Although we live in a world of natural abundance, of divine grace and providence, unfortunately due to lack of empathy, compassion and solidarity among human beings, there are many throughout the globe who still struggle with hunger, poverty, lack and scarcity.
When a Muslim observes fasting in Ramadan, he or she feels the hunger that many experience daily as a normal consequence of their circumstances.
By fasting in Ramadan, we develop the holy qualities of empathy and compassion, becoming more aware of our intrinsic connection and oneness with all human beings regardless of borders or labels that create artificial separation among the citizens of the human rac.
O Believers! Fast is prescribed for you as it was for those before you so that you may ward off evil. (Fast) a certain number of days… (Holy Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verses 182-183)
Every year in the ninth lunar month of the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world abstain from food, drink, vain talk and certain other actions from before sunrise until after sunset.
The Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions all enjoin fasting. Moses observed a fast of forty days at Mount Sinai at the time of the revelation of the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 24:18) Although less common now, it is Jewish tradition to fast when mourning or when in danger. Most practicing Jews still fast on the Day of Atonement and for the one-week commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem in 597 B.C. Jesus of Nazareth, peace be upon him, also fasted on the Day of Atonement and the forty days of Moses’ fast to ward off Satanic temptation.
The highest level of fasting is to disengage oneself from other than Allāh (SwT). Every thought, speech, action, etc. is solely for Allāh (SwT). The fasting one in this level ensures that not only does he observe the first two levels of fasting, but protects his heart from other than Allāh (SwT). Perhaps this noble dictum of Imām al-Sādiq (‘a) refers to this very station:
أَلْقَلْبُ حَرَمُ اللٌّهِ، فَلاََ تُسْكِنْ فِی حَرَمِ اللٌّهِ غَیْرَ اللٌّهِ.
“The heart is the sanctuary of Allāh; therefore do not make other than Allāh reside in the sanctuary of Allāh.”
The result of such a fast is ‘the Paradise of Divine Encounter’ (Jannat al-Liqā’). If we ponder over the supplications of the Holy month of Ramadān and try to understand what kind of reception and banquet we can anticipate, we would realize that it is this level of fasting that we must struggle to attain.
Name: Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)
Mother: Fatimah az-Zahra (a.s.), the daughter of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
Kunniyat (Patronymic): Abu Muhammad
Laqab (Title): Al-Sibt al-Kabir (the elder grandson), Al-Mujtab
Birth: He was born in Madina in the middle of the month of Ramadhan in 3 A.H
Martyrdom: He died on the 28th of Safar in the year 50 A.H. He was buried in the graveyard of Baqi in Madina.