Islam in Life

FASTING FOR SPIRITUAL TRAINING

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Fasting, a form of divine worship is observed for one month every year. During this fast man abstains from food and water from sunrise to sunset in obedience to the command of God. This act is performed in order to reduce man’s materialism and increase his spirituality, so that he may be able to lead a truly spiritual life in this world. In the process, he spends more time in the worship of God.

THE ESSENCE OF FASTING

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan 

Fasting is prescribed once a year, in the month of Ramadhan. One fasts every day of the month, from the first light of dawn until sundown. During that time, one abstains completely from food and drink. According to the Qur’an, there are two purposes of fasting (The Quran, 2:183,185): Firstly, to make one cautious in life and secondly, to make one thankful to God.  

FASTING AS A SPIRITUAL CULTURE

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

According to Islamic teachings, Ramadan, the ninth month of the Hijra calendar, is the month of fasting. In this month, believers refrain from food and drink for a limited period each day, that is, from dawn till sunset. They eat and drink during the night. This practice continues for one month.

What is fasting? Fasting does not simply amount to observing hunger for a temporary period. In fact, it symbolizes a lifelong culture, that is, a culture of dedication.

FASTING—A TRAINING IN HUMILITY

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan 

The Quran tells us that fasting is prescribed for you so that you may fear God (2:183). So, what does it mean to fear God? Fearing God means that man should acknowledge his helplessness vis-a-vis God’s greatness.

The truth is that the acknowledgement of one’s helplessness is the beginning of imaan. When a person realizes God, at that point, he is overwhelmed by the feeling of his helplessness (ijz).

DUA AND FASTING

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan 

While giving commands regarding fasting, the Quran makes special mention of Dua (remembering God). “When My servants ask you about Me, say that I am near. I respond to the call of one who calls, whenever he calls to Me: let them, then, respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be rightly guided.” (2:186)

FASTING FOR THE GREATEST REWAR...

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

In the Chapter Al-Baqarah of the Quran, there are five verses that deal with fasting in the month of Ramadan (2:183-187). In the book of Hadith, Mishkat al-Masabih, seventy-three sayings of the Prophet have been quoted with regard to fasting. Detailed provisions regarding Ramadan can be found in the books of fiqh.

THE MONTH OF FASTING AND PRAYE...

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Ramadan, the month of fasting, is a blessed spiritual period for believers, for it is during this month that they do their utmost to awaken and enhance their spirituality. The aim of fasting during Ramadan is to diminish a person's dependence on material things, so that he may elevate himself to a higher plane of devout living. Abiding by the guidelines of fasting raises believers to a state of humility, truth and honesty.