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Towards a Correct Understanding of Fasting

Is Fasting Really About Feeling for the Poor?

The real essence of fasting

Consequently, the essential meaning of fasting can be explained as follows. It is the emancipation of the human soul from all forms of slavery: from the slavery of life and its requirements; from the slavery of the body and its needs; from the slavery of the soul and its lusts; from the slavery of whims; from the slavery of fear with all its forms until the human soul finds perfect freedom, the freedom of existence, freedom of will, and freedom of action.

To me, emancipation of the Muslim soul is the objective of fasting which is ordained by Allah the Almighty be it obligatory or voluntary. Through experiencing these meanings of fasting, a Muslim should realize that Allah made him successor upon the earth to establish the right, to judge between people with justice and to refrain from being humiliated by anyone or for anything whatsoever as Allah honored him by declaring him a vicegerent to steward the earth.

Allah the Almighty guided us to an aspect of this meaning as He made fasting equal to the emancipation of slaves in three of His Ordainments in the Ever-Glorious Qur’an.

First, He, Glory be His, ordained that anyone who kills a faithful person by mistake should set a believing human being free and should hand the blood money to the victim’s family. If one cannot afford of freeing a slave, {then he shall instead fast two consecutive months as a repentance ordained by God!} (An-Nisa’ 4:92)

Second, He, Glory be His, made those who sinfully estrange themselves from their wives with the mere pronouncement: “You are prohibited to me for marital relations as is my own mother’s backside,” then they retreat what they have said, they must free a bondservant before they and their wives touch each other in intimacy,

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{But for one who [commits this offense] yet cannot find such means of atonement, then he shall instead fast two consecutive months, before they touch each other in intimacy…} (Al-Mujadilah 58:4)

Third, He, Glory be His, made the expiation for one’s oath setting a slave free, {But if one of you does not find the means to make an offering, then fasting three days…} (Al-Baqarah 2:196)

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About Dr. Ali Al-Halawani
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation Studies. He is an author, translator, and writer based in Canada. To date, Al-Halawani authored over 400 original articles on Islam and Muslims, most of which can be accessed on and other famous websites. He has recently started to self-publish his articles and new books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle. You can reach him at [email protected].