By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Speaking Blog | May 24, 2020

According to a tradition, Prophet Muhammad observed: “The month of fasting is the month of compassion.” (Mishkat al-Masabih, 1/613). That is, it is a month in which people are helped and shown compassion. This is the human aspect of fasting.

One significant thing about the month of fasting is that it affords a personal experience of the nature of hunger and thirst. Rich and poor alike go through this trial. And it is not a temporary, one-day rigour; it amounts to a special training course which one must go through, without a break, for a whole month.

In this way, through fasting, one experiences what it is like to be in need. The well-off who, in normal circumstances, are never obliged to suffer the pangs of hunger and thirst, undergo this experience personally in the month of Ramadan. In this way, fasting brings everyone to the same level.

Ramadan, as a training course, awakens the sense of humanity in all human beings. People are then able to share their feelings and have the urge to do the utmost to assist their fellow men in distress. In this way, fasting for the month of Ramadan produces a general awareness of the necessity to extend a helping hand to others. This consciousness lasts for many months until, on the completion of the year, another month of Ramadan is before us once again to renew and refresh our humane inclinations.

To sum up, fasting produces an atmosphere of generosity, well-wishing and compassion—an atmosphere in which people’s needs in society may be happily fulfilled. It is a means by which society may be turned into a truly human brotherhood.