Al Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 183
"O you who believe! Ordained for you is Fasting as it was ordained to those who came before you, so that you might develop taqwa."
Fasting, in one form or another, has always been an important and often necessary part of religious life, discipline and experience in every faith. As a means par excellence to come nearer to God, to discipline the self, to develop the strength to overcome the temptations of flesh, it needs no emphasis. Yet Islam turns Fasting, as it does every other act of worship and devotion, into something different and unique, the life-giving centre of life.
How does it impart new meaning and force to Fasting?
Put simply: by prescribing for it the time of Ramadan. This may sound like making things too simplistic, or trivializing the important. But Ramadan is no trivial event. For it is the month ‘in which was sent down the Quran: the Guidance for mankind, with manifest truths of guidance and the Criterion [by which to judge the true and the false’ (Al-Baqarah 2:185). It was on a night in Ramadan that the last Divine message began to come down: ‘Read in the name of your Lord...’ (Al-’Alaq 96:1). That is why we must fast in Ramadan, says the Quran.
Ramadan therefore centres the entire discipline of Fasting on the Quran. The sole purpose is to prepare us for receiving the Divine guidance, for living the Quran, for witnessing the Truth and Justice that it perfects, for striving to make the word of God supreme.
How is this purpose achieved?
The fruit of Fasting ought to be that rich inner and moral quality which the Quran calls taqwa. The most basic condition for being guided by the God, too, is taqwa. The significance is plain to see. Fasting, linked to Ramadan in which Allah’s guidance came down, generates a taqwa which becomes directed on the supreme goal of entering the world of the Quran and of living therein, instead of being a spiritual ecstasy to be frittered away in the delights of soul. It becomes the key with which can be unlocked all the doors leading to the blessings which the Quran has to offer; honour, prosperity and freedom from fear and anxiety in this-world; success, Paradise and God’s good pleasure in the life-to-come. No time for Fasting other than Ramadan could have made taqwa such a potent force.
More importantly, the fulfillment of being guided by the Quran comes about when we strive to discharge the mission it entrusts to us. For, having the Book of God — a weighty word — places on our shoulders a heavy responsibility: to hear is to make it heard, to know is to act, to have is to share, to say shahadah is to do shahadah. This means an unflinching pursuit to create a new self within us, and to create a new world of Quranic ideals outside us.
This is the sole purpose for which a new Ummah was created and charged with the mission of bringing man to God by witnessing to His guidance. Otherwise, when the Quran came, the world was not devoid of godly men who fasted, and stood in prayers before God, and wept.
Compiled From: "No Time Like Ramadan Time" - Khurram Murad