The Virtues of Fasting
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
“Fasting is for me, and I personally reward for it.”
Allah, the Most High, mentions in His Book that which translates to: “O you who have believed! Fasting has been prescribed upon you as it has upon those who preceded you that you may become righteous” (Quran 2:183).
This verse, which many of us have no doubt heard and read countless times, articulates to us just how beloved fasting is to Allah and how potent its effects. We’re promised that the observance of fasting, done in the right way, will make us pious and that a direct consequence of fasting, is righteousness. Fasting is so dear to Allah due in part to its effectiveness in purifying the body, mind, and soul, that He has made it an obligation upon all nations before us.
The Prophet Muhammad, صلى الله عليه وسلم, says regarding the dearness of fasting to Allah: “Allah said: ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for me and I shall reward for it…’” (Bukhari & Muslim). All of our deeds are for us except fasting; meaning that one could possibly use any form of worship to make a show of piety to others. One might pray, for instance, in order for people to praise the devotion. One could give generously to be praised as generous and dutiful, etc. Yet, fasting is the only worship that is a strict and intimate secret between the servant and our Lord. One could very well claim to be fasting to attain praise, but if we fast in private when no one is watching but Allah, then it is only our belief in Allah that has compelled us to do so. It is a secret between Allah and His servant; no one else could possibly be included, hence Allah personally rewards for it. He will not commission anyone else to reward the individual for patience in fasting. Rather, just as we do this in private, Allah will honor this covenant and reward directly and personally, not including anyone else in the reward as we did not include anyone else in the worship.
These texts should awaken in us a newfound resolve, a sincere and unwavering effort to make the best of what’s to come of opportunity in the coming month of Ramadan. May this be an inspiration for us to make the best of our time and worship in Ramadan, and all to follow. May Allah grant us the success and resolve we need to capitalize on these opportunities before we run out of chances. We must make this one count; it mustn’t be like before, this time it must be special, this time it must count, because this time might be the last.
By Sh. Ali Mashhour