Babikir Ahmed, the Imam and spiritual director of Islamic School Center in London explains the Aim of Fasting.
To be honest, for everything we do, we need to plan. We need to ask ourselves, what is the aim of fasting? Everyone needs to understand that fasting is to perfect ourselves. Looking at it from spiritual point of view, a person fasts in order to restrain himself not from the Haraam (the unlawful) but from Halal (the lawful) for a whole month. For what reason? To perfect himself.
The aim is to restrain ourselves and perhaps reach piety. What is piety; it is the highest peak of faith.
Many people think Taqwa (piety) is to act or dress like a Muslim. Taqwa is to restrain ourselves from Haram (what is unlawful) and Taqwa is to use Halaal (what is lawful) with modesty and refrain from overspending. Muslims need to make themselves better before Ramadan through Taqwa.
There is a beautiful Hadith that says, "The beginning of Ramadan is mercy, and its middle is forgiveness and its end is salvation from the fires of hell."
Therefore, I always thought, if that is the case, then the mercy is to get you indulged yourself in finding the ways of pulling yourself away from what is unlawful. You ask Allah to forgive your shortcomings before Ramadan and even in Ramadan.
So, the best thing to do just before Ramadan is to try to follow the Prophets. Ask yourself, what the Prophet did. He [the prophet] used to fast a month before Ramadan and also enjoyed sharing what he had with those who did not have. He never used to eat alone; he brought people together.
Before Ramadan, look at the people around you, share with them what you have because Ramadan is a month of service and we have to learn how we can serve other people.
For us living in the West, one of the best things we need to look into is when we drive our cars and we see people lying in the street, we have to remember that Allah is testing him through us. He is passing his test by accepting his condition. However, are you passing your test to be believer in God by showing mercy? We should share our food, bring to those people to our mosque, and give them something because Islam says we share what we have. The best culture is one where other people invite you to share with them what they have.
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