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The Messianic Revival

Benson C Saili

Jesus and John the Baptist band together to inaugurate new dispensation  

In terms of the change of the political guard, the year AD 26 was just as momentous as AD 14/15. The tectonic plates in fact began to shift in AD 23:  that year, Drusus, Roman Emperor Tiberius’s heir and one of his only two children, died at the tender age of 34. The death was such a blow to Tiberius that he gradually began to withdraw from everyday conduct of the affairs of his empire. Finally in AD 26, he removed to the Isle of Capri, about 263 km from Rome, and fixed his abode there – the first time he departed from  Rome since enthronement in August AD 14.

Although Tiberius still called the shots as emperor, the man he trusted to exercise imperial power on his behalf  was his closest confidant Lucius Aelius Sejanus. In the very same year that he was so exalted, Sejanus had Valerius Gratus recalled as governor of Judea and replaced with his lapdog, Pontius Pilate, arguably history’s most infamous Roman.  Pilate would remain in office from AD 26 to AD 36.

It was in the same crossroads year of AD 26 that John emerged from self-imposed hibernation to become  the now famous John the Baptist. His partner-in-chief in this seminal mission was none other than Jesus. This enterprise was not incidental: it had been three years in the making, jointly charted by the two messiahs of Aaron and David. What was so special about AD 26 that John and Jesus had to earmark it as the “acceptable year of the Lord”?    

Both the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible tell of the imminence of the “Kingdom of God”. Contrary to the interpretation of much of Christendom, this was not an ethereal, “Heavenly” Kingdom. It was a through-and-through righteous, Earth-based realm ruled by a descended God, also called a theocracy (Jehovah’s Witnesses demonstrate a truer understanding of this particular theme than evangelicals).  This theocracy would not suddenly dawn on mankind: it was to be heralded by two Earthling messengers of God called messiahs. These were the messiah of Aaron and the messiah of David.

The term messiah in this context  meant “anointed one”, that is, a figure who was divinely commissioned to undertake a divinely assigned role. The two messiahs were inferred from passages in the Old Testament – most of which imprecise – and were plainly anticipated in the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were to be  preceded by Elijah and an unnamed prophet. The Old Testament document that Elijah did not die but was straightaway conducted to Heaven by God. (The more categorical Sumerian records relate that the Anunnaki, the Old Testament gods, transported him by a “celestial boat” to their planet Nibiru, like they had done with Enoch, Noah, and Jacob before). As such, he was expected to return and prepare  Israel for the emergence of the Levitic and Davidic messiah just before the advent of the terrestrial Kingdom of God.  
As to when the two messiahs were to appear, the timelines were not uniform. But the first century  was one of fevered expectation particularly that mathematically it marked a crossover into a new zodiacal age – that of Pisces. Just as the birth of Abraham had inaugurated  the age of Aries, another epoch-making figure was expected to arise at the onset of the Age of Pisces. The time table that was the baseline frame of reference was that according to the prophet Daniel – the so-called Seventy Weeks of Daniel.

Daniel had postulated that from the time of a certain decree to “restore and rebuild Jerusalem”  following its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar to the “time of the end”, “seventy weeks of years” would elapse. In other words, every 7 years amounted to one week of years and therefore seventy such week-years yielded a total of 490 years. (According to Sumerian records, 7 was the number of Enlil, the Anunnaki god of the Jews who the Old Testament generally refers to as Jehovah or Yahweh.) 

The Jewish number crunchers reckoned the beginning of these 70 weeks from 457 BC, the year Ezra the scribe returned from Babylonian exile.  Counting from 457 BC to AD 26, we come to a total elapsed time of 69 week-years, meaning in that year there was only one more week-year remaining, that is, 7 years, for all the 70 week years to come to pass. AD 26 was therefore the beginning of the countdown to the establishment of  messianic rule in Israel and it was in heed of Daniel’s timetable that Jesus and John the  Baptist, the dynastic kingly and priestly figures of the day, decided to spring into action and institute a messianic revival.       


Although John the Baptist had disclaimed the Essene priesthood when he became eligible at age 30, he was in AD 26 persuaded to assume leadership of the order. He insisted, albeit, that he would do so only in an elective capacity and not as the dynastic Zadok priest.

Just to recap, the Essenes had to have three dynastic priestly heads. These were the Zadok, the Abiathar, and the Levi in line with the setup that obtained under King David in the 10th century BC. From 6 AD onwards, however, the top two positions had been vacant in a substantive sense. Zechariah, the Zadok, had been killed: Annas, who had acted on behalf of Zechariah’s heir John the Baptist, had forfeited his position when he was sacked as the national high priest in AD 14.    Simeon, the Abiathar, had resigned right in AD 6. They did have a Levi priest all right, namely Jonathan Annas, but his stature was nowhere near that of the Zadok or that of the Abiathar. That’s why the Essenes pitted themselves as practically leaderless.

In AD 26, John the Baptist finally consented to be the Essene leader but under the title of Father rather than the Michael-Zadok. The title of Father was not dynastic: it was elective. It was not as prestigious, therefore, as that of the Zadok succession but it had considerable clout nonetheless.

As the acting Zadok on behalf of young John, Annas also had held the title Father. His son Eleazer and his son-in-law Caiaphas had gone by the same title too, though unlike Annas the latter two never acted as Zadok priests. The title of Father was in homage to Abraham, the Father of the Jewish nation. Hence the Father was sometimes also referred to as Abraham. As we saw in earlier articles, the great Rabbi Menahem was the Essenes’ first symbolic Abraham. The setup today where the Pope is elected and also carries the title “Holy Father” was purloined from the Essene setup. Indeed the term Pope is simply a corruption of “Papa”, meaning “Father”.

In the event therefore, Caiaphas stepped down as the Father and John, who had a qualifying pedigree, was elected in his stead. The Essenes were exultant.  “For 20 years we were like blind men groping for the way” they wrote in a Dead Sea Scroll dubbed the Damascus Document.  In the Dead Sea Scrolls, John is referred to as the “Teacher of Righteousness”. The Essenes document that the Teacher of Righteousness appeared 20 years after the formation of the “Plant Root”. The “Plant Root” referred to Jesus, who in AD 6 was officially recognised as the Davidic heir when he turned 12 on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah ceremony.

As the titular Father, John the Baptist had the right to appoint two deputies. These went by the titles “Son” and “Spirit”. Accordingly, John decided to appoint his fellow dynastic cousin Jesus as Son. As for the Spirit, he opted for Jonathan Annas, the son of former national high priest Annas. In the gospels, Jonathan Annas is best-known as Nathaniel.

The three were directly addressed as Holy Father, Holy Son, and Holy Spirit and they were deemed to operate in one accord, that is, as “one”. This is highly instructive. When we read the Bible and we come across references to “Father”, “Holy Spirit” or “Son”, our tendency as Christians has been to generalise these into one, across-the-board meaning.

That is unfortunate. It is imperative that we look at the context and fathom whether “Father” in that situation meant “God in Heaven” or it meant something else. This is because there are times when the term “Father” or “God” actually refers to mere mortals, such as a sitting high priest or John the Baptist himself. By the same token, “Holy Spirit” at times referred to Joseph, the father of Jesus, particularly in the nativity accounts as we demonstrated in earlier pieces. Then as today, words or titles meant different things in different contexts and junctures of history.  


In the gospels, it is not clear-cut as to who was senior in messianic status between Jesus and John. There are passages that suggest Jesus was senior and there are those that exalt John above Jesus. It is only when you read between the lines and filter out the sectarian interpolations that you realise who was the more esteemed of the two. Christians of course take it as an article of faith that Jesus was the main man and John was a mere harbinger. It is to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were never tampered with for over 2000 years,   we have to turn if we are to know the real truth.

To the Essenes, John was senior to Jesus, just as Zechariah had been senior to Joseph. In a Dead Sea text titled the Testament of Levi and catalogued 4Q541, this is what the Essenes say of the messiah of Aaron: “He will atone for the sons of his generation and he will be sent to the sons of his people. His word is like a word of Heaven and his teaching is according to the will of God.

His eternal sun will shine, and his fire will blaze in all the corners of the earth. Then darkness will disappear from the earth and deep darkness from the dry land.” Put simply, John was the “atoning” messiah as far as the Essenes were concerned, not Jesus as Christendom wrongly believes. In another Dead Sea scroll titled the Community Rule, the Essenes state that in a future, liberated Israel, the Priest messiah would preside over the “Messianic Banquet” with the King messiah as his “companion”. Clearly, this makes Jesus subordinate to John.

There is also this apocryphal book titled The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs which dates from the 2nd century BC. In it, Judah himself declares that, “For to me the Lord gave the kingship and to him (his brother Levi) the priesthood and he set the kingship under the priesthood”. This is the messianic paradigm the Essene followed and therefore rightfully had John take precedence over Jesus.

In sum, two Jewish messiahs were expected by the children of Israel. They were the messiah of David, from the tribe of Judah, and the messiah of Aaron, from the tribe of Levi. The Davidic messiah was to be the king in a self-governing Israel and the Levitic messiah was to be the high priest. In the first century, the prospects in this regard were Jesus as the future king (with James his brother as a from-time-to-time contender) and John the Baptist as the future high priest. Although John did disown the Essene priesthood, he still valued the national priesthood as that was his birthright.

Of the two young messiahs, it was Jesus who was junior and was therefore expected to defer to and follow the direction of John. Jesus meekly accepted this relationship without rancour. It explains why he was comfortable with being the “Son” to the “Father” that was John.                


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28th March 2023

In recent years, using personal devices in working environments has become so commonplace it now has its own acronym, BOYD (Bring Your Own Device).  But as employees skip between corporate tools and personal applications on their own devices, their actions introduce a number of possible risks that should be managed and mitigated with careful consideration.  Consider these examples:

Si-lwli, a small family-run business in Wales, is arguably as niche a company as you could find, producing talking toys used to promote the Welsh language. Their potential market is small, with only some 300,000 Welsh language speakers in the world and in reality the business is really more of a hobby for the husband-and-wife team, who both still have day jobs.  Yet, despite still managing to be successful in terms of sales, the business is now fighting for survival after recently falling prey to cybercriminals. Emails between Si-Iwli and their Chinese suppliers were intercepted by hackers who altered the banking details in the correspondence, causing Si-Iwli to hand over £18,000 (around P ¼ m) to the thieves. That might not sound much to a large enterprise, but to a small or medium business it can be devastating.

Another recent SMB hacking story which appeared in the Wall Street Journal concerned Innovative Higher Ed Consulting (IHED) Inc, a small New York start-up with a handful of employees. IHED didn’t even have a website, but fraudsters were able to run stolen credit card numbers through the company’s payment system and reverse the charges to the tune of $27,000, around the same loss faced by Si-Iwli.  As the WSJ put it, the hackers completely destroyed the company, forcing its owners to fold.

And in May 2019, the city of Baltimore’s computer system was hit by a ransomware attack, with hackers using a variant called RobinHood. The hack, which has lasted more than a month, paralysed the computer system for city employees, with the hackers demanding a payment in Bitcoin to give access back to the city.

Of course, hackers target governments or business giants  but small and medium businesses are certainly not immune. In fact, 67% of SMBs reported that they had experienced a cyber attack across a period of 12 months, according to a 2018 survey carried out by security research firm Ponemon Institute. Additionally, Verizon issued a report in May 2019 that small businesses accounted for 43% of its reported data breaches.  Once seen as less vulnerable than PCs, smartphone attacks are on the rise, with movements like the Dark Caracal spyware campaign underlining the allure of mobile devices to hackers. Last year, the US Federal Trade Commission released a statement calling for greater education on mobile security, coming at a time when around 42% of all Android devices are believed to not carry the latest security updates.

This is an era when employees increasingly use their smartphones for work-related purposes so is your business doing enough to protect against data breaches on their employees’ phones? The SME Cyber Crime Survey 2018 carried out for risk management specialists AON showed that more than 80% of small businesses did not view this as a threat yet if as shown, 67% of SMBs were said to have been victims of hacking, either the stats are wrong or business owners are underestimating their vulnerability.  A 2019 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests the latter, stating that the majority of global businesses are unprepared for cyber attacks.

Consider that a workstation no longer means a desk in an office: It can be a phone in the back of a taxi or Uber; a laptop in a coffee shop, or a tablet in an airport lounge.  Wherever the device is used, employees can potentially install applications that could be harmful to your business, even from something as seemingly insignificant as clicking on an accidental download or opening a link on a phishing email.  Out of the physical workplace, your employees’ activities might not have the same protections as they would on a company-monitored PC.

Yet many businesses not only encourage their employees to work remotely, but assume working from coffee shops, bookstores, and airports can boost employees’ productivity.  Unfortunately, many remote hot spots do not provide secure Wi-Fi so if your employee is accessing their work account on unsecured public Wi-Fi,  sensitive business data could be at risk. Furthermore, even if your employee uses a company smartphone or has access to company data through a personal mobile device, there is always a chance data could be in jeopardy with a lost or stolen device, even information as basic as clients’ addresses and phone numbers.

BOYDs are also at risk from malware designed to harm and infect the host system, transmittable to smartphones when downloading malicious third-party apps.  Then there is ransomware, a type of malware used by hackers to specifically take control of a system’s data, blocking access or threatening to release sensitive information unless a ransom is paid such as the one which affected Baltimore.  Ransomware attacks are on the increase,  predicted to occur every 14 seconds, potentially costing billions of dollars per year.

Lastly there is phishing – the cyber equivalent of the metaphorical fishing exercise –  whereby  cybercriminals attempt to obtain sensitive data –usernames, passwords, credit card details –usually through a phoney email designed to look legitimate which directs the user to a fraudulent website or requests the data be emailed back directly. Most of us like to think we could recognize a phishing email when we see it, but these emails have become more sophisticated and can come through other forms of communication such as messaging apps.

Bottom line is to be aware of the potential problems with BOYDs and if in doubt,  consult your IT security consultants.  You can’t put the own-device genie back in the bottle but you can make data protection one of your three wishes!

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“I Propose to Diana Tonight”

28th March 2023

About five days before Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed landed in Paris, General Atiku, a certain Edward Williams was taking a walk in a woods in the Welsh town of Mountain Ash. Williams, then 73, was a psychic of some renown. He had in the past foretold assassination attempts on US President Ronald Reagan, which occurred on March 30, 1981, and Pope John Paul II, which came to pass on May 13, 1981.

As he trudged the woods, Williams  had a sudden premonition that pointed to Diana’s imminent fate as per Christopher Andersen’s book The Day Diana Died. “When the vision struck me, it was as if everything around me was obscured and replaced by shadowy figures,” Williams was later to reminisce. “In the middle was the face of Princess Diana. Her expression was sad and full of pathos. She was wearing what looked like a floral dress with a short dark cardigan. But it was vague. I went cold with fear and knew it was a sign that she was in danger.”

Williams hastily beat a retreat to his home, which he shared with his wife Mary, and related to her his presentiment, trembling like an aspen leaf as he did so. “I have never seen him so upset,” Mary recounted. “He felt he was given a sign and when he came back from his walk he was deeply shaken.”

The following day, Williams frantically sauntered into a police station to inform the police of his premonition. The officer who attended to him would have dismissed him as no more than a crackpot but he treated him seriously in view of the accuracy of his past predictions. He  took a statement and immediately passed it on to the Special Branch Investigative  Unit.

The report read as follows:

“On 27 August, at 14:12 hrs, a man by the name of Edward Williams came to Mountain Ash police station. He said he was a psychic and predicted that Princess Diana was going to die. In previous years, he has predicted that the Pope and Ronald Reagan were going to be the victims of assassination attempts. On both occasions he was proved to be correct. Mr Williams appeared to be quite normal.”

Williams, General, was spot-on as usual: four days later, the princess was no more.

Meanwhile, General,  even as Dodi and Diana were making their way to the Fayed-owned Ritz Hotel in central Paris, British newspapers were awash with headlines that suggested Diana was kind of deranged. Writes Andrew Morton in Diana in Pursuit of Love: “In The Independent Diana was described as ‘a woman with fundamentally nothing to say about anything’. She was ‘suffering from a form of arrested development’. ‘Isn’t it time she started using her head?’ asked The Mail on Sunday. The Sunday Mirror printed a special supplement entitled ‘A Story of Love’; The News of the World claimed that William had demanded that Diana should split from Dodi: ‘William can’t help it, he just doesn’t like the man.’ William was reportedly ‘horrified’ and ‘doesn’t think Mr Fayed is good for his mother’ – or was that just the press projecting their own prejudices? The upmarket Sunday Times newspaper, which had first serialised my biography of the princess, now put her in the psychiatrist’s chair for daring to be wooed by a Muslim. The pop-psychologist Oliver James put Diana ‘On the Couch’, asking why she was so ‘depressed’ and desperate for love. Other tabloids piled in with dire prognostications – about Prince Philip’s hostility to the relationship, Diana’s prospect of exile, and the social ostracism she would face if she married Dodi.”


Before Diana and Dodi departed the Villa Windsor sometime after 16 hrs, General, one of Dodi’s bodyguards Trevor Rees-Jones furtively asked Diana as to what the programme for the evening was. This Trevor did out of sheer desperation as Dodi had ceased and desisted from telling members of his security detail, let alone anyone else for that matter, what his onward destination was for fear that that piece of information would be passed on to the paparazzi. Diana kindly obliged Trevor though her response was terse and scarcely revealing. “Well, eventually we will be going out to a restaurant”, that was all Diana said. Without advance knowledge of exactly what restaurant that was, Trevor and his colleagues’ hands were tied: they could not do a recce on it as was standard practice for the security team of a VIP principal.  Dodi certainly, General, was being recklessly by throwing such caution to the winds.

At about 16:30, Diana and Dodi drew up at the Ritz Hotel, where they were received by acting hotel manager Claude Roulet.  The front entrance of the hotel was already crawling with paparazzi, as a result of which the couple took the precaution of using the rear entrance, where hopefully they would make their entry unperturbed and unmolested. The first thing they did when they were ensconced in the now $10,000 a night Imperial Suite was to spend some time on their mobiles and set about touching base with friends, relations, and associates.  Diana called at least two people, her clairvoyant friend Rita Rogers and her favourite journalist Richard Kay of The Daily Mail.

Rita, General,  was alarmed that Diana had proceeded to venture to Paris notwithstanding the warning she had given Dodi and herself in relation to what she had seen of him  in the crystal ball when the couple had consulted her. When quizzed as to what the hell she indeed was doing in Paris at that juncture, Diana replied that she and Dodi had simply come to do some shopping, which though partially true was not the material reason they were there. “But Diana, remember what I told Dodi,” Rita said somewhat reprovingly. Diana a bit apprehensively replied, “Yes I remember. I will be careful. I promise.” Well,  she did not live up to her promise as we shall soon unpack General.

As for Richard Kay, Diana made known to him that, “I have decided I am going to radically change my life. I am going to complete my obligations to charities and to the anti-personnel land mines cause, but in November I want to completely withdraw from formal public life.”

Once she was done with her round of calls, Diana went down to the hair saloon by the hotel swimming pool to have her hair washed and blow-dried ahead of the scheduled evening dinner.


Since the main object of their Paris trip was to pick up the “Tell Me Yes” engagement ring  Dodi had ordered in Monte Carlo a week earlier, Dodi decided to check on Repossi Jewellery, which was right within the Ritz prencincts, known as the Place Vendome.  It could have taken less than a minute for Dodi to get to the store on foot but he decided to use a car to outsmart the paparazzi invasion. He was driven there by Trevor Rees-Jones, with Alexander Kez Wingfield and Claude Roulet following on foot, though he entered the shop alone.

The Repossi store had closed for the holiday season but Alberto Repossi, accompanied by his wife and brother-in-law,  had decided to travel all the way from his home in Monaco  and momentarily open it for the sake of the potentially highly lucrative  Dodi transaction.  Alberto, however, disappointed Dodi as the ring he had chosen was not the one  he produced. The one he showed Dodi was pricier and perhaps more exquisite but Dodi  was adamant that he wanted the exact one he had ordered as that was what Diana herself had picked. It was a ploy  on the part of Repossi to make a real killing on the sale, his excuse to that effect being that Diana deserved a ring tha was well worthy of her social pedigree.  With Dodi having expressed disaffection, Repossi rendered his apologies and assured Dodi he would make the right ring available shortly, whereupon Dodi repaired back to the hotel to await its delivery. But Dodi  did insist nonetheless that the pricier ring be delivered too in case it appealed to Diana anyway.

Repossi delivered the two rings an hour later. They were collected by Roulet. On inspecting them, Dodi chose the very one he had seen in Monte Carlo, apparently at the insistence of Diana.  There is a possibility that Diana, who was very much aware of her public image and was not comfortable with ostentatious displays of wealth, may have deliberately shown an interest in a less expensive engagement ring. It  may have been a purely romantic as opposed to a prestigious  choice for her.

The value of the ring, which was found on a wardrobe shelf in Dodi’s apartment after the crash,  has been estimated to be between $20,000 and $250,000 as Repossi has always refused to be drawn into revealing how much Dodi paid for it. The sum, which enjoyed a 25 percent discount, was in truth paid for not by Dodi himself but by his father as was the usual practice.

Dodi was also shown Repossi’s sketches for a bracelet, a watch, and earrings which he proposed to create if Diana approved of them.


At about 7 pm,  Dodi and Diana left the Ritz and headed for Dodi’s apartment at a place known as the Arc de Trompe. They went there to properly tog themselves out for the scheduled evening dinner. They spent two hours at the luxurious apartment. As usual, the ubiquitous paparazzi were patiently waiting for them there.

As they lingered in the apartment, Dodi beckoned over to his butler Rene Delorm  and showed him  the engagement ring. “Dodi came into my kitchen,” Delorm relates. “He looked into the hallway to check that Diana couldn’t hear and reached into his pocket and pulled out the box … He said, ‘Rene, I’m going to propose to the princess tonight. Make sure that we have champagne on ice when we come back from dinner’.” Rene described the ring as “a spectacular diamond encrusted ring, a massive emerald surrounded by a cluster of diamonds, set on a yellow and white gold band sitting in a small light-grey velvet box”.

Just before 9 pm, Dodi called the brother of his step-father, Hassan Yassen, who also was staying at the Ritz  that night, and told him that he hoped to get married to Diana by the end of the year.

Later that same evening, both Dodi and Diana would talk to Mohamed Al Fayed, Dodi’s dad, and make known to him their pre-nuptial intentions. “They called me and said we’re coming back  (to London) on Sunday (August 31) and on Monday (September 1) they are

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RAMADAN – The Blessed Month of Fasting

28th March 2023

Ramadan is the fasting month for Muslims, where over one billion Muslims throughout the world fast from dawn to sunset, and pray additional prayers at night. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to Allah, and self-control. It is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. As you read this Muslims the world over have already begun fasting as the month of Ramadan has commenced (depending on the sighting of the new moon).

‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for people, in it are clear signs of guidance and Criterion, therefore whoever of you who witnesses this month, it is obligatory on him to fast it. But whoever is ill or traveling let him fast the same number of other days, God desires ease for you and not hardship, and He desires that you complete the ordained period and glorify God for His guidance to you, that you may be grateful”. Holy Qur’an  (2 : 185)

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built. The other four are: the declaration of one’s belief in Allah’s oneness and in the message of Muhammad (PBUH); regular attendance to prayer; payment of zakaat (obligatory charity); and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

As explained in an earlier article, fasting includes total abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, refraining from obscenity, avoiding getting into arguments and including abstaining from marital relations, from sunrise to sunset. While fasting may appear to some as difficult Muslims see it as an opportunity to get closer to their Lord, a chance to develop spiritually and at the same time the act of fasting builds character, discipline and self-restraint.

Just as our cars require servicing at regular intervals, so do Muslims consider Ramadan as a month in which the body and spirit undergoes as it were a ‘full service’. This ‘service’ includes heightened spiritual awareness both the mental and physical aspects and also the body undergoing a process of detoxification and some of the organs get to ‘rest’ through fasting.

Because of the intensive devotional activity fasting, Ramadan has a particularly high importance, derived from its very personal nature as an act of worship but there is nothing to stop anyone from privately violating Allah’s commandment of fasting if one chooses to do so by claiming to be fasting yet eating on the sly. This means that although fasting is obligatory, its observance is purely voluntary. If a person claims to be a Muslim, he is expected to fast in Ramadan.


The reward Allah gives for proper fasting is very generous. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) quotes Allah as saying: “All actions done by a human being are his own except fasting, which belongs to Me and I will reward it accordingly.” We are also told by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that the reward for proper fasting is admittance into heaven.

Fasting earns great reward when it is done in a ‘proper’ manner. This is because every Muslim is required to make his worship perfect. For example perfection of fasting can be achieved through restraint of one’s feelings and emotions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that when fasting, a person should not allow himself to be drawn into a quarrel or a slanging match. He teaches us: “On a day of fasting, let no one of you indulge in any obscenity, or enter into a slanging match. Should someone abuse or fight him, let him respond by saying: ‘I am fasting!’”

This high standard of self-restraint fits in well with fasting, which is considered as an act of self-discipline. Islam requires us to couple patience with voluntary abstention from indulgence in our physical desires. The purpose of fasting helps man to attain a high degree of sublimity, discipline and self-restraint. In other words, this standard CAN BE achieved by every Muslim who knows the purpose of fasting and strives to fulfill it.

Fasting has another special aspect. It makes all people share in the feelings of hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with decent income may go from one year’s end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw the rich one’s conscience nearer to needs of the poor. A Muslim is encouraged to be more charitable and learns to give generously for a good cause.

Fasting also has a universal or communal aspect to it. As Muslims throughout the world share in this blessed act of worship, their sense of unity is enhanced by the fact that every Muslim individual joins willingly in the fulfillment of this divine commandment. This is a unity of action and purpose, since they all fast in order to be better human beings. As a person restrains himself from the things he desires most, in the hope that he will earn Allah’s pleasure, self-discipline and sacrifice become part of his nature.

The month of Ramadan can aptly be described as a “season of worship.” Fasting is the main aspect of worship in this month, because people are more attentive to their prayers, read the Qur’an more frequently and also strive to improve on their inner and outer character. Thus, their devotion is more complete and they feel much happier in Ramadan because they feel themselves to be closer to their Creator.

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