What if people fasted truly?
By Dr Osama Altikriti (Abu Laith)*
Fasting is part of the divine prescription for the development of man so that their uprightness may be in accordance with Allah’s will. It is because of this that fasting was ordained in all divine scriptures, in one way or another.
Fasting connects man to his Creator in a way that is manifested in full submission to Him. This is by following Allah’s divine prescription in abiding and refraining from all He has ordained; the depth of which is only known and seen by Allah Almighty. This firm connection between the servant and His Lord lasts for the whole fasting season, as a prelude to the days that come later, when the servant has become accustomed to obedience to Allah and to his life’s course.
It is but for the kindness of Allah to His servant that He has eased the matter for him in a number of ways. Allah (swt) asserts that all deeds of the son of Adam are for him, “Except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward it.” And when the reward is from the Lord – it is indeed generous and endless. This becomes a source of motivation and determination for the servant as he strives, imagining Allah’s generous recompenses.
Allah Almighty paved the way for His servants and eased obedience for them by chaining the demons, to remove what resistance the servant faces in his obedience to Allah, Lord of the worlds.
And when fasting takes place at the same time for all servants, then they see themselves and all those around them in one state of obligation and obedience. This brings a feeling of relief and companionship, and not only a desire to worship, but a sense of competing towards goodness.
The overwhelming feeling, however, is that a person feels that they belong to a nation that extends the length and width of the earth, connected to the Lord of the heavens. Ultimately, they feel proud of their faith and way of life. This also gives them the strength, will and motivation that is not intimidated by the biggest of obstacles.
Fasting is not limited to refraining from eating and drinking. Indeed, this is but a mere step for the slave to ultimately become under the Eyes of Allah and His protection in all he says and does; at which point, the Ummah and the nation would be in a utopian state of goodness. This would be like the noble city which Allah mentions in the Qur’an as being: “And the good land – its vegetation emerges by permission of its Lord” [Qur’an 7:58].
The wonderful image is completed in the month of fasting by the going to prayers, remembrance of Allah and the Qur’an. Faith is elevated by contemplating the verses of the Qur’an and pondering on its meanings. The Qur’an is a comprehensive manual, and in it is a page specifically dedicated to the month of fasting and what Allah has prepared for those fasting.
Today, millions of people across the globe are fasting in an unprecedented manner. Their condition exposes the imperfections in their performance which is not according to what Allah ordained. Allah wanted Tawheed (Oneness of Allah) to be the essence of fasting, not tainted by any Shirk (associating partners to Allah). He wanted us to worship in a devout manner, without any hint of insincerity.
Allah wanted His servants to fulfil this obligation as a united community under the shade of sincere brotherliness as He ordained, and as the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him said: “The believers in their mutual love, mercy and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with sleeplessness and fever,” and: “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other.”
Moreover, Allah wanted us to truly revere this religion, of which He described its followers as: “The best nation produced for mankind.” Where is the virtuousness and goodness that Allah wanted in our troubled reality today? Indeed, fasting and praying and other acts of worship have become superficial acts without any substance.
If fasting and prayer were undertaken according to how Allah Almighty wanted, the world would change and the corrupt and foolish would not be the overpowering.
Is it not time for us to review the methodology of worship that Allah ordained for us, and to pursue the path of those whom: “Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him” [Qur’an 9:100], and to leave this state of humiliation that is upon us to one that Allah is pleased with and would want for us?
O Allah, help our Ummah come back to Your true religion and the righteous path. Make this blessed month a starting point for us to correct and mend our ways; and make our fasting a fast against all that displeases You; and plant us on what will lead us to Your pleasure and satisfaction.
*Dr Osama Tawfiq Altikriti, Abu Laith, was born in Tikrit, Iraq in 1939. He worked as a Consultant Radiologist. Dr Osama moved to the UK in the early 70s, where he helped establish and lead Islamic effort. He headed the Muslim Student Society (MSS) and was within the leadership of FOSIS. Dr Osama was a member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives for the Iraqi Islamic Party from 2006 until 2012.
Muslim Association of Britain
26th May 2018 | 10th Ramadan 1439