Living The Quran


From Issue: 946 [Read full issue]

Serious Effort
Al Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 184 (partial)

"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."

Fasting involves hardship. The word used for doing 'much more' is tatawwu, which has the connotation of spontaneously doing good. It also means acting with effort. These two ideas are also connected with fasting itself: it is both an instinctively good act and one that requires effort. The last part of the verse seems to acknowledge the fact that fasting requires serious effort. The idea of effort in all forms of Muslim worship is crucial. It suggests that as individuals and communities Muslims should inculcate the notion that serious effort is essential for genuine spiritual attainment.

The hardship of fasting, the effort required to refrain from fulfilling the natural desires to eat and drink and suppress numerous other temptations, are undertaken for a higher thirst: the desire to be near God.

Compiled From:
"Reading the Qur'an: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Islam" - Ziauddin Sardar. p. 129