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Fasting and Curbing of Desires

Author : Dr. Hassan Abu_Arqoub

Date Added : 20-12-2022

Fasting and Curbing of Desires


The blessed month of Ramadan is an annual school that opens for thirty days to teach the believers how to curb desires and graduate holding the certificate of piety and righteousness.

The term "Curbing Desires" refers to the steering of instincts and desires according to the teachings of Sharia and controlling them by the Muslim.

One who is able to control his/her desires during daytime hours is able to control them for the rest of the day. Fasting is a training course that aims to achieve the meaning of humanity where the wisdom of mind and Sharia prevail over desires and instincts.

Fasting isn`t a form of torture; rather, it is intended to curb human instincts because when a human controls his/her instincts, he/she becomes human, but when they control him/her, he/she descends to the level of animals.

This is to weaken man`s power in order not to go too wild with his/her desires and instincts. Narrated 'Alqama: While I was walking with `Abdullah he said, "We were in the company of the Prophet (PBUH) and he said, 'He who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him refrain from looking at other women, and save his private parts from committing illegal sexual relation; and he who cannot afford to marry is advised to fast, as fasting will diminish his sexual power." {Transmitted by Bukhari}. In other words, fasting diminishes sexual power.

In addition, the Messenger of Allah said: "Fasting is a shield." {Transmitted by Nasa`i}. In other words, fasting screens a Muslim from Hell.

Amongst the objectives of fasting are reducing the desire for food, drink, and women. This is in order not to get attached to the blessings and go astray as a result, but to get attached to the One bestowing them. The only method to curb desire is patience. “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) counted them out in my hand” - or - “in his hand: ‘At-Tasbīḥ is half of the Scale, and “All praise is due to Allah (Al-Ḥamdulillāh)” fills it, and At-Takbīr (Allāhu Akbar) fills what is between the sky and the earth, and fasting is half of patience, and purification is half of faith.” {Transmitted by Tirmithi}. Fasting is half of patience because it entails endurance to perform this act of obedience (Fasting) and not committing sin (Breaking obligatory fasting). What is left is patience at times of calamity. Taking the narration where it was stated that patience is half of the faith, then fasting is quarter of the faith.

Allah wanted to curb our desires because indulgence in desires-even the lawful ones-could cause a person to fall into forbidden desires. Anas b. Malik reported: "The Paradise is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by temptations." {Transmitted by Muslim}. The desire for food, drink, and enjoying women exists in every man and is allowed throughout the year except during the holy month of Ramadan. This is meant to achieve the following:

First: Teaching a Muslim that desires are a means not an end since food and drink are a means to preserve life and enjoying women is a means to preserve offspring. Accordingly, a Muslim shouldn`t dwell on the means leaving the ends. 

Second: Reminding a Muslim to abstain from lawful things and blessings during the daytime of Ramadan, following the command of Allah in this regard. 

Third: Strengthening the role of self-monitoring because abstaining from food and drink during the daytime of Ramadan, although able to eat and drink in private, makes a Muslim fear none but Allah, and he/she should remain conscious of this for the rest of the year.

Fourth: Hunger and thirst make a Muslim appreciate Allah`s blessings, so he/she shows gratitude when he/she needs them and doesn`t employ them in disobeying Allah. This is because gratitude is not to disobey Allah using His blessings.

Fifth: Fasting makes a Muslim remember his fellow Muslims who are deprived from food and drink or those who can`t afford marriage expenses, so he/she comforts them with supplication, at minimum. And all perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds.




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