This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)
Most of you are out of touch with Ramadan. Respect for any command comes in proportion to the respect shown to the commander. As for anyone who is out of touch with Allah (mighty and glorified is He), His Messenger, His prophets, and the righteous among His servants (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on all of them), how can he be in touch with this month? Most of you have seen their fathers, mothers, and neighbors fast, so they joined them as a matter of habit not worship. They think that fasting is merely about abstaining from food and drink, so they do not fulfill its conditions and requirements.
O people, give up habitual practice and keep to worship. Fast for the sake of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Do not get bored of fasting and worshipping in this month. Do righteous works during it, and make sure that you act with sincerity. Make a regular practice of doing the prayer of tarāwīḥ.2 Illuminate the mosques, for this will be a light for you on the Day of Resurrection. If you obey and honor Allah (mighty and glorified is He) in this month, it will be an intercessor for you in the presence of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) on the Day of Resurrection. Give fasting its due so that it gives you yours. Give it so that it gives you, becomes a witness for you in the presence of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), praises you, and asks for you a share of His favor, generosity, blessings, grace, graciousness, subtle kindness, safekeeping, substance, and protection.
Woe to you! What benefit would you derive from fasting if you break it on unlawful food and sleep during these noble nights having committed acts of disobedience? Woe to you! You fast out of dissimulation and hypocrisy as long as you are among the creatures, and once you are on your own you break your fast! Then you come out and say: “I am keeping the fast,” whereas throughout the day you are involved in verbal abuse, leveling defamatory accusations, swearing false oaths, and taking people’s money by fraud, trickery, and exaction. This kind of fast does not do you any good and does not count as a fast. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “There are so many people who fast yet get nothing from it other than hunger and thirst, and there are so many people who spend the night worshipping yet earn nothing from it other than fatigue and vigil.”
There are among you those who are Muslims outwardly but like idol‑worshippers inwardly. Woe to you! Renew your practice of Islam, your repentance, your apology, and your sincerity so that your Master (mighty and glorified is He) will accept you and pardon your past sins. O you who are fasting, thank your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) for preparing you for the fast and enabling you to keep it! When one of you fasts, let his ears, sight, hands, legs, limbs and senses, and heart all fast. Let all his outward and all his inward fast. When you fast, give up telling lies, giving false witness, backbiting, defaming people, and embezzling their property. In principle, you fast in order to purify yourselves of your sins and keep away from them, so what would you benefit from your fast if you commit these sins yet again? Have you not heard these words of the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him): “The fast is a suit of armor (junna)”, for it protects and covers the person who wears it? This is why the shield is called mijanna, because it protects its owner and prevents the arrows from striking him, and the person who is out of his mind is called majnūn, as his mind has been screened off.3 The fast is a suit of armor for anyone who fasts with pious restraint, piety, and sincerity, for in this case it prevents the tribulations of this world and the hereafter from striking him.
O you who are fasting, comfort the poor and the needy with a share of your food at the time of breaking your fast for it increases your reward and is a sign of acceptance of your fast at the time of breaking it! All this will disappear and nothing will remain other than what you do in preparation for yourselves in the hereafter. Therefore, do such preparations as long as you can. On the Day of Resurrection, you will be gathered hungry, thirsty, naked, afraid, ashamed, and terrified. The person who feeds the poor and the needy in this world will be fed on that Day. The person who gives drink in this world will be given drink on that Day. The person who provides clothing for the poor and the needy in this world will be supplied with clothes on that Day. The person who is afraid and feels ashamed before the True One (mighty and glorified is He) in this world will be made to feel safe on that Day. The person who is merciful to others in this world will have Allah (mighty and glorified is He) show mercy to him on that Day.
In this month, there is a night that is the greatest night of the year, which is Laylatu Al‑Qadr (night of power).4 This night has signs which the righteous can recognize. Among the servants of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) there are those who have the veil removed from their eyes so they see the light of divinity that is held in the hands of the angels, the light of their faces, the light of the doors of heaven, and the light of the face of the True One (mighty and glorified is He), because on that Night He manifests Himself to the people of the earth.
O people, do not make obtaining your food your concern because it is a low concern. You have been put to test by the need to eat and drink, but you have been spared the trouble of securing sustenance, so do not have any concern about it. Glory be to the Self‑Sustained One who never eats or drinks. He gives but is never given substances, He feeds but is never fed, He is the Self‑Sustained One who has no belly. He never eats, drinks, or sleeps. Your greedy keenness has increased, whereas your pious restraint and faith have decreased. Woe to you! This world lasts for only one hour, so spend it in obedience.
1 As written in the Arabic script.
2 Special prayers performed in the month of Ramadan.
3 The Arabic words mijanna and majnūn both share with junna the same root.