“O ye who believe” Fasting is prescribed to you…..that ye may (learn) self-restraint………….” (Qur’an; chapter-2:verse 183)
The command for fasting in Ramadhan came in the first year of the Hijra. The Holy Prophet delivered a lecture on the last Friday of the preceding month, Sha’ban, in which he said:-
“O people! You are now under the shadow of the month which has a night (Night of Qadr) which is better than thousand months. It is the month of Ramadhan in which fasting has been made compulsory by God. It is the month of patience; and the reward of patience is paradise. It is the month of mutual sympathy.
“Whoever feeds a fasting brother at the time of breaking the fast God will be as much pleased with him as though he would have emancipated a slave, and it means that his sins of past would be forgiven”.
Somebody pleaded that not everybody was affluent enough to feed others. The Holy Prophet said: “Allah is generous enough to be pleased with you even if you break the fast of Muslim brother with a morsel of date or a cup of water if it is the only thing which you can offer”. God does not see the wealth offered but it is the feeling of the heart only which counts. Then the Holy Prophet proceeded to say: “Anybody who makes the burden of his servants lighter in this month Allah will make his sins lighter for him on the Day of Judgment”.
The word ‘Ramadhan’ is derived from the root ‘R-M-Dh’, which indicate ‘Heat’ and ‘Restlessness’. It is said that the name of the month indicates the hardships which accompany a fast like thirst and a comparative restlessness.
But the best explanation was given by the Holy Prophet himself, who was the final authority on every thing. He said: “Ramadhan burns the sins and faults as fire burns the wood”.
Imam Muhammad al-Baquir told one of his companions: “O Jabir! Whoever, during Ramadhan, fasts in days, stands for prayers in parts of nights, controls his sexual desires and emotions, puts rein on his tongue, keeps his eyes down, and does not injure the feelings of others, will become as free from sin as he was the day he was born”. Jabir said: “How tough are these conditions!”
Have you courage enough to try to fulfill these ‘tough’ conditions in this Ramadhan and be freed from the chain of past sins?