The month of Ramadan is considered to be the most holy month because this is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed. This is the only month which contain in it the night of decree (Laylatul Qadr), which is better than the worship of thousand months. The Holy month of Ramadan is explained in the following verse of the Qur’an in Surah Baqrah. There are multiple reasons to fast in this month which every Muslim should know. O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint,- Holy Qur’an (2:183) In the above verse the first thing which is mentioned is a call by Allah to the believers.
This means Allah calls upon us and upon those who have faith in Allah. Those who hear and obey the command of Allah without any doubt and with full of will. So, the very reason to fast in Ramadan for Muslims all over the world should be nothing but, it is a command of Allah so it is made obligatory (Fard) on us and we have to obey it. This makes fasting one of the pillars of Islam. There are different acts of worship or Ibadah in Islam like Salah, Zakah, Hajj and so on. But the only act of worship which was always loved by Allah is fasting. In the above verse, the reason to mention about the fasting of our ancestors is to let people know that Allah always loved this act of worship, therefore he prescribed it on every nation which came before us. This was the only form of worship which was constant from the time of Ibrahim (A. S). There are various Ahadeeth which tells us that the nation of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the most blessed and dearest nation of all. Therefore the number of acts of worship for this nation are more than any nation in the past.
Earlier people at the of Musa(A. S) used to fast for 24 hours (that’s just one day). Allah prescribed it on us to fast for the whole month, to get more reward and closeness to Allah than any other nation. Allah asks us for self restraint, but from what? He asks us to protect ourselves from the whisper of Satan who urges us to commit acts which are evil. Fasting is a protection and a shield for a believer against further troubles and future sins. This is a learning period, to gain control over your own senses and abilities. It develops Taqwa. In the above verse Allah expect us to develop Taqwa and to become Allah conscious. Taqwa can only be achieved by having the fear of Allah.
When a person is fasting he gains control of his heart over his physical and spiritual desires. Refraining from food and water reminds him to refrain from acts like lying, backbiting, gossiping, arguing and so on. It teaches a person to have control over his urges, the urge to see non mehram, the urge to commit obscenity, the urge to show awrah to non mehrams and so on. Once you get control over your desires in Ramadan then you will develop Taqwa, and your heart will not allow you to commit something which is prohibited in Islam even after Ramadan. If a person fast for the whole month of Ramadan with Taqwa and with the intention to please Allah, then these fast will expiate all his/her previous sins. Imagine people from Syria, Yemen, Myanmar and so on.
Those little innocent faces starving day and night with the pain of losing their loved ones, and the hopeful eyes searching for shelter to seek refuge to get protection. You will feel sorry for them, show your sympathy on social media but will never realize their actual pain until and unless you experience it. Ramadan makes us empathetic for those who are in need. We feel their pain and feel the urge to help them. The reward for every act of worship is fixed. Like for Salah this much reward, for Zakah so and so, but the reward of fasting is immense. Abu Hurayrah (RA ) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Allah said: ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward for it…’” You know why in Ramadan we feel so religious and our spirituality increases? Why we feel an inner joy and calmness? This is because in this month we do what we were made to do.
There are no negative vibes since all the mischievous devils are chained in this month. It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said “When the first night of Ramadan comes, the Satans and mischievous jinns are chained up, and the gates of the Fire are closed, and none of its gates are opened. The gates of Paradise are opened and none of its gates are closed. And a caller cried out: ‘O seeker of good, proceed, O seeker of evil, stop.’ And Allah has necks (people) whom He frees (from the Fire), and that happens every day.”(Sunnan Ibn Majah, Book 7 Hadith 1711) You are supposed to be kind, generous, not lose your temper, be humble and so much more.
And all this is applicable not to only to your actions but over your thoughts too. Which means, forget about having sexual intercourse, you are not even supposed to have sexual thoughts (I don’t know about others, but I find this one particularly hard to do). Considering all of this, I would say, not eating really is the easiest bit of it all. I wish I could say that with only one month of fasting I come out pure as a virgin bathed in milk with none of my bad habits and all the good ones, but alas, I don’t always give up on the bad habits and if I do I cultivate another one over the months that follow. That’s why I practice Ramadan every year, because it teaches me things that I already know but in new and surprising ways. In the end Ramadan gives you hope that you will make better choices for the coming year than you did last year.
—The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org