3. Avoiding disobedience to Allah
The third most important point is to make special efforts to avoid #disobedience to Allah.
Fasting aims at inculcating the quality of piety, and the month of Ramadhan is the
spring season for the growth of piety. As explained earlier, the Arabic term for
#piety, i.e. #Taqwah, in essence means “to avoid,” it is imperative to make special
effort in this month to avoid disobedience. This does not mean that we should not
try to avoid disobedience in other months, it means that #Ramadhan creates a
special environment in which it is easier, and hence more urgent, to avoid
#disobedience in every form. Ramadhan creates this special environment through
stopping us from eating throughout the day, keeping us in prayers through most of
the night, and making us listen to the #Qur’an. So, we should make some special
effort to make most of the special environment of #Ramadhan.
While we should be conscious and considerate in every sphere of life, relations
with other people and social contacts merit special attention. Unfortunate would
be the one who observed fasting with great care, prayed day and night, gave alms
in the way of #Allah, recited #Qur’an, yet came to Allah’s court on the Day of
#Judgement burdened with claims of others – because he had beaten one and
abused the other, humiliated someone and injured the feelings of some other,
denied someone’s right and usurped the belongings of some other.
His good deeds would be distributed among the claimants. If this would fail meeting the claims of
all others, their sins would then be placed in his account.
And he would be thrown into the fire.27
Keep in view the context in the #Qur’an in which fasting during #Ramadhan has been
enjoined, you would soon understand the purpose of fasting. First of all, Qur’an
talks about the value of human life, along with the provisions of Qisas, then it
exhorts upon judicious inheritance will. After this, it takes up the subjects of fasting
and #Ramadhan. Immediately comes the admonition about usurping one another’s
possessions by false means. Then, it spells out the principle that virtue and piety
do not lie in observance of some rituals, the real piety consists of strong #belief,
love and commitment, patience and fortitude, and giving generously in the way of
#Allah. Afterwards, it ordains fighting for the sake of Allah, with the emphasis that
He does not like excesses – excess in everything is bad, and this principle has to be
taken care of even during the delicate and heated moments of war.
See the order of commandments, coming after one another, and the place of
fasting in it. This makes it amply clear that after having observed fasting, it is
binding not to commit excesses against others’ life, belongings, rights, honour and
prestige. The Holy #Prophet (pbuh) has summed this up: fasting provides a shield, so
do make it a shield. A #fasting person should neither use abusive language, nor
quarrel; if someone enters into altercation, he should answer it by saying that he is
#fasting and it is not proper for him to get involved in wrong and indecent acts.28 In
another Hadith, the #Prophet (pbuh) said that fasting is not about hunger and thirst,
rather it requires giving up falsehood and acting upon it.29
It is not just the stomach that fasts; eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet all should
fast: Eye should not see, ear should not hear, tongue should not speak, and hands
and feet should not do what #Allah dislikes and from which He has stopped us.
Control on one’s flaws one by one can make a significant difference. For instance,
taking a firm decision not to shout or yell at anyone in the coming #Ramadhan, or
quarrel, or find fault with others – either in their presence or absence – will bring
about a great change. In order to avoid disobedience to Allah, we can start by
controlling the tongue. Though it may seem difficult, but doing this would save us
from wasting our good deeds and, besides, this would also streamline our efforts.
Self-critical evaluation regarding these two aspects every night, and seeking Allah’s
#forgiveness in case of some misstep, slip or failure, can be a fruitful exercise.
27 Al-Muslim, narrated by Abu Hurairah
28 Al-Bukhari and Al-Muslim, narrated by Abu Hurairah
29 Al-Bukhari, narrated by Abu Hurairah