Al Fazl, 8 July 1949
The Holy Quran has presented the following wisdom behind fasting:
1. Remembrance of Allah
لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللّٰهَ عَلٰی مَا هَدٰكُمۡ
“That you may exalt Allah for His having guided you.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.186)
This means that one of the benefits of [fasting] is that you will definitely be able to remember Allah the Almighty in these days because neither will you be occupied by eating and drinking all day long, nor you will be distracted by constant work.
2. Being grateful
“That you might be grateful.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.53)
The second benefit is that by feeling the pain of hunger in this way [by fasting], a strong sense of gratitude will be produced in your heart. This is because humans naturally do not value a blessing as long as they have it. Its value is felt when it is taken from you.
Many people with eyes never think that eyes are a great blessing, but when one goes blind, they understand the real worth of eyes that they are a great blessing from Allah the Almighty.
In the same way, when a person remains hungry during fasting and feels the pangs of hunger, they realise what comforts God has given them and that they should spend their comfortable lives doing good and beneficial works and not in vain and useless practices.
“That you may become righteous.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.184)
The word تَتَّقُوْنَ has been used in the Holy Quran to give three meanings. Firstly, in the sense of evading melancholies. Secondly, in the sense of saving oneself from sin and thirdly, in the sense of attaining higher levels of spirituality. Hence, through this word, Allah the Almighty has described three wisdoms of fasting.
3. The spirit of helping the poor
The first wisdom is that a person is saved from suffering through fasting. It seems surprising that fasting saves one from suffering because a person undergoes even more pain by fasting. However, when pondering over this fact, we come to know that fasting actually teaches a person two lessons that protects him nationally.
The first lesson is that rich people who eat the best food throughout the year do not even realise the sufferings of their poor brothers who go through starvation. They have never felt the suffering of hunger nor can they estimate the severity of starvation. However, under the commandment of Islam, highly affluent people have to fast and then they recognise the pain of hunger and accurately assess the condition of their poor brothers and their sympathy is aroused in their hearts. This results in the progress and protection of the nation and the safety of the nation is in fact the welfare of every individual.
4. The practice of bearing hardships
Also, Islam does not want people to be lazy, careless and not to possess the habit of enduring hardships, but it wants them to be able to bear all kinds of difficulties in times of need. Every year, fasting produces this strength in Muslims and those who obey this command will never perish by indulging in luxury and laxity.
5. Protection from sins
The second matter that fasting saves man from sins is established from the fact that sin is in reality the inclination towards material pleasures, and it is observed naturally that when a person develops a habit, they cannot give it up. However, when they find the strength to leave it at their own will, then that desire does not overwhelm them. When a person, for the sake of God, gives up all the pleasures that sometimes lead them to sin and make a habit of controlling their inner self for an entire month, the inevitable result of this practice is that they can easily overcome those evils which lead them to sin.
6. The strength of beseeching prayers and their impact
Fasting helps to establish piety in such a way that in the days [of Ramadan], since one has to get up at night to eat, they get an opportunity to do more ibadat [worship] and say a lot of prayers.
Secondly, when a person gives up his comfort for God Almighty, then Allah draws them to Himself and strengthens their soul.
(Compiled by Abdul Hameed Asif Sahib. Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 8 July 1949 issue of Al Fazl)