"SAUM" (FASTING)

Discussion in 'Ramadan & Eid al Fitr' started by Umm Aysha, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. Umm Aysha
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    Umm Aysha *Strive for Jannah*

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    Q. 1: What is "Rozah" (Saum)?
    A. "Rozah" which is called "Saum" in Arabic, means to restrain and keep silence. The Holy Qur-aan defines "Saum" as "patience" too which means "self-control, perseverance and determination". Thus Rozah (Saum) stands, according to Islaam, for guarding oneself against selfishness, sensual and carnal desires and protecting one's instinctive restraint and perseverance. Food, drink and sexual relation between man and woman play very important role in human life that usually destroy human values and merits if not checked. Regulating and keeping oneself away from such human needs for a certain period is Rozah (Saum). But according to Shar'ee terminology "Saum" means conscious abstinence (of a Muslim) from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk with the sole intention of worship. It is conditional for woman to be free from "Haiz-o-Nifaas" (menstruation and discharge of blood of the child-birth) for the observance of fast.

    Q.2: What is the importance of fast in Islaam
    ?
    A. The importance of "Saum" (fast) can be gauged from the fact that:
    1. It is the fourth of five pillars of Islaam.
    2. Fasts help maintain health and develop the body well.
    3. Fasts cleanse and purify the heart, mind and soul.
    4. Fasts acquaint the rich with the plight of the poor.
    5. Fasts help promote equality among community members by bringing the well-to-do and poor at par.
    6. Fasts firm up spiritual strength and weaken carnal forces.
    7. Fasts help one become used to difficulties and hardships.
    8. Fasts provide one with forbearance, patience and endurance against hunger and thirst.
    9. Fasts provide mental and spiritual concentration and peace.
    10. Fasts serve as sentinel against evils and sins.
    11. Fasts inspire Islamic spirit and zeal to do virtuous deeds.
    12. Observance of fast is a secret and quiet worship which is free from show and hypocrisy.
    13. Fast is an effective source of warding off calamities and disasters.
    There are many other benefits and advantages of fasts as defined by Quraan-o-Hadees.

    Q.3: What objective of fast has been expounded by the Holy Qur-aan?
    A. The Holy Qur-aan has expounded the aims and objectives of the fast in three brief sentences:
    1. That the believers should praise His (Allah's) "Kibriyaai" (Magnificence, Grandeur) and "Azmat" (Greatness).
    2. Be thankful to Him (Allah) on receiving Divine guidance that He lifted up the mankind to the height of "Rif at-o-'Izzat" (eminence and honour) from the depth of ignominy and disgrace.
    3. That the believers may eschew evil deeds and "Taqvaa" (fear of Allah, piety) may develop in them.

    "Taqvaa" is a particular state of the heart which, when attained to, prevents one from evil deeds and sins and he becomes a voracious doer of virtues. This is the very object of fast that such an excellence should develop in a humanbeing. In other words, it may be said that the fast inculcates "fear of Allah" in humanbeing whereby he controls his "Nafs" (self) and thus the deference and greatness of the command of Allah gets embedded in his heart defeating all other temptations. Once the command of Allah got into the heart of a believer he would definitely give up his unlawful, illegitimate and evil habits and would never dare commit sins. This moral glory is called "Taqvaa".

    Q.4: Please explain the excellences of fast as defined by Ahaadees?

    A. Ahaadees are replete with the excellences of fasts. The Holy Prophet Saiey-yidinaa Muhammad (may Allah's choicest blessings & peace be upon him) said:
    1. When the holy month of Ramadaan comes, the gates of heavens,mercy are opened up and of hell shut down. And Satans are chained up.
    2. The Paradise is adorned and bedecked round the year for Ramadaan and when the first day of Ramadaan comes, there blows a wind originating from the leaves of the heaven trees, beneath the heavens over the houries who say: "O'Allah! provide us our husbands from among Your servants so that we are pleased with them and they are pleased with us".
    3. There are eight gates of Paradise and one of those is called "Raiyaan". The believers who observe fasts will enter into paradise from this gate.
    4. There are two pleasures for the believer who observes fasts. First when he breaks his fast and second when he will meet his "Rabb" (Creator, Sovereign Lord). The smell of the mouth of fasting man is purer with Allah than the fragrance of musk.
    5. The first "Ashrah" (ten days) of Ramadaan is "mercy", the second one is "absolution, forgiveness" and the last (third) Ashrah is "freedom from hell".
    6. Fast is (kept) for Allah and He alone knows how great a reward of fast is.
    7. There is Zakaat of every thing and Zakaat of the body is fasting and fast is half of patience.
    8. "Du'aa" (supplication) of fasting man is not rejected at the time of "Iftaar" (fast breaking).
    9. If people had known the reality of Ramadaan, my (Prophet's) Ummat would wish that the whole year may be Ramadaan.
    10. My Ummat has been graced with such five things that were not given to any other Prophet i.e. (1).That on the first night of Ramadaan Allah Almighty casts a merciful eye on them and whom Allah looks with mercy will never consign him to hell, (2) that the smell of the mouth of fasting man is more pleasant to Allah in the evening than the fragrance of musk, (3) that the angels pray for the forgiveness of fasting man every day and night, (4) that Allah Almighty commands the paradise to get itself adorned for the fasting people so that they may rest in it after having suffered difficulties and hardships in the world and (5) when the last night of Ramadaan comes, He forgives them all. Somebody asked the Holy Prophet. Is it the night of "Qadr"? No, he said adding don't you see that labourers work and when they finish it well are paid their due.
    11. Allah Almighty releases one million people from hell daily in Ramadaan and on its 29th night He releases people equal to the total number of who were released during the whole month and when the night of Eidul Fitr comes, Angels rejoice and Allah Almighty manifest His Light (Noor) addressing the Angels: O' the group of Angels! What should be the return of the labourer who has completed his work well? Angels submit, he should be paid his full due. Allah Almighty says: Be you witness that I have forgiven them all.

    Q.5: How many classes of fast are there?

    A. There are three classes of fast i.e. (1) the fast of general people(Muslims) who avoid food, drink and sexual intercourse, (2) the fast of the pious ones who avoid not only food, drink and sexual intercourse but also eschew commission of sin by the eye, tongue, hand, foot and every limb of the body and (3) the fast of the highest class i.e. prominent ones who totally avoid the world and get immersed in Allah's love alone.

    Q.6: How many kinds of fast are there?

    A. There are five kinds of fast i.e. (1). "Fard"(Farz), (2). "Waajib", (3). "Nafil", (4). "Makrooh Tanzeehi" and (5). "Makrooh Tahreemi".

    Q.7: How many kinds of Fard and Waajib fasts are there?

    A. There are two kinds of (each) Fard and Waajib fasts i.e. "Mo'aie-yan" (fixed,appointed) and "Ghair Mo'aie-yan" (non-fixed,non-appointed).

    Q.8: Which fasts are "Fard Mo'aie-yan"? A. "Fard Mo'aie-yan"
    (fixed,appointed) obligatory fasts are such as the fasts of Ramadaan which are observed in the month of Ramadaan only and "Fard Ghair-Mo'aie-yan" (non-fixed,non-appointed) obligatory fasts are such as "Qada,Qaza" (missed,omitted) fasts of Ramadaan and the fasts of atonement irrespective of atonement for breaking fast before time or any other act.

    Q.9: Which fasts are Waajib Mo'aie-yan and Ghair Mo'aie-yan?
    A. Waajib Mo'aie-yan (fixed,appointed) essential fasts are such as the fasts of "Nazar-o-Mannat" (oblation and vow) for which time is fixed and Waajib Ghair Mo'aie-yan are those fasts for which no time is fixed.

    Q10: Which fasts are Nafil ones?

    A. Nafil (optional,superarogatory) fasts are such as (1).the fasts of "Aashoorah" (9th & 10th of Muharram), (2). "Aieyaam-e-beez(Beed)" i.e. 13th, 14th and 15th of every lunar month, (3). "Arafah" i.e. 9th of Zilhij, (4).six fasts after Eidul Fitr, (5). fast of Prophet David i.e. to observe fast on alternate day, (6).the fast of Monday and (7) of Thursday, (8) the fast of 15th of Sha'baan and others the reward of which is defined in Ahaadees. Some of Nafil fasts are "Masnoon" (as practised by the Holy Prophet) and some are "Mustahab" (desirable).

    Q11: Which fasts are "Makrooh Tanzeehi"?
    A. Makrooh Tanzeehi fasts are such as the fast which is observed only on Saturday likening to the practice of Jews, fasts of "Nay-roz" and "Mehr-gaan"(festive days of fire-worshippers) which are kept by fire-worshippers, "Saum Dahr" (to observe fasts on all
    days), "Saum Sukoot" (not to speak during fasting) and "Saum Wisaal" (to observe fast upon fast without breaking the preceding day's fast at appointed time).

    Q12: Which are "Makrooh Tahreemi" fasts?

    A. Makrooh Tahreemi fasts are such as of Eidul Fitr, Eidul Adha and "Aieyaam-e-Tashreeq" i.e. 1 lth, 12th and 13th of Zilhij.

    Q13: What are the preconditions of fasting?

    A. It is conditional for fasting person to be sane and mature and for women to be free from "Haiz-o-Nifaas".

    Q14: Can minor boy or girl observe fast or not?

    A. Fasting is not compulsory for minor boy or minor girl. However, Shari'ah enjoins that when a child attains the age of eight years, his guardian should direct him for prayer and fast and when he is of ten and enters into 11th year, the guardian should make him observe fast provided that he is healthy. On denial he should be beaten to observe it. In case, a fasting child breaks the fast before time, he will not be required to repeat it. But if he breaks off prayer he will be made to repeat it.

    Q15: How does a fast become "Fard" or "Waajib"?

    A. There are different causes,reasons by which fasting becomes Fard or Waajib. For example, advent of the holy month of Ramadaan, making "Nazar" and "Mannat" (oblation and vow), atonement for fast, violation of "Qasam" (oath) or "Kaffaarah" (to atone) for unintentional murder or "Zihaar" (uttering such word (s) to one's wife that have the effect of a divorce) etc.

    Q16: When was fasting of Ramadaan made compulsory?

    A. The fasts of Ramadaan were made compulsory in the 2nd year of Hegira when the believers had become accustomed to the belief of "Tauheed" (monotheism), prayer and other Quranic injunctions. Since the fasting is equally necessary for the poor and rich under Islamic principles, that's why it is wrong to say that Muslims often faced hunger and poverty at the outset of Islaam which made them inured to fasting. If it had been so the fasting would have been made compulsory in Makkah to suit their poor financial condition. But it was enjoined in the middle of Islaam after migration to Madinah.

    Q17: What about he who does not observe fast?
    A. The one who does not observe fast without any valid reason is a great sinner, "Faasiq-o-Faajir" (transgressor and veritable sinner) and deserves the torment of hell. If one openly eats or drinks intentionally in Ramadaan sans any valid reason, he be killed i.e. the Muslim ruler can order his killing as punishment.

    Q18: What wisdom lies in making fasting compulsory as per the lunar calendar?
    A. The real "Hikmat" (wisdom,reason) of it is better known to Allah Almighty and His Prophet, but apparently it may be said that the observance of fasts of Ramadaan in accordance with the lunar (Muslim) calendar establishes an equality among all Muslims across the world as the lunar month rotates in all seasons of the year. Had any solar (Gregorian) month been fixed for Ramadaan, the believers of one hemisphere would observe fasts with all ease in winter and of the other would always observe fasts in the sweltering summer, for, if one half of the world enjoys the winter the other faces the summer, which runs counter to the sublime principles of the universal religion - Islaam.
  2. AishaR
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    AishaR Junior Member

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    Asalam

    Thanx for sharing that with us. I found it very useful.

    May you be guided on the correct path.

    Salam
  3. hambaAllah
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    hambaAllah Junior Member

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    :bismillah:
    :salam2: sis
    :jazaak: for info
    :wasalam:
  4. Mrmuslim
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    Mrmuslim Smile you are @ TTI Staff Member

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    salaam alikom

    Jazaaki allah khyran,

    for a moment when i clicked on thread I dont know why I read Saum as (Saumuosa) lol :d

    good info.
    salaam alikom
  5. Umm Aysha
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    Umm Aysha *Strive for Jannah*

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    Asalaam Alaykum

    You feeling hungry bro...lol...:)

    :jazaak: for all..

    :salam2:
  6. zarah
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    zarah Islam Staff Member

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    Assalamu Alaikum

    :bismillah:

    :salam2:

    Jazzak-Allah khair for sharing.

    May Allah(Swt) reward you for efforts. (Ameen)

    :wasalam:
  7. sanali
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    sanali New Member

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    LET US SHARE 'MAUDUDIS'

    Fasting Was Made Obligatory For Every

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    UMMAH

    Brethren-in-Islam!

    The second lbadat made obligatory for you by Allah, is fasting. Fasting means abstinence during the day from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse. Like Salah this lbadat has remained obligatory in the Shariahs of all the Prophets from the beginning. All the past Ummahs used to observe fasts in the same way as the Umah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). However, in regard to rules of fasting, the number of fasts and the periods required for fasting, there has been a difference among various Shariahs. Even today we see that fasting is ordained in most of the religions in some form or other although people have mutilated its shape by adding to it many things of their own. It has been stated in the Holy Quran

    "0 Believers, the Fast has been made obligatory on you just as was prescribed for the followers of the Prophets before you." (Al Baqarah Verse 183)

    It appears from this verse that all those Shariahs which were sent by Allah have never been devoid of the Ibadat of fasting.

    Why fasting was made obligatory?

    Please ponder as to what importance is there in fasting for Allah made it obligatory in each and every period:

    (1) Aim of life-servitude of God

    I have already explained to you several times that the real aim of Islam: is to make the whole life of man transformed into lbadat of Allah. Man is born as slave, and slavery, i.e. servitude is ingrained in his very nature. Therefore, he must not be free for a single moment from `lbadat, i.e. servitude, in thought and deed. He must check up at every move a affairs of his life as to which step he ought to take so as to earn the pleasure of God and which one will entail His displeasure and wrath. The principle, therefore, is that path leading to Allah's pleasure must be followed and that leading: His displeasure must be eschewed just as embers of fie are avoided. A man must adopt the course approved by Allah and keep away from that disapproved by Him. When his whole life is suffused with this colour then only can he be considered as having discharged his obligation of servitude to his Master and as having fulfilled the purport of

    "I have no created the jinn and men except for this; that they should worship me". (Adh-Dhariyat verse 56)

    (2) `Ibadat—training of servitude

    I have stated this point before that, the real purpose of the religious duties like Salah, Hajj, fasting and Zakat having been made obligatory for us, is to train us for a big `lbadat.: The fact of these acts being obligatory does not mean you have acquitted yourself of what you owe to Allah if have done ruku and Sajdah five times in a day, and have suffered hunger and thirst from dawn to dusk for thirty days in Ramadhan and, in case you are wealthy, have given Zakat every year, have performed Hajj once in a lifetime, and that having done all this, are now released from His servitude to be free to do what you like. In fact, the underlying purpose of making these religious duties obligatory is to train a person in such manner as to enable him to transform his whole life into a regular lbadat of God. Now let us see, with this aim in view as to how fasting prepares a man for this full time lbadat.

    (3) Fasting is a hidden `lbadat
    All religious duties except fasting are performed by outward movement or the other. For instance, in Salah a man stands, sits, and does Ruku` and Sajdah which is visible to everybody; in Hajj he goes on a long journey and travels with hundreds of thousands of people. Zakat is also given:


    one person and received by another person. All these religious works cannot be concealed. If you perform them, other people come to know about it; if you do not perform apparently then also it becomes known to others. As against this, fasting is an Ibadat which is not manifest. All-Knowing Allah alone knows that His servant is observing fast. One might partake of Sehri before others and abstain from eating and drinking anything openly till the Iftar time but if he stealthily eats and drinks anything in between, then nobody except God can know about it. The whole world will be under the impression that he is observing fast while in reality he will not be fasting.

    (4) Fasting—Sign of Strength of Iman

    Keep this nature of fasting before you and ponder over the fact that how strong is the faith of the man, who keeps fast, in God being the Knower of the unseen. He actually observes fast; he does not stealthily eat or drink anything; even in the severest summer, when the throat dries due to extreme thirst, he does not drink a drop of water; even in the worst condition of hunger, when life seems drooping, he is not inclined to eat anything!
    See!
    What firm conviction he has in the fact that no action of his can. be concealed from Allah, though it may be concealed from the whole world ! How his heart is full of fear of God that he undergoes a severe agony but simply out of fear of Him does not do anything which will result in breaking his fast! How profound is his belief in the reward and punishment of the Hereafter that for full one month he fasts for at least 360 hours and not for a moment does an iota of doubt enter his mind about life after death! Had he the slightest doubt about the future life, where reward and punishment will be meted out, he could have never completed his fast. When doubt arises, it is not possible for a man to stick to his resolve of not eating and drinking anything in obedience to God's commandment.

    (5) One month's continuous training

    In this way, Allah puts to test a. Muslim's faith for full one month in a year and to the extent a man emerges successful from this trial, his faith becomes firmer and firmer as it were, both a trial as well as a training. When you deposit anything as a trust with somebody, you are as if testing his integrity. If he proves successful in his test and does not commit breach of trust, he develops greater strength to bear the burden of trusts and becomes more worthy of trust. Similarly, Allah puts your faith to severe test continuously for one month, twelve to fourteen hours a day, and when you emerge triumphant from this test, further ability develops in you to. refrain from other sins due to fear of God. Therefore, realising that Allah is the Knower of the unseen, you should abstain from breaking His law even covertly, and, on every occasion, you should duly remember that day when everything will be exposed, and, without any consideration. you will be requited good for good and evil for evil. This is the purport of the following verse:-

    O believers, the Fast has been made obligatory on you just as it was prescribed for the followers of the Prophets before you. It is expected that this will produce piety in you.
    (Al Baqarah verse 183)

    (6) Long practice of obedience

    There is another peculiarity of fasting. It makes one obey the injunctions of Shariah without break for a long period of time. The duration of Salah is not more than a few minutes at a time. The time for paying Zakat occurs only once in a year. In Hajj however, the time spent is long but its opportunity comes once during lifetime and that too not for all. As against these, fasting is an exercise in following: Shariat-i-Muhammadi for full one month in a year, day and night. You have to get up for Sehri early before dawn, stop all eating and drinking precisely at the breaking of dawn, do such and such work and abstain from such and such work during the day, take Iftar in the evening exactly at the time of
    Sunset, then have dinner and relax, then hurry up for Taraweh. In this way, every year for full one month, from dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn, a Muslim is kept continuously tied up with rules and regulations like a soldier in an army, and then he is released for eleven months so that the training he has received for one month may show its effects, and if any deficiency is found it may be made up in the training of the next year.

    (7) Favourable collective environment for training

    It is not expedient in any manner to impart training of this type of each and every person separately. You see in the army also that every individual is not ordered to do parade separately. All have to rise simultaneously on the sound of the bugle and have to work together on hearing the bugle so, that they may develop the habit of working unitedly as a team and along with it all may assist in the training of each other, i.e. whatever is wanting in one person's training may be made up by other and the deficiency in the second person may be removed by the third person. Similarly, the month of Ramadan was earmarked for fasting and all Muslims were ordered that all of them should fast together. This, order has turned individual lbadat into collective Ibadat. Just as number one when multiplied by a lakh becomes a formidable number of one lakh, in the same way the moral and spiritual benefits accruing from fasting by one person are increased a million fold if millions of people fast together. The month of Ramadan fills the whole atmosphere with the spirit of piety and virtuousness. In the whole nation, the farming of piety flourishes Every person not only tries to avoid sins but, if he has any difficulty, his many other brothers who are fasting like him come out to help him. Every person feels ashamed to commit a sin while he is fasting, and the desire automatically arises in everybody's heart to do some good work, to feed a destitute, to clothe a naked man, help one in distress, to take part in some good work being done anywhere and prevent evil if it is being indulged in openly at some place. A general environment of goodness and piety is created and the season starts for the flourishing of beneficial activities just as you see that every crop grows luxuriantly at the peak of its season and is found covering the fields all over.

    For this reason Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) said that:

    "Every deed of man gets some increment or other from God. One good deed flourishes ten times to seven hundred times. But Allah says: fasting is exempt from this. It is exclusively for Me and I give reward for it as much as I want".

    From this Hadith we come to know that all deeds flourish both in proportion to the motive of the doer of the good deed as well as its results, but there is a limit to their development. In the case of fasting, however, progress is unbounded. Ramadhan is a season for the flourishing of goodness and piety, and in this season not one but lakhs and crores of persons - jointly water this garden of virtue, the compass can expand immeasurably.
    The more you perform well-motivated deeds in this month, the greater will you avail yourselves of its blessings, and radiate their benefits to your other brothers; and if you maintain the effects of this month at a high pitch during the subsequent eleven months, to that extent this garden will flourish, and thus developing process will go on infinitely. It will be your own fault if you circumscribe it by your own lack of action.

    Where are the results of lbadat now ?

    On hearing the above results of fasting the question will arise in the mind of everyone of you that where arc these results to be found today ?

    "We observe fasting and offer prayers but the results you describe are not visible".

    I have already told you the reason for this situation that after separating the component parts of Islam from each other and after mixing with it many new things, you cannot expect those results as can be obtained when the whole system is intact and unimpaired. Besides this, the second reason is that your point of view regarding lbadat has changed. Now you believe that mere abstention from food and drink, from morning till evening, amounts to lbadat and accordingly you perform this lbadat this way. Similarly, you regard only the outward shape of kinds of worship also as, Ibadat, and 99% or even more among you are unmindful of the real spirit of Ibadat which should permeate each one of your deeds. That I why thee Ibadat do not produce there a full benefit since everything in Islam depends on intent, power of understanding and perception.

    THE REAL PURPOSE OF FASTING

    A purpose for every work

    Brethren-in-Islam!

    There are essentially two component factors in any work which a man has to perform. The first thing is the purpose for which a work is done and the second thing is the particular shape of that work which is chosen to achieve that purpose. For instance, take the case of food your object in taking food is to remain alive and maintain your strength. The method of achieving this object is that you take a morsel, put it in your mouth, masticate it and push it below the throat. This method is adopted by you since it is the most effective and proper one to achieve this object But every one of you knows that the main thing is the purpose for which food is taken and not the form and procedure of this action. What will you say if anybody were to make a morsel of saw-dust or cinder or mud, put it in his mouth, chew and gulp it? You will say only this that his brain is out of order.
    Why?
    Because this idiot did not understand the real purpose of eating and is suffering from the misunderstanding that only the aforesaid four component acts constitutes eating. Likewise, you will call that person also mad who soon after taking the food vomits it by thrusting his fingers into his throat and then complains that the benefits said to accrue from taking food have not been availed of by him and that, contrarily, he is daily getting lean and is on the verge of death. This fool blames the food for his growing weakness little realizing that it is due to his own stupidity. He imagined, due to his intellectual deficiency, that life vitality could be got by fulfilling those requirements which constitute the act of eating. As such, he thought why should he sustain the load of food in his. stomach? "Why not throw it
    out so that the stomach may become light? I have already fulfilled the requirements of eating", he surmises.
    Naturally he has himself to suffer the penalty of harbouring such a foolish idea and then implementing it also. He ought to have known that until the bread gets digested after entering the stomach and having transformed into blood, .is diffused into the whole body the vitality of life cannot be obtained. Although outward actions are also necessary, because without them the bread cannot reach the stomach, yet the object cannot be achieved by merely fulfilling the outward actions. There is no magic in these actions that by merely fulfilling them, blood starts running in a wizardly manner in the veins of a man. Blood will be obviously produced according to the law prescribed by Allah. If you break it, you will kill yourself by your own hands.

    Consequences of considering the outward as real

    If you ponder over the example I have just placed before you in detail, you can understand why your lbadat have become inefficacious today, As I have already pointed out repeatedly, the greatest mistake of all is to regard the acts of Salah and fasting and their outward shape as real `lbadat and you suffer from the delusion that whoever fulfilled these requirements performed the lbadat of Allah. You are just like that person who thinks that performance of four acts, i.e. making the morsel, putting it in the mouth, masticating it and pushing it below the throat makes up the process of eating, and that whoever did these four things has eaten the food and so should receive the benefits of eating irrespective of whether he pushed down in his stomach mud and stone, or vomited the bread soon after eating it. If you have a little sense then tell me how a man who is fasting and is thus engaged in the lbadat of God from morning till evening, can in the midst of that lbadat utter a lie and indulge in backbiting?
    Why does he quarrel at the slightest pretext and utter abuses from his mouth?
    How dare he encroach on other people's rights ?
    How does he indulge in acquiring money and giving money to others illicitly?
    And having done all these things, he still
    thinks that he has performed `Ibadat of Allah? . Does this not resemble the work of that person who eats cinder and mud and thinks that by merely completing the four requirements of eating he has actually done the job of eating.

    Again freedom from restrictions after Ramadan

    Then tell me how is it that when you are relived after doing Allah's 'Ibadat for about 360 hours throughout Ramadan all the effect of this whole exercise in piety disappears on the 1st of Shawwal'? You do during the 'Id days all that Hindus do in their festivals, so much so that in the cities even adultery, wine-drinking and gambling are resorted to on 'Id day. And I have seen some wretched people who keep fast during the day and drink wine and commit adultery in the night. The general Muslims, by the grace of God, are not degenerated to that extent but after the end of Ramadan how many of you are there who retain some effects of piety and virtuousness on the second day of 'Id also ? Which law of God is left unviolated? What part of your time is devoted to good deeds, and how much is selfishness reduced?

    Result of wrong conception of' lbadat'

    Think and ponder as to what after all can be the reason for this? I assure you that its only reason is that the very meaning and purport of lbadat has become twisted in your mind. You think that mere abstention from eating and drinking throughout the day is called fasting and that this alone is Ibadat. Therefore you observe it meticulously. You feel the fear of God to that extent that you avoid every transgression which even slightly endangers the break-up of the fast so much so that even if the life is at stake, you are not prepared to break the fast. But you do not know that being merely hungry and thirsty is not real `lbadat' but only a form of it. And the purpose of prescribing this form is to create in you the fear of God and love of God, and thereby develop in you so much strength that by repressing your self, you are enabled to avoid the seemingly profitable things but which actually displease Allah, while, on the other hand, by controlling your self you make yourself agreeable to those things which possibly entail risks and losses but definitely please God. This strength can be developed only when you understand the purpose of fasting and make use of the practice you have gone through for curbing the corporeal urges, under fear of God and love for God, and then making these urges work according to the pleasure of God. But soon after Ramadan you throw to the winds this practice as well as the virtues acquired from it just as a man after taking food vomits it by thrusting his fingers into his throat. In fact, some of you spew the virtuousness of the whole day soon after breaking the fast.

    Now you yourself decide, is there in Ramadan and fasting a magic that by mere completing their outward shape you can acquire that strength which in reality should emanate from genuine fasting?
    Just as physical strength cannot be obtained from the bread until it is digested after entering the stomach and until it is transformed into blood and penetrates every vein, in the same way spiritual power cannot be obtained from fasting until the person who keeps fast does not fully comprehend the purpose of fasting and allows it to permeate his heart and mind and dominate his thought, motive, intention and deed.

    Fast, source of becoming pious

    This is why Allah said after ordaining fasting: "La'alla-kum ta-tta-qoon'

    i.e. fasting is made obligatory on you, may be you become pious and virtuous. It is not said that you will certainly become pious and virtuous because this outcome of fasting depends on the perception and intention of the man concerned. Whoever will understand its purpose and will try through it to achieve its objective, will become pious to the desired extent, but one who will not comprehend its purpose and will not even try to get at it, cannot hope to gain any thing out of it.


    http://www.myislamweb.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8767

    Fundamentals of Islam
    By S. Abdul A'la Maududi

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