Why Is Fasting Prescribed In The Month Of Ramadhan?
Allāh ta‛ālā made fasting compulsory in the month of Ramadhān, and made both inseparable from the other. The fact of the matter is that the combination of both these blessings contains much wisdom and importance. The greatest reason is that Ramadhān is the month in which the Qur’ān was revealed, and the wandering and lost humanity found a “true dawn”. Just as the commencement of the fast is attached to the true dawn, this entire month which came as a true dawn after a long and dark night has been set aside for fasting. This is more so when this month was the most superior as regards its mercy, blessings, spirituality and spiritual affiliation. It was most deserving to be beautified and embellished with fasting during its days and worship during its nights.
There is a very deep bond and a special affinity between fasting and the Qur’ān. This is why Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam used to pay much more attention to recitation of the Qur’ān in Ramadhān. Hadrat ‛Abdullāh ibn ‛Abbās radiyallāhu ‛anhu narrates that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam was the most generous. However, when Jibra’īl ‛alayhis salām used to visit him in Ramadhān, his generosity used to be far more than normal. Jibra’īl used to come to him in every night of Ramadhān and they used to recite the Qur’ān. During this period when Jibra’īl used to come to him, he used to be faster than the swift winds in his generosity and other good acts.
Hadrat Mujaddid Alf Thānī rahimahullāh writes in one of his letters:
This month has a very special affinity with the Qur’ān. It is because of this affinity that the Qur’ān was revealed in this month. It combines every type of goodness and blessing. If all the blessings which a person acquires throughout the year were to be compared to what he acquires in this one month, the comparison will be like the ocean and a single drop of water. The acquisition of spiritual focus in this month suffices for the rest of the year, while mental disquiet and uneasiness takes the entire year in its grasp. Congratulations to those with whom this month departed happily, and unsuccessful and unfortunate are those who displeased it and deprived themselves of every type of goodness and blessing.
Hadrat Abū Hurayrah radiyallāhu ‛anhu narrates that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‛alayhi wa sallam said: “When Ramadhān approaches, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are shut, and the Shayātīn are shackled.”
There are many other Ahādīth on this subject.
A Universal Season of Worship
All the above points have made Ramadhān a universal season for worship, Allāh’s remembrance, Qur’ān recitation, abstinence and piety wherein every type of person – the learned and the ignorant, the rich and the poor, the lethargic and the energetic – and every group of people join each other in a spirit of togetherness, friendship and closeness. Ramadān is observed at the same time in every city, every town and every village. Its effulgence is seen in the palace of the affluent and in the hut of the poor. Consequently, there is no reason for anyone to be proud and arrogant about it, nor is there any dispute and fight over the selection of the days of fasting. Every person whom Allāh ta‛ālā blessed with eyes can observe the beauty and might of Allāh ta‛ālā in this vast and wide world of Islam. It seems as though the entire Muslim society has been covered by a huge canopy of effulgence and tranquillity. Even those who are a bit lazy to fast are compelled to observe the fast out of fear that they will be separated from the general body of Muslims. If they do not fast for whatever reason, they will conceal themselves and eat. Only a few flagrant sinners will eat openly and without any shame, or those who are ill or travellers and are permitted by the Sharī‛ah not to fast.
This is a collective and universal fast which automatically creates a harmonious and pleasant atmosphere in which the fast feels easy, the hearts become soft, and people focus on acts of worship, devotions, and various works of fellow-feeling and seeing to the wellbeing of others.
Ref: Life of Maulānā Abul Hasan ‛Alī Hasanī Nadwī