The Holy Month of Ramadhan is a month of fasting, worship, serving the less fortunate, and contemplation. Abstaining from food, drink and intimacy are well known and observed by all those who fast in this Holy Month. However, equally as important is the fast of our eyes, ears, mouth, and thoughts.
The fast of our eyes is to be careful what we allow ourselves to witness. This includes not watching anything inappropriate that can harm the soul, but also can mean not to allow ourselves to witness despair amongst people without offering a helping hand. In other words, we cannot be indifferent to injustice.
The fast of the ears is to not listen to idle talk, vulgar language, negative discussions and, most of all, backbiting. The fast of our mouths is to be watchful of our speech. Engaging in idle talk takes away from our remembrance of Allah SWT. Worse yet is speech that is not truthful or is hurtful to others.
The fast of our thoughts is the mother of the other fasts; it is the toughest one. If we are successful with this, we will be successful with the others. This involves taking a deeper dive into ourselves, or our nafs, to help us understand what drives us to do what we do or feel the way we feel in certain situations. Most importantly, it is a tool in assessing the sincerity of our own actions.
If our actions are purely for the sake of Allah SWT, we will know by assessing our thoughts. For example, if we invite guests for iftar to earn the pleasure of Allah SWT but then are upset if they do not reciprocate the invitation, this may be an indication that the initial act was not purely for the sake of Allah SWT in the first place. If it truly were, it would not matter whether the guests appreciated it or not, reciprocated or not, praised you for your generosity or not. Our only concern would be if Allah SWT is pleased with us or not.
InshaAllah we will maximise the opportunity of this month to put into practice all these forms of fasting and can incorporate some of those practices into our daily lives throughout the year.