REPENTANCE - Islamic Concepts [Electronic resources] نسخه متنی

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soundness of one's body and mind. Some of these positive points have a direct influence on psychology and physique of the fasting individual.

Fasting has been found to be an effective treatment for psychological and emotional disorders. It helps a person to firm up his will, cultivate and refine his taste and manners, strengthen his conviction of doing good, avoid controversy, petulance and rashness, which all contribute towards a sane and healthy personality. Besides nurturing resistance and ability to face hardships and endurance, fasting reflects on outward physical appearance by cutting out gluttony and getting rid of excess fat.

The benefits of fasting on health do not stop there but are instrumental in alleviating a number of physical diseases, including those of the digestive systems, such as chronic stomach ache, inflammation of the colon, liver diseases, indigestion, and conditions such as obesity, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, asthma, diphtheria and many other maladies.

A Swiss physician Dr. Barsilus noted that: The advantages of hunger as a remedy exceed those ingesting medicine several times.

As readers are well aware, several physicians advise patients to skip meals, sometimes for a few days, before prescribing them a controlled diet.

Generally speaking, fasting hastens the destruction of the decaying tissues of the body by means of hunger, and then builds new tissues through nutrition. This is why some scientists suggest that fasting should be regarded as an effective means of restoring youthfulness and longevity. However, Islam exempts from fasting sick and old people whose health is bound to deter.

But fasting should have its regulations too, and not simply the unorderly skipping of meals, that is bound to harm health and stamina, rather than improving them. Here again Islam provides the answer, and in order to realize the benefits of fasting it recommends the late midnight meals called

Sohour (before the formal start of a fast) and the breaking of the fast at the time prescribed. Of course to ensure good health one should abstain

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from gluttony after breaking fast. *


How kind is Allah the Exalted Whose mercy to His creatures knows no limits. The All-forgiving has opened to us the gates of repentance, granting us the chance to return to His Grace, but it is we who stand to blame for our failure to avail forgiveness, because of our blind obstinacy.

"Say: 0 my servants! who haie acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is AU-forgiving, All-merciful."

Holy Qur'an (39: 53)

Allah the Exalted knows that the human beings, due to their earthly constitution, are likely to sin and err. They, therefore, are in need of an opportunity enabling them to repent and reform themselves, and hence the chance of repentance in the month of Ramadhan. Divine forgiveness is an opportunity for reform. Repentance is a process of transformation in the manner of life and nature of behaviourl and intellectual changes. It is also the outcome of a new resolution undertaken by the repentant for a fresh way of life to which he decides to adhere. The repentant of his sins as such is as if he had committed no sins at all.

Part of the divine favours to mankind is to keep the doors of forgiveness and mercy always open. Ramad/zan is the month of pardon and forgiveness, the season for praying and remembering the Almighty's favours. It is for us to avail this wonderful opportunity of repentance and ask forgiveness for all faults in sincerity, with an intention not to repeat them again. We should allow it to be a time of self-criticism and self-reproach, so that one may begin a new course, ushering in a true change in soul and thought, through one's deeds of faith during this period. This month-long opportunity to lead an Islamic way of life will enable one to observe Allah's commandments and adhere to the straight path of righteousness and bliss.

The month of Ramadhan creates an atmosphere of congregational


* Medicine in the Glorious Qur'an. Dr. .lbdul-l-Iatnid Diyab and Dr.

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