By Umer Raza
There are three Ayas in Quran that are specifically passing on the order for Fasting these are in Sura Baqra – Aya 183-185 and these are translated here. When we read these carefully we can find answers to some question as well. These questions are
- Is this a new thing
- Why to fast
- When to fast
- Who can abstain
- Is fasting still necessary if one is ill and in Journey
- What to do if one cannot fast
- What is the choice with me
- What is better for me
- What is the problem here
- What is the Command
- What is the excuse
- How to cover up
Below i have taken two translations one from Muhammad Asad and other from Mohsin Khan. With slight difference both translations cover the same thing. First you can read the aya and then the possible answers to the above questions as they appear in the aya. Here attempt is made not to divulge into my own understanding too much, but rather remain within the limits of the translated text. Though out of sheer negligence i might have crossed the limits at some points, yet those are not meant to force my opinion on anyone. If there is any such over stepping, let my apologise in advance and to remain careful next time.
By Translation of Muhammad Asad
183; O YOU who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God:
1) Is this a new thing (ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you. and as we know it was even tougher for nations before us) 2) why to fast (so that you could remain aware that there is a GOD, you might not forget that he is there and your sustainer)
184: [fasting] during a certain number of days. But whoever of you is ill, or on a journey, [shall fast instead for the same] number of other days; and [in such cases] it is incumbent upon those who can afford it to make sacrifice by feeding a needy person. And whoever does more good than he is bound to do does good unto himself thereby; for to fast is to do
good unto yourselves – if you but knew it.
3) when to fast (during a certain number of days) 4) Who can abstain (those who are ill or on a journey) 5) Is fasting still necessary of one is ill and in Journey (number of other days – complete the number) 6) what to do if one cannot fast (Feed a needy person) 6) what is the choice with me (if one can do better one should do) 7) what is better for me ( better is to fast) 8) what is the problem here (If you but knew it – we do not know it perhaps)
185: It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was [first] bestowed from on high as a guidance unto man and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as the standard by which to discern the true from the false. Hence, whoever of you lives to see this month shall fast throughout it; but he that is ill, or on a journey, [shall fast instead for the same] number of other days. God wills that you shall have ease, and does not will you to suffer hardship; but [He desires] that you complete the number [of days required], and that you extol God for His having guided you aright, and that you render your thanks [unto Him].
9) What is the Command (whoever of you lives to see this month shall fast throughout it) 10) what is the excuse (he that is ill or on a journey) 11) how to cover up (complete the number of other days)
Translation by Mohsin Khan
183: O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious)
1) Is this a new thing (Prescribed for you as it was done for those before you. and as we know it was even tougher for nations before us) 2) why to fast (so that you could remain pious)
184: [Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for you if only you know.
3) when to fast (during a fixed number of days) 4) Who can abstain (those who are ill or on a journey) 5) Is fasting still necessary of one is ill and in Journey (the same number from other days – to fast is important) 6) what to do if one cannot fast (Feed a needy person) 7) what is the choice with me (if one can do better one should do) 8) what is better for me ( better is to fast) 9) what is the problem here (If you but knew it – we do not know it perhaps)
185: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar; Allah is the Most Great] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.
10) What is the Command (whoever of you sights the month shall observe fast) 11) what is the excuse (he that is ill or on a journey) 12) how to cover up (must complete the same number)