Sawm: Fasting


The noble Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) gave an impressive sermon welcoming the month of Ramadhãn. He said:

“O people! The month of Allãh with its blessings, mercy and forgiveness has come upon you. It is the most preferred of all the months with Allãh; its days are the best of days, its nights are the best of nights, and its hours are the best of hours. It is a month in which you have been invited as guests of Allãh and have been placed among those honoured by Allãh. Your breathing in it is [like] an act of praising [Allãh], your sleep an act of worship; your good deeds are accepted, and your prayers answered. Therefore, ask Allãh with sincere intentions and pure hearts to help you in fasting and recitating His Book during this [month]. Indeed damned is he who is deprived of Allãh’s forgiveness during this august month.

“O people! The gates of  Paradise are wide open during this month; therefore, ask your Lord not to close them in your face and the gates of Hell-Fire are locked; therefore, ask your Lord not to open them for you. Satans are chained; therefore, ask your Lord not to unfetter them upon you.

“O people! Whosoever among you improves his character during this month, he shall have the pass [to cross] over the Bridge (sirãt) on the day when [people’s] feet shall slip. Whosoever is lenient with his slaves during this month, Allãh will be lenient with him in the reckoning of his [deeds on the Day of Judgement]. Whosoever checks his evil deeds during this month, Allãh shall withhold His anger from him on the day he meets Him. Whosoever honours an orphan during this month, Allãh shall honour him on the day he meets Him. Whosoever maintains, during this month, contact with his relations, Allãh will maintain His mercy for him on the day he meets Him. Whosoever recites a verse from the Qur’ãn during this month, his reward will be like one who has completed the recitation of the Qur’ãn during the other months.”

Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, “There are some who fast but will gain nothing from their fasting except thirst; and there are some who pray but will gain nothing from their prayer except tiredness.”

Imam as-Sãdiq (a.s.) said, “When you fast, your ears, eyes, hair, skin, and all your limbs should also fast.” He also said, “Fasting is not only [abstaining] from food and drink alone. When you fast, protect your tongue from lying; lower your eye-glances from what Allãh has forbidden [you to see]; do not fight with one another; do not be jealous of one another; do not backbite one another; do not abuse one another; and do not be unjust to one another. Refrain from false accusation, lying, fighting, suspicion, backbiting, and slandering. Be those who look forward to the hereafter, and wait for your days, waiting for what Allãh has promised for those who have prepared to meet Allãh. You must have tranquility, sobriety, humility, servility, and submissiveness of a slave who fears his master; and be fearful [of Allãh’s chastisement] as well as hopeful [in His forgiveness].”*

* For these and other similar ahadith in the books of hadith and in Mafatihu 'l-Jinan of 'Abbas al-Qummi, p. 235-237.