Fast to attain piety
April 16 2021 12:58 AM

Throughout the Noble Qur’an, Almighty Allah ordered us to be conscious and fearful of Him, for might and honour lie in fearing Him. Only the people of piety and righteousness are the people of joy and pride. Piety is a great treasure of this life and of the life to come.
Allah, The Most Exalted, Says (what means): “… And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah.” [Qur’an 2: 197]
Almighty Allah made having piety a condition for the acceptance of deeds through the verse (which means):“Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him].”[Qur’an 5: 27]
We are promised forgiveness and reward for having piety, for Allah Says (what means):“and whoever fears Allah - He will remove for him his misdeeds and make great for him his reward.”[Qur’an 65: 5]
The people of piety and righteousness are the people of high rank in the Hereafter as well as in this life. Allah Says (what means): “That home of the Hereafter (Paradise) We assign to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth or corruption. And the [best] outcome is for the righteous.”[Qur’an 28: 83]
Fasting and piety:
The blessed month of Ramadan is a month which Allah has made obligatory upon us to fast so that we might become righteous, pious, fearful and conscious of Allah. 
The objective of fasting is to enhance the state of our piety which is represented by our fear of Allah, working in accordance with His revelation and being satisfied with whatever little he provides – as well as our preparation for the day of departure. 
The particular type of piety that we will try to gain in Ramadan is the very sensitive type. The fasting person can only acquire this, because he/she gives up what he desires to avoid that which he is fearful of- the punishment of Allah Almighty. 
A fasting heart draws closer to Allah by obedience and humble submission to Him. It fully admits the responsibility of performing all the obligations of Islam as well as refraining from all the acts prohibited by Allah. This type of heart sincerely worships Allah alone. Lusts and desires do not distract it nor does greed divert it. This is a strong and pious heart whose fasting, prayer and all other actions are purely for the Sake of Allah. In fact, the whole of its life and death are for Him. 
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “He who fasts the month of Ramadan out of sincere belief and seeking Allah’s reward of its fasting, will be forgiven for all the sins he has committed prior to it”.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
If the heart is rectified then the limbs will be likewise rectified. They will follow the lead shown by the heart, be obedient to Allah and stay away from His prohibitions. 
Not being constantly full of food weakens or even prevents Satan from having a stronghold on such a person. Regarding this, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Satan runs in the veins of the son of Aadam just like his blood”[Al-Bukhari & others]. Not having a constantly full stomach enables the limbs to do good deeds with ease. It softens the heart and makes it easy for tears of piety to be shed, which reduces the effect of Satan. 
Miserable people:
Indeed, those who make Ramadan a month of over eating and excessive spending are wretched, miserable people. They do not realise anything but hunger – hunger that their stomachs cannot handle and thirst which their veins cannot tolerate. 
What kind of piety and how much resistance exists in these people? These people are the people of no resistance or determination in the face of hunger. Their hearts become harder the more they eat, resulting in oversleeping and laziness. Those who only desire to eat and dress well – those who surrender in defeat - in a battle against a few bites, where they have to abstain from for a few hours, such people are not worthy of an exalted and honourable life.

Behaviour of the pious:
Allah has ordained fasting to purify us and distinguish between the pious and the impious. He who starts his day abstaining from food, drinks and sexual intercourse with his objective being the pleasure of his Beloved - Allah- gets the reward stipulated in the following Qudsi narration: “Fasting is for me and I shall reward it”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Those who fast and have piety are those who are always alternating between prayer, recitation of the Qur’an, remembrance of Allah, keeping good relationships with their relatives and being kind to others – this is whilst they continue in their everyday work and other duties. 
Righteous people who are fasting have to search amongst their relatives and neighbours for the poor and needy amongst them. They should also search for the strangers amongst their brothers, be good to them and make them share their provisions. We must remember the hunger and thirst of our poor fellow Muslims, remember the tears of the miserable ones and the situation of those who have no dwellings, remember too the loneliness of those who are away from their families. We should also supplicate for them in the month of piety and accountability. 
The correlation between fasting and piety is stated in the verse (which means):“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous – (Fasting for) a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey (during them) - then an equal number of days (are to be made up). And upon those who are able (to fast, but with hardship) - a ransom (as substitute) of feeding a poor person (each day). And whoever volunteers excess - it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew. The month of Ramadan (is that) in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights (the new moon of) the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and (wants) for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” 
Here is a great month full of virtuous days and nights. So we should do well and utilise them, take advantage of them in the same way that the Salaf, may Allah be pleased with them, did.
They, may Allah be pleased with them, did not prepare for Ramadan by preparing and consuming more food and drinks, rather they prepared with acts pleasing to their Lord, such as acts of worship and generosity. They were obedient servants to their Lord and generous and kind towards their fellow Muslims. The best example for all of these acts was their leader, Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, who used to be most generous during Ramadan.

Article source: http://www.islamweb,net/emainpage/

The month of the Qur’an
Nowadays, we live in a time in which many ideologies exist - a time of confrontations with different misconceptions, challenges and questions that are often witnessed, heard and repeated. 
Each one of us in this world, regardless of his/her position, needs something at times to strengthen him, help him stay steadfast and increase his faith and reliance on Allah so he can face strong desires and new challenges as firm as mountains that are unaffected by strong winds or earthquakes.
When a person feels lonely, or a problem occurs, when things are bad, when he is about to give up hope on the Mercy of Allah, or when he does wrong; he needs what guides him through such conditions to help him solve the problem, to remind him of the Mercy of Allah and to warn him when he does wrong.
Unless a person heads in the right direction with his entire body (his feelings, heart and limbs) towards the Book of Allah, by reading it, contemplating its verses and practising what it contains, then one cannot hope to be steadfast and strong in his faith. He will not feel secure from being punished. He cannot expect a promise to be fulfilled nor to be mentioned or remembered after his death.
The Qur’an is the pure spring that never depletes, the great treasure that does not diminish from use, rather it only increases. Its repetition and recitation add to its sweetness and encourage one to read from it again. 
The Qur’an is the Word of Allah that cannot be likened to any other words. It is protected from falsehood being entered into it from any direction. It was sent down by The All-Wise, Worthy of all praise, Allah, Glory be to Him, Who took it upon Himself to protect it so no one can add to it or subtract from it. It cannot be increased or decreased. It is written in a Preserved Book (in Arabic: Al Lawh Al Mahfooth). It is easy to learn and is often contemplated, memorised, and recited. Allah Says (what means): “And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will remember?” [Qur’an 54: 17]
Anyone, young or old, can memorise it even non-Arabic speaking people. It is not burdensome to read or recite repeatedly. Due to its sweetness, no one gets bored listening to the Qur’an. Scholars never have enough pondering over it, educating themselves from it and learning more of its meanings. Neither mankind nor jinn can produce a chapter that resembles it, because it is an eternal miracle and proof. Allah, Glory be to Him, Commanded us to recite it and to reflect upon it. He made it a blessing as well as blessed.
Allah Says (what means): “[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” [Qur’an 38: 29]
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “He who recites or reads a letter from the Book of Allah gets a reward and the reward is multiplied by ten. I don’t mean ‘Alif Laam Meem’ is a letter, rather, Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter and Meem is a letter.” [At-Tirmithi] 
Allah gave a certain position to those who memorise and work according to it -- a position that makes one different from other people. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam,  said: “The best amongst you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it to others.” [Al-Bukhari].
He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, also said: “The example of the believer who reads the Qur’an is like the “Utrujjah” (a type of fruit). It has a nice smell and a sweet taste. The example of the believer who does not read or recite the Qur’an is like a date, which has no smell but tastes sweet. The example of a hypocrite who reads the Qur’an is like the Rayhannah, it smells nice but it tastes bitter. The example of the hypocrite who does not read the Qur’an is like the Hanthalah (colocynth) which does not have any smell and it tastes bitter” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Tranquillity and true happiness lie in glorifying the Book of Allah, reading it, resorting to it as a reference and using it as a guidance. Wretchedness lies in turning one’s back on the Qur’an, degrading it and deserting it. Allah says (what means): “And whoever turns away from My remembrance - indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind. He will say, “My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing? [ Allah ] will say, “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten.” [Qur’an 20: 124-126]
The blessed month of Ramadan that we live in these days should remind the believing Muslim Nation of the importance of going back truly and sincerely to the Book of Allah, the great Book that Allah has honored by having revealed it during this month. He, The Almighty, Says (what means): “The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.” [Qur’an 2: 185]
The best way to spend time during the month of the Qur’an (Ramadan) is to give increased importance to the Qur’an by memorising, reciting, practising and contemplating it. 
Let us look at our best model, the Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Ibn‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that: “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was the most generous of people and he used to be more generous during the month of Ramadan, when he used to meet Jibreel (Angel Gabriel) and review the Qur’an with him. During this time, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was faster (in his generosity and bringing good) than a blowing wind”.  [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
We understand from this Hadith that it is recommended to review the Qur’an and study it in the month of Ramadan, even gathering in group sessions to do so. In addition, we can conclude from it that it is recommended to repeatedly recite the Qur’an during the month of Ramadan. 
Many people have the mistaken idea that they should recite the Qur’an repeatedly during the day of Ramadan and then stop reciting it during the night. Some of the Salaf  (righteous predecessors, may Allah have mercy upon them) used to read the entire Qur’an in Ramadan every three nights, and some used to do it every seven nights, like Qataadah, may Allah be pleased with him; others used to finish it every ten nights. Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “The Salaf used to recite the Qur’an in the month of Ramadan during prayer and other times; Qataadah used to teach the Qur’an in the month of Ramadan. Whenever Ramadan started, Az-Zuhri, may Allah have mercy on him, used to say: ‘This is the month of reciting the Qur’an and giving food’.” 
During Ramadan, Allah gives honour and elevates people with the Qur’an and degrades others as a result of neglecting it. All thanks are due to Allah that the Qur’an is amongst us and it is very easy to obtain a copy: they are in the mosques, the homes, in the libraries and bookstores. In some of the Muslim countries you can even listen to it on the radio. Having the Qur’an available is a great bounty of Allah, glory be to Him. Being able to learn His Book, listen to it, and act according to it is another great favor and bounty of Allah, The Most Exalted.
The Qur’an can also be a proven evidence against all of those who neglected it when it was so easily available. Allah Almighty says (what means): “Say (O Muhammad): ‘What thing is greatest in testimony?’ Say, ‘Allah is witness between me and you. And this Qur’an was revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches…’” [Qur’an 6: 19]
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The Qur’an is a proof or an evidence for or against you.” [Muslim] So we must fear Allah and pay attention to the Book of Allah, learning it, teaching it, acting according to it and applying it so that we will be among its people. 
About the Qur’an, Allah Almighty says (what means):“Indeed, this Qur’an guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward. And that those who do not believe in the Hereafter - We have prepared for them a painful punishment.” [Qur’an 17: 9-10]

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The wisdom behind fasting
One of the Names of Allah is Al-Hakeem (The All-Wise), Allah is All-Wise in what He decrees, what He commands, what He prohibits, what He predestines and what He legislates. Allah may make people aware of the wisdom behind certain matters or He may conceal it, or may make only some people realise the wisdom and not all people.
In all cases, a believer is obliged to submit to his Lord and His decrees and commands even if he does not recognise the wisdom behind them, as Allah Says (what means): “It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair.” [Qur’an 33: 36]
One of the commands of Allah which He made people partly aware of the wisdom behind it, is fasting. Fasting has many inwardly and outwardly benefits, on the individual and the community. The following are some of these benefits which can be recognised by reason:
Attaining piety: Allah Says (what means): “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become pious” [Qur’an 2: 183] 
Diminishing the strength of one’s desires: Eating to one’s fill and quenching the thirst and enjoying one’s wife all the time can lead one to heedlessness and to ingratitude.
Focusing on the mention of Allah and pondering: Continual fulfilment of desires makes one hard-hearted and blinds him from the right path. It also prevents the slave from mentioning Allah and reflecting upon His signs and creation, all of which leads to heedlessness.
Narrowing the passage of the devil: Satan runs in the blood of the son of Aadam and fasting narrows his passage and thus lessens his effects, reduces one’s desires and calms one’s anger.
Strengthening one’s willpower and determination: One, who can tolerate the pain of hunger and thirst and controls himself from having a sexual relation with his spouse whilst fasting, will strengthen his determination and willpower. This frees the person from being enslaved to his lusts and desires that are harmful to him.
Breaking one out of his regular routine: Some people lose their temper and become ill-mannered if their meal was delayed from its normal time or if they do not drink their morning coffee or afternoon tea. They have become so accustomed to a certain routine that changing it creates a problem for them. Such people are slaves to their routine and habits, and fasting helps the person overcome this behaviour.
Realising the size of the bounties of Allah: Fasting makes rich people appreciate the favours of Allah upon him, because Allah has granted him what He has deprived many other poor people from. Refraining from such bounties and blessings for a short period through fasting, reminds the rich with those who are continuously deprived, and thus become grateful to Allah and more merciful towards the needy.
 A communal act of worship: This act of worship must be practised by the entire Muslim community in the east and the west. The entire Muslim nation fasts this month, even the ones who are normally disobedient fast during Ramadan in most cases. This increases the righteous environment which facilitates repentance to many people.
Increases the sense of honesty: The one who breaks the fast is breaching the pledge with Allah and thus fasting improves and increases his sense of honesty when he refrains from anything that could break his fast even whilst in seclusion.
Medical benefits: Fasting protects the person from many diseases with the will of Allah. Modern research proved that fasting has many health benefits, such as:
*It  organises the person’s heart-beat and relaxes it since no blood is needed for digestion. 
*It purifies the blood from fat and cholesterol and acids. 
*It relieves the liver from the regular pressure. 
*It reduces the production of the digestive glands which is usually the cause for ulcers. 
*It protects the person from gaining weight, diabetes, kidney stones.  
*It reduces the pressure on the heart arteries.  
Some people are unable to fast due to their sickness, and thus Allah permitted them to break their fast whilst sick and mandated that they make up for the days they missed. Allah Says (what means): “So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them]-then an equal number of days [are to be made up]” [Qur’an: 2: 184]

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Points to ponder
A person might contemplate during Ramadan upon numerous subjects. He should reflect upon his affairs, his final abode, and what is awaiting him, as regards his departure to Allah The Almighty. He can also contemplate over his morals and evil aspects, in the hope of getting rid of the latter; his acts of worship in which he was negligent and which were filled with doubts and passing thoughts, which kept him far from Allah The Almighty, and from having good private talk with Him. He can contemplate about standing in front of Him; what mends his own self and final abode, and what causes him to know and have love for his Lord The Almighty. 
A believer should reflect upon the Names and Attributes of Allah; and his standing to his Lord on the Day the people would stand to the Lord of the Worlds. If one reflects upon the Names and Attributes of Allah, his living and final abode, his departure, death and grave, his resurrection and standing in front of Allah The Almighty, the evil of his own soul, and the deficiencies of his actions and provision, undoubtedly his reflection would cause him to increase in faith and refrain from disobedience. It would enable him to endure the difficulty of striving against the evil he is suffering from, remember the grave, death and accounting, and remember the terrors and standing in front of Allah The Almighty. All of this would be a motive for him to hasten to Allah The Almighty, to keep away from sins, fear Allah The Almighty, do his best and strive to excel in worship and obedience, and persist in thinking of what returns upon him with good in his worldly life and his final abode.
As for the remembrance of Allah The Almighty, if one devotes himself to it, he will be in the same state mentioned by Allah The Almighty Who Says (what means): {So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.} [Qur’an 2:152] Among the benefits of one’s leaving his food and drink (in fasting) is to realise this state. Is it appropriate that one realises this during his day, and when he breaks his fast, he gives up meditation and remembrance of Allah The Almighty? I mean those high ranks that represent the origin of the knowledge of and love for Allah The Almighty. Once he reflects upon the names and attributes of Allah The Almighty, he affirms the Oneness of his Lord, loves Him, fears Him, has hope in Him, supplicates Him, draws near Him, and makes his share from Allah The Almighty the most important priority for him in the world and the Hereafter.
You need this meaning today and after Ramadan, otherwise, what would you do if your days pass and you return to your old state, and the month of Ramadan gets over without getting any of that?
The next meaning is to make substantial contributions to increasing the sustenance for the poor and needy. It is one of the traces of Taqwa (consciousness of Allah The Almighty). It is your share (of good) which you should be keen to obtain, to give out of your property to the poor and needy, for the sake of Allah The Almighty. Make hunger and thirst a reminder for you of those who have long been suffering from hunger and thirst, support your brethren and the righteous slaves of Allah The Almighty, and honour and bring about pleasure upon them. All of this is among the best deeds mentioned by the Messenger of Allah. That was his state in Ramadan. He was the most generous of all people, and he used to be at the pinnacle of his generosity in the month of Ramadan, when Jibreel (Gabriel)  would teach him the Qur’an. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
To conclude those benefits, let us say that fasting, standing (at night in prayer), remembrance of Allah The Almighty and reduction of food, drink and desire in Ramadan break the soul’s voracity, greediness, wrongness and transgression. This is one of the most important reasons that make one submit to his Lord and increase in piety.

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