Rafed English

Fasting strengthens spirit

By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi

The ignorant says, "Why God should need our prayer and fast?" It is you who needs it. You require it for yourself. The Prayer, which you offer is service to your own self. You made yourself remember God. Thus you rose high up from an animal- like state. You fetched yourself out of the full time engagement of merely eating, drinking, passion, anger, ignorance and darkness. An animal has no sign of humanity or civility. You kept fasts for a month of Ramadhan and made yourself nearer to the otherworldly angels. You came to the Mosque and lined up like angels saying ‘God is the greatest’ (Allaho Akbar) collectively. Is this a little progress? Fasting gave you upliftment, which is for your own benefit. God says: It is good for you. This fasting strengthens spirit. It makes the Faith perfect. It shows you the path of approaching God. It is only due to it that you distanced yourselves from animality and took yourself nearer to Allah. You prayed at dawns. How delicious is it to approach God after midnight.

Those who are fast asleep after filling up their bellies to brim cannot have any idea of this advancement. The real delight is the delight of the one who fasts. When you remember God like this and at this time, its sweetness can only be experienced – not described. Fasting makes you one of the patient ones. You enter the group of God’s people. Otherwise you would have remained a two-footed animal. Those who do not fast without any valid reason are harming only themselves. They have degraded their own selves spiritually by showing and announcing that I am so weak that I cannot control my stomach. This is the manifestation of meanness. I am unable to hold myself for a few hours from desires and passions. Likewise, those who fast show that I have strength and power to hold myself for sixteen hours.

This is spiritualism. This is gaining power. It is said that the Zakat money, which you give to the poor, though apparently, your money reaches a poor person, but in fact, you have given a very big gift to yourself. Apparently the money goes away from you but what is the reality? There comes a light (Noor). You give one coin and, as a reward, you receive a thousand times Noor (Radiance) which brightens your heart. Your rank rises up spiritually. One who spends money in the path of God extinguishes a burning fire and one who become a miser, fans the fire. It is recommended that the hand of the needy (whom you donate something) should be kissed. When its reason was asked Imam Sadiq said, "Have you not read in the Holy Qur’an: God accepts the charities? It is as if the hand of God receives it. What is higher than this? What God accepts is bountiful.[26]

The hand of the one who asks is worth kissing. Your own hand is also worth kissing. If you show miserliness and if you do not give anything in the path of God then indeed that hand is worth amputing. When you become a miser you fan fire for your own self. Whatever you give drives away the fire from you; it is a barrier between him and hell-fire.

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