Imam Zijad’s Corner: TWO ABUNDANT BENEFITS OF FASTING: PATIENCE & BEHAVIORAL MODIFICATION

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Imam Zijad’s Corner: TWO ABUNDANT BENEFITS OF FASTING: PATIENCE & BEHAVIORAL MODIFICATION

As Sabr (Patience). The school of the month of Ramadan gives to the Saimin practical lessons which will affect positively the heart, soul and the body of the Saim. Fasting helps in conditioning the heart, soul, and body on the virtues of patience and firmness in the face of adversity. As Sabr turns the phrase ‘I cannot’ into ‘I can’. It is an inner and psychological demolition of things perceived by others as impossible. It fills the mind and soul with the necessary powers to function effectively in life. As Sabr, in Islam, is considered as the most important possession of a believer and one of the greatest lesson fasting people learn from fasting. As Sabr is reaction or result of fasting. Saim controls three aspects of his/her body which are, in most cases, the root cause of human downfall, namely the stomach, the private parts, and the tongue. The lesson of As Sabr in the month of Ramadan is obvious because the Saim is well aware of the words of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (S): “Ramadan is the month of As Sabr (Patience). And the reward for As Sabr is Jannah (Paradise).” (Ibn Khuzaymah)

Behavioral modification and especially cleansing the tongue from backbiting, mocking, lying, slandering, yelling, screaming, shouting; keeping our eyes in restraint from unlawful look; the ears from listening to idle talk, etc. One of the important things that fasting offers the Saim (observer of fasting) is helping him/her control or change his/her habits. To change or control a habit is to wage a war on oneself. The Messenger of GOD, Muhammad (S) advised us as follows: “Sawm is a shield (or a screen or a shelter from the Hell-fire). So, if a person is Saim, he/she should not engage in foolish behavior or shouting or yelling. If someone offends or fights him/her, he/she should just remind himself/herself and others: ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

If fasting for a whole month with the prayers, do not prove their effect on the whole behavior of the Muslim, especially in developing self-control and strengthening the will, they are rejected by Almighty God since they have been fruitless. The Messenger of God, Muhammad (S) warned us that one who prays without being influenced by the prayer, may not gain nothing from his/her prayers except the physical exertion of standing, kneeing, and bowing; and similarly, whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action then God the Mighty and Majestic has no need that he/she should leave his/her food or drink. (Bukhari)

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