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Fasting in the reality of life

By His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)

We ought to adapt our daily life activities to the notion of fasting, for it is narrated that the person who lies and backbites people has no true fasting, in the sense that he loses the connotation and spirituality of fasting, for he would not have actually benefited from it. Therefore, when we live fasting, we ought to drive away the ill thoughts, evil intentions and the wicked motivations, since here is where the problem of each and every one of us lies, for our thoughts are the basis of our stands and our intentions are the basis of our relations.

In this way, if you want to be a truly pious faster who is open to Allah, then Allah tells you: The issue is not to make your organs fast from evil and from actually committing a crime or a forbidden act; rather, your thoughts, feelings and intentions should fast, for the thought has its own kind of fasting. When man thinks, he might choose to have good thoughts with which he preserves life’s uprightness and maintain its strength and build the people’s ability, or to have evil thoughts which prevail when he thinks of harming the people, transgressing on them, oppressing them, taking over their money and offending their honors and lives.

This is evil thinking, and those who think in this manner should know that Allah tells them: Let your thoughts fast (abstain) from any evil thoughts and head towards the good, all the good. Allah also tells them that their thoughts might hold disbelief or faith therein and they might oppress or be just to the people, so do not be unjust to the people by your thoughts when you form the impression about them through inaccurate and unreliable resources. Therefore, your thoughts about all people should be just.

As such, your intention ought to be completely devoted and dedicated to Allah and you ought to fast, pray and perform pilgrimage seeking closeness to Him, so as to reach the closest position to Him, which no other position surpasses in this world and in the Hereafter. Actually, all this can be the result of your fasting, worship and closeness to Allah Who says: “For his sake there are angels following one another, before him and behind him, who guard him by Allah's commandment; surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition; and when Allah intends evil to a people, there is no averting it, and besides Him they have no protector” (13: 110), and: “This is because Allah has never changed a favor which He has conferred upon a people until they change their own condition; and because Allah is Hearing, Knowing” (08: 53).  

It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (p.) said: “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person has only what he has intended”, and Allah divides the people in categories according to their intention on the Judgment Day.

Therefore, we ought to observe a physical fasting, moral, fasting, and an emotional-spiritual fasting. Allah wants us to fast from loving the enemies of Allah and from hating the lovers of Allah. Allah wants us only to love the good-hearted believers who open up to Allah in their lives and not to hate but His enemies in all their schemes and plots. We should not support anyone but the believers and not feud with anyone but the arrogant and disbelievers; this is the emotional fasting, and it is similar to the fasting of the mind and the body…

This is the true fasting Allah wants us to observe in order to set straight our issues in life that should obey Allah, seek His satisfaction and achieve the ultimate goal of the human existence.

Source: Extracted from the book “Taqwa As-Saqm” (The piety of fasting)