Chapter No. 18 Fasting and Sufism

"Month of Rama'zan in which the Holy Quran, was revealed, guidance for mankind, with clear signs of guidance."

(Surah Baqara: Verse 185)

The question is why the revelation of the Holy Quran is in the month of Rama'zan however the revelation of the Holy Quran were also revealed in other months as well. It is also necessary to search the difference between the common days and the days of Rama'zan and what type of change is observed in human beings' thoughts and feeling in Rama'zan?

"And when my servants ask you concerning me then surely I am near. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when appeals to me."

(Surah Baqara: Verse 186)


This verse of Allah indicates that there is no distance between man and Allah.


The Purpose of Fasting

Life is the name of claims and importunities. These claims come into existence due to our senses. Many types of interests such as hunger, thirst, sex and will are to meet others etc. all these are claims and importunities of our life as they are dependent on our senses. If these claims and demands are accepted by our senses, they are absorbed in senses and bless us with the knowledge of natural phenomenon. Except Rama'zan, we remain engaged much with all such sort of interests. We engage ourselves in earning and other worldly affairs. Contrary to this, fasting keeps us away from such activities and interests as stated above. For instance, we distance ourselves in certain times from external senses and prepare ourselves that there exist some other senses except external senses. These internal or other senses illuminate with the world of mystery. Fasting suspends our external senses strictly we try round the clock to escape from the grasp of worldly affairs and try to return to the world of mystery by controlling our hunger and thirst, caring about our talks and lessening our duration of sleep. We are always overwhelmed by the idea that we are hungry for the sake of Allah (Hadith Qudsi). Allah says in this Holy saying, "I myself am the reward of fasting." The senses which work in the mind of fast observer prepare him to get sight of Allah. All senses which distance us from Allah or the phenomenon of this world and all senses which draw us near to Allah or the phenomenon of the world of mystery. One is bound with time and space in observing worldly phenomenon and in the world of mystery the notion of time and space is subservient to man. The senses which illuminate and introduce us with the world of mystery are defined as, "Night of power' by the Holy Quran. It is stated at another place:

"You make the night grow longer by shortening the day and You make the day grow longer by shortening the night."

(Surah Al-Imran: Verse 27)


"We rip up day from the night."

(Surah Hajj: Verse 61)

So senses are the one or same but they have different ranks and files. Senses of day are bound with time and space and senses of night are free from them. We can move to the world of mystery through senses of night and it is because of these senses that we can achieve the knowledge of Erebus, Purgatory, Angels and Mulai Aala. Hazrat Moosa Says:

"And when we appointed for Moses thirty nights of 'solitude' and added to them teP, and he completed the whole time appointed by his Lord of forty nights."

(Surah Araaf: Verse 142)


Allah says that He revealed Torah upon Moses in forty nights. Allah has not mentioned days in this regard but only nights. Moses stayed for forty days and forty nights at Kohe Toor. It means during forty days and nights, only senses of night overwhelmed him. Allah says about the ascension of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the following:

"Glorified be He 'Allah' Who carried His servant for a journey by night from there in violable pace of worship (sacred mosque) holy Ka'aba to the far distant place of worship (mosque Aksa) the neighbourhood whereof we have blessed. In order that we might show him our token surely only He, is the Hearer, the Seer."

(Surah Bani Israel: Verse 1)


During the states of night we neither eat nor talk intentionally to bring worldly affairs in our mind and along with it we free ourselves from the limits of natural phenomenon. The programme of fasting teaches to adopt this type of order. We are nearly overwhelmed by all senses which symbolize night in fasting.


Fasting is Asceticism

According to Hadit Qudsi, "Fasting is for me, and I myself am the reward of it." Fasting is in fact asceticism. The fast observer devotes most of his time for praying. The fast observer works and leads a neat and clean life within a certain timetable merely for the sake of Allah, and Allah Himself leads him to heaven in reward. Allah is with him and Allah is near to Him. Some people think that the revelation of the mysterious world is restricted to certain selected persons through such type of programmes. If such programmes were meant for special people there would not be any mention of many successful ordinary people in books. Sufi women must have husbands and they must perform worldly affairs, Sufimen must have wives. They lead lives like a common man. The only difference is that Sufis know the taste of asceticism for the sake of Allah and we do not. For every follower of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) asceticism is possible. A person who remains hungry and thirsty from dawn to dusk for the sake of Allah, he knows well the taste of asceticism. That is why if we miss fasting we feel that something precious and costly has been lost. In the extent of scorching heat we do not drink water and prohibit ourselves even from the allowed things, no doubt it suggests asceticism for the sake of Allah.Every fast observer relishes its taste.


Lailatul Qadar

In the first twenty days of Rama'zan, the fast observer rejects the external phenomenon of senses and the devotee of Allah comes closer to Allah with such a speed as to experience the world of mystery.

"We have indeed revealed this "Message" in the night of power, Oh, what will convey to you what is night of power is! The night of power is better then a thousand months. The angels and spirits descend their in by the permission of their lord with all decrees. "That night is Peace until the rising of the dawn, "

(Surah Al-Qadar)


The Holy Quran is a modus operandi which leads human kind to success. The nightor the Lailatul Qadar is better than the one thousand months and this night happens to occur only in Rama'zan. In one thousand months there are thirty thousand nights and days. During Rama'zan, fasting till Lailatul Qadar, the fast observer mind's speed increases sixty thousand times. With Allah's order a man can get sight of Hazrat Gabriel and other angels with this speed. According to one hadit, Hazrat Gibraiel shakes hands with such a person.



Many a scholar has written a lot about spiritualism and pantheism. One school of thought is of the view that as saints often used to wear wooly dresses therefore people would call them sufis. Wool is called sauf in Arabic. They used to wear such a dress, for it had been the habit of many a prophet, saints and pious people. According to some people, as they have been associated with the Ashaab-e-suffa that is why they are called sufis; whereas according to yet another school of thought the word sufi is linked with suf a.... but all these explanations are not satisfactory.

In fact, the terminological meaning of Sufi'ism (tasawaf) is self­ cleansing. It is the name of a true spirit that is related to conscience and the light of conscience is always inherent. A sufi always thinks in the context of Allah. His talk moves around Allah. He lives with Allah and dies in the name of Allah. He recites His words and always praises Him and remains enmeshed in His love. He sacrifices everything in order to see and meet Allah.