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Significance of fasting

CHENNAI: The ninth month of the lunar calendar, Ramazan, is considered to be holy as the Quran was revealed during this month on the “night of power” (Lailathil Qadr). It was also during this month that the Lion of the Lord and the Vicegerent of Prophet Mohammed (Sal), Hazrath Ali (AS), who was born in Kaba was assassinated in the mosque.

The Quran is a great charter of humanity, a book of ethics, and a code of conduct which is most inspiring in its condemnation of envy, hypocrisy and hatred. The concept of fasting in Islam is not new. In obedience to the command of the Creator, fasting is observed by Muslims during the month and the Quran is recited without let up. The Quran states, “Ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that Ye may (learn) self-restraint.” (Holy Quran 2:183)

The time for fasting is from dawn to sunset during which the observer of fast should temporarily abstain from food, drink and worldly pleasures of every description. Islam enjoins upon every adult Muslim, rich or poor, young or old without exception, to observe fasting during the whole month of Ramazan.

Though the principle of self-denial of food by fasting is not new and is stricter than in other faiths, it provides alleviation for persons specially circumstanced, the aged, expectant mothers and the like, but they ought to compensate equal number of days later, when they can.

Fasting makes a person acquire self-control, develop strong willpower, bring passions under control and helps the economy. Fasting will intercede on the Resurrection Day for a person observing fast. By the law of Allah, all men are equal. This doctrine of equality in Islam is crystallised by ordaining those who can afford to give three kg of staple food or its value before the Id prayer to ensure that no Muslim man, woman or child suffers the pangs of hunger on this auspicious day. The sighting of the crescent of the month of Shawwal on the last day of the month of Ramazan marks the end of the fasting and heralds Id-ul-Fitr, which is celebrated with gaiety and prayer by Muslims the world over.

Mir Mazher Hussain,

Chennai

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