Fasting, between transcendence and mercy

Fasting, between transcendence and mercy

A “holy word” (hadith qudsi) reveals the full scope of fasting in Islam: Every pious work of the sons of Adam belongs to them, with the exception of fasting, for this is Mine and it is I who reward it.”

The words of the Prophet confirm the precedence of fasting: to a Companion who asked him what act to practice, the Prophet replied: “ Dedicate yourself to fasting, for it has no equal”. Fasting, in fact, has no equal in the same way that God has no equal (Quran 42:11).

When we fast, we therefore acquire the qualities of the divine Name, al-Samad “He who has no need and of whom all things need.” “But be lordly…!” » (Quran 3: 79), we are asked: for a certain number of hours, we are pure spirit, detached from the different stimuli with which our body ordinarily assail us.

What still gives fasting its divine character is the fact that it is not an “act” in itself, such as prayer or pilgrimage, but the abstention from an act (eating, drinking, smoking). , speaking excessively, having sexual relations, etc.), However, God is defined in Islam in the “negative” way: no divinity… except God. There is thus in fasting a secret, by which we make ourselves transparent to the divine Being.

By making Himself known by His names and His attributes, God mercifully places Himself within the reach of human intelligence, and thus creates an unfailing “vertical” solidarity between the divine and human planes. It is from this instance that man must explore on the “horizontal” level the solidarity between all the kingdoms of creation.

Let us think of these words of the Prophet: “The whole creation is the family of God” (al-khalq 'iyâl Allah).

We are all united by our ontological indigence, by our “poverty in God”:

“Men, you are totally destitute before God, and God is the Rich, the Praiseworthy” (Quran 35:15).

Let us take note of this radical equality to share, with the Muslim brother, but also with the non-Muslim brother, because “You all come from Adam and Adam is from the earth”, in the words of the Prophet.

The “tables of the Merciful” set up in Muslim countries, and the meals offered in Western mosques to the most deprived, of all faiths, bear witness to this universal spirit of Islam.

“If hope is not followed by action, it remains a vain desire”, wrote the Egyptian spiritual Ibn 'Atâ' Allâh (d. 1309). Let us therefore make sure to vivify in ourselves Mercy, Rahma which permeates the entire Quran, so that it reaches all horizons.