Fasting – one of the most powerful spiritual practices of Islam. We know its about abstaining from food and drink, but there’s more to it than the physical aspect. In this episode, we uncover the secrets of fasting and delve deeper into the spiritual aspect of it.

The Essence of Fasting

At its core, fasting is not just about depriving the body – rather, it nourishes the soul. The Quran states that Allah prescribed fasting in order to attain taqwa, which means God-consciousness, piety, and righteousness. Consequently, fasting helps us develop a higher awareness of our Creator and life’s purpose.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you1—so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah˺.”

Qur’an 2:183

The Levels of Fasting

There are different levels to fasting, each more spiritually elevating than the previous:

  1. The Fasting of the General People – This requires abstaining from food, drink, and marital relations from dawn to dusk. This basic obligation lays the foundation.
  2. The Fasting of the Special People – In addition to the above, this level includes fasting of the senses like the eyes from looking at what displeases Allah, the tongue from backbiting and idle talk, the ears from listening to music or gossip, and the limbs from acts of disobedience.
  3. The Fasting of the Elite – At this pinnacle level, one fasts with their mind and heart completely, being consumed by the remembrance and love of Allah alone.

Cultivating Divine Love

One of the greatest secrets of fasting is that it nurtures our love for Allah. By willingly making sacrifices and honouring the divine commands solely for the pleasure of our Creator, our hearts consequently fill with a deep love that changes life.

عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ وَالْجَهْلَ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ ‏

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink.”

Sahih al-Bukhari

Taming Desires

Furthermore, fasting helps us gain control over our base desires and whims. By resisting the natural urge to eat and drink, we train ourselves in the higher virtues of patience, discipline, and willpower – qualities essential for living an upright life. Fasting also allows us to experience a glimpse of the hunger and thirst that millions endure daily due to poverty. As a result, this instills gratitude for our blessings inspires many to increase their charitable giving during this time.

The transformative power of fasting extends far beyond an empty stomach. By tapping into its spiritual secrets through sincerity, discipline, and contemplation, we can experience a profoundly uplifting journey of faith, self-renewal, and closeness to Allah.

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