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The Social Aspect of Fasting in Ramadan

Author : Mufti Mohammad Al-Shurman

Date Added : 14-03-2024


The Social Aspect of Fasting in Ramadan

 

Verily, all perfect praise is due to Allah. We praise Him, seek His help, and ask for His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves and from our bad deeds. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide, and whoever Allah misguides, none can guide. Peace and blessings be upon our mentor Prophet Mohammad, the healer of hearts and bodies, and upon his family, companions, and those who follow them until the Day of Judgment:

 

Many people witness the month of Ramadan and exit from it without increasing in anything except in weight, irritability, problems, and hostility. This is because they did not truly fast it, but rather treated it as a heavy burden weighing down their shoulders. They indulge in numerous feasts, visits, gatherings, and compliments that often do not please Allah the Almighty.

 

In this blessed month, we are invited to return to the true meaning of fasting by adhering to its purposes and goals, which our Lord, glorified be He, summarized in His saying: "O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous" (Al-Baqarah: 183).

 

The ultimate purpose of fasting is to attain piety, which includes fear of Allah the Almighty, awareness of His greatness, and watchfulness. This sought-after piety through fasting manifests itself in various dimensions during the blessed month of Ramadan, with its most prominent aspect being the social dimension. We are in dire need of this dimension to emerge from the dark tunnel in which we find ourselves.

 

One of the most prominent social aspects and dimensions derived from the school of fasting during the month of Ramadan include:

 

1- Achieving Unity of the Islamic Ummah:

 

The majority of Muslim countries fast on the same day and break their fast on the same day. People in the same country begin fasting at the same hour and break their fast at a common hour. They also eagerly participate in Taraweeh prayers and Eid celebrations. This unity in actions fosters a sense of solidarity and cohesion among them, enabling them to confront the challenges they face.

 

Moreover, fasting unifies their aspirations and love for goodness, fostering a spirit of cooperation and unity among Muslims in facing the adversities and storms that beset the Islamic Ummah.

 

2- Empathy with the Poor:

 

In principle, a Muslim should be attentive to the condition of their society, empathizing with the multitude of pains and sufferings experienced by their brethren and neighbors. However, amidst the pressures of work, material pursuits, and the hustle and bustle of life, one may sometimes overlook or forget the hardships faced by others. Ramadan provides an opportunity for the affluent to experience the deprivation and hunger endured by the poor during the daylight hours of Ramadan. This experience fosters stronger bonds of love, friendship, and social cohesion between the rich and the poor, strengthening the fabric of their community and nation. As mentioned in the authentic Hadith narrated by An-Nu'man bin Bashir, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said: "The example of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever." This illustrates the interconnectedness and mutual concern among believers, regardless of their social or economic status."[Related by Muslim].

 

3- Uplifting and Reinforcing Good Morals:

 

Fasting constitutes a hidden form of worship between the servant and their Lord. As narrated by Abu Huraira and Abu Sa'id, may Allah be pleased with them, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: "Allah Almighty says: 'Fasting is for Me, and I will reward it. The fast is a shield. When one of you is fasting, they should neither indulge in obscene language nor should they raise their voice. If someone reviles them or tries to quarrel with them, they should say: I am fasting, I am fasting." (Related by Bukhari).

 

When a Muslim becomes conscious of this feeling of being observed by Allah, their character improves. They abstain from many lowly deeds and sins, foremost among them being lying and betrayal, which are unfortunately prevalent in our societies. A true fasting believer strengthens their faith and piety, becoming a righteous individual with noble and firmly rooted morals. Liberated from the chains of sin, they embody goodness and benefit to their nation and society.

 

4- Instilling Patience in Muslims:

 

Patience is the key to relief. Allah the Almighty says {What means}: "O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful." (Al-Imran, 200). Patience is also the key to reward. Allah the Almighty says {What means}: "Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account." (Az-Zumar, 10).

 

The best lesson in patience is learned during the month of fasting. Those accustomed to fasting and raised in the school of fasting are found to be brave and resilient, unafraid of death and accustomed to facing challenges. Therefore, the Muslim soldier is courageous, brave, patient, and relying on Allah. You see them fighting with deep faith, relying on Allah, and perhaps this aspect of patience is one of the social matters needed in these times, as the nation is weak and subdued, with its resources controlled by its enemies.

 

5- Instilling Orderliness and Precision in Muslims:

 

These days, Muslims in their communities often suffer from laxity, irresponsibility, and lack of discipline. However, if they were to return to the true essence of their religion, including genuine fasting, they would find many aspects that instill in them the values of precision and orderliness. One clear example of this is the precise timing of beginning and ending the fast, as well as the start and end of the blessed month of Ramadan. In these moments, one can easily transition from being a non-faster to a faster, highlighting the importance of adherence to schedules and commitments.

 

6- Cultivating Generosity, Benevolence, and Charity:

 

The month of Ramadan presents Muslims with the greatest opportunity to cultivate generosity and charity, following the example of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Ibn Abbas reported: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the most generous of people, and he was most generous during the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him. Gabriel would meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur'an with him. Indeed, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was more generous with goodness than a swift wind bringing rain" [related by Bukhari]. Muslims also become accustomed to and nurtured in generosity when they hasten to break the fast of others. The Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever provides food for a fasting person to break his fast with, will have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Hellfire, and he will have a reward equal to his, without his reward being diminished at all" [Sunan Ibn Majah]. Even if one cannot find food to give, providing a date, a drink of water, or a sip of milk is rewarded by Allah. Moreover, Muslims become accustomed to giving and charity when they fulfill their obligation of Zakat al-Fitr, as well as paying fidyah and kaffarah for certain violations or shortcomings.

 

These are the most important social dimensions that we derive from the school of fasting in Ramadan. May Allah make us among those liberated from the Hellfire in this blessed month, and may He assist us in fasting, praying, lowering our gaze, and guarding our tongues. All perfect praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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