Editor's note: Ramadan is the most precious month in the Islamic calendar (Hijri) and it is obligatory for the Muslims to fast in this holy month.
In this Ramadan lecture, Legit.ng examines five ways Ramadan instills fear of Allah in the minds of Muslims.
In the name of Allah, The most beneficent, the most merciful, whoever Allah guides, no one can lead him astray and whoever Allah sends astray, no one can guide him.
Verily the best of speech is the Book of Allah (Qur’an) and the best guidance is the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah give him peace and bless him), and the most evil matters are those that are newly invented, for every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hell fire. May Allah save us from the torment of Hell fire, (Aameen).
The purpose of fasting is not to make us hungry and thirsty, or to deprive us some of our comfort and conveniences. The real purpose of fasting is that we learn taqwa (piety).
Taqwa is highly emphasised in the Qur’an and Sunnah. There are more than 158 verses in the Qur’an on taqwa, and there are hundreds of hadiths on this subject.
''O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.'' (Al-Baqarah 2:183)
''O ye who believe! fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam.'' (Aal Imran 3:102)
“Every deed of the child of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward it. The (bad) breath of the mouth of a fasting person is more pleasing to Allah than the perfume of musk.”(Al-Bukhari)
Taqwa is Islam itself. It is the sum total of all Islamic values and virtues. If one has taqwa one has achieved everything.
Taqwa is the consciousness of Allah. It is to do one’s best efforts to live by His commands and to avoid His prohibitions.
The Qur’an has used the word taqwa to mean consciousness of Allah, fear of Allah, worship of Allah, sincerity in faith, and avoidance of disobedience to Allah.
Fasting and Taqwa
Fasting builds the character of taqwa if it is done in the right way. How does fasting build the character of taqwa? Let us look at some of the things that a fasting person is supposed to do, and see how they are related to the concept and spirit of taqwa.
1. Unlike prayers, charity, and pilgrimage, fasting is an invisible act. Only Allah and the person who is fasting know whether he or she is fasting or not.
One may quietly eat or drink something and no one will notice and no one can find out. However, the fasting person has made this commitment for the sake of Allah and he or she wants to guard the purity of his or her fast for the sake of Allah.
Fasting thus teaches sincerity, and it helps a person learn to live by the principles of his or her faith regardless whether others know or do not know. This is the very purpose and essence of taqwa.
2. Food and se.x are two needs and desires that are essential for human survival and growth, but they can become easily corruptible and disruptive if they are not properly controlled and disciplined.
Taqwa requires observing the rules of Allah when one eats and when one enjoys se.xual relations. Fasting teaches how to control and discipline these desires.
3. The world is full of temptations. It takes a lot of discipline to say “no” to something that is very tempting but not good for us. During fasting, we learn how to say “no” to things that are otherwise permissible and good but are forbidden during fasting.
When one learns how to say “no” to that which is generally permissible, then one can easily control oneself to avoid that which is forbidden. This is the spirit of taqwa.
4. People generally care for themselves and their families, but they often ignore the needs of others. Those who have do not even feel the pain and suffering of those who are hungry, homeless, and living in poverty.
Through fasting we taste—to some extent—the pain and suffering of those who are poor and destitute. Fasting teaches empathy and sympathy, and it takes away some of our selfishness and self-centredness. This is the spirit of taqwa.
5. When Muslims fast together in the month of Ramadan, it builds an atmosphere of virtues, brotherhood and sisterhood. We come closer to our Creator and we also come closer to each other. Unity, peace, harmony, brotherhood and sisterhood are the fruits of taqwa. In Ramadan we enjoy these fruits as we grow in taqwa.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that examined what Islam says about eating or drinking out of forgetfulness while fasting.
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