In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
May peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.
Dear Ikhwanul Muslimin na wal Muslimat, Mukminin na wal Mukminat.
Alhamdulillah. Once again, we are blessed to be in this blessed holiest month of Ramadan, the 9th month in our Islamic calendar.
Those of us who are Muslims, fast from before dawn till sunset for this entire month.
We as Muslims know that this fasting in Ramadan is wajib @ compulsory for those of us who are able to and we are enjoined to refrain from all acts that will nullify or obliterate the blessings that Allah Azza Wa Jalla has promised to those who carry out their fasting as per the Sunnah @ Example of the Blessed Messenger, Khataman Nabiyyi, Muhammad al Mustafa, Rasulullah Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam.
Yet, times and times again, we will be asked by those who are yet to be Muslims as to why should we torture ourselves by going without food, drinks and sexual activity, something that mankind regardless of race or religion usually strive for?
To answer them in a precise manner, Muslims have to use tact and wisdom so as not to alarm them unnecessarily but explain to them in a clear and concise manner as to the many reasons why?
Let's focus on the major questions first and discuss about them one by one.
Why do Muslims fast?
Health wise, it is actually good for us who have been eating and drinking, day in and day out throughout the year and put on unnecessary weight and bring it upon ourselves to suffer all the related health complications.
Conditions such as obesity, heart disease, kidney failure, diabetes, gout, and all other kinds of ailments are a result of the consequences of us feeding ourselves non stop all these while.
We put on all such weight and grow lethargic without exercising or working out to burn off all such harmful fat, cholesterol, and various accumulated toxins within ourselves.
So in a sense, fasting is very important for us who are Muslims to regulate our health physically as well as fine tune our mental and spiritual clarity.
We can't separate the needs of our body and go without food, water or sexual needs in total but at the same time, we do need to now and then attempt to control and regulate ourselves as to the measure of all the above needs that we partake for the sake of achieving a healthy balance of a good quality lifestyle.
Allah the Almighty, Who has created us, commands us to fast in the month of Ramadan as per His Revelations in Chapter 2 Verse 183, Surah Al Baqarah in the Holy Al Quran Al Karim, being His Last and Final Testament to us who are His believing servants:
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint,--
In the verse here, the commandment to fast is upon those of us who have faith and believe in Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala.
It is wajib @ compulsory upon those of us who are Muslims. It is not ordered upon those who are Kaffirs @ Disbelievers.
So, for those of us who are Muslims, we are ordered to fast from before Fajr until Maghrib every day in this month of Ramadan and are to refrain from doing anything which will nullify or render our fast useless.
The do's and don'ts during our fasting can be learned from many Islamic sites online. You may visit here for some pointers. There are many other good sites as well. Here is another.
All you have to do is to select any one of the sites appearing here on the subject. I prefer to use Google. :)
So far, I have been sharing with you about the reasons why Muslims fast during Ramadan?
Let's move on to the health benefits of fasting in Ramadan.
Here is an article by a medical doctor giving his views on the subject. An American Muslim shares his views here.
Even the Western world's medical fraternity attest to the benefits of fasting as shown here.
Huda from About.com shares her views about Ramadan here as follows:
'Ramadan is a period of fasting, reflection, devotion, generosity and sacrifice observed by Muslims around the world. While major holidays of other faiths have largely become commercialized events, Ramadan retains its intense spiritual meaning.
The word "Ramadan" comes from the Arabic root word for "parched thirst" and "sun-baked ground." It is expressive of the hunger and thirst felt by those who spend the month in fasting.
As opposed to other holidays, when people often indulge, Ramadan is by nature a time of sacrifice.
- Through fasting, a Muslim experiences hunger and thirst, and sympathizes with those in the world who have little to eat every day.
- Through increased devotion, Muslims feel closer to their Creator, and recognize that everything we have in this life is a blessing from Him.
- Through increased charity, Muslims develop feelings of generosity and good-will toward others. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said, "A man's wealth is never diminished by charity."
- Through self-control, a Muslim practices good manners, good speech, and good habits.
- Through changing routines, Muslims have a chance to establish more healthy lifestyle habits -- particularly with regards to diet and smoking.
- Through family and community gatherings, Muslims strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, in their own communities and throughout the world.
In the Qur'an, Muslims are commanded to fast so that they may "learn self-restraint" (Qur'an 2:183).
This restraint and devotion is especially felt during Ramadan, but we all must strive to make the feelings and attitudes stay with us during our "normal" lives.
That is the true goal and test of Ramadan. May Allah accept our fasting, forgive our sins, and guide us all to the Straight Path.
May Allah bless us all during Ramadan, and throughout the year, with His forgiveness, mercy, and peace, and bring us all closer to Him and to each other. '
End of quote.
I would like to draw your attention to the need for those of us who are fasting to exercise 'self restraint'.
Self restraint is something that not many would like to do outside of Ramadan.
Take for instance, the usual attitudes of many of our bloggers. We are often subject to giving in to our nafs and wage war upon one another at times when we disagree on certain social, political or religious issues.
I myself have my fair share of friends or foes here online and at times I can't help but be pushed to a stage where I have no choice but to give as much as I get but usually, I prefer to ignore those who are prone to be foulmouthed nasty slanderers hiding behind anonymity here in the blogosphere.
With the advent of Ramadan, whether we like it or not, we have to restrain ourselves from doing just that and try our level best not to engage in such cyberwars with our dedicated faultfinders.
I absolutely cherish and love this unspoken month of truce and ceasefire here in the blogosphere and wish that we can all just go easy on all the slammo whammos that we are so used to whack each other with all these while.
Some might be chomping at the bits so to speak and be burning up inside but then again that's one other benefit of Ramadan for you.
A true Muslim will have to hold his or her tongue and try their level best to keep their craniums all clean and clear throughout this fasting month whether one likes it or not?
You can't go blaming the Devil that He made you do this or say that for the Horned One and his legions are very much incarcerated for this entire month!
The gates of Hell are closed for Ramadan and the doors of Jannah are wide open during this holiest of months for us Muslims.
So for us bloggers here in Malaysia and the rest of the world, its zip it up time and we best should either focus on our Amals or if we do blog, then blog for the sake of Allah and make peace with one another.
Even if you aren't really keen on it, at least stay clear from blogging about those whom you despise for whatever crazy reason or bias that you may have against them?
It's the Gag Order from Ramadan. Every Muslim blogger has to toe the line or risk losing it all this holy month.
Hopefully, some may realize their mistakes all these while and repent from their screwed up campaigns all these while but that is entirely up to each and every individual to decide!
For now, it's ceasefire time here during Ramadan for me.
Those who doggedly continue their rants and raves online disregarding the do's and don'ts of this month of repentance and reformatting one's state of religious knowledge and increase his or her amals will have only themselves to blame for their loss in the hereafter.
I have written about an exchange that I had with a Mr. Wong who wrote a comment to me stating that now he knows why we who are Muslims fast here.
Alhamdulillah! I'm glad that at least those who are not Muslims and my fellow Muslims have also benefited from reading my articles.
I do receive quite a number of emails regularly thanking me for the way I write and share what I have come to learn about Islam here in my blog?
All praises be to Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful Lord and Supreme Being who has given me the opportunity to engage and explore such fields of communication with both my fellow Muslims and those who aren't.
I have a few pending requests from students and researchers who wish me to share further about many topics and issues that they want to learn about our faith.
I ask that they be patient and accord to me some leeway for it is important that when I do start engaging with them, it will be a mutually beneficial experience for us all.
In the meantime, I take this opportunity to wish everyone who's fasting, the best of Ramadan al Kareem for each of you and your loved ones.
Wabillahi Taufik Wal Hidayah.
Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.