Feel Ramadan – 6) The fuel for Taqwa
“O the Messenger of Allah! Would you advice me a favorable deed?”, said Abu Umama (May Allah be pleased with him).
“Perform fasting because there is no worship equal to fasting” : Replied the Messenger of Allah (May Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him)
“Would you advice me a good deed?” Abu Umama repeated.
The Prophet replied: “Try to fast because there is no other worship as meritorious as it before Allah.” (Nasaî, Siyam: 43)
Introspection is the best path to attain inner purity. With the relentless questions we ask to our inner selves, we can dig out our hidden flaws. Most of us, face society by concealing our inner lapses. Many peoples’ private life would be a mysterious world, with a lot of crimes and bad deeds obscured in, different from what is shown to world outside.
It is very easy to get enslaved by forbidden whims and to treasure them secretly. These days, anyone can enjoy the privacy and coolness of wrong deeds with a cellphone, even in the middle of a crowd. The cruel world of hypocrites who dare to deceive even the nearest ones very tactically!!
Ramadan treats our stinking private world of sins. It advices us to forget the past and renovate our most secretive life. The biggest tragedy in life is that we get enslaved by passions. Then, no external advices or warnings can influence us. We tend to treat these advises from outside as ‘nuisance’. But, the admonitions and realizations arising from our inner selves can influence us, tremendously. Such a path of rejuvenation is Ramadan. It intervenes to our secret life. It exterminates the filth from there, transforms our habits, and imprisons our whims. It trains us to live in purity even in our secret life. That’s the inner meaning of fasting.
More than the deed we offer, Allah values our mindset at that moment. We are asked to seriously evaluate the fluctuations in our mindsets. In a world where rights and wrongs are mixed up, it is very natural that our minds may sway in between. To preserve the purity of our hearts, we need to undergo strict training. Self control can be attained by stringent rules and systematic toils. Taqwa is achieved through very attentive self control. Hearts should be rejuvenated and controlled by the assurance of our imaan. We usually tie the things which are about to fallen off, with strong ropes. Our hearts may fall into sins, anytime. Even the word qalbu literally indicates that.
Prophet (PBUH) said, “The heart is like a feather that is being blown about by the wind in a desert” ( Ahmad 4: 408).
In Arabic we say aqeeda for the matters which we believe with conviction. Aqada means bonding or tie. That means imaan is the silver thread that ties our qalb (heart) with Allah. The bonding of our swerving hearts with unswerving faith. It must be the catalyst behind our worships.
Once, Prophet (PBUH) mentioned the purpose of fasting is to amass strength for doing acts of worships. (Ahmad 2: 524). It also begets mercy, cleansing of sins and protection from Hellfire (Bbnu Qusaima 1887). Indeed, these are ultimate aims of any true believer, aren’t they?
Journeying through sins, corrupts our fitra or inner purity. Fasting pours in the energy to sway away from and fight against all the evils. Our sins create fences between Allah and us. It obstructs us from creating a strong relationship with the Lord of worlds. Fasting is the solution that helps break the fences and hasten to the presence of Allah.
We abstain from every basic thing which we would need to preserve our breath, including our food and water. Even the things that were otherwise halal become haram while fasting. Why are asked to abstain from even those halal matters? Isn’t that to train ourselves to refrain from harms even after Ramadan?
Fasting is a very personal and secret worship, no one will know if another is really fasting or not. No other worships are the same. Salah is suppose to perform in congregation, zakat is the giving to others, Hajj is performed along with millions, but fasting is very secretive.
Why is it so? It could be for us to practice taqwa even in our personal and secret occasions. In this era where show offs are more and inner purity has deteriorated, this purpose has broad meanings.