaking in, regularly (while we are not fasting). These are all things that if we do, we sin for doing them and make ourselves worthy of receiving Allah’s punishment for disobeying Him. But during the time that we are fasting, these things are even worse. We have to realize that while fasting, when we take part in these things, not only do we set ourselves us to be sinning and to be of those that set ourselves up for Allah’s punishment, but also we find that we are doing something that may either take away some of the reward of our fast, or even worse, nullify it all together.
When we fast correctly, it should involve the whole of us. It is not something that only involves our stomachs and private parts. Rather, it is something that should involve our body parts in terms of leaving off different sins. Our tongues should fast from all forms of evil speech. Our hearing should fast from listening to evil speech and all of those other things that Allah is not pleased with. Even our eyesight should refrain from looking at those things that Allah is displeased with.
It is upon us all as fasting Muslims to stay away from fighting, backbiting, slandering and cursing one another. How many times have we heard the statement of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)? He said,
“الصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ، فَإِذَا كَانَ أَحَدُكُمْ صَائِمًا فَلَا يَرْفُثْ وَلَا يَجْهَلْ، فَإِنِ امْرُؤٌ قَاتَلَهُ أَوْ شَاتَمَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ”
“Fasting is a protection. When one of you has a day of fasting, he should then speak neither obscenely nor too loudly; and if someone seeks to fight with him or curse him, let him say, ‘I am fasting.“
[Reported by an-Nasaai]
So the point behind this article is to remind us that our fast is about much more than just leaving off eating, drinking and our sexual desires. We need to remember that there are things that in all actually may not nullify our fasts in totality, but may just remove some or even the majority of the benefit and reward that we should be getting from our fasts. Many-times we allow the shaytan to keep us from gaining this benefit by busying us with only concerning ourselves with those things that are necessary. But we need to begin to step up and do those things that will take our fasts to the next level. From these things, are to leave off these other things that take away from the benefit of what we are doing.
May Allah aide us all in gaining a position of closeness to Him, and accept from us our actions.