The aim of fasting is to achieve taqwa (piety) and hold back the selfish soul to discipline and control it. The Arabic word taqwa comes from the root word, w-q-a, which means to take protection. Just as people protect themselves from rain or scorching sun with an umbrella, taqwa is a shield for Muslims which protects them from evil and wrongdoing. Taqwa makes Muslims conscious of Allah’s (SWT) presence everywhere and every moment. In Islam, five times prayers strengthen individuals’ relationship with Allah (SWT), Zakat strengthens human beings’ relationship with each other, Hajj facilitates renewing faith, and fasting strengthens one’s taqwa. Taqwa is like a brake in the car. It stops you from committing sins like a car getting involved in an accident due to its automatic mechanism.
Allah’s (SWT) most favoured quality in humans is taqwa. He reminds us of the importance of taqwa in Surah Al-Imran (3:102), ‘’Keep from disobedience to God in reverent piety with all the reverence that is due to Him’’. Taqwa means using all possible means to keep away from evil and to perform good to one’s ability. Fasting is an act of worship through which Muslims can attain taqwa. Another quality developed by fasting in Ramadan is patience. The Arabic word for fasting, sawm, means to refrain from oneself. Any form of abstinence requires patience. In the month of Ramadan, Muslims can learn to be grateful to Allah (SWT) for what they have by understanding the difficulties of the poor who suffer from a lack of food and means of livelihood. This understanding develops compassion for the neediest and the destitute in the world.
Ramadan also gives Muslims an opportunity to show their gratitude to Allah (SWT) for His blessings and reminds them to always look at those who are worse off than them. Allah (SWT) made humans His best creation, ‘ashraf-ul-makhluqat’, and blessed them with the intellect to think about the purpose of their existence in the world. Everything that happens in the universe is not meaningless; even certain dreams are either a reflection of one’s daily activities or signs of a future event. The events that occur in the world remind us of the presence of Allah (SWT). The main objective of humans is to serve Allah (SWT) and worship Him as much as possible. The spiritual benefits of fasting are manifold as it provides a unique opportunity to show immense love for the Almighty. It is an exceptional form of reverence which establishes a two-way connection, one with Allah (SWT) and the other with fellow human beings.
This article is derived from a talk delivered to the Muslim Aid staff by Dr Suhaib Hossan, Vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of Muslim Aid, in the context of the forthcoming month of Ramadan.
The copyright of this article is held by the Information and Public Affairs Department of Muslim Aid, UK. Use of its contents is allowed subject to acknowledgement. The opinions expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not represent the point of view of Muslim Aid.
It is the duty of Muslims to express generosity throughout our lives, as selfless acts allow us to prevent ourselves from engaging in Sinful behaviour. Donate to Muslim Aid this Ramadan to help those in need globally.
By: Amal Imad Information and Public Affairs Department Muslim Aid