(4) there is much wisdom and many benefits in fasting, which have to do with the taqwa mentioned by allaah in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):
“… that you may become al-muttaqoon (the pious).” [al-baqarah 2:183]
the interpretation of this is that if a person refrains from halaal things hoping to earn the pleasure of allaah and out of fear of his punishment, it will be easier for him to refrain from doing haraam things.
if a person’s stomach is hungry, this will keep many of his other faculties from feeling hunger or desires; but if his stomach is satisfied, his tongue, eye, hand and private parts will start to feel hungry. fasting leads to the defeat of shaytaan; it controls desires and protects one’s faculties.
when the fasting person feels the pangs of hunger, he experiences how the poor feel, so he has compassion towards them and gives them something to ward off their hunger. hearing about them is not the same as sharing their suffering, just as a rider does not understand the hardship of walking unless he gets down and walks.
fasting trains the will to avoid desires and keep away from sin; it helps a person to overcome his own nature and to wean himself away from his habits. it also trains a person to get used to being organized and punctual, which will solve the problem that many people have of being disorganized, if only they realized.
fasting is also a demonstration of the unity of the muslims, as the ummah fasts and breaks its fast at the same time.
fasting also provides a great opportunity for those who are calling others to allaah. in this month many people come to the mosque who are coming for the first time, or who have not been to the mosque for a long time, and their hearts are open, so we must make the most of this opportunity by preaching in a gentle manner, teaching appropriate lessons and speaking beneficial words, whilst co-operating in righteousness and good deeds.
the dai’yah should not be so preoccupied with others that he forgets his own soul and becomes like a wick that lights the way for others while it is itself consumed.