It is with great sorrow that we let our readers know that Maulana Wahiduddin Khan passed away this week. This column is the second part of the column that we printed last week.
The path followed perforce by the universe must be adopted by man of his own free will. That is why it is desirable that he should lead a life of self-imposed curbs. The unflinching self-restraint, which prevents him from eating or drinking while on a fast, is the virtue which will guarantee moral behaviour throughout his life. In the Hadith, Ramadan is called “the month of patience.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i, Hadith No. 2407) This month is meant to serve as a training course which will enable the individual to lead a successful life in this world by keeping his negative feelings under control. Negative feelings, it must be remembered, present the greatest obstacle to human progress. Fasting is the pious way to solve the biggest of all human problems. As the Hadith says: “There is a Zakat for all things, and the Zakat of the body is fasting.” (Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 1745) Here, the expression Zakat is used in the sense of purification. There is, indeed, a way of purifying everything. Just as bathing purifies the body, so fasting purifies the soul. According to a Hadith, Prophet Muhammad observed: “Whenever one of you is invited to a meal while he is on a fast, he should inform his host that he is fasting.” (Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 1150). According to another tradition the Prophet gave this very sound advice: “Whenever one of you is on a fast, he should be soft in his demeanour. In the event of being abused or provoked, he should simply say that he is on a fast.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 1894) Leading a life of restraint for a whole month produces a transformation in one’s thinking. It enables one to offer a positive response to another’s negative behaviour. In this way, fasting inculcates in man the necessity to abstain at all costs from anti-social activities, and from all ungentlemanly words and deeds. He is thus brought to a life of moral restraint in this world. Fasting leads to self-purification that is purifying oneself of all negativity.