Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
24 March 2023 / 2 Ramadan 1444H
Fasting Disciplines the Soul
My beloved fellow Muslims,
Let us continue in our efforts to strengthen our taqwa towards Allah (s.w.t.) by obeying all His orders, and by abstaining from all His prohibitions. May we be granted His forgiveness and mercy in this blessed and beautiful month. Amin.
My brothers and sisters,
Alhamdulillah. Let us all thank Allah (s.w.t) and express our gratitude for being able to meet the month of Ramadan. May we all achieve the ultimate goal of embracing this blessed month.
Allah (s.w.t) said in surah Al-Baqarah, verse 183:
Which means: “O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was for those before you, so that you may become mindful of Allah.”
The command to fast was revealed to us for only one purpose - that is, to cultivate piety in ourselves. What is meant by piety here is one that is complete and all-encompassing, and that takes into account all our actions, whether these actions are outwardly visible, or actions that are only known to Allah (s.w.t.), such as having good intentions in all aspects of our daily life.
My fellow Muslims,
This is the time for us to scrutinise ourselves. We should reflect on our every deed this holy month. We have to be more careful and intentional in our speech and behaviour. We need to try our best to overcome our bad habits in order to maintain the purity and perfection of our fasting. This is because we know how extraordinary and great the rewards are for those who fast. In other words, it is because of fasting that we are guarded from the bad things we often do.
As narrated by Imam Malik in his book of hadith, the Muwatta':
The Prophet (s.a.w) said:
الصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ فَإِذَا كَانَ أَحَدُكُمْ صَائِمًا فَلاَ يَرْفُثْ وَلاَ يَجْهَلْ فَإِنِ امْرُؤٌ قَاتَلَهُ أَوْ شَاتَمَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ
Which means: ‘Fasting is a shield; if one of you is fasting, he should not say anything bad, and he should not behave badly. If someone fights him or insults him, he should say, “I am fasting, I am fasting".’
From this hadith, we can understand that fasting is a form of worship that protects us from wrongdoing, and that prevents us from indulging in vices. This is because such negative actions are detrimental to our well-being and can cause us to lose out on the rewards of fasting.
Fasting is a shield that protects us from hellfire, so let us not waste this holy month. We should control ourselves from saying or doing anything that might negatively impact our worship. We should also actively avoid committing any wrongdoing or engaging in any immoral acts. Indeed, this attitude should not be limited to the month of Ramadan, but we should make this month of Ramadan a catalyst for a life of goodness from now onwards.
Brothers and sisters,
Through fasting, we learn to discipline ourselves not to give in to our desires. Through fasting, whether consciously or unconsciously, we also learn not to do anything in excess. In Singapore in particular, we fast for more than 12 hours, and yet our daily life is not affected. We continue to work, and we also continue to go to school to seek knowledge – we do not use fasting as an excuse to neglect our responsibilities. This shows that we are capable of managing ourselves, and that we are able to do things in moderation.
We should also learn from this act of worship to avoid excess and to take only what is required. For example, at the time of breaking the fast, avoid overindulgence and going overboard with the preparation of food, as this may lead to waste, and our religion dislikes wastage. Let us change not only in the month of Ramadan, but for us to make this month of Ramadan a madrasah, or a school, that teaches us to manage our desires, and to always pursue goodness.
And so those are the signs of those who have successfully received the blessings of the month of Ramadan. The good deeds that have been done do not stop at the end of the month but should still be practised in our day to day lives.
Let us pray that we all become His servants who perform the act of fasting in the best manner possible, and may we all achieve the true goal of fasting. And may we be able to achieve eternal happiness when we meet the Lord of the Worlds. Amin.
أَقُوْلُ قَوْلِي هَذَا وَ أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ العَظِيْمَ لِي وَ لَكُمْ، فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الغَفُوْرُ الرَّحِيْم