Imam Ja'far Sadiq (A.S.) The Truthful

When asked by Hisham, son of Hakam, about the philosophy of fasting he replied that Allah enjoined Fasting so that the rich and the poor may be equal. The rich never experience hunger that they may show mercy to the poor. The rich provide everything for themselves because of their wealth. Allah desired that His servants may be equal on this occasion and the rich may also feel hunger and suffer pain. He, therefore, enjoined fasting that the rich may be kind to the destitute and merciful to the hungry.


Mohammad, son of Senan, narrates that Imam Raza {A.S.) gave this reason for fasting that the observer of fast may feel the pain {pangs) of hunger and thirst, and prove himself meek, humble, worthy of reward, hopeful and patient before Allah, and this trouble here may remind him of the hardships of the Hereafter. By getting rid of the evil desires a man's self learns a lesson in this world and expects the blessing of the Hereafter.

The observer of fast sees through the circumstances of the needy and the destitute in this world as well as in the Hereafter. (The people who starve during (fast) will be rich in the Hereafter and those who do not observe fast and enjoy riches in the world, will face poverty in the Hereafter. The observer of fast finds out this subtle point.

These sayings of the Ma'soomeen (the Infallible) elucidate that the evil desires are crushed in fasting. The temper becomes moderate. It makes the rich attend to the poor for whom the Fasting Month (Ramazan) and the other months make no difference in starvation. The rich become humane and extend their helping hands towards the needy and the destitute.

In view of these sayings how ridiculous is the conduct of an observer of fast to pick up a quarrel with anyone during fasting. In the heart of his hearts he is angry with Allah that He ordered him to be hungry and thirsty, But being helpless before Him he is ready to avenge on His slaves.

Fasting, however, cures the stomach. All the ancient and modern physicians hold that most diseases are caused by the upset stomach which is cured by starvation. The religion of Allah has fixed one month in a year for fasting if a man fasts regularly, his stomach becomes healthy for the whole year. If so much starvation does not suffice for some stomachs, mustahabbi (desirable) fasts have been suggested at different times in the whole year.

The very fact that fasting is incumbent during Ramazan indicates that the conduct of men during this month should be different from that in the rest of the year. During the eleven months a man is free to eat and drink whenever he likes, whereas in the month of Ramzan he is forbidden to do so in the day time. People tell lies, back-bite, gamble and do similar things.

Religion forbids those things but they do not nullify any worship. But if these sins are committed, during the day of Ramazan, to the extent prohibited in fasting, the fast will be null. Similarly people quarrel all the year round, but it is strictly forbidden in fasting and sometimes this conduct nullifies the fast.

In view of these things it is evident that the observer of fast is to be pious and is to abstain from these things strictly while fasting because they are against piety, and if piety is nullified the fast will be null and void.

In the light of the Quranic verse and the aforesaid savings of the Masoomeen (A.S.) (the Infallibles)"a Muslim as the opportunity to mend his character, purify his soul, eradicate the defects of his temperament and attain the temperance which is desired by Islam and which is responsible for both the spiritual and physical health of mankind.

The moderation of the Quwwa-e Shahwania and Quwwa-e Ghazabania effect the spiritual power: Reason controls these powers and makes them to do those things which please Allah and which the Quranic Verse 'so that you may guard yourself against evil, implies.

A lot can be written on this topic but a thinking person can clearly grasp the ways and means mentioned in this article. As thinking is a human characteristic and it is treated as worship, so the other aspects of this topic are left to the readers so that they may reap the benefit of the worship of thinking as well.