Abu Umamah Radi Allahu anhu said: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam, tell me of an action by which I may enter Paradise’. He said: ‘Take to Fasting, there is nothing like it.’ ” [An-Nasa’i, Ibn Hibban, Al-Hakim, Sahih]
In this hadith, the beloved Prophet Muhaammad Mustafa Mujtaba Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam singled out fasting when asked about a deed that leads its doer to the best of rewards, Paradise. This fact alone is sufficient for us to understand the greatness of fasting.
Mere knowledge of the importance and superiority of fasting, however, is not enough for a Muslim to attain Allah’s pleasure and then, insha’ Allah, His great reward.
Indeed, the beloved Prophet Muhammad Mustafa Mujtaba Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam has said: “Perhaps a person fasting will receive nothing from his fasting except hunger and thirst.” [Ibn Majah, Ad-Darimee, Ahmad, al-Baihaqi, Sahih] This hadith should raise our concern about fasting and increase our desire to perform this act of worship with the best intention and in accordance with the Sunnah of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad Mustafa Mujtaba Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam.
The first step for a Muslim to realise is the fact that fasting the month of Ramadhan is obligatory and that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has prescribed it for us in His Book:
“Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwa.” [2:183]
Thus Allah Ta’ala teaches us that Fasting is an obligation and a means to attain taqwa, that which increases believers in their ranks with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala:
“The most honoured by Allah amongst you are those best in taqwa.” [49:13]
Furthermore, we should realise the words of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad Mustafa Mujtaba Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam in which he tells us that Allah the Exalted said: “The most beloved deeds with which my slave comes closer to Me are the obligatory deeds.” [Sahih al-Jami’]