Fruits for the Week

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Allah says in the Qur’an:” O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint.” (Al-Baqarah:183)

Ramadhan is a blessed month. Muslims all over the world should welcome the arrival of Ramadhan with cheer and happiness for it carries blessings, forgiveness and mercy.

Fasting 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 Allah.

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 Allah.

Fasting awakens in man the feeling of gratefulness. The temporary deprivation of food and water stresses for him the importance of these things as divine blessings.

Then when he partakes of food and water after having experienced hunger and thirst, he can feel how truly precious is the food and water provided to him abundantly by Allah. This experience increases manifold his feelings of gratitude to Allah.

Fasting produces moral discipline within man. By restricting the basic things he desires, the devotee is trained to lead a life of self-restraint and not of permissiveness.

By having a curb put on his various desires for one month at a time man is trained to lead a life of self-restraint for the whole year, making no attempt to exceed the limits set by Allah.

What man does by fasting is engage himself more and more in the remembrance and worship of Allah, and in the recitation of the Qur’an. Thus fasting serves as a strategy to increase the efficacy of worship. In this way Allah accepts our worship in its heightened form.

The fast has two essential elements that must be fulfilled for it to be valid and acceptable. They are: first, abstaining from those acts that break the fast. Allah said in the Qur’an:” Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you from the black thread of the dawn. Then strictly observe the fast until

nightfall,” second, intention. The intention must be made before fajr and during every night of Ramadhan. This point is based on the hadith of Hafsah which reported that the Prophet (saw) said:” Whoever does not determine to fast before fajr will have no fast.” (Ahmad)

All scholars agree that fasting is obligatory upon every sane, adult, healthy Muslim who is not travelling at that time. People who are insane, minors, and those who are travelling, menstruating, or going through post childbirth bleeding, and the elderly and breast-feeding or pregnant women do not need to observe the fast. Some are to break the fast and make up the missed days of fasting at a later date, while others are to break the fast and pay a ‘ransom’ and they are not obliged to make up the days they missed.

It is preferred for the fasting person to observe the following manners:

  1. Eating a pre-dawn meal (sahur). The Prophet saw said:” Eat a pre-dawn meals, for there are blessings in it” (Bukhari and Muslim).
  2. Hastening in breaking the fast. It is preferred for the fasting person to hasten in breaking the fast when the sun has set. The Prophet (saw) said:” The people will always be with the good as long as they hasten in breaking the fast.” (Bukahri and Muslim).
  3. Supplications while breaking the fast and while fasting. The Prophet (saw) said:” A fasting person, upon breaking his fast, has a supplication that will not be rejected.”
  4. Being generous and studying Qur’an. Being generous and studying the Qur’an is recommended during anytime, but it is especially stressed during the month of Ramadhan. Ibn Abbas said:” The Prophet was the most generous of people, but he would be his most generous during Ramadhan when he would meet with Gabriel. He would meet with him every night and recite the Qur’an. When Gabriel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind.”

Fasting is, in short, a training course. Its purpose is to place man on a special spiritual plane for one month so that he may be better able to lead the life of a true devotee of Allah and a true lover of humanity.

May Allah (S.W.T.) accept our fasting and all of our good deeds, Amin.

                   (Prepared by Abdul Muhaemin Karim)

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