See that fasting is optional. 2:184 ........ For those who can go through ‘Saum’ only with hardship, there is an alternative: the feeding of an indigent.......................
2:183 (Creating an ideal society requires discipline and self-restraint among the individuals.) O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! A collective exercise of ‘Saum’ or self-control is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you become empowered against evil. [I have translated ‘Saum’ as self-control instead of the common ‘fasting’ since it involves more than fasting, such as abstaining from intimate husband-wife relationship. Saum = Self control = Abstinence = Collective Exercise of Self-restraint by the Society = A conscious collective effort to desist from common vices such as impatience, anger, unfair criticism, envy, impolite conversation or conduct, etc. Taqwa = Journeying in security = Being careful = Being empowered against evil = To avoid overstepping the laws = Exercising caution = Strengthening one’s ’self’ = Preserving the ’self’ against deterioration = Good conduct]
2:184 Just for a fixed number of days. But if any of you is sick or is on a journey, he may make up the same number of days later. For those who can go through ‘Saum’ only with hardship, there is an alternative: the feeding of an indigent. But the one who gives more on his own volition, it will be good for him. However, going through the training program of ‘Saum’ is good for you if you knew better.
2:185 The month of Ramadhan has been chosen for this collective training since this is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed, a Guidance for mankind, clearly explaining the ‘why’ of every Rule. And it is the Criterion of right and wrong. Hence, whoever is present at home during this month should participate in the collective program of ‘Saum’. But if any of you is sick or on a journey, let him practice ‘Saum’ for the same number of days later. God desires for you ease and He desires for you no hardship. The postponement is to enable you to complete the period. The objective of this training is to establish the supremacy of God (on earth) for, He has shown you a well-lighted road for you to show gratitude. [The entire Qur’an was revealed upon the Prophet’s heart (‘down-loaded’) in Ramadhan of 610 CE in the order as we see today. Thereafter, it was conveyed to people in stages. The concepts therein are not defunct theories and empty hypotheses. It has a Permanent Universal Code of Values and Laws. The yearly training of ‘Saum’ (Abstinence) in this month connects the Message with intensive reflection and study. Note: The Qur’an does not forbid menstruating women from praying or participating in the program of Abstinence. However, a menstruating woman may be considered unwell. The only thing forbidden by the Qur’an during menstruation is intimate husband-wife relationship. In addition, a pregnant woman may be exempted from fasting to avoid dehydration of the fetus. Shukr does not mean just verbal thanks. It involves showing gratitude in practice by sharing the God-given bounties with others. It also denotes fulfillment of one’s noble efforts. 2:87-97, 2:183, 2:222, 2:233, 7:189, 9:32-33, 14:1, 16:2, 17:85-86, 26:193, 31:14, 42:52, 44:1-4, 46:15, 53:13, 70:4, 81:17-19, 97:1, ‘Saum’ 2:183. It is interesting to recall the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible about Supremacy of God on earth. Luke 11:2 … Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth]
2:186 (This training program has nothing to do with asceticism. The mystics think that self-denial will bring them close to God.) So, when My servants ask you about Me, surely, I am Near. I respond to the call of the caller whenever he calls unto Me. Let him then respond to My call (the Qur’an), and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright. [God’s response: A sincere caller will be shown the right direction. The caller may experience a change, feeling comforted and motivated. Du’a, as a Cause, may interact with countless Divine Laws in Nature to produce the Effect. And the Qur’an has answers to all their questions. 3:193-195, 7:56, 8:24, 32:15-16, 40:60, 42:25-26, 45:22, 47:7]
2:187 (‘Saum’ is only for the daytime.) It is lawful for you to go to your wives on the night of the ‘Saum’. They are your garments and you are their garments - close to each other, source of mutual comfort, complementing each other, trustworthy and keepers of privacy, reason for décor, and re-dressers of faults. God knows that you would have deprived yourselves like ascetics, feeling guilty, and so He turns to you and pardons you (for your ascetic thoughts). So, you may have intimate relations with them. Seek all the good that God has ordained for you. Eat and drink until you can discern the white streak of dawn against the black streak of night. Then complete the ‘Saum’ till the night appears. Do not have intimate relations with them while on special assignments in the Centers of the Divine System. These are the boundaries set by God - so come not near violating them. Thus God explains His commands to mankind clearly, so that they understand and remain observant. [I’tikaaf = Special task = To be deputed = Extra duty = Unique assignment. ‘Aakifoon = Those on I’tikaaf. Unfortunately, under the Ajami (alien) influences, the concept given to I’tikaaf has reduced this Sublime Ordinance to ten days of ascetic and ritualistic isolation in a mosque in the third part of Ramadhan. Obviously, this invented practice violates the Qur’anic injunctions against monasticism and human rights. (57:27). Libaas = Garment = Raiment embraces all the meanings rendered. ‘Saum’ or Abstinence 2:183