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The Prophet said:

"Allah, the Exalted says:
Fasting is (exclusively) for Me and I will reward it."

The eighth Imam, Au ibn Musa ar-Ridha
(a.s.) quotes his ancestor the Prophet on the chain of authority of his noble

"0 people, anybody who a, this
month cultivates good manners will walk over the Sirat (bridge to Paradise) on
the day when feet will tend to slip... " *


All obligatory acts ordained by Allah, the
Exalted such as Fasting, Prayer, Hajj (pilgrimage) Zakat (poor-tax)
etc., are not mere rituals as some are bound to misinterpret, but are an
elaborate form of spiritual, psychological, physical and social education.
Besides being a form of worship and a means by which the Muslim displays his
submission to his Creator, they play a vital role in reforming and developing
the soul and personality of an individual which in turn positively affects the
society as an integrated whole.

The purpose behind fasting was not just to
prevent eating, drinking and sexual intercourse during the prescribed hours but
to i~frain from all acts injurious to one's self and fellow humans so as to
help build a virtuous and progressive society. A narration from the Prophet

"The easiest duty enjoined by
Allah on a fasting person is to forego food and drink. " *

Thus, fasting has two evolutionary aims. The
first is to protect a person from all forbidden acts such as backbiting,
calumny, envy, lying, vain discourses and the like. And the second is to
encourage and enhance the


* ibid

* AI-Hur aI-Amili. Wasa El ash-S
h:'a, vol. 4. ,4bwab ,4dab as-Sawm.

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