Ramadhan is a month of mercy. A month in which the mercy of Allah is constantly descending upon his creation.
Ramadhan is a month of forgiveness. A month in which it is extremely easy to earn forgiveness from Allah for all the wrong we have done in the past.
Ramadhan is a month which is very beloved to Allah. In it the Qur’an was revealed and in it is the Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Power).
There are many reasons why Muslims fast during Ramadhan and in the following section, we will explore four incredible things fasting during Ramadan can teach us.
1. Fasting in Ramadhan Is A Training Program to Learn How to Obey Allah
What is the logic behind fasting?
Some people may have questions such as; What does Allah get by making us stay hungry? What benefits do we get by staying hungry and thirsty all day? Why does Allah make us suffer?
These are quite common questions that go through the minds of many of us, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.
Health benefits aside, one of the best answers we can give to this question is that fasting is like a training program.
Whenever we want to learn something, we have to practice, we have to train ourselves.
So how do we train ourselves not to commit sins? What practice sessions do we go through to stop ourselves from falling into the temptations of Shaytaan? How do we train ourselves to obey Allah? How do we train ourselves to be God fearing?
The answer to these questions is Fasting (Sawm).
What we are actually doing when fasting is that we are avoiding things that are normally halal for us (food and drink), simply because Allah tells us to.
Through practice and perseverance, this becomes easy for us as Ramadhans come and go.
What we are training ourselves to do is to simply obey Allah because he tells us to.
When we master this and it becomes easy for us to avoid halal things because Allah tells us to, we will come to realize something amazing about ourselves.
If we train ourselves enough, through practice and perseverance, we can easily avoid haram as well simply because Allah tells us to and because it is harmful for us.
In Ramadhan, Allah locks up the Shayaateen to make it easy for us to obey him.
Our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ tells us:
إِذَا جَاءَ رَمَضَانُ فُتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ وَغُلِّقَتْ أَبْوَابُ النَّارِ وَصُفِّدَتِ الشَّيَاطِينُ
When there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained. [Muslim]
If we train ourselves well enough in Ramadhan to avoid evil when the Shayaateen aren’t around to tempt us, then in the next 11 months of the year, we make it a little easier for ourselves to avoid falling into their temptations.
How does a fighter get ready for his fights? He trains and trains and trains and then he has his fights.
How does a doctor become a doctor? He practices and goes through rigorous training to be able to properly practice medicine.
Everything in life requires training and practice.
Ramadhan and fasting in Ramadhan is our training and practice for the 11 months to come after it.
Ramadhan teaches us to obey Allah. Ramadhan teaches us to do what Allah tells us to and Ramadhan teaches how to avoid everything Allah tells us to avoid.
Allah says in the Quran:
يٰٓـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا كُتِبَ عَلَيۡکُمُ الصِّيَامُ کَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِيۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِکُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُوۡنَۙ
O you who believe, fasting has been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that you may be God-fearing. [Quran 2:183]
May Allah make it easy for us to overcome the temptations of Shaytaan throughout the year. Ameen!
2. We Feel the Hunger of the Poor and Needy
Most of us, who may be reading this, are probably blessed with having proper food on our tables 2 or 3 times a day.
Probably even a day never goes by in which we stay hungry or thirsty for more than a few hours.
We may never have had that feeling of sleeping on an empty stomach or spending a day with a dry mouth out of thirst.
And this is another great reason why Allah gave us Ramadhan.
So that we can know what hunger and thirst feels like.
So that we can feel the hunger and thirst of those who aren’t as well off as we are.
So that we can try to understand what they are going through throughout the year.
Allah wants us to care for all humans. Allah wants us to feel the pain of our brothers and sisters who go through extreme hardships all the time.
When we feel their pain, we can resonate with them and we can then use our resources to help them.
Whether that is through charity, fundraising, volunteering or feeding them when we can.
And this is not to say that we are better than those who aren’t as blessed as we are.
Rather, when we give whatever we give, we give it in the hope of rewards from Allah.
We give it in the hope that due to our giving, Allah may be merciful upon us and grant us Jannah.
3. We Learn to Share Our Resources
Allah ﷻ has blessed every one of us in many different ways. Some of us have been blessed with wealth, some of us with talent, some of us with strength and some of us with fame.
Irrespective of our situations and difficulties, none of us can deny the fact that we have been blessed by Allah in some way or the other.
What Allah requires from us is that we use the blessings he has given to us to benefit ourselves as well as the rest of his creation.
Allah tells us not to be selfish with our resources and use them as much as we can just as he is generous towards us:
Our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ tells us:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَوَادٌ يُحِبُّ الْجُودَ
Indeed Allah is generous and He loves generosity. [Tirmidhi]
The more we use the blessings of Allah, the more Allah will bless us.
In Ramadhan, our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has given us an extremely easy, yet amazingly beneficial way of sharing our resources with others.
He ﷺ says:
مَنْ فَطَّرَ صَائِمًا كَانَ لَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِهِ غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ لاَ يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أَجْرِ الصَّائِمِ شَيْئًا
Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for him is the same reward as his (the fasting person’s), without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person. [Tirmidhi]
Feeding a fasting person in Ramadhan, although it may seem very insignificant, is extremely rewarding by Allah.
It is also very easy for us today to feed people for the sake of Allah. Many charities provide Iftar packs and Iftar meals to the less fortunate across the world and this is a great way for us to get not only our own reward for fasting but also the reward of those whom we feed.
4. We Learn Our True Limits When It Comes to Worship
There is no doubt that in the month of Ramadhan, we see an increase in our good actions. We also see an increase in our worship compared to the other months of the year. At the same time, we see a decrease in the amount of wrong doings we usually do.
Definitely the Shayateen being locked up by Allah helps us with this. But in reality, we are learning that if we really wanted to, we could keep up all the worship we do in the month of Ramadhan throughout the year as well.
In the month of Ramadhan, we are all fasting throughout the entire day. Accomplishing this becomes easier for us as the days of Ramadhan goes by. As with everything in life, practise makes it perfect.
How great would it be if after the month of Ramadhan passes by, we continue to fast randomly throughout the year as well.
There are many Sunnah fasts which we should try our best to keep up with and those begin immediately after the month of Ramadhan.
Our Prophet ﷺ tells us about fasting in the month of Shawwaal (the month after Ramadhan):
مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَهُ سِتًّا مِنْ شَوَّالٍ كَانَ كَصِيَامِ الدَّهْرِ
He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal. it would be as if he fasted perpetually. [Muslim]
Many of us may be used to praying and Qiyaamul Layl (Tahajjud prayers) in the month of Ramadhan. This is usually very easy for us to do as we are used to waking up for Suhoor. The time for Suhoor is the best time for Qiyaam and asking for anything we wish from Allah.
How great would it be if after the month of Ramadhan, just as we wake up for Suhoor in the month of Ramadhan, we continued to wake up at the same time to perform Tahajjud prayers and devote ourselves to our Allah.
If we truly want something in life, if we really want a prayer of ours to be accepted, the best way to get that is through Tahajjud prayers.
Our Prophet ﷺ tells us:
يَنْزِلُ رَبُّنَا تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا حِينَ يَبْقَى ثُلُثُ اللَّيْلِ الآخِرُ فَيَقُولُ مَنْ يَدْعُونِي فَأَسْتَجِيبَ لَهُ وَمَنْ يَسْأَلُنِي فَأُعْطِيَهُ وَمَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُنِي فَأَغْفِرَ لَهُ
Our Lord, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the latter part of the night is left, and says: Who supplicates Me so that I may answer him? Who asks Me so that I may give to him? Who asks Me forgiveness so that I may forgive him? [Muslim]
How great would it be if we continued the good actions we did in Ramadhan, outside of the month of Ramadhan as well.
Did you know, the most beloved actions to Allah aren’t those that are huge in number or those that seem amazing and great when you think of them.
Rather, the most beloved actions to Allah are those that may be small, but they are consistent and ongoing.
Our Prophet ﷺ tells us:
أَحَبُّ الأَعْمَالِ إِلَى اللَّهِ تَعَالَى أَدْوَمُهَا وَإِنْ قَلَّ
The acts most beloved and pleasing to Allah are those which are done continuously, even if they are small. [Muslim]
May Allah give us all the ability to be consistent in our actions and may Allah accept all our worship. Ameen!