The wisdom behind fasting

From the wisdom of fasting is that: It is an act of worship done for Allâh, in which the ‘abd (servant) draws closer to His Lord by abandoning the things that he loves and desires, such as food, drink and sexual intercourse. So because of this, the truthfulness of his Faith and the completeness of his servitude to Allâh become apparent, as well as his love for Allâh and his longing for what Allâh has prepared for him (of good). This is since the one who fasts does not abandon something that is beloved to him except for that which is greater to him than it (which is Allâh). When the believer knows that Allâh’s contentment lies in the fasting – which is abandoning those desires that he naturally loves – he will give his Lord’s contentment precedence over his desires. So he abandons his desires no matter how much he longs and yearns for them, because his delight and the tranquillity of his soul lies in his abandoning all that for the sake of Allâh.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that it is a means of attaining taqwâ (become God-fearing), as Allâh says:

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who came before you; that you will perhaps be God-fearing.” [Al-Qur’ân 2:183]

This is since a person who is fasting is commanded to do the obligatory duties and to avoid sinful acts. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

“Whoever does not abandon false speech, acting upon that (false speech) and (acts of) ignorance (i.e. sins), then Allâh has no need of him abandoning his food and drink.” [Reported by al-Imâm al-Bukhârî]

So when a person is fasting, every time he desires to do a sinful act, he will remember that he is fasting and thus withhold himself from that. This is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, ordered the person who is fasting, when cursed at and abused, to say: “I am fasting”, cautioning him that a person fasting is commanded to refrain from cursing and reviling, and reminding himself that he is fasting and cannot react with cursing.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that the heart opens to contemplation and remembrance (of Allâh). This is since fulfilling one’s desires leads to heedlessness and perhaps the heart becomes hardened and blinded from the truth. This is why the Prophet, upon whom be peace, advised us to eat and drink little, where he said:

“The Son of Âdam does not fill a vessel worse than his stomach.” [Reported by Ahmad, an-Nasâ’î and Ibn Mâjah]

And in Sahîh Muslim, Handhala al-Usaidî, may Allâh be pleased with him, who was one of the scribes of Allâh’s Messenger, said to the Prophet, peace be upon him:

“Handhala has become a hypocrite.”

So Allâh’s Messenger said:

“Why is that?”

He said:

“O Messenger of Allâh, when we are with you, you remind us of the Hellfire and Paradise, as if we see them with our own eyes. But when we depart from you, we meet our wives and our children and our homes and we forget much (of what we heard from you).”

In the last part of the hadîth, the Prophet said to him:

“But O Handhala, there is a time for this and a time for that. There is a time for this and a time for that. There is a time for this and a time for that.”

Abu Sulaymân ad-Darânî said:

“Indeed, when the soul hungers and thirsts, the heart softens and becomes pure. And when it is fed, the heart becomes blinded.”

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that the person who has wealth is caused to realize the blessing of wealth that Allâh has bestowed on him, such that Allâh blessed him with food, drink and sexual intercourse. Many people are deprived of these things, so he should praise Allâh for these blessings and thank Him for granting him them. And he should remember his brother who is poor and who probably goes through the day starved and hungry. So he should be generous to him and give him charity so that he can clothe his barrenness and satisfy his hunger.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that it trains one to curb the soul, and it gives one strength to withhold his soul by its bridle, such that one can govern it and lead it towards that which is good for it and what will make it prosper. This is because the soul commands one to do evil, except for those souls that my Lord has mercy on. So when a person undoes and lets go of his (soul’s) bridle, the soul lands him into many dangers. But when he controls it and curbs it, he is able to lead it to the highest of levels and the greatest of goals.

And from the wisdom of fasting is that the soul is broken down and restricted from having pride, to the point that it humbles itself to the truth and softens itself before the creation. This is because eating, drinking and having sexual intercourse with women – all of these things bring about insolence, arrogance, vanity and pride over people and over the truth. The soul preoccupies itself with trying to obtain these things because of its need for them. So when it obtains these things, the soul feels like it has conquered what it desired and so it falls into the happiness and pride that is condemned. And this is a cause for its destruction. Only those whom Allâh protects are saved from this.

And from the wisdom behind fasting is that the passageways of blood (in the body) become narrow due to hunger and thirst, so therefore the passageways of the Devil in the human body also become narrower. This is since the Devil flows through the son of Adam like the flowing of blood, as is authentically recorded in the two authentic collections. So by fasting, the whisperings of the Devil are subdued and the strength of one’s desires and anger are subjugated. This is why the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

“O young men! Whoever amongst you can afford it, should get married, for it is the best means for lowering one’s gaze and the best way of keeping (one’s) private parts chaste. But whoever is not able to marry, then let him fast, for it has protection.”

And from the wisdom behind fasting are the health benefits that come as a result of it, which are attained by in-taking little food, allowing the digestive system to rest for a specified time, which lets excess wastes and excrements that are harmful to the body be discharged.

Wisdom from Islam

I am an agnostic freethinker and not a Muslim, but I still have incorporated many of Islam’s tools to use for peace generation within myself and others. Much wisdom for ‘living right’ irrespective of religious beliefs are available to us from the world religions and spiritual paths if we are open and non prejudicial in our thinking.

Continue reading “Wisdom from Islam”

What is the wisdom of Islam?

Islam is a very simple religion. Islam simply means submitting yourself in peace to the One True Living GOD:

Then Praise be to Allah, Lord of the heavens and Lord of the earth- Lord and Cherisher of all the worlds! To Him be Glory throughout the heavens and the earth: and He is Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom!. (The Noble Quran, 45:36-37)

Say: ‘O People of the Book (i.e., Jews and Christians)! Come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah.’ If then they turn back, say ye: ‘Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will).’ (The Noble Quran, 3:64)

The GOD of Islam is the GOD of everything He created. There is no middle man between the Creation and the Creator;

It was We Who Created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. (The Noble Quran, 50:16)

When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way. (The Noble Quran, 2:186)

Allah Almighty knows what’s in the heart and will judge us (all humans, Muslims and non-Muslims) according to our intentions:

Let us look at Noble Verses 26:88-91 “The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, But only he (will prosper) that brings to God a sound heart; to the righteous, the Garden will be brought near, and to those straying in Evil, the Fire will be placed in full view.”

Allah Almighty created all mankind with different races, mentality and beliefs; “O mankind! [this includes all races and all nations] We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted. (The Noble Quran, 49:13)” Throughout the Noble Quran, Allah Almighty sometimes talks directly to Muslims, to non Muslims and to all mankind (both Muslims and non Muslims). This by itself means a lot to me as a human being. It tells me that Allah Almighty’s Book (The Noble Quran) is not just meant for Muslims only. Anyone can reach his Creator through Islam.

It also tells me that anyone can gain the Love of Allah Almighty, which would eventually lead him to know His Creator and end up in paradise under Him:

It is He Who has Created you [humans]; and of you [humans] are some that are unbelievers, and some that are believers: And Allah sees well all that ye do. He has created the heavens and the earth in just portions, and has given you [humans] shape, and made your shapes beautiful: and to Him is the final Goal. He knows what is in the heavens and on earth; and He knows what ye conceal and what ye reveal: Allah Knows well the (secrets) of (all) hearts. (The Noble Quran, 64:2-4)

He knows well that we need Him, and that we are nothing without Him and His guidance;

O ye men! It is ye that have need of Allah: but Allah is the One free of all wants, worthy of all praise. If He so pleased, He could blot you out and bring in a new creation, Nor is that difficult for Allah. (The Noble Quran, 35:15-17)

Allah Almighty listens to our prayers; He is close and listens!

When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way. (The Noble Quran, 2:186)