All these beneficial qualities have combined to make Ramadhaan a season of prayer and good-doing in which all Muslims, to whatever group, class, race or country they belong, join and fraternize with each other. The month of fasting comes to every town and village at the same time and sheds its luster on the cottage and the castle alike. It makes no distinction and allows for no discrimination. There is, therefore, no reason for anyone to be proud or arrogant about it not any room for a dispute or controversy to arise over the selection of the days of fasting. Its glory and radiance is spread all over the Muslim world for anyone to see. When the month of Ramadhaan comes it appears that a huge canopy of effulgence and serenity has been stretched over the lands of Islam. even the indolent and the faint-hearted feel themselves compelled to fast for fear of being isolated from the general body of Muslims, and, if for some reason, they do not keep fast they refrain from eating in public, excepting, of course, the handful of perverts and renegades for whom there is no feeling of shame in the defiance or violation of a Divine injunction, and the sick and the travelers who are exempted from fasting by the Shari'ah It is a mass movement, a collective event, which is thoroughly compulsive in nature. The spiritual response it evokes among the Muslims is so spontaneous that fasting becomes easy for them and their hearts melt and they are drawn inwardly to various acts of prayer, adoration, compassion and kindliness.
Commenting on the Tradition that 'when the month of Ramadhaan comes the gates of Heaven are thrown open', Hadhrat Shah Waliullah observes:
'Since fasting is in the nature of a popular event it is protected against encroachment by ritualism. For the community which observes it faithfully the Devil is put behind the bars, the gates of Heaven are thrown open and the gates of Hell are shut.
'... The accord and convergence of Muslims on a particular thing, at a particular time, with all the people seeing one another, lends encouragement to them and makes fasting easy.
'... Likewise, this concord and unity of purpose is the cause of the descent of celestial blessings on both the high and the low and it is quite likely that when the rays of Divine Splendour fall on His venerable slaves they spread also to those that are inferior to them (in religion) and their prayers and invocations cover such of His servants as well who are lagging behind.' (Hujjat vol.2 pg.37)
Life is another name for the struggle between the urges of the self and the dictates of the mind. But in this struggle it is not the carnal desires that always triumph as some people imagine. Such a notion does little credit to those who expound it for it betrays a melancholic mistrust of human nature and a cynical denial of truth.
What lends dynamism to life and keeps the world humming with activity is the incentive of profit. It is this inducement which awakens the farmer in the biting cold of a wintry morning and send him off to the field before the day has dawned or persuades the businessman to give up the comforts of home for the sake of trade or inspires the soldier to lay down his life for the glory of the motherland. The whole mechanism of life and active effort revolves around it. The assurance of gain, or the expectation of it in the future, is the rallying point in the struggle for existence.
There is, however, another assurance or expectation the impelling force of which is much greater. It is of the virtues and benefits the glad tidings of which were brought by the Divine Apostles and are contained the Sacred Scriptures. We can describe it as the incentive of Dine good pleasure and Requital of one's deeds in both the worlds.
Everyone knows that fasting is beneficial for health and from the medical point of view it is advisable that we fasted occasionally. But if a survey was undertaken of those who fasted solely for reasons of physical well-being, even during the cold weather when it is easier to abstain from food, wholly or partly, their number would not be much although such a fast is far less difficult than what is prescribed in Islam.
On the contrary, if a count is made of the people who observe fasting as a religious obligation and in fulfillment of the covenant of the Lord it will run into million in spite of the ascendancy of materialism and the decline of moral and religious values in the modern world. These are the people who brave the intense heat of the summer and the sharp pangs of hunger and thirst and observe fasting and, also, devote their nights to prayer simply in response to the spiritual urge and in the hope of the reward of the Hereafter. This is so because in the sight of men of faith spiritual benefits and advantages (the knowledge of which has come down to us through the sacred Apostles) are far more valuable than the medical or economic gains the physicians or economists advocate.
It is related that the Prophet ( Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam ) once said, 'There is a fixed principle for rewarding all the good deeds of men, and every good deed will be rewarded according to it. But the fast is an exception. The standing command of the Lord is that since a man forgoes food and drink and subdues his passions solely for His sake, He will recompense him directly for it.' (Sihah Sittah)
One more tradition of the Prophet ( Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam ) reads, 'There are two moments of special joy for a person who fasts: one is when he breaks the fast, and this he experiences in his earthly existence, and the other will come in the Hereafter when he will be presented before the Lord.' (Ibid)
To take two other Traditions, 'The bad odour emanating from the mouth of a person who is fasting (which is generally produced due to an empty stomach) is more pleasant in the judgment of God than the sweet smell of musk.' (Shaykhayn). And, 'There is a gate of Paradise which is known as Rayyaan. Only those who fast will be permitted to enter through it. One who will enter through it shall never be thirsty.'