14 Nov Fasting: On the Month of Ramadan.Part4
One of the many instances of wisdom in Ramadan from the point of view of man’s personal life is as follows:
It is a healing physical and spiritual diet of the most important kind. When man’s instinctual soul eats and drinks just as it pleases, it is both harmful for man’s physical life from the medical point of view, and when it hurls itself on everything it encounters whether licit or illicit, it quite simply poisons his spiritual life. Further, it is difficult for such a soul to obey the heart and the spirit; it willfully takes the reins into its own hands and then man cannot ride it, it rather rides man.
But by means of fasting in Ramadan, it becomes accustomed to a sort of diet. It tries to discipline itself and learns to listen to commands.
Furthermore, it will not invite illness to that miserable, weak stomach by cramming it with food before the previous consignment has been digested. And by abandoning even licit actions as it is commanded, it will acquire the ability to listen to the commands of the Shari‘a and the reason, and so to avoid illicit actions. It will try not to destroy his spiritual life.
Moreover, the great majority of mankind frequently suffer from hunger. Man, therefore, needs hunger and discipline, which train him to be patient and forbearing. Fasting in Ramadan is patient endurance of a period of hunger that continues for fifteen hours, or for twenty-four if the pre-dawn meal is not eaten, and it is a discipline and training.
- That is to say, fasting is also a cure for impatience and lack of endurance, which double man’s afflictions.
Furthermore, the factory of the stomach has many workers, and many of the human organs are connected to it. If the instinctual soul does not take a rest from activity during the day for a month, it makes the factory’s workers and those organs forget their particular duties; it busies them with itself so that they remain under its tyranny. Also, it confuses the rest of the organs in the human body with the clangor and steam of the factory’s machinery. It continuously attracts their attention to itself, making them temporarily forget their exalted duties. It is because of this that for centuries those closest to God have accustomed themselves to discipline and to eating and drinking little in order to be perfected.
Through fasting in Ramadan the factory’s workers understand that they were not created for the factory only. While the rest of the organs, instead of delighting in the lowly amusements of the factory, take pleasure in angelic and spiritual amusements, and fix their gazes on them. It is for this reason that in Ramadan the believers experience enlightenment, fruitfulness, and spiritual joys which differ according to their degrees. Their subtle faculties, such as the heart, spirit, and intellect, make great progress and advancement in that blessed month through fasting. They laugh with innocent joy in spite of the stomach’s weeping.
- Subtle faculties, such as the heart, spirit, and intellect make great progress.
One of the instances of wisdom in fasting in Ramadan with regard to shattering the instinctual soul’s imaginary dominicality and making known its worship through pointing out its impotence is as follows:
- The instinctual soul does not want to recognize its Sustainer; it wants its own lordship, like Pharaoh.
However much torment it suffers, it retains that vein. Hunger, however, destroys it. Hence, fasting in Ramadan strikes direct blows at the soul’s pharaoh-like front, shattering it. It demonstrates its impotence, weakness, and want. It makes it realize that it is a slave.
Among the narrations of Hadith is the following:
“God Almighty said to the instinctual soul: ‘What am I and what are you?’ The soul replied: ‘I am myself and You are Yourself.’ So He punished it and cast it into Hell, then asked it again. Again it replied: ‘I am myself and You are Yourself.’ However He punished it, it did not give up its egoism. Finally He punished it with hunger; that is, He made it go hungry. Then again He asked it: ‘Who am I and who are you?’ And the soul replied: ‘You are my Compassionate Sustainer and I am your impotent slave!’”
- Your instinctual soul is trained by hunger.
- Recognize its Sustainer.
O God! Grant blessings and peace to our master Muhammad that will be pleasing to You and fulfilment of his truth to the number of the merits of the words of the Qur’an in the month of Ramadan, and to his Family and Companions, and grant them peace.
Limitless in His glory is your Sustainer, the Lord of Almightiness, [exalted] above anything that men may devise by way of definition!
And peace be upon all His message-bearers.
And all praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of All the Worlds! (37:180-2)