The Role of Fasting in Building Civilization Featured


It is well known that Islam is a religion that addresses all aspects of life through its rituals and laws, which encircle the entire human entity. Among the Islamic rituals that contribute to reforming human life is the worship of fasting.

Fasting is one of the pillars of Islam, and it plays an active role in building the civilizational structure of the Islamic Ummah. However, the fasting referred to here is not the common fasting, which is limited to abstaining from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset while allowing the tongue and limbs to indulge in sins and transgressions.

The fasting that contributes to civilizational progress is true fasting, which nurtures the human soul, regulates individual and social behavior, and benefits all human spectrums.

This is evident in the following aspects:

Firstly, The Role of Fasting in Establishing and Preserving Civilizational Construction:

Islamic law has outlined the pillars of fasting, which include abstaining from specific acts from dawn until sunset with the intention of fasting. (1) Fasting has temporary boundaries, and these pillars and boundaries have effects on the human psyche. A Muslim fasts at a specific time, in a specific place, and in a specific manner, and cannot strive to change any of that. Rather, they must fully commit to this fixed program until they achieve their intended goal.

This commitment, with its three aspects, reflects on human life; it regulates schedules, determines the optimal place, and determines the ideal way to perform actions as required, without excess or deficiency. This commitment represents the foundation for civilizational construction, in which the individual acknowledges the importance of discipline in words, actions, schedules, and places of work.

Fasting also contributes to the nurturing of the soul upon which civilizational construction is based by ensuring the security and protection of this construction from all forms of dysfunction and disturbance. The fasting person refrains from spreading falsehoods and causing harm to others in order to preserve their fast. In Sahih Bukhari, Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “If one does not abandon falsehood and action in accordance with it, God had no need that he should abandon his food and his drink.”

Additionally, in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Fasting is a protection, [i.e. from acts of disobedience in this world and from hell in the next.] and when the day of the fast of any of you comes he must not use vile language or raise his voice, and if anyone reviles him or tries to fight with him he should tell him he is fasting.”

Here it becomes clear that fasting is a worship based on two wings: firstly, well-performing, and secondly, safeguarding the performance from anything that diminishes its reward or wastes its outcomes. Similarly, civilizational construction is based on good performance along with protecting and securing it.
Secondly, The Role of Fasting in Achieving Goals and Objectives:

Allah (SWT) has made it clear that fasting has an objective that every Muslim must set before their eyes, desiring and striving to achieve it, which is piety. Allah says, “O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous.” (Al-Baqarah: 21).

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also explained that fasting is a means of sin forgiveness. In Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “He who fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from God will have his past sins forgiven.”

Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) clarified that fasting is a means to enter Jannah. In Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, Sahl ibn Sa'd reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “In Jannah there is a gate which is called Ar-Raiyan through which only those who observe Saum (fasting) will enter on the Day of Resurrection. None else will enter through it. It will be called out, 'Where are those who observe fasting?' So they will stand up and proceed towards it. When the last of them will have entered, the gate will be closed and then no one will enter through that gate.”

Therefore, the fasting person performs his fast while keeping these objectives in mind, and his heart is attached to them.

Just as fasting trains the individual to perform actions with the intention of achieving the goal of piety, forgiveness, and entering Jannah, establishing civilization operates on the same principle: working with the intention of reaching the goal. Thus, fasting with its objectives and purposes is an active pillar among the pillars of building civilization.

Thirdly, The Role of Fasting in Instilling Civilizational Values:

A closer look at the obligation of fasting reveals that it instills in the fasting person several beneficial civilizational values, such as:

  • Vigilance and life consciousness: The fasting person could indulge in forbidden acts away from the sight of others but refrain from doing so because they are conscious that Allah is observing.
  • Patience: The fasting person abstains from desires, thereby nurturing endurance and patience.
  • Empathy towards the poor and needy: The fasting person experiences hunger, thirst, and deprivation during fasting, similar to what the poor and needy endure, fostering empathy and prompting them to give and spend on those in need.
  • Discipline: The fasting person adheres to the timings of fasting from dawn till sunset, as well as in their prayers, dhikr, and recitation of the Quran. They also exhibit emotional and physical discipline, portraying a comprehensive image of civilizational discipline.
  • Generosity and Giving: The fasting person spends from their wealth and is generous, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is narrated in Sahih Bukhari and Muslim that Abdullah ibn Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah () was the most generous of the men; and he was the most generous during the month of Ramadan when Jibril visited him every night and recited the Qur'an to him. During this period, the generosity of Messenger of Allah () waxed faster than the rain bearing wind.”
  • Struggle against the Self: The human self seeks desires and pleasures, but fasting restrains it from doing so for long times, leading it to submit to Allah.
  • Strengthening the Will: Fasting instills a strong will that overcomes habits and liberates from the shackles of desires.
  • Achieving Balance between Spiritual and Physical Needs: Fasting nourishes the soul with various acts of worship after nourishing the body with food and drink at specific times. It balances the physical material needs with the spiritual faith, elevating individuals towards perfection. When the fasting person reaches these civilizational values and lives by them, they contribute to the construction of a beneficial civilization. Top of Form




The Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence (28/19).

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