(1435 Hijrah, June 2014)
O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Assalaam-o-Alaikum Wa Rakhmatullahi Wa Barakaato Hoo.
The beginning of Ramadan is a time to thank Allah for giving us another opportunity to observe fasting and gain the benefits of this spiritual experience. In His Wisdom Allah, who is the Maker of our bodies and souls, has written a ‘prescription’ to cure all the moral ills that we may be harbouring. And who would know better the treatment of these ills than the Maker Himself.
A person cured of his/her spiritual ills may be described as ‘muttaqee’ and that is the precise reason Allah cites for prescribing fasting: so that you may become ‘muttaqeen’. Like all prescriptions written, there have to be conditions for their effectiveness. Abstaining from water and food and other bodily needs is the least important here.
The Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has expressly said that it is not hunger and thirst that reaches Allah but what reaches Him is the taqwah of the devotee who is fasting. It is imperative for any treatment to be effective that every detail of the instructions given by the physician is followed to the letter. So, while fasting, it becomes mandatory for us to remember that the fast is not confined to gustatory needs only. It is training in observance of abstinence of all parts of our body and senses as ordained by Allah so that He may be pleased with us.
The reason for man being superior to all creatures of Allah is the gift of control over his body and mind. The freedom of choice is there but there is also ‘reward or punishment’ for proper and improper use of the faculties He has gifted us with.
I must stress that the aim of life is not to avoid hell and earn paradise but it is to earn the love and friendship of Allah, in other words, achieve the status of ‘Wali Ullah’. To achieve this real aim of fasting there would be a long list of dos and don’ts for the various parts of our body. For the sake of brevity I will just quote one example. Let us consider the tongue. It can be used wrongly for lying, slander, abuse, hurling insults and worst of all backbiting. Its desired use would be for truth, spreading the good message of Religion, teaching what is right or wrong and for spreading peace in the world.
You can make your own assessment of the right or wrong usage to which you put the various parts of your body. This will show you the true reflection of your real self in the ‘mirror’. Keeping this in view there is tremendous scope for correction and betterment of one’s self. This effort along with fasting should make us ‘muttaqee’ not only for one month but for the rest of our lives. At the end of Ramadan we should make an effort to continue with the gains of fasting in this blessed Month for the rest of the year.
I pray that Allah grants us the opportunity to observe Ramadan in its true spirit. As we experience the spiritual gains, let us all pray for a peaceful world and Allah’s protection for all. May Allah help those who are going through trials in their lives because of turmoil in the world. I wish you a successful Ramadan and pray that Allah blesses you with attaining its true purpose. Aameen!
As I pray for you, please remember me in yours prayers.
Professor Dr. Abdul Karim Saeed,
Ameer and President,
Worldwide Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement