Excerpt from the audio on “Fasting” by Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui. (With some editorial additions from me)
We welcome Ramadan (Sawm) as a friend. For truly the sawm or the act of fasting is a friend to us in so many ways both in this world and in the Hereafter.
Firstly if Sawn is observed for the sake of Allah and Allah alone, prophet Muhammad pbuh says that it will intercede on our behalf relating truly the trust we kept with Allah during Sawm by keeping our senses, and our limbs away from dhamb (sin) and obedient to Allah in entirety.
Sawm when observed with the sincerity of the heart and fulfilling the intention and purpose of the act then RasullAllah pbuh says it gives us two joys:
- The joy of opening the fast (opening not breaking with a vengeance) with deep sense of happiness at the fact that we have completed a day away from the Shaytaan and from the demands of the Nafs e Ammara in in complete and absolute obedience to Allah.
- The second joy, which may come only to those whose hearts, are transparent and free of the blemishes of major and minor sins: They feel that they are in the presence of their Lord.
The hurdles for successful completion of Sawm are many.
1. The whisperings of the Shaytaan:
Half of those impediments, which are the most vicious and most devious are, chained in the month of Ramadan i.e. The Shayateen.
2. The other major hurdle in observing Sawm is the Nafs e Ammara that lurks within each of us.
In some of us it is well-fed and has become a bully forcing us to indulge its appetites on demand.
These appetites, which may begin as simple halal appetites of food and sexual activity when whipped into frenzy by the dictates of the Nafs e Ammara, change their character.
Thus in those in whom the Nafs e Ammara rules and is a bully, they transgress into the haram with commission of disobedient acts of eyes, ears, mouth and sexual behaviors, thus violating the guidelines of Allah.
Allah Subhnawataala has told us numerous times as he also told our parents Adam (AS) and Eve (AS) that He Subhanawataala knows and wants what is best for us.
Anything that he has forbidden or made Haraam is for our benefit in both the short term and long-term. Even though at times we may not be cognizant of this.
Why are we disobedient to Allah in Sawm and out of Sawm?
We cannot blame anyone or anything except our own intense base desires, feeding our Nafs Ammara till it becomes a bully and starts directing our actions like a tyrant dictator.
Allah Subhanawataaala has numerous times given us the formula for Tazkiya tun Nafs that washes and wrings the Nafa e Ammara until it shines and emerges as Nafs e Mutmaina.
Allah Subhanawataala has also given us a shield against Shaytaan, with the awareness called “Taqwa” which entails always being aware of the strength and power over everything and everyone and therefore “doing what he has commanded and staying away from what he has forbidden or dislikes.
And then out of his Mercy, Forgiveness and an offer to free us from the Fire He Subhanawataala gives us a whole month of Sawm to practice the purification of the Nafs while he imprisons the Shaytaan in chains.
To cap it all He promises unlimited, unknown and unimaginable rewards with no limits for doing so.
Ramadan by some has been likened to Nabi Yusuf (AS), who with his beauty, nobility and generosity interceded for his eleven brothers and brought forgiveness and salvation for each of them.
Ramadan if observed in its full spiritual and physical intent brings intercession for all the disobediences committed during the eleven prior months.
Is it not time yet…………to look at our self in the mirror, recognize the Nafs e Ammara lurking within us and begin the process to tame it?
We pray that Ramadan fills our hearts with Divine light and we can see the bounties of our Creator, be joyful and Thankful as He Subhanawataala wants us to be! Ameen