Living The Quran
Al-Zukhruf (Ornaments) Chapter 43: Verse 32 (partial)
"We have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of the world, and raised some of them above others in rank that some of them take labour from others."
Human beings first nature incites them to pursue the fulfillment of their own needs using others in the process and taking advantage of their work for their own ends. It is only in cases of necessity and helplessness that they lend a hand to co-operate with society.
It is as a result the human being's countless needs, which can never be fulfilled by themselves alone, that they recognize the possibility of fulfilling them through the help and co-operation of others. Similarly, they understand that their own strengths, desires and wishes are also shared by others, and just as they defend their own interests so others defend theirs.
This verse refers to the reality of the social situation in which each individual has a different capacity and different talent: those who are superior in one domain engage the cooperation or employ of others for their eventual mutual benefit. Thus all members of society are linked together in the ways and wants of the fabric of one single social unit.
"The Quran and Its Recitation During Ramadan" - Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i
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Understanding the Prophet's Life
Narrated by Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: "The one who fasts has two satisfactions. One is when he breaks his fast at the end of the day. The other is when he meets his Lord." [Muslim]
The first satisfaction of the one who fasts is the pleasure of eating after a day of fasting. There are those whose fast continues even after they have eaten. These are the ones who keep their senses and their thoughts free of evil and their hands and their tongues from hurting others. It is for them the second and more rewarding satisfaction of meeting the Lord. There is nothing worthy to wish for, there is no other goal, no other beloved in this world and in the hereafter, except God. If an atom of anything other than the love of God enters the heart, the fast of truth, the true fast, is broken. Then one has to make it up, to revive that wish and intention, to return back to His love, here and in the hereafter, for God says, "Prescribed fasting is only for Me, and only I give its reward." [Bukhari, Muslim]
"On Spiritual Fasting" - Abdul Qadir Gilani
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The purpose of creation is for the human self to struggle (jihad) to attain the highest human perfection possible. This struggle is known as the greater struggle (jihad al-akbar). It is a struggle between reason and the passions for the attention of the heart. If reason succeeds in attracting the heart to itself, the self is turned towards the spiritual and external world. If the passions succeed, the self is turned towards the material and impermanent world.
This struggle - a continuous kind of tension - is a more difficult one requiring one's constant attention to remember and recall the purpose of life. Forgetfulness and heedlessness, seen as aspects of satanic-ego temptations, are as strong a natural force which when in control of self, allow for the responses of lust and anger to take over the self.
Traditional prescribed fasting, which is always accompanied by prescribed prayer and supplication, serves to cut off the energies to the passions, weakening their response. This, in turn, strengthens the powers of reason.
Mastering, controlling the passions is traditionally known as moral healing. Anything that reinforces and strengthens the power of reason to attract the heart, the centre of self, towards the Real, the Truth, serves to morally heal and balance the self. Prescribed fasting is one of the best disciplines to reinforce values about what is right or wrong for the believer.
Ramadan: Motivating Believers To Action, "Moral Healing Through Fasting'" - Laleh Bakhtiar, pp. 141-145
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