Fasting in Ramadan is not merely physically restraining from the obvious food and drink, but the total commitment of the servant’s body and soul to the letter and spirit of fasting.
1. The fast of the self, means to be free from all carnal desires.
2. The fast of mind is avoiding thoughts about things other than Allah (SWT).
3. The fast of the hand is not touching/taking what does not belong to it.
4. The fast of the nose means not sniffing or smelling unlawful things.
5. The fast of the feet is not going places where sinful acts are propagated.
6. The fast of the eye is to prevent it from seeing forbidden things.
7. The fast of the tongue is guarding against lying, backbiting, slandering, reviling, abusing others, cursing, indecent conversation, swearing and false evidence. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “A Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands other Muslims are safe”.
Allah (SWT) says in Al-Qur’an, “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be mindful of their chastity; this will be most conducive to their purity. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be mindful of their chastity, and not display their charms (in public) beyond what may (decently) be apparent thereof, hence let them draw their head-covering over their bosoms”. (Al-Qur’an 24:30-31)
8. The fast of the ears is not to listen to idle talk, gossip, lyrics and notes that contain obscene and indecent things. Listening to Al-Qur’an bears the fruit of faith, guidance, light and prosperity. It fills the heart with wisdom, tranquillity, intimacy and contentment. It is a source of protection from the dangerous, deviant and sinful thoughts.
9. The fast of the heart means casting out from it the love of worldly things and by emptying it of all corrupt material such as, false beliefs, evil suggestions, filthy intentions and degenerate thoughts.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 49)
The believer’s heart abstains from pride and egotism as these traits breaks its fast. Egotism is when the individual sees himself as perfect and better than others. The cure for this self-importance is to look at one’s faults and shortcomings, thousands of sins and misdeeds that one has committed, wrongs that one has done and forgotten, but knowledge of which are with Allah (SWT).
Allah (SWT) says in Al-Qur’an, “do they, perchance, envy other people for what God has granted them out of his bounty?” (Al-Qur’an 4:54)
The heart of the believer fasts and abstains from envy as envy lowers righteous deeds and stops its progress toward Allah (SWT).
AVOIDANCE OF THINGS THAT CONTRADICT SPIRIT OF FASTING
Allah (SWT) says in Al-Qur’an, “Eat and drink (freely), but do not waste: verily, He does not love the wasteful!” (Al-Qur’an 7:31)
Some people who fast waste money on meals both at the beginning and the breaking of the fast in Ramadan. They prepare food enough for a crowd of people consisting of numerous dishes. Then, at the end of this, they only eat a little and throw the remainder into the refuse. This is contrary to the great teachings of Islam.
There are other people who fill the stomach with delicious foods at “Sehri”, so that one does not feel hungry until “Iftaar”. When opening their fast, they indulge in excessive eating and drinking. This however, defeats the purpose of fasting, one of which is to empty the stomach of all contaminated material by reducing the intake of food.
Many people spend their fasting hours sleeping. As a result it seems as if they did not fast. The wisdom of fasting is that the one who fasts should experience pangs of hunger and savour thirst in order to gain the pleasure of Allah (SWT).
There are also people who make no effort to do good by giving charity. They do not honour their tables by allowing others to break their fast with them.