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Fasting, not only about abstinence from food, drink

By Ishola Balogun

An Islamic poet says: A believer sees his sins as if he were sitting beneath a mountain which he fears will fall on him, whilst the sinner sees his sins as if it were a fly passing his nose and he waves it off. As Ramadan provides us the promise of Allah’s increased mercy, it is better to use the period very well, maximise the opportunity and become a better person after Ramadan. It offers a unique opportunity to earn Allah’s pleasure. The process starts now. The entire idea of fasting is definitely to get closer to God. In doing this, it must be a period of total re-dedication to Allah with increase in activities that are in consonance with the dictates of Allah while also shunning the ways of shaytan (devil).  The fasting Muslim must ensure that the exercise goes far beyond abstinence from eating and drinking.  It includes a change of habits that will put you on the track of righteousness. Some of them are as follow.

See not what displeases Allah: Cultivate a chaste regard, restrained yourself from viewing anything that is reprehensible, or which distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of God. The Prophet, said: “the furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be God’s curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of God, will receive from Him, great and gracious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart.”

As related by Jabir from Anas that Prophet Muhammad, (s.a.w) said: ‘Five things break a man’s fast, these are lying, back-biting, scandal, perjury and a lustful gaze.’

Speak no evil: Guarding one’s tongue from vain talk, lying, back-biting, scandal, obscenity, rudeness, wrangling and controversy is beneficial; instead, occupy yourself with the remembrance of Allah and with recitation of the Quran. This is otherwise termed the fasting of the tongue.  The Prophet said: ‘ Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is fasting he should not use foul or foolish talk. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say:”I am fasting, I am fasting!”

Hear no evil: Closing one’s ears to everything reprehensible.  It has been said that listening to evil talk is as bad as uttering it.  That is why Allah equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer “(They like to) listen to falsehood, to devour anything forbidden” (Quran 5: 42).

Do no evil: Keeping all organs and parts of the body away from sin: the hands and feet from acts that can vitiate your fast. Also keep away from questionable food at the time for breaking fast, not only to stay purified from unlawful food but also to keep you healthy.

It is meaningless to fast, to abstain from lawful food, only to break one’s fast with what is unlawful.  How many of those who fast, get nothing from it but hunger and thirst as a result of not being able to keep away from all unlawful things that have been spelt out as capable of vitiating fast.

Let’s, therefore, direct all our efforts to earn as many rewards as possible and to stay away from sins. Even as the month provides us with a chance of multiple rewards, the multiplication is all tied to the sincerity of our worships and the intensity with which we carry out the ibadaat.
May Allah guide us rightly.


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