The month of fasting, Ramadan is combined with many important events in Islamic history; the most important is the revelation of the noble Quran. Both the descent of the Quran and the revelation of the first few Ayahs to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the solitude of the cave of Hira occurred in Ramadan. It is the month of heightened Allah-consciousness of attaining Taqwa (piety). Taqwa refers to a state of consciousness where one constantly feels the presence of his Creator, obeys His commands to attain His pleasure and avoids disobedience to Him, not only out of His fear but also for the love of Him. We can attain Taqwa by training ourselves to be the best we can be to initiate improvement of reputation, character and developing good habits.
In Holy Quran, Allah Almighty described those who fast in the holy month of Ramadan in these words: “O you who believe, the Fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that you may have Taqwa” (Quran, 2:183). From the Ayah mentioned earlier we concluded that the purpose of fasting is to acquire Taqwa. Presence of Taqwa helps one to protect from committing sins and overcome the intensity of weight. Fasting in Ramadan builds the character of Taqwa if it is done in the right way. Let us look at some of the things that a fasting person is supposed to do, and how they are related to the concept and spirit of Taqwa during the holy month of Ramadan.
Unlike prayers, Zakat or charity, and pilgrimage, fasting is an invisible act or form of worship. Only Allah Almighty and the one who is fasting know whether he or she is fasting or not. A fasting person’s soul experiences an inspiring sense of Taqwa when on a long hot summer Ramadan day his throat is dry, the stomach is moaning, no one is watching him, and yet he abstains from taking a few sips of water or a few chunks of food. The fasting person has made this commitment for the sake of Allah and wants to guard the purity of fast for the sake of Allah. Hence, fasting teaches sincerity and it helps a person to learn how to live by the principles of his or her faith regardless whether others know it or not. This is the essence of Taqwa.
With giving up food and drink it is essential that the fasting person must also faithfully heed all prohibitions and perform all duties prescribed by Allah (SWT) and Holy Prophet (PBUH). The Holy Prophet (SAW) said on one occasion: “Whoever does not give up vain speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his fasting.” Therefore Ramadan is an opportunity to attain Taqwa, for those whom Allah Almighty guides to attain Taqwa. Fasting in Ramadan is a motivation to do good deeds and acts of worship since people are inclined towards goodness. We would step up to do good deeds, compete with one another in doing good, refrain from heavy sins, ignore satisfying the desires of the flesh, and seize the great opportunity of Ramadan to achieve Taqwa.
During fasting, we learn how to say “no” to things that are certainly permissible but are forbidden during fasting. When we learn how to say “no” to that which is generally permissible then we can easily control ourselves to avoid that which is forbidden. Fasting also teaches empathy and sympathy, and it takes away some of our selfishness. This is the true spirit of Taqwa. May Allah give us the blessings and rewards of this Holy month of Ramadan, and let us increase our Taqwa in Ramadan and also after the month of Ramadan.