Fasting is the Zakat of the Body

Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates:

Allah's Messenger, peace and blessings upon him, said:

Everything has zakat (a certain percentage of one's income/property given to charity). And the zakat of the body is fasting. (Ibn-i Majah, Siyam: 44)

Zakat is not given only out of property. Every blessing that Allah grants has zakat of its own kind. The zakat of knowledge is to teach what one knows to others; that of life is to perform the obligatory prayers; that of property is to use it in a good way (and to pay a certain percentage out of it to charity every year: zakat), and that of the body is to fast.

The fasting person understands that neither his/her body nor the blessings s/he has belongs to him/her and that s/he cannot eat and drink whenever s/he wishes. S/he understands by fasting that those blessings are given to him/her as a trust and realizes who the Real Owner is. S/he cannot eat and drink without His permission.

Thus, s/he offers thanks to The Real Bestower, who is the real owner. S/he knows that blessings come directly from Him. The fasting person tries to offer thanks for the blessing of the body with its zakat, fasting.

As a matter of fact, zakat is a kind of offering thanks. And fasting is “the key to a sincere, great and universal thanks-offering.” Thanks to fasting, the believer finds the opportunity to think about the value of the blessings which are obviously bestowed on him/her.

Another meaning of zakat is cleanliness/purification. Just as the zakat given out of property causes it to be cleaned, to increase and to become fruitful; so too is the fast a means to cleanse the body materially and spiritually and a means to increase good health and blessings.

Just as the person who gives zakah cleanses his/her property of dirt and of sins, so too does the fasting person purify his/her body from sins. S/he acquires a pure body and spirit.

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