Fasting is one of the Islamic Laws. Knowing of the fast benefits and understanding its philosophy is not possible for human being. Human's limited science can not reveal all of the secrets and thought can not solve all of the problems.
Maybe, human's science can open a new window for him in future. In that day, man is able to understand the philosophy of Islamic rules.
Therefore nonexistance of the knowledge of divine rules' philosophy, should not prevent us from obeying it. Because this obedience is not blindly, it is on the basis of science. Because Muslim knows that Allah is aware of every thing and there is no deficiency and requirement in his nature. He just wants prosperity and happiness for human beings. Then when he orders us to do something, we know that it is for our prosperity and our ideal perfection depends on it.
When Allah prohibits us from doing something, man must know it's harmful for him and his life.
Fasting has many physical and spiritual benefits. It keeps away human being from animal desires. Fast is so effective in making a righteous man and society.
The medical advantages of fast are very much, so that it's no need to explanation and repetition and most of people know its benefits.Here are some of these advantages:
Human's stomach and digestive system are the active members of body. Their main task, is to digest the eaten foods. In fasting, these members rest and fatness which is harmful for body, will be diminished.
In Islamic narrations, it's referred to the physical benefits of fast, Holy PROPHET (S) stated: "Fast is for health." Also in many narrations, our Islamic Leaders stated: "Human being's stomach likes the home of disease and avoidance of eating ,is its treatment."
It is clear when these medical benefits are useful that a person who is fasting, avoids gluttony, at the time of fast"s breaking, because it hurts digestive system.
By making progress of medical sciences, physicians have found that, withholding from eating and drinking, is the best method of treatment. One of the physicians says: "Treatment by fast is so resultful.Then using it,will change medical and surgical programs."
Fast open a new window to medical science. Fast gives an effective weapon to this science for fighting with diseases. The weapon in which we can use in different ways and human being will be the winner of this war. "By fasting and withholding we can treat disease."
You should know that fast is not harmful for people"s health . If someone is sick , fast is not obligatory to him.
Some persons (who don't fast) say that Peptic Ulcer disease is made by fast, but this is not correct and you should not attend to their opinion because stomach rests in fasting and when you fast your stomach acid is neutralized by Bile and Peptic Ulcer disease is not created.
Majority of Muslims fast in Ramadhan month and they don't complain about this sickness and the number of Peptic Ulcer more than the others. But we should say that the most important advantages of fast are not its medical benefits, although some persons just consider this aspect. While fast spiritual benefits are better than its physical advantages.
Although fast medical advantage is like an evidence for Islam because this holy religion created the rules at Age of Ignorance in 1400 years ago as human being's medical science understands it recently.
Fast as an obstacle against sin
Fast, especially Ramadhan fast is obligatory to all Muslims in Islam. It's an effective factor in strengthening of piety and virtue. Holy Quran call this worship as an important factor for piety (Taqvaa). Piety has an important role in Islamic training of a Muslim. For reaching to piety, Islam has ordered Muslims to fast for avoiding of sins.
Holy Prophet (S) was speaking for Muslems, Hazrat-e Ali (Pbuh) asked: "What is the most important act in this month?" Prophet (S) answered: "Avoiding from sins."
A person who fast, by doing these divines rules to live piety spirit in his heart. Since thirst and hunger and other fast limitations put out the flames of whimsy and instincts, then training of piety is easier in holy month of Ramadhan. By continuous practice during Ramadhan month, piety creates in human's heart and grows by passing of this program, he will be succeeded to remain pious.
Fast role in reinforcement of will
The governing of instincts and desires on human being's heart is one of the most dangerous government. It misleads man and draws out him to low level . Fighting with desires, which have been called the Greater Jihad (Jihad-e Akbar), needs to firm will. A Fasting person fights with his desires by not eating and drinking. He resists against his instincts and practicing of this act ,strengthens decision and will.
Islamic leaders have stated: "The best man is one who fights with his desires and the strongest of them is one who destroys it."
Then persons who fast, are the best people because they fight with their desires.
Fast kindles the light of knowledge and information in heart. Ramadhan fast destroys the desires and put purity and piety instead of them.
In the shadow of this purity which is originated from fast, the person who fasts not only avoids from eating and drinking but also holds his hands, feet, eyes, ears, mouth and all members of his body from sin and it's holy aspect of fast.
Hazrat-e Ali (Pbuh) states: "when heart avoids of thinking to sin, it's higher than physical fast which avoids of eating and drinking."
It is interesting that you know the physical fast creates spiritual revolution in the persons who fast. It has been proved that wickednesses and corruptions are diminished in Ramadhan month.
Fast and Patience
Patience is a character which is emphasized by Islamic ethics. Muslim fights for some aims in his social and personal life and he is countered with some problems. Victory and attaining of aims is not simple without patience. It increases man's resistance and strengthens his will. If a society doesn't bear difficulties, it can not gain a victory against its enemies. We can fight with cruels by patience and resistance. Fasting especially in hot days of summer in which thirst become intolerable, man learns patience and bears difficulties easily. Quran and Islamic leaders have called fast as patience.
Fast and Contentment
Islam differs from the West and the East material schools. It considers world as means for spiritual perfection and reaching to eternal prosperity. For this reason Islamic culture is not the culture of enjoyment and consumption.
It is the culture of contentment and self-sacrifice. In material schools, man considers his body and eating and sleeping but in Islam, man considers spirituality. One of the ways for reaching to humanity high level is contentment, self-sacrifice and devotion. Fast is a duty which saves human from material enjoyments and teaches him to help the others and to rule over his desires and also avoid of lavishment.
Fast teaches Muslim that he can live with a little thing and there is no need to pay attention to material enjoyment for living.
Sympathizing with the Poors
Our Islamic leaders have called Ramadhan as charity month. Stimulating of man's sympathizing sense to the poor is one of conspicuous results of Ramadhan. Persons who live comfortably and don"t feel hunger and thirst, may forget the poors but fast is a means by which they can member and help them.
It has been recommended to pay alms in Ramadhan month. In this month rich man closes to poor man and society learns assistance. Charity means to share the provision with each other and for this reason Ramadhan has been called as charity month.
In Ramadhan people do benevolence to each other and by this valuable character, their society is purified from abominations. The persons who fast, should consider these points till all of people use of these constitutional Islamic programs in Ramadhan month.
Someone asked Imam Hassan Askari(Pbuh): "Why is fast obligatory?" he answered: "For rich man understands hunger and helps the poor."
Punctuality and discipline are the manifestations of human being's civilization and one of the most important factors in success and progress. May be some people think that these particulars are specialized for westerns' life and their civilization, but discipline and punctuality are Islam's instructions. Fast Ramadhan begins in the holy Ramadhan month by observing new moon. According to this problem that Ramadhan is in Arabic month, then it will happen in all seasons, sometimes in hot days of summer or in cold days of winter. A person who fast,should begins his fast before sun -rise and break it after sunset. This is a lesson which makes Muslim to be regular in his life.
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