بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
Fasting is the third fundamental pillar of Islam.Fasting has a great importance and significance in the Islamic system of worship.
Meaning of Fasting:-
In Arabic language the word _Soum_, which is translated into English as ‘fasting, means ‘to stop,’ ‘to refrain’.
In Islam _Saum_ is used for the practice by which man abstains from eating and avoids sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset.
ALLAH ALMIGHTY has said in a Hadith-e-Qudsi:
الصوم لی وانا اجزی بہ
_”Fasting is for Me and I will give its reward_.”
Importance of Fasting:-
As for as importance is concerned, being a human we can not count because we can not be able to find out the correct figure and as it is said in the above Hadith-e-Qudsi, one can believe that the reward is on behalf of Allah SWT! And it is uncountable.
ALLAH (SWT!) has said in the Holy Quran!
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا کُتِبَ عَلَیۡکُمُ الصِّیَامُ کَمَا کُتِبَ عَلَی الَّذِیۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِکُمۡ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَتَّقُوۡنَ
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous – (Surah# 2, Ayat # 183)!
In the same Surah The Lord of the world again said and explained in different context and has given enough ease.
اَیَّامًا مَّعۡدُوۡدٰتٍ ؕ فَمَنۡ کَانَ مِنۡکُمۡ مَّرِیۡضًا اَوۡ عَلٰی سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّۃٌ مِّنۡ اَیَّامٍ اُخَرَ ؕ وَ عَلَی الَّذِیۡنَ یُطِیۡقُوۡنَہٗ فِدۡیَۃٌ طَعَامُ مِسۡکِیۡنٍ ؕ فَمَنۡ تَطَوَّعَ خَیۡرًا فَہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّہٗ ؕ وَ اَنۡ تَصُوۡمُوۡا خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ
Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.
( Surah# 2 , Ayat # 184)
Importance of Fasting in Hadith:-
The Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAW!) said:” If a man leaves a fast without any lawful reason, he cannot compensate it even if he observes fast for the whole life.” (Tirmizi) The Holy Prophet (SAW!) Said in another place;
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مَسْلَمَةَ ، عَنْ مَالِكٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي الزِّنَادِ ، عَنِ الْأَعْرَجِ ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، قَالَ : الصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ ، فَلَا يَرْفُثْ ، وَلَا يَجْهَلْ ، وَإِنِ امْرُؤٌ قَاتَلَهُ أَوْ شَاتَمَهُ ، فَلْيَقُلْ : إِنِّي صَائِمٌ مَرَّتَيْنِ ، وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَخُلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ ، يَتْرُكُ طَعَامَهُ ، وَشَرَابَهُ ، وَشَهْوَتَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي الصِّيَامُ لِي ، وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ وَالْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا
(Sahih Bukhari # 1894)
“Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting.
The Prophet added, By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person), ‘He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.”
In Sahih Bukhari the Holy Prophet ( SAW!) Tell us the further importance which is mentioned below;
حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ مُوسَى ، أَخْبَرَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ يُوسُفَ ، عَنِ ابْنِ جُرَيْجٍ ، قَالَ : أَخْبَرَنِي عَطَاءٌ ، عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ الزَّيَّاتِ ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ ، يَقُولُ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : قَالَ اللَّهُ : كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ لَهُ ، إِلَّا الصِّيَامَ فَإِنَّهُ لِي ، وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ ، وَالصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ ، وَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ صَوْمِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَلَا يَرْفُثْ وَلَا يَصْخَبْ ، فَإِنْ سَابَّهُ أَحَدٌ أَوْ قَاتَلَهُ ، فَلْيَقُلْ : إِنِّي امْرُؤٌ صَائِمٌ ، وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ ، لَخُلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ ، لِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ يَفْرَحُهُمَا : إِذَا أَفْطَرَ فَرِحَ ، وَإِذَا لَقِيَ رَبَّهُ فَرِحَ بِصَوْمِهِ
(Sahih Bukhari # 1904)
“Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, Allah said, ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.
‘ Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.’
By Him in Whose Hands my soul is’ The unpleasant smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting.”
There are a lot of Hadiths on importance of Fasting.So we should try our best level to take care of fasting in the month of RAMADAN
Purpose of Fasting:-
Purposes of Fasting are as follows;1) Obedience to ALLAH (SWT!):- The first and the foremost objective of fasting is following Allah’s (SWT!) will and His command.
2) Tolerance and patience:-
One purpose of fasting is to make the observer tolerant and patient.If a man remains hungry , thirsty and avoids evil deeds , he becomes tolerant and patient and this trait remains in his character even after Ramadhan.
3) Character Building:
-If a man addicted to abusing, backbiting and adultery , starts keeping fast during Ramadhan , his fasting will keep him away from all these vices.If he does not shun these evils then according to the Holy Prophet SAW! ,
“ALLAH SWT! does not care about a person if he remains hungry.”Therefore, we shoud avoid bad habits and build our character.With the above mentioned purposes lots of objectives are there but three of them are mentioned above.
Things which break the fast:-
1) Eating or drinking during the prescribed time of fasting. 2) Sexual intercourse during day time 3) Smoking 4) Water slipping down the throat while making Wudhu. 5) Masturbation.Besides voiding the fast, it is an immoral and a sinful act.The perpetrator has been cursed by the Holy Prophet (PBUH!)Etc.
Benefits of fasting:-
1) Awakening of the spirit to follow ALLAH SWT! Commandments.2) Creation of feelings of tolerance and patience3) Development of self accountability4) Character Building5) Inclination of self-accountability.And many more.
*Point to be noted*:-
Information given in this article has been obtained by the writer from sources believed to be reliable.However, because of the possibility of human or mechanical errors on the part of the research , you are welcome to identify through our emails.And one more thing, don’t forget to share Islamic message with the rest of readers.
Written by :-
Syed Ihtisham ul Haq Bin Syed Muh Khwaja Din!