THE INNER SECRETS OF FASTING
Fasting in the month of RAMADHAAN or RAMZAN is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is FARZ(compulsory) upon every Muslim, male and female who is sane and mature. Almighty Allah (Glory be to Him) has promised great reward for those that Fast, whilst severe punishment is in store for those that do NOT fast in the month of Ramadhaan. Fasting has many physical, moral and social benefits. However, Allah (Glory be to Him) has made fasting compulsory so that we become pious, God fearing and God conscious.
Indeed, the fast is only virtuous due to two significant concepts. Firstly, it is a secret and hidden action thus, no one from the creation is able to see it. Therefore showing off cannot enter into it. Secondly, it is a means of subjugating the enemies of Allah (Glory be to Him). This is because the road that the enemies (of Allah) embark upon (in order to misguide the Son of Aadam) is that of desires. And eating and drinking strengthens the desires. There are many reports that indicate the merits of fasting, and they are all well known.
"Ramadhaan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgement (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spent it in fasting."Qur’an. Surah Baqarah 2:185
The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven and whoever prays during the night of Qadr in Ramzan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah (Glory be to Him) will have his past sins forgiven. Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 3:125
Know that in the fast is a special quality that is not found in anything else. And that is its close connection to Allah, such that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The fast (Sawm) is for Me and I will reward it.” Sahih al-Bukhari 5927 (Vol 7:811) and Jami` at-Tirmidhi 764
One of the characteristic of the specific fast is that one does not overfill himself with food during the night. Instead, he eats in due measure, for indeed, the son of Adam does not fill a vessel more evil than his stomach. If he were to eat his fill during the first part of the night, he would not make good use of himself for the remainder of the night. In the same way, if he eats to his fill for suhur, he does not make good use of himself until the afternoon. This is because excessive eating breeds laziness and lethargy. Therefore, the objective of fasting disappears due to one’s excessiveness in eating, for what is intended by the fast is that one savours the taste of hunger and becomes one who abandons desires.
As for the recommended fasts, then know that preference for fasting is established in certain virtuous days. Some of these virtuous days occur every year, such as fasting the first six days of the month of Shawwal after Ramadan, fasting the day of `Arafah, the day of `Ashura, and the nine days of Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram. Some of them occur every month, such as the first part of the month, the middle part of it, and the last part of it. So whoever fasts the first part of the month, the middle part of it, and the last part of it, then he has done well. Some fasts occur every week, and they are every Monday and Thursday.
The most virtuous of the recommended fasts is the fast of Dawud (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him). He would fast one day and break his fast the next day. This achieves the following three objectives: The soul is given its share on the day the fast is broken. And on the day of fasting, it completes its worship in full. The day of eating is the day of giving thanks and the day of fasting is the day of having patience.