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The Islamic Fast and the Holy Month of Ramadan – Part III

Continued from Part II below:

The Islamic Fast and the Holy Month of Ramadan – Part II

During Ramadan the Devil (s) is/are ‘chained’:

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” (Imam Bukhari) And: Narrated Abu Huraira: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “… whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Imam Bukhari)

This means the devil (s) is/are being restrained and can’t harm or tempt Muslims to commit any major sins. In the Garden of Eden Iblis (the major shayton/devil) promised Allah he would wreak havoc and stand directly on the path of believers. When I first understood this, I realized many things. It explains why many good believers are often plagued with problems. In truth, as much as the devil is our enemy, WE believers are also the enemy of the prince of darkness, as we expose his evil. The devil’s main purpose is to trip us up and get us to not pray, to not care about others, to be self-centered, and to commit major sins that will get us sent to Hell with him. So, having Satan (or the devil/shayton…) chained, is a great relief for Muslims during Ramadan as we can expect only good things, inshAllah.

Other physical blessings from fasting is also the opportunity to ease away from addictive substances. People who drink caffeinated or sugar-filled drinks can get a headache the first day of fasting from the withdrawal that takes place. I drink coffee and I get a headache the first day. After that, I don’t get another headache. Smokers might also have some form of addiction withdrawal since they are going for hours without a cigarette. Some people complain of heartburn, or a burning in the stomach, especially in the beginning of the month until the body has adjusted to running on empty. However, usually, this dyspepsia goes away as the body regulates itself. If it doesn’t, it might be due to poor diet; not drinking enough water; mood outbursts, or stress.

Toward the end of Ramadan, many fasters, lose their appetite but they continue eating normally because if they don’t, they will become too weak. The majority of fasting people say they feel light and energetic.

A very interesting phenomenon I experience when fasting is I go into a very deep uninterrupted sleep sometime during the day. This is unusual for me because I rarely sleep during daylight hours. I call it a ‘death sleep’ and I only experience such a relaxed state in Ramadan or when I fast. The nap or sleep may only last fifteen minutes, but when I wake, I feel refreshed and energized. It’s such a concentrated sleep that I think there must be a great physiological benefit. Sleeping habits have been studied, showing those with better sleep patterns have better memory and it is being linked with warding off mental decline. Good sleep habits are also linked to having a more stable personality and less moodiness.

The reward for fasting the month of Ramadan is unknown. It must vary from individual to individual, as those who perform their fast in a good way and do more good deeds will be more rewarded. The amount of reward for good deeds is up to Allah and Allah can accept or reject our fasting altogether. People who become irritable or who want to nit-pick or fight are in danger. Some scholars say these things actually ‘break’ the fast and the day has to be made up. Having sexual relations is prohibited during the fasting hours. So, the fast is not only about refraining from nourishment. It requires you to practice self-control, patience, kindness, and flexibility while feeling hungry, thirsty, and possibly weak. The punishment for having sexual relations while fasting during Ramadan is to fast consecutively for three months.

There is only one reason we fast the month of Ramadan: because Allah asked us to.

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said, “Allah said, ‘All of the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them–except fasting which is for Me and I will give the reward for it. Fasting is a shield and protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, “I am fasting.” By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the unpleasant smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 128)

Narrated Sahl: The Prophet said, “There is a gate in Paradise called, Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and one except them will enter through it.  It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up and none except them will enter through it. After their entry, the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 120)

If you are fasting this Ramadan: congratulations for this is another opportunity to become a better Muslim. Be slow to anger, do many good deeds. Our reward is up to Allah. I pray that our fasting will be accepted by Allah the Great, Merciful, Kind, Sublime, and Perfect Protector. Amen.

Laurie Hill
Laurie Hill holds a Liberal Arts degree from Pennsylvania State University and a Certificate for Writing Social Commentary, (2006). Having traveled to many countries she is a passionate promoter for world peace for all people and all religious thought, as long as its base is non-violent, and respects individual freedom. An aspiring novelist with three completed novels she is currently working to publish her third. She has resided in Jeddah for twenty-eight years.

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