Basically the holy month of Ramadhan is a program for human training, in which the humans with defects and spiritual ailments turn themselves into spiritually healthy humans, and healthy humans get the chance to reach to the perfect humans. In fact, the holy month of Ramadhan is a program for self-purification and correction of shortcomings; a program for the mastery of reason and faith on egoistic desires; a program for prayer, worship and a program for the elevation of the spirit.
If it turns out that the holy month approaches and passes by while one has endured thirty days of hunger and thirst, and for example one has attended this or that gathering during the nights and has not made a change relative to the last day before the holy month; such fasting does not have any permanent achievement and would be only a fulfillment of a religious duty. Islam does not want people to stop eating aimlessly; however, it is intended by fasting to human perfection. That is why it has been narrated in the religious texts that many fasters do not achieve anything other than hunger1. Abstaining from (Halal) Permissible food is meant as a practice for people to abstain from (Haram) impermissible speech, one should not gossip, one should not tell a lie, one should not use bad language. In other words if a faster abstains from taking Halal food therefore there is no excuse left for doing a Haram action.
It has been narrated that a woman came to the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) while she was fasting. The Prophet (PBUH&HP) offered her some food and said: take some. The woman said: oh, Prophet of Allah, I am fasting (for she presumed to be fasting based on her own view). The Prophet (PBUH&HP) told her: “how come you are fasting while you just swore at your servant? Fasting does not mean only abstinence from eating and drinking.2” In addition, the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) said about two women who had gossiped while fasting “these two women fasted and abstained from what Allah has permitted them, but broke their fast with what Allah has banned. They sat together and ate from the flesh of people.”۳,۴
So if one fasts but uses bad language or gossips that would be shutting the mouth of his body from permitted food but opening the mouth of his spirit for banned food. It has been narrated that the effect of telling a lie, spiritually, causes an awful smell to come out of the mouth5. That is its inner and substantial reality. If it has been said that hell has infections, those infections are the ones, which we created in this world; like the lies that we commit, the swearing, the gossips, and the accusations and so fort.
Is it just that we spend the month of Ramadhan and we only go on with an attitude of fulfillment of duty, fasting on the surface while we have not purified our spirit from lying, accusing and etc.?
(Selection from “The Perfect Human” by Murtaza Mutahari (with minor changes))
Roshd website congratulates the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan, the spring for human spiritual growth, and the month for reading and contemplating Quran to all Muslims.
1. Peak of Eliquence – Words of Wisdom #145
2. Man La Yahzurh alFaqih, vol. 2, pg. 109, narration #1861
3. Pointing to the verse 12 of Hujurat in the Holy Quran: “nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it….”
۴. Kashful al-Raybah Shahid Thani, pg. 8 – Muhajatu alBaydha, vol. 5, pg. 252
5.Mustadrak al-Wasaail, vol. 9, pg. 89