Fasting during the month of the Ramadaan is the fourth pillar of Islam. SAWM or SIYAAM is the technical term used for it in Islam which literally means to be at rest. It has been so named because while observing fast one abstains from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk.
Fast creates piety and fear of Allah. The Holy Qur’an says in this connection:
Chapter 2 – 183
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) has been reported to have said, “Fasting is a shield for you as it saves you from sins in this world and would protect you from Hell in the Hereafter. When anyone of you keeping fast, he should neither use indecent language nor speak loud. If someone picks up a row abuses him he should tell him that he is observing fast.”
Great merit and credit has been described to fast in the Traditions. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) has said that one who observes fast in the month of Ramadaan for the sake of Allah, all of his sins of the past are forgiven by Him, and that odour of the month of one who fasts is most appreciable to Allah than musk.
“Every good act a man does shall receive from ten to seven hundred rewards”, says Allah, “but the fast is an exception as it is for ‘Me alone and I will give its rewards as much as I like, He who fasts abandons the lust and craving of this appetite for My sake.”
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) has said. “If a person does not abstain from telling lies or doing wrong when he is observing fast let it be known to him that Allah does not want that he should stop eating his food.”
Once Hazrat Umme Salama the wife of the Prophet (S.A.W), received some meat from somewhere as a gift. The Prophet (S.A.W) was fond of meat, so she asked maid to keep it for him. In the meantime a beggar came to the door and asked for something in alms.
Hazzarat Umme Salama sought blessings for him which meant that there was nothing to give. The beggar went away. After sometime the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) came and asked HAzrat Umme Salama for something to eat. She asked the maid to bring the meat. When the maid went to bring the meat it was not on the shelf and in its place stone was found there. The whole incident was brought to the knowledge of the Prophet (S.A.W). The prophet (S.A.W) replied that because the meat was not given to a needy person it had turned into stone.
The Shape of the meat changed because it was not given in the name of Allah to a needy person. It happened in the household of the Prophet (S.A.W). Those of us who possess and even then refuse to give to the poor and needy persons, are eating stones and thus our hard heartedness grows day by day. The incident is a lesson for the followers of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W).
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W) once said that a man was going through a jungle, suddenly he heard a voice in the cloud above him ordering the cloud to go and water the garden of a certain person. The piece of cloud moved forward and a rocky spot rained heavily.
The water collected in a drain and flowed forward. This man followed the water. At some distance he saw a man who was directing this rain water into his garden with the help of a spade. The man went to him and asked his name. In reply the owner of the garden gave the same name which he had heard in the cloud. The gardener asked him as to why he was asking his name. The man told him whatever he has heard in the cloud and then asked him as to what go0d deeds he does that he had become so dear to Allah. The owner of the garden replied, “Well, because you seem to be so keen to learn the truth, I will tell you. What I do is that when I collect the proceeds of this garden, I divide it into three parts. One-third of it I give in alms, the other one-third I keep for myself and my family and the remaining one-third I reinvest in this garden.
Allah be praised for His Benevolence. One who obeys Him, his needs are fulfilled by Him in such a way that no one knows about them. No doubt if one submits himself to Allah, he comes near Him.