“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous” – Al-Baqarah [2:184]
Fasting is not a new exercise to man. The act of fasting has been observed by the prophets before the Prophet of Islam (saw). It is said that Jesus (as) fasted before receiving the heavenly call, that Moses fasted before he got the Ten Commandments (Exod., 34:38). David (as) also fasted in a certain way, he would be on fast in a day and off fast the other day, that has been the way he lived his life. Almost all notable earlier devotions made fasting an institution they held unto and testifying to the importance of fasting.
Allah has made fasting a tool to subdue our anxiety towards worldly affairs, frivolities, indecencies and evil of the hearts. Fasting restricts one from every form of indecencies and restrain such one to self-discipline. And to man is it appealing to. Almost all religions of the world prescribed fasting for their adherents so that they may attain spirituality.
Ramadan needs to fulfil certain obligations in a true believer. The line “….. so that you may become righteous”, tells the main focus of fasting. It is to reform man from a path to the path of Allah. It guides one from harm, suffering, evil and sin. Fasting does not mean abstinence from eating and drinking alone but also to abstain from worldly desires.
However, Islam being a religion of peace sets its measures, to test the sincerity of man and won’t leave such man to trauma. Thus as a result fasting being the commandment of Allah, will you now become weakened bodily? There has been certain days that are best for you to exercise this commandment apart from the month of Ramadan, and not to cause one’s self physical injury. There should be need to regulate one’s self for when to fast and when not to fast. The Holy Prophet (saw) has forbidden continuous fasting “Your self has a claim upon you and your family has a claim upon you and your guests have a claim upon you” – (Tirmidhi), he also said in another account that “Verily, I am the most righteous of you all, yet sometimes I fast and sometimes I abstain from fasting, and so must you do.” – (Bukhari).
Islam has been perfected and blessed on the Seal of Prophets (saw) and whatever he enjoins us doing is pleasing to Allah. So must we adhere to it strictly.
May Allah be with us – aamin.
By: Haneef Oladejo