Every year, Muslims around the world, regardless of their nationality and financial well-being, begin to observe fasting. It begins with the appearance of dawn in the sky and ends with the sunset and lasts for a whole month, called in the Islamic tradition the month of Ramadan. What makes this month so blessed for Muslims? Why do they fast during this time? What are the spiritual values of fasting? We will raise these and several other issues in this article and will talk about the spiritual significance of the month, in which more than 1.4 billion Muslims take part all over the world.
The Quran says:
Thus, the month of Ramadan, above all, is the triumph of the revelation of the Quran, and after all, the Quran is nothing but “the right guidance and mercy for those who do good” (Quran 31: 3). Ramadan glorifies the grace of God, according to which the Almighty sent down the Qur'an as a guiding beacon, showing people the path to righteousness and goodness and keeping people from evil and crime.
Muslims emphasize their gratitude to the Almighty for the given guidance and because of this they refrain from eating, drinking and intimacy during Ramadan, trying to get closer to God and strengthen their faith. The feeling that the Lord always sees you makes it possible in life to always choose the right decisions even in the most difficult circumstances and to avoid wrong actions even when it is very easy to make them.
That is why the Quran immediately after the words about the fast of Ramadan speaks of a special connection between people and their Creator (Quran 2: 183-185).
“And if My slaves ask you about Me, then I’m close and answer the prayer’s call when he calls on Me. May they respond to Me and believe in Me — perhaps they will follow the right path ”(Quran 2: 186).
When the human soul, by observing fasting, comes to the degree of gratitude and submission to God, a person realizes that life is nothing but the gift of God, it is given to him for a limited time so that you can use it for good deeds that allow you to enjoy God's contentment, His mercy and love. Indeed, the Quran explicitly states that the true purpose of our souls is to be obedient to the Lord, keeping faith in God alone and performing righteous deeds of worship for His sake (Quran 30:30). That is why sins, according to the explanation of Islam, is the compulsion of the soul to do something inappropriate, uncharacteristic of its nature and purpose of creation (see Quran 3: 117 and many other verses). When the soul follows sinfulness, it falls into slavery to the base desires of a person, becomes a hostage to his passions and whims (Quran 25:43).
Observance of fasting, on the contrary, allows one to free the soul from this bond, for the fasting person is obliged to restrain his base desires and develop that part of his soul that always reaches out to God, to good deed and to everything positive. Depriving yourself of the most important needs for several hours, a person becomes able to control his desires, control his body and spirit, restrain manifestations of anger, revenge, deceit, sexual urges, and so on. That is why the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “When one of you fasts, let him not allow himself to act indecently or raise his voice. If another person insults him or tries to hurt him, then let him say: “I'm fasting!” false words or the same actions, the Almighty does not need you to refrain from eating and drinking alone. "
One of the greatest qualities of the human soul that fasting seeks to develop is humility. Humility before God and in relation to other creatures of God. Experiencing hunger and thirst, a person realizes that he would be in an extremely difficult situation if it were not for the Grace from God and His food. Humility is an inherent feature of a true believer, for false pride and arrogance cannot coexist with true piety.
In addition, fasting allows us, successful and wealthy people, to appreciate for some time the pain and deprivation of millions in need and disadvantaged people who live in such a state every day - without food, water, and other vital needs. Fasting shortens the distance between the rich and the poor, between the strong and the weak, the well-to-do and the needy. From the experience of communication between them there is sympathy and a merciful attitude towards each other, generosity and readiness to help those in need are manifested. Muslims always and especially in this month should be open to others, feed the hungry, send their belongings for good purposes, such as the construction of schools, hospitals, canteens and the like. In this, they follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who was always generous anyway, but in the last ten days of Ramadan he showed special generosity. As is well known in Islam, Allah the Most High promises to returns property or goodness that was used by a person to charity in this month and rewards him by ten-times both during his life and after death.
The reward promised for the holy month encourages Muslims to be generous: they invite guests, bring food to neighbours and friends. Ramadan is a time of more zealous worship, therefore, in every mosque after the night prayer, Muslims stand for another collective prayer - Taraweeh. So the holy month strengthens the brotherly bond between the believers. When Ramadan ends, it is always sad, and Muslims are looking forward to the next of this blessed month.
Ramadan is the fulfilment of God's guidance to humanity. Fasting this month is designed to establish harmony and balance in the soul of the believer, bring it closer to God and raise it to a new level of worship. Following the instructions of Ramadan, a person is able to completely transform both spiritually and physically, change stinginess to generosity, anger to patience, revenge to love, war to peace, and in general - evil to good in the world.
The words of God, narrated by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) (called Hadith-Qudsi), best explain the changes that happen to a person through the good deeds he performs during fasting. “The most beloved of all, whatever My servant does in striving to come closer to Me, is for Me that I imputed to him a duty. And my servant will try to come closer to me, doing more of it, until I love him. When I love him, I will become his hearing, through which he will hear, and his sight, through which he will see, and his hand, which he will take, and his foot, with the help of which he will walk ... If he asks I am about something, I will definitely grant it to him, and if you turn to Me for protection, I will definitely protect him. ”