Fasting in Ramadan is an essential Muslim Ritual. Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan, meaning that they try to stand against all human temptations. They do not eat and drink from dawn to dusk, besides trying not to do all the evils which they are ordered no to do, like telling lies, backbiting, etc. Quran insists on the importance of fasting in many verses. The most relevant Quranic reference to Fasting in Ramadan is as follows:
"O you who have faith! Prescribed for you is fasting as it was prescribed for those who were before you, so that you may be God-wary. That for known days. But should any of you be sick or on a journey, let it be a [similar] number of other days. Those who find it straining shall be liable to atonement by feeding a needy person. Should anyone do good of his own accord, that is better for him, and to fast is better for you, should you know." (2: 183-184)
But what are the effects and the outcomes of Fasting in Ramadan? Why does the holy Quran insist on Fasting, calling it a ritual for the believers to come to Allah's way? Let's study a few purposes and effects of fasting together.
Fasting in Ramadan is a great help in growing patience. Tolerating hunger and thirst for long hours makes one more tolerant. It augments the power of self-control, be it physically or mentally, control over habits and putting aside bad and wrong behaviors. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) calls Ramadan the month of patience: "O people, surely there is a month in which exists a night, worthier than a thousand nights, and that's the month of Ramadan. Allah obliges us to fast, and that is the month of patience." 
According to the verse above (2: 183), the purpose of Fasting is getting closer to Allah, and being more devoted to Him. This verse is referring to the reality behind those hardships, which is finding a better self and a more Allah-knowing creature. And this is the path of perfection for each of us. It brings us good, both here and in the afterlife  Besides, through submitting to Allah's will, despite its challenges and hardships, we learn to serve Him under any circumstances and lay our trusts on whatever He had destined for us. Fasting in Ramadan is a chance to remind us that Allah's command is above any of our desires and wishes, and at the same time, His will undoubtedly results in our own benefit.
Fasting is a ritual that is done just for Allah. One who fasts is only considering the satisfaction of Allah, and that is their ultimate goal. As a result, Allah gives extra values to those who fast. He considers his/her sleeping worship, his/her silence a remembrance of Allah. He accepts his/her rituals and responds to his/her Dua . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) narrates that Allah said: "fasting is for me, and I AM the one who praises that."  This has a lot to say; it shows the greatness of the strives of human beings to keep themselves away from sins and also eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse. He has created us and knows the difficulty, and He is the one who best knows how to praise the efforts of His own creatures.
According to a research done on the effects of fasting on growing self-esteem, reducing stress and depression and better mental health on 60 medical students, it's been concluded that the test takers who fast had higher self-esteem, less depression, and anxiety, obsession, phobia, paranoid thoughts, hostility, etc. 
Besides its beneficial mental effects, Fasting has great impacts on physical health. Our body uses the sources of unused energy inside during Fasting, and that causes the repulse of many toxic combinations in our body. Some medical practitioners believe that Fasting is a great cure for cancer. It also cures many digestive diseases in the stomach, intestines, and bladder. In another study on medical students, the results showed that Fasting had a significant effect on the immunity of their cells and total better cell activity .
These are just some of the purposes of Fasting. One needs pages to write about the positive effects of this ritual. In our other articles, we will discuss Fasting more.
- Thavab-al-Ammal, p 143
- Kanzol Ammal, Hadith 564
- Savvab ol Ammal, p 77
- Saduq, "While there is no Faqih," Vol. 2. P 43
- Javanbakht, Maryam (2010) Study on the effects of fasting in the month of Ramadan on self-esteem and mental health of medical students Fundamentals of Mental Health, Pp 73-266
- The effects of Fasting from the Medical Practitioner's point of View, Zanjan University at
Imam Rida (AS) is the eighth infallible Shiite Imam and successor of the final holy Prophet (PBUH&HP). His name is Ali, and among all his other names and titles the most famous honorary one is “Rida,” which means ‘satisfaction’. But why was he called this name?
According to his son, Imam Jawad (AS), “The Almighty Allah named him Rida because He was pleased with him in the heavens and the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) and the Imams of guidance (AS) were pleased with him on earth” . In fact, Imam Rida (AS)’s moral qualities and virtues were so high that even his enemies were attracted to and admired him. You might wonder what these traits are!
Imam Rida (AS) was the exemplar of a patient man. There were times when he was treated disrespectfully, but he would not react and preferred to remain silent. It has been narrated that when Caliph Mamun[i] tried to degrade Imam Rida’s (AS) position through scientific and theological debates with the contemporary scholars of other religions and opponents, Imam would patiently make the best use of those meetings and introduced the true religion of Islam to the world.
While having a meal alone, Imam Rida (AS) would invite all his slaves, servants, including the Blacks, to have the meal with him at the same place. And when he was told to make separate eating arrangements for the servants, he would refuse and say: “We are all created by God, our parents (Adam and Eve) are the same, everyone will be dealt with by God according to their deeds” .
Once a man said to Imam Rida (AS): “By God, you are the best in the world,” but Imam replied: “Do not swear by the name of Allah. Anyone who is more pious than me can be better than me.” Then he recited the following verse of the Quran:
“O, humankind! Verily, We created you all From a male and female [Adam and Eve] and appointed for your tribes and Nations to be known to each other [by Specified characteristics] Verily, in Allah's Sight the most honorable of you Is the most pious of you; and Allah is The Informed Owner of Knowledge” (49:13) .
Imam Rida (AS) would never hurt anybody with his words; He treated people as respectfully and kindly as possible; he would never talk badly to anyone or interrupt someone when speaking; he never stretched his legs or lean upon something in front of people. He always smiled instead of laughing loudly .
One night while Imam Rida (AS) was talking to his guest, there was a problem with the light. The guest wanted to fix it, but Imam did not let him do so. He started fixing it himself and said: “We are the ones who do not put our guests to work.”
Also, it frequently happened that Imam called a servant for some work, and he was told that the servant was busy having a meal; then Imam would say: “Let him finish his food” .
One day a foreign traveler came to visit Imam Rida (AS). After saying hello and expressing his love and affection towards Imam Rida (AS), his fathers and ancestors, he said he had come back from Hajj and had run out of money. He asked Imam to give him some money to go back home and promised to spend the same amount there on charity and giving alms (Sadaqah).
Imam stood up and went to another room. Then he came, stretched his hand from behind the door, and said: “Get this 200 Dinar and spend it for your journey, there is no need to pay the same back as alms.” The man got the Dinars and left. Imam later was asked for the reason for his secret help, and he answered: “Because I did not want the man to feel ashamed” .
Also, whenever Imam Rida (AS) wanted to have his meal, he would bring a large plate and put the best of the food on it to be given away to the poor. If he afforded to help, he would always give alms to the destitute at nights.
In another account, One of Imam’s companions narrated that One day after he arrived home, he saw his servants busy repairing the house. Imam noticed a stranger among them and asked about him. They answered he was there to help them and they would pay him. Imam asked if they had defined the amount of payment.
The answer was no. Imam became disturbed and said: “when one works without any contraction, he thinks that you have paid him little, even if you give him three times more. But if you contract and pay him according to the contraction, he will be pleased with receiving his right. Now if you pay more even just a little, he will understand you have paid more and will be thankful” .
Imam Rida (AS) had inherited the divine knowledge from his ancestor, our Holy Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH&HP).
He was the wisest man of his time and all his contemporaries. His knowledge was so rich in all religious matters and other realms of knowledge that the people of various tribes in their language would turn to him when they had questions, and he provided them with the best answers. Ma'mun, the ruling caliph, summoned the knowledgeable scholars in an attempt to defeat Imam Rida (AS) in several scientific debates and to discredit him in public. Nonetheless, Imam succeeded in all of them, and no one was capable of overcoming his power of knowledge.
Whoever dared to challenge Imam Rida (AS) ended up yielding to his unique power of reasoning. It has been confirmed by historians that Ma'mun, who was himself a celebrated erudite, pointed out the following statement, in his official charter for the appointment of Imam Rida (AS) as his immediate successor:
"I do not know any person superior to this man [Imam Rida (AS)] in the whole world" .
The life of Imam Rida (AS) and our other infallible Imams (AS) contains countless anecdotes of this sort, which reveals how they teach us the correct way of life both by their sayings and behaviors.
In a famous tradition or saying (Hadith) called the Golden Chain (Selselah al-Zahab), Imam Rida (AS) said that he had heard from dignified ancestors quoting from Gabriel and Almighty Allah that: “The word of La Ilaha Illallah -there is no god but Allah- is My stronghold (then whoever acknowledges this has entered My stronghold) and will be saved from My punishment”. After reciting this saying for his companions, Imam paused for a while and then continued, “Few conditions are entitling this entrance, and I am one of its conditions.”
Through this account, Imam Rida (AS) confirms that the belief in monotheism (Tawhid) will be counted as perfect when it is based on the obedience of the infallible Holy Imams (AS). In fact, Imams’ lifestyle and traditions were so good that if we idolize them and follow in their footsteps, we will certainly be able to move through the stages of spiritual perfection and win Allah’s satisfaction. Insha’Allah!
[i] The Abbasid caliph in power at Imam Reza’s (AS) time.
- Bihar al-Anwar, V.49, P.4.
- Osool al-Kafi vol.8 p.230.
- Oyoun Akhbar al-Reza, v.2, p.236.
- Al-Fadl ibn al-Hasan Tabarsi, Aa’lam al-Vara p.314.
- Osool al-Kafi vol.6 p.383 & 298.
- Managhib vol.4 p.360.
- Osool al-Kafi vol.5 p.288.
- Al-Irshad, v.2, p. 261.
Coronavirus is a tiny little virus whose power is not comparable to its size. Today, many countries around the world are dealing with this newly emerged virus, gradually finding out ways to fight it back. But as the statistics show, this virus is considerably less fatal than its ancestors, including SARS or MERS, with the death rate of 3.8% . The only thing that worries people is its high-speed contingency and how fast it can transmit from one person to the other. In this global crisis, we, as Muslims, should ask ourselves what our responsibility in this situation is. What does Islam want us to do? Shall we sit and watch and let this molecular size thing defeat us and ruin our society? Of course not. As always, Islam advises us to be patient, take actions, and to find the lesson that is embodied in every hardship. As the Quran says, “Indeed ease accompanies hardship” (94:5). The ease that rests at the heart of hardship is only achieved after we realized this lesson, in this case, strengthening the social ties and reaching out to the essence of humanity.
In what follows, we will have a look at some of our most significant social responsibilities in dealing with any crisis, specifically speaking that of Coronavirus.
Personal hygiene is one of the cornerstones against catching diseases, and as many experts have so far emphasized, it is the most basic protective measure against Coronavirus. Islam is one of the greatest adherents of personal hygiene and continually advises Muslims to follow specific hygienic manners in their lifestyle. Performing Ablution (Wudhu) before each prayer (Salat) or performing ritual bath (Ghusl) are only two examples of the Islamic rules concerning hygiene. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) not only observed his own hygiene and tried to appear neat and tidy in the society, but also advised all Muslims to do the same. He said in a narration, “Cleanliness is a part of faithfulness” .
Now, how does personal hygiene affect our society and the people around us? Well, when you care about your hygiene, the risk of getting any diseases lowers significantly, and even if you become sick, you won’t transmit it to another person. Therefore, we can say that observing personal hygiene is more than an individual precaution, rather an essential social responsibility, especially at the time of epidemics.
So washing hands regularly, maintaining at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing, using masks if you are sick, avoiding handshakes, etc. are some of the most emphasized precautions against this disease .
Another social responsibility that protects us against any disease is keeping our surroundings clean. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said in a hadith, “Allah is pure and loves purity (cleanliness)” .
Therefore, avoid throwing out garbage on the streets, especially the used masks and disposable gloves, since they might be the source of Coronavirus and infect other passersby. Also, disinfect your workplace before starting your job with whatever cleaning products you have to protect yourself and others against this virus.
According to recent studies, people over 60 years and the ones who already have a chronic condition such as diabetics, cardiovascular problems, cancer, or respiratory diseases are at the highest risk in suffering from Coronavirus, and it might affect them fatally.
Respecting and helping the elderly are constantly emphasized in the Islamic tradition. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said, “Respecting the elderly equals to respecting me” . It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (AS) that, “A person who doesn’t respect the elderly is not one of us”  and Imam Sajjad (AS) enumerated many rights for the elderly [i]. Respecting the elderly includes many things, such as speaking respectfully, putting them first, especially in critical situations, and helping them to satisfy their needs.
In these difficult days, this is any righteous human being’s responsibility to help out the ones who cannot protect themselves easily. If we have an elderly parent, we should attend to them more than before. We might have elderly neighbors who cannot go out anymore for fear of getting the disease. We can do the shopping for them, buy whatever they need, or check up on them regularly.
The other group, which is highly at risk of getting the Coronavirus is the underprivileged and the ones who don’t have a shelter. This is because they are deprived of the means of protecting themselves against this virus.
As the holy Quran puts, one of the ways of attaining piety is through helping others and giving away (3:92). Also, it is narrated by Imam Ali (AS), “The faithful who help the destitute in the hardships and misfortunes of their life are loved most by Allah” . These and many other hadiths and verses of the Quran, urge Muslims to consider the needy and help them in any way they can.
It is our duty to consider the wellbeing of these people, as well. They might not have enough money to buy antiseptics, or any other hygienic products or may not be able to observe their hygiene properly. We can donate them some of this stuff or take them to some safe places that would shield them against this viral disease.
In Islam, workers have many rights that have to be observed by their employers. One of these rights, according to Imam Sajjad (AS), is to support and guard them against harms .
Therefore, if you are an employer, it is your responsibility to consider the wellbeing of your workers. This could range from disinfecting the workplace regularly, providing the necessary hygienic products, or even sending them home if possible. But this might end up in a financial crisis for the workers as well. So try to consider a part of or whole salary for your workers for this period of obligatory recess.
“Do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed hearing, eyesight, and the heart—all of these are accountable.” Quran (17:36)
The message is clear! Do not say or repeat what you are not a hundred percent sure of. From the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, we are faced with considerable media bombarding, especially in social networks, many of which are only speculations or pure lies. The result of spreading this false news is the rise of public anxiety and stress levels, making them more prone to the disease.
You should know that Coronavirus is a newly emerged virus, and the data about its source, symptoms, medications, etc. are not complete and authentic yet. It takes much time for the experts in this field to gather reliable information. Therefore, we should only trust authoritative sources such as the World Health Organization website or other official news agencies and medical experts.
The demand for some essential products may rise considerably when facing epidemics, in this case, Coronavirus. For instance, everyone needs masks, detergents, disposable gloves, etc.
In this situation, some profiteers might go for hoarding these essential products to make them more expensive. Or some ordinary people might buy them excessively to store for themselves. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) condemns the act of hoarding severely and considers the one who practices hoarding an infidel . In another narration, he believes that the hoarder is doomed to poverty and leprosy .
The times of hardships are when we should be more careful about our fellow human beings. Therefore, we should be satisfied with our share of these products and let other people have their own share as well.
Due to its similar symptoms to the common cold, many people would panic when they feel a sore throat, have a runny nose or sneeze, and they rush toward the nearest hospital. And in many cases, their test results are negative.
According to the WHO website, you should, “Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. If you develop fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition” .
Lining up in the hospitals keeps the doctors from attending the ones who have more critical conditions. Moreover, it heightens the risk of getting infected. Therefore, we should avoid going to hospitals unless we have the symptoms mentioned above.
“Behold! Allah’s help is indeed near” Quran (2:214)
At the end of the day, and after considering all these precautions, we should put our trust in Allah and hope in the good fate He had destined us. When we feel our belief in Allah with all our hearts, we would feel less stressed and more positive. This will not only help us to overcome the anxiety surrounding this disease, but also give us the strength to spread this positive attitude in our society. Remember that you should never lose hope in Allah [ii].
[i] “The right of him who is older than you (kabir) is that you show reverence toward him because of his age, and you honor him because he entered Islam before you. You leave off confronting him in a dispute, you do not precede him in a path, you do not go ahead of him, and you do not consider him foolish. If he should act foolishly toward you, you put up with him, and you honor him because of the right of Islam and the respect due to it.” 
[ii] “… Do not despair of the mercy of Allah” Quran (39:53)
- Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- covid 19
- Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.21, p.257.
- Advice for public
- Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah (Scale of Wisdom), hadith no.9927.
- Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah (Scale of Wisdom), vol.2, p.106, hadith no.10084.
- Imam ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin, Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq), The Right of the one Older than you.
- Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.376.
- Imam ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin, Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq), the right of the one who works for you.
- Nahj al-Fasaha, p.293, hadith no. 690.
- Nahj al-Fasaha, p.278.
- Ibn Majah, Sunan ibn Majah, vol.2, p.728.