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July 17, 2012

A reminder as to why fasting was enjoined upon us…

by Umm Muawiyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

So I came across another article that told us why Muslims fast in Ramadan.

The only problem was that it – like most of the articles before it – failed to mention the MAIN reason that fasting was enjoined.

No, it’s not to feel empathy with the poor. [I heard that so many times when I was younger!]

What did Allah say?

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 183]

So, this is the reason that fasting was prescribed: to increase us in taqwa (piety).

What is fasting, after all? It’s staying away from three HALAL (lawful) things (food, drink and sexual intercourse with one’s spouse) from dawn to dusk during Ramadan.

Why? Well, just because Allah said so.

So, this begs the question: If we can give up the halal from dawn to dusk for 30 days, just because Allah said so, why can’t we give up the haram (unlawful) outside of Ramadan just because Allah said so?

I read or heard (can’t remember) a shaikh say something very interesting. He pointed out that many people fast but do not pray (and such a fast is invalid by the way) which did not make any sense (how could a person who wanted to increase in piety leave the prayer??).

Apart from the fact that prayer is the greater pillar, fasting was tougher than prayer! You had to do it for a whole day whereas a simple prayer could be done in 5-10 minutes.

He pointed out that these people do the more difficult act of worship and leave the easier one.

Does that make sense? Obviously not.

So, we need to make sure that we know the purpose of fasting, because if we don’t, we won’t get the benefit of performing this great act of worship.

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