The Month of Ramadan, and Fasting
In Arabic, the word Ramadan / رمضان means: “hottest / most intensive.” Some years ago, some scholars of The Qur’an spread the word as to the meaning of Ramadan being the hottest, therefore the fasting of Ramadan should always be practiced in August, the hottest month of the year (or a different hottest month in some part of the world.) But they have overlooked the fact that the month of Ramadan is a lunar month. Thus, it concerns the intensity and heat of the moon, not the sun!
In fact it is extraordinary, Miraculous information that the intensity of the energy of the moon happens to be in its 9th month—something that Science may not have found out yet. Thus, the 9th lunar month, happens to be the most energetic moon of the year!
So, thanks to Almighty Lord, through The FurQan, we know today the reason the 9th month of the moon is called Ramadan; and for that reason, this month has been fixed for fasting. No doubt, the high level of energy helps the endurance for fasting. Moreover, for this same intensity of energy, the Descent of The Qur’an takes place in this month.
In the verse below, 2:185, the information concerning the Descent of The Qur’an and the fasting, is Brought together in the same verse. This shows their common denominator, the month of Ramadan, and its particularity as the most energetic month of the year:
2:185 “The month of Ramadan is that in which The Qur’an was sent down, a Guidance to men, and proofs for the Guidance, and The FurQan. So those of you who witness the month, shall fast therein; and if any one is sick or on a journey, then same number of other days. All’h Desires the facility for you, He Does not Desire the difficulty for you; and that you complete the number (of days), and that you Glorify All’h in that He Has Guided you; and that you may be thankful.”
In this Second Inauguration of The Qur’an, 14 centuries after Prophet Muhammad, fasting is Prescribed also for the people of 21st century, according to our time and circumstances.
As you can notice below, the Command for fasting begins with the sentence:
Ya ayyohal lazina amenoo / “Oh you who believe”
(Ref. to: “Miracles/ Some unknown facts“).
Such a way of addressing people in a verse indicates and addresses people of the present time! It categorizes the subject mentioned therein, under the actual law, time and circumstances, and jurisdiction of places of residence.
2:183 “Oh you who believe! Fasting is Prescribed for you as it was Prescribed for those before you. That you may (learn) self-restraint.”
For the era of Prophet Muhammad, there were changes in the law and rules of fasting to accommodate the circumstances of their time and the changing world. 2:187:
2:187 “Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and you are their garments. All’h Knows you wronged yourselves (betraying/deceiving). But He Turned to you and Forgave you. So now associate with them and seek what All’h Has Prescribed for you; and eat and drink till the white thread of the dawn from the black thread is distinct to you. Then complete the fast by the night. And do not associate with them while you are retreating in the mosques. Those are the Limits of All’h, do not approach them. In this way All’h Makes clear His Verses/Signs to men, that they may learn self restraint.”
As mentioned in the section of Salat, the practice of rituals in the Religion of the Creator, (daily Salat, monthly Zakat, yearly Fasting, once in life-time Hadj), is a training session of exercises for strengthening and stabilizing the system of connection between the brain and the cells, which is the cause of a strong immunity system and will power over the body and spirit.
This is the basic benefit of the rituals, besides other innumerable benefits to The Spirit and body.
As for fasting, the key word is “self-restraint”; that suggests the use of strong willpower in patience and perseverance, preventing, suppressing, controlling oneself in life.
Fasting has enormous benefits for the body and mind. Nowadays science eventually brings out more and more of its benefits. Here are some that I can think of:
- the intestinal benefit of changing the system of eating and drinking during the rest of the year
- The benefit of not drinking during the day, allowing the heavy particles of metals, inhaled through pollution of the air, to settle and thus be extricated
- The benefit of losing extra weight gained during the whole year
- The benefit of helping the poor by realizing how hard is the lack of food for those who cannot afford it; moreover to appreciate such Great Blessing from the Lord and be thankful for it
- A practice session for learning to have patience and perseverance, the means of success in life.
- A great refuge in hard times and times of grievance (2:45-46).
2:45 “And seek assistance through patience and Salat; in fact it is hard except to the humble ones,”
2:46 “Those who know they will meet their Lord and that they will return to Him.”
Fasting is also fixed for atonement and expiation of sins / pollution, showing the importance of its effect on body and soul (2:184; 5:89):
2:184 “(Fasting) A period of fixed number of days. But if any of you is ill or on a journey, the Prescribed number, from other days. And for those on whom it is onerous, ransom of feeding an indigent. But he who wants of his free will to give better, then it is better for him. And if you fast is better for you if only you knew.”
5:89 “All’h Will not Call you to account for what is meaningless (vain) in your oaths, but Will Call you for making deliberate oaths. So for its expiation, feed ten indigent persons on the average of the food you feed your families; or clothe them; or free a neck! If that is beyond your means, then fast for three days. That is the expiation when you swear! Protect your oaths! This way All’h Makes clear to you His Signs/verses that you may be grateful.”
As mentioned above, in this Second Inauguration of The Qur’an, fasting Prescribed for the people of the 21st century, is also in accord with our time and circumstances. The only change in our time, is in the means of traveling, by airplanes, trains, cars etc.
Therefore traveling has become much easier and faster. Besides, in our time everyone is on the run, traveling from one town to another even for their everyday work. Therefore, fasting is quite possible while traveling. But as God Wants to make it easy for us, then it is up to ourselves; if we find it unbearable, we can either fast some other time, or pay the ransom (2:185 above. As for illness, a physician should advise!
Fasting is for well-being, and should in no way be harmful, health wise. In some cases, we can complete the prescribed number, the 29-30 days (depending on the length of the month) of the fasting, some other time during the year.
Apart from this change, the rules of fasting stay the same for us. If anyone wants to retreat in the mosques the last ten days of Ramadan, then they must not associate with their spouses during their retreat (2:187 above).
On the 27th day of this month, The Qur’an was Descended. The night of 26th- 27th, is the night of Power! The power and energy of the month at this night, is at its highest intensity, as it is confirmed in verse (3) of the chapter (97 below). Some people stay awake and pray the whole night.
- We have indeed Revealed this in the Night of Power
- And what do you perceive what is Night of Power?
- The Night of Power is better than a thousand months
- Therein come down the angels and The Spirit by their Lord’s Permission, concerning every errand (of)
- Peace; this until the daybreak.