In The Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FASTING – THE PANACEA FOR HUMAN EVILS
[Shamim A Siddiqi,
Human weaknesses are very prominent and well cemented in his nature. They surmount his physical urges and rotate around his natural instincts. They are numerous and extremely powerful and always keep the man agitated day and night to fulfill them by hook or by crook, rightly or wrongly, through honest means or foul. It demands are so overwhelmingly dominant that man forgets to think very often about the means to fulfill his desire whether it is permissible or not. Its urgency very often makes the man its blind followers. He frequently breaks all the rules and regulations, taboos and restrictions and rushes towards its fulfillment like hungry loin that pounces upon its hunt the moment he sees it in the jungle of his hunger, desires and caprices. Thus, Man becomes slave to his urges - irrespective of the fact where he is and what he is doing and what position he is holding. This is man, the most accomplished creature on earth but the most selfish and self-centered equally.
If one analyses the entire list of man's needs and urges, desires and caprices, weaknesses and shortcomings of his Physical life, they can be categorized as follows:
1. His natural desire to take rest and get a few hours of sleep within the undisturbed peaceful environment of his home and hearth to recoup his lost energies and make him fresh to launch his offensive onward against the formidable objects of nature around him, covering his civic, social and urban activities;
2. His natural desire to have some water and food to drink and eat in order to recoup his lost energies to continue his struggle for the survival of his self in the wilderness of nature and in the midst of different hardship of life that are inevitable, covering the entire spectrum of his economic and trade activities both at individual and collective levels;
3. His natural desire to satisfy his sexual urge becomes dominant at certain age to continue his generation onward through the Institution of marriage and the process of procreation as its rightful course to maintain the purity of his blood, clan and family dynasty, covering the entire spectrum of social, ethical and moral domain.
4. These dominant three urges are also known as the animal instincts of man's physical life that is controlled and fulfilled by his Freewill that falls within the per view of his Moral life where man is free to decide and take actions towards the fulfillment of his natural desires by exercising his freewill or Free Choice and for that he/she is Accountable to his Creator and Sustainer as to whether it is right or wrong?
Thus, man, no doubt, is free to live, act and behave on earth the way he/she likes but he is accountable for all of his/her actions and deeds on earth to his/her Lord and accordingly he/she will be rewarded, if the means are right and punished, if it is wrong.
This is the living condition of human being since the time man was placed on earth as the vicegerent of God and the entire resources of this universe were placed as Trust [Amanah] in his hands to test how he uses this trust for the satisfaction of his/her needs and urgencies through his Freewill. But at the same time man was commanded by the Creator as how to live, act and behave on earth through His appointed Messengers in a chain from Adam to Muhammad [pbut], The Guidance came from the Lord of this cosmos through all these Messengers of God and the last one came in the form of the Qur'an through Prophet Muhammad (S). It pinpointedly tells the man how to use these Amanah [Trusts] for the satisfaction of his urges and how to act, live and behave on earth as a moral entity.
God's latest Guidance in the form of the Qur’an and the Trust of this universe in the hands of man will continue till the last Day of Judgment and whereas the man is constantly under the vigilance of God, every moment of his life, irrespective of the fact where he/she is and what he/she is doing as hoe he behaves on earth: “Wa huwa Maakum Ainuma Kuntum; Wallahu bema Tamaloona Basir” [And He is with you wheresoever you may be. And Allah is watching what you are doing – Ref: Verse # 4 of Chapter # 57 Al-Hadeed]
This concept of ever-watching by God becomes more prominent when one is Fasting from dawn to dusk with no food, no water, and no sex even with his wife/husband during this period. Through this process for a complete month, a fasting man and woman exercises this control over his/her urges and he/she brings these urges under his/her control, keeping them in moderation. The urges that could move him otherwise to explore and exploit the bounties of His Trust in a reckless manner as we see around us in every walk of life, through fasting he/she becomes their master and thus are kept in moderation and under control. Through this controlling exercise continuously for a month, Fasting habituates the man to resort only to honest means of living, live the life of moderation and develop the concept of God-consciousness to guide his life to live only through rightful means/channels and never to resort to wrongful or illicit means, as he/she is constantly being watched by his/her Lord. irrespective of the fact where he/she is.
The modern vices like greed, lust for power, ill-gotten gains, kickbacks, soliciting illegal favors, false recommendations and all fraudulent trade practices that have ruined and are paralyzing the business, trade, banking and commercial institutions of the country are rarely traceable in a person who is God- conscious and always mindful that his Lord is watching him wherever he is and whatever he is doing. It will always be upper most in his conscious mind that he is accountable to Him for what he /she possesses as His trust and what he is doing to earn his living. Fasting will help him enormously in getting corruption removed from our multi-national Corporations and day to day life of American citizens from every walk of life and that is why Fasting was prescribed in all faiths and religions of the world and all are maintaining its remnant one form or the other while Islam is maintaining it in its most perfect form in its totality [Ref: Verse # 183 of Surah Al-Baqarah].
The Commercial, Banking and Industrial Institutions of the country can introduce this Muslim Form of Fasting to their employees as a compulsory exercise to create God-consciousness in each of them and getting the economic, social and political system of the country clean and purified. Muslim organizations must advocate its adoption as a prelude to introduce to the Islamic System of life gradually as a boon for this country and help to eradicate corruption from its body politics and economic system sooner than never. This will be a practical exercise for the men at the helm of affairs of this country and the world at large to remove corruption which is eating away the vitals of their social -economic-political life every where.
If Muslims could give wide publicity to this most innocent and non-political proposal, it will help in negating the hate campaign against Islam and Muslims in the post 9/11 era. All the communities will love to live in the state of communion at least for a month. Political and social activists should start a campaign to this effect at mass level through Masajid, Churches, Synagogues, Temples, town hall meetings and Campuses if they are really sincere to fight corruption at all levels. Fasting is a recognized Institution of all the faiths of God – a panacea for all of human evils. Let us hold it fast.
July 24, 2010