Nearly one billion Muslims of every race, color,
creed and nationality are now observing the month of Ramadan as a
month of fasting in obedience to the injunction given to us in the
In Surah (chapter) 2, verse 183, it is
written, "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as
it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard
Fasting, one of the main pillars of Islam, is a
principle that must be practiced by every believing Muslim. In fact,
fasting has been enjoined in every age by every prophet that has
come to reform the conduct of man.
Since fasting is given to us as a
prescription�and a prescription is given to us by a doctor, telling
us to take a certain medicine at and for a specified time, to effect
a cure for a certain illness�in this case, Almighty God Allah is the
doctor prescribing for all of humanity. And now we are speaking
specifically to the Black people of America, that fasting is to be
used as a cure for a sick spiritual, moral, social and physical
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that
fasting produces discipline. How? We know that we are creatures with
desires and basic human needs: food, shelter, and love. We need to
be respected in our community. We have a hunger for love, and for
expressing our own being. All of these hungers, all of these needs,
must be disciplined and controlled if society is to be successful.
Whenever the human being lacks discipline, the
society reflects that lack of discipline in the manifestation of
excesses: excessive eating, excessive drinking, excessive sex, the
lust for material things, the greed for power, the overpowering of
our intelligence by anger and envy. All of these excesses break the
spirit of brotherhood and destroy human society.
The Hon. Elijah Muhammad taught us that the first
law of the universe is motion. After something is put into motion,
the second law is order. That which is in motion must come under
order. This order presupposes discipline. And when there is no
discipline and no order, whatever motion we have will be brought to
The lack of discipline, therefore, is not only
the death of the individual, it also is the death of the family and
the death of the society.
Thus, fasting is prescribed for us as it was
prescribed for those before us that we may guard against evil.
During this month of fasting, from dawn to
sunset, from dawn until dark, the Muslim will not put a drop of
water or food in his or her mouth. Nor will that Muslim feed the
hunger of sex during the daylight hours. Out of our love for
Almighty God Allah and obedience to what He has ordered for us in
the Qur�an we carry out His discipline. What are the results?
When we deprive ourselves of something so
essential to life as water and food for a period of 15 to 18 hours
during the heat of the day, this discipline imposed on ourselves
makes it easy for us to discipline other hungers or desires.
When we can stop eating and drinking, drives
which are natural to life itself, how much more easy is it for us to
stop lying, stealing and the practice of those sins that destroy the
peace and brotherhood of the society? This fast of Ramadan is one of
the greatest means of inculcating self-discipline.
We have all seen societies that are highly
disciplined by authoritarian rule. This is a discipline imposed on
others by a superior authority. Authoritarian rule often leads to
excesses: despots, tyrants and dictators.
Certainly the discipline imposed on the members
of an authoritarian society does produce some good, but the greatest
of all disciplines is that which we impose on ourselves.
Self-discipline leads to the restraining of those
passions in our own being that can be used by Satan for the
destruction of ourselves and things around us. Self-imposed
discipline leads to a healthy society, one where the people truly
Excessive eating leads to obesity, which brings
with it a myriad of other diseases culminating in heart failure,
stroke, stress, etc. Excessive sex leads to promiscuity,
fornication, adultery, the breakup of families and the destruction
of the basic unit of civilization, as well as the killing of
millions of unborn, unwanted children.
The lust for material things leads to greed,
avarice and the overconsumption or acquisition of things, and ones
glorying in things that have no feeling, thereby denying the
humanity in self and others.
The lust for power, to be recognized, can become
so great that it gets out of control, then we see men and women
destroying others to get what they want and where they want to go.
Anger is a force within the human being that is
so potent, if it is not controlled it will lead to the destruction
of the individual and others. You can see that there is a need for
personal discipline in our lives.
The fast of Ramadan and the discipline of prayer
at prescribed times during the day is the greatest aid in developing
personal discipline and regulating our affairs and habits.
The Hon. Elijah Muhammad wanted to see his
followers supremely disciplined. Of course, in our infancy there was
authoritarian rule, just as we had in our homes under our mothers
and fathers. And we witnessed some excesses under this rule, which
led to grievous dissatisfaction on the part of those who were
offended by the improper use of authority.
How beautiful a society can become when each
individual imposes upon himself or herself the discipline of
fasting, the discipline of curtailing our own behaviors, our own
hungers, our own desires. This makes a very clean, peaceful,
righteous, progressive and orderly society. This, by the help of
Allah (God), is what we intend to produce.
Here in the Middle East where the temperature
sometimes gets up to 115 degrees, 120 degrees in the desert, I found
myself losing a lot of water. In one incident in particular, there I
was in the cool of my room, with a refrigerator full of all kinds of
cold drinks. No one would ever have known if I had taken a drink of
water except Allah (God) and myself. But so desirous was I not to
break the fast and give in to my great thirst, I took water and
rinsed out my mouth making sure that not one single drop passed into
my throat, so that I might be obedient to Allah (God). While I
watched visitors to this region eating and drinking, I maintained my
I say to all of us as Muslims, this fast, if
properly followed by you, will lead to your and my ability to put
all of our appetites under control. This is why fasting is
prescribed, so that we may guard against every form of evil. As we
have indicated, practically every evil comes out of a hunger that we
desire to satisfy. Since we cannot discipline that hunger, we exceed
the limits. Fasting, therefore, is prescribed.
I plead with all of the Muslims to do everything
in your power to make this fast successful. Follow it all the way
through, and at the end of this 30 days you will find yourself a new
The Hon. Elijah Muhammad desired ease for us; as
the Holy Qur�an teaches of Allah (God), He desires ease for His
creatures. The Hon. Elijah Muhammad knew that we were a group of
people who had lived undisciplined lives following after our
slavemasters and their children. Now that we have embraced Islam,
the Hon. Elijah Muhammad wanted us to practice fasting but he chose
the month of December for us to do the fast of Ramadan. Of course,
this made us totally different from the Islamic world, but on
careful examination of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, his rationale and
understanding is very well accepted now as we explain it to the
scholars of this side of the world.
The Hon. Elijah Muhammad chose December because
the days in that month are shortest, and since Allah (God) desires
ease for us, and the example of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was one that
desire ease for his followers, the Hon. Elijah Muhammad likewise
wanted us to make the fast, so he chose the shortest days in the
year for us to observe the fast.
Secondly, he did not want us to continue
practicing the behavior during the month of December which disgraced
the memory of a righteous servant of Allah (God), Jesus, the son of
Mary. So the Hon. Elijah Muhammad chose December as the month for
his followers to observe Ramadan. His reasons, I repeat, are wise
and justified, but he also wanted us to grow up to be able to follow
the Qur�an as perfectly as is humanly possible.
The Qur�an tells us that we should fast during
the month of Ramadan, and now the followers of the Hon. Elijah
Muhammad, having matured in our understanding, are now fasting with
the entire Islamic world.
May Allah (God) bless each one of you to complete
this fast successfully. May Allah (God) bless us to increase in
discipline so that we may leave alone those things which displease
Almighty God, Allah, in order to be acceptable in His Sight.
Let us, during this sacred month, thank Allah
(God) for this most precious of all gifts, the gift of the
Revelation of the Holy Qur�an which came to the world through
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
And, lastly, may Allah (God) bless us with a
discipline that will strengthen the peace of our community, and
strengthen our peace in the total society. I appeal to all of our
friends, and all of our Christian brothers and sisters to practice
this discipline called fasting. If you can do it one or two days,
three or four days or maybe one week, it will show you that you also
have the strength to put off certain unclean habits from your life.
Let every Muslim strive during this month of
Ramadan to rid himself or herself of some habit that we know Allah
(God) disapproves of. Fasting will give us the strength to overcome
MAY ALLAH BLESS YOU AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR
READING THESE FEW WORDS, AS I GREET YOU IN PEACE.