The language used in the Quran directing Muslims to fast the month of Ramadan, was directed to all believers, in the plural: {O You who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those [who have believed] before you, so that you may be [ever] God-fearing} 2:183. This revelation came at the time the new Muslim society resided in the enlightened city of Medinah directing people towards an act of worship that was meant to connect a spiritual act into the social well-being of the society.

In these few words, I would like to discuss the reflection of fasting on the community as a whole.

The idea of Taqwa or being God-fearing: {So you may be [ever] God-fearing} meant prevention from engaging in anything that God dislikes. A God-fearing person will avoid, through fasting, causing any harm to people in the community.

Example one:

The prophet (SAAW) said: “One who does not abandon the false testimonies or the act of falsehood, God is in no need for him to abandon his food and water.”[1] This is a direct connection between relating the idea of abstaining from food and water by choice through fasting, to an elevation to abstain from words and acts of falsehood thereby protecting the rights of people in the community. The ability to give up food and drink should train you to stop spreading harmful words. Therefore, fasting becomes a powerful tool protecting the society from claims of falsehood.

Example two:

The prophet (SAAW) said: “And in any fasting day, one shall not say foul words nor raise his voice (in quarrel) and even if was cursed by another just say: I am fasting.”[2] A Muslim has no choice but to reciprocate evil deeds with good ones, and Ramadan is the perfect month to train for that. Many people are swift to react with worse language or even escalate to physical violence if someone curses them. But fasting is the school that teaches constraint on such retaliation behaviors to keep the society free from any harm that can reach a level of physical altercations among its members. 

Fasting of the righteous:

Imam Al-Ghazali (RA) said[3]: “Fasting of the righteous is the ability that prevents your limbs from sinful acts, and it prevails in six things:

  • Lowering the gaze to prevent coming near anything considered prohibited or disliked.
  • Protecting the tongue from lying, gossiping, backbiting, foul words, quarrels and frivolous words.
  • Protecting the ears from listening to anything harmful or prohibited.
  • Protecting the hands and feet from engaging in any sinful acts, and the belly from doubtful matters after fasting hours.
  • Avoid excessive food consumption at the time of breaking fast even if Halal.
  • Let the heart be swaying between hope and fear, for one does not know if his fasting was accepted or not. If accepted, he will be one of the close ones to God, and if rejected, he will be one of the distanced ones from God.”

If people upgraded their fasting to that which was mentioned by Imam Al-Ghazali, the society at large would be free from all types of harm, and people would enjoy a fasting month in peace, and its effects would continue in the month following it.

Our community now is as vulnerable to all types of harm as any other community. Only through acts of worship and spirituality, like praying and fasting, can we protect ourselves and our kids.

Let us use this month to be the month of purity from Haram and the month of attaining levels of piety and righteousness.

Ramadan Kareem to You and Your Families!

By Sh Kifah Mustapha

 

[1] Bukhari

[2] Bukhari

[3] Ihya’ U’loom El-Ddeen