14 Nov What are the spiritual benefits of fasting?.Part4
g. Fasting protects a person against sins
Committing sins is a kind of inner depression, perversion, and contradiction of the natural disposition. The sinners are wretched and miserable and they submit all their faculties and talents to Satan and thus expose themselves to the pangs of conscience. If they go on committing sins, then they will lose control over their body and soul and will be able neither to resist Satan nor to renew themselves.
There are thousands of different kinds of sins in everyday life. They are like snakes that wait for a chance to strike. It is very difficult to avoid sin in a world full of evil. Only will power, if it is as strong as steel, can help to resist Satan and protect one’s purity. Otherwise, it is easy to predict that a person will stray off the right path and end up in a pit of fire.
In fact, fasting is a precaution and a guarantee against such a threat. For some people it is a shelter against deviation. It is warning against Satan and all kinds of evil. It protects the person fasting like armor and becomes a gateway to Paradise on the Day of Judgment and a blessed friend who offers bowls of water from Kawthar—the sacred fountain in Paradise. The Noble Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, recommended that young people who cannot afford to get married fast in order to diminish their sexual desire and thus refrain from engaging in illegal sexual relations.
Fasting is a training that enables the believer to resist the carnal desires. A person who is trained through fasting can suppress their fleshly desires not only when fasting, but also when they are not observing the fast.
Fasting is far more than being hungry; it is also a form of training for the various elements of body, such as the emotions, senses, eyes, ears, and heart. These aspects of the human body observe fasting as well, and thus they are trained to avoid blasphemy.
Allah’s pleasure and consent becomes the pivot of the whole life of the believer; a person who fasts does so with all the parts of their body and with all their senses. Surely, a person who is fasting in this manner will be given a most rewarding life in Paradise.
Here is evidence from the Prophet’s tradition:
“Whoever can guarantee the chastity of what is between their two jaw-bones and what is between their two legs (i.e. the tongue and the private parts), I guarantee Paradise for them.“
The most effective way of protecting the chastity of the tongue is to observe fasting. All the organs of the body work energetically when the stomach is full. Therefore, the strength of fleshly desires is at its peak and at such a time it is difficult to refrain the tongue from blasphemous talk and backbiting, which are threats for the eternal life. The only way of taking the tongue under control is to reduce the strength of the desires of the carnal self and the only way of doing this is to observe fasting.
Abstinence is emphasized in a tradition as:
“If one of you is fasting, they should avoid sexual relations with their spouse and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with them, they should say, ‘I am fasting,’” “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of their leaving their food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept their fast).”
To conclude, the best fast is that which is observed by various parts of body in addition to the stomach, such as the eyes, ears, heart, mind, and intellect. That is, fasting is observed best when sins and profanities are avoided and when the stomach, the biggest factory inside the human body, is taken under control and thus decreases the strength of the other faculties; this is the best way to reach this goal.