then man cannot ride it, it rather rides man. But by means of fasting in Ramadan, it becomes accustomed to a sort of diet. It tries to discipline itself and learns to listen to commands.
Furthermore, it will not invite illness to that miserable, weak stomach by cramming it with food before the previous consignment has been digested. And by abandoning even licit actions as it is commanded, it will acquire the ability to listen to the commands of the Shari‘a and the reason, and so to avoid illicit actions. It will try not to destroy his spiritual life.
Moreover, the great majority of mankind frequently suffer from hunger. Man, therefore, needs hunger and discipline, which train him to be patient and forbearing. Fasting in Ramadan is patient endurance of a period of hunger that continues for fifteen hours, or for twenty-four if the pre-dawn meal is not eaten, and it is a discipline and training. That is to say, fasting is also a cure for impatience and lack of endurance, which double man’s afflictions.
Futhermore, the factory of the stomach has many workers, and many of the human organs are connected to it. If the instinctual soul does not take a rest from activity during the day for a month, it makes the factory’s workers and those organs forget their particular duties; it busies them with itself so that they remain under its tyranny. Also, it confuses the rest of the organs in the human body with the clangour and steam of the factory’s machinery. It continuously attracts their attention to itself, making them temporarily forget their exalted duties. It is because of this that for centuries those closest to God have accustomed themselves to discipline and to eating and drinking little in order to be perfected.
Through fasting in Ramadan the factory’s workers understand that they were not created for the factory only. While the rest of the organs, instead of delighting in the lowly amusements of the factory, take pleasure in angelic and spiritual amusements, and fix their gazes on them. It is for this reason that in Ramadan the believers experience enlightenment, fruitfulness, and spiritual joys which differ according to their degrees. Their subtle faculties, such as the heart, spirit, and intellect, make great progress and advancement in that blessed month through fasting. They laugh with innocent joy inspite of the stomach’s weeping.
N i n t h P o i n t
One of the instances of wisdom in fasting in Ramadan with regard to shattering the instinctual soul’s imaginary dominicality and making known its worship through pointing out its impotence is as follows:
The instinctual soul does not want to recognize its Sustainer; it wants its