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Sunday, 03 December 2023

Final Word on Constantine


Benson C Saili

We begin with questions on Constantine, the first Roman emperor to embrace Christianity


His original name was Flavius Valerius Constantinus. “The Great” derives from his own self-conferred cognomen as Invictus Constantinus Maximus Augustus, meaning, “His Majesty the Great, Unconquerable Constantine”, as evidenced by a coin that was minted in 313 AD.  He was nonetheless a great man in his own right. He united an empire that had been fragmented for ten years.

At the time he acceded to the throne in July 306 AD, two other rulers laid claim to parts of it. He first became King of Britain, Gaul (modern-day France, Belgium, and Luxemburg) and Spain and after a series of victorious battles ensconced himself as undisputed emperor of the entire Roman Empire in 324 AD. 

He was emperor for 31 years (306-337), the second longest reign in the Roman Empire: only Augustus (Gaius Octavius) ruled longer at 40 years. Ten emperors who came after him proudly carried his name.  


The Christians who salute Constantine as one of Christianity’s greatest mascots are horribly misinformed. Constantine never became a Christian.  The Catholic Encyclopaedia itself says tales of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity are legendary.

Constantine was a Catholic – kataholos in Greek, meaning a “universal faith”. He founded Catholicism, not Christianity. Catholicism was a blending of several faiths that included pagan faiths. Just look at the ritualistic garbs and protocols of the Vatican papacy today and you will agree with me that Catholicism is replete with pagan elements.

Catholicism was a political manouvre. Constantine wished to unite his empire because it was torn apart by religious factions and feudings. In order to unite his empire, he decided to forge a syncretic religion that artificially fused all of them into one.

In so doing, he decided to project Christianity – which itself was riven with antagonistic sects – simply because it was the most docile and had made a lot of headway in Europe and was practically the main religion of the day there.


It is not certain who performed the rite or when. There are actually two versions of the emperor’s alleged baptism. One says he was baptised by Pope Sylvester I of Rome in 326 AD after he cured him of leprosy. The other version, which we encounter in the writings of Eusebius of Caesaria, is that he was baptised a few days before his death by Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia (Izmit in today’s Turkey).  


No it is not. The gospels themselves make it resoundingly clear that the early church, the one that was first led by Simon Peter and subsequently by James the brother of Jesus, met on “the first day of the week”, which is Sunday.

Of course the Jewish establishment frowned upon this setup. It was one reason the establishment persecuted the leading lights of the early church such as Simon Peter and the brothers John and James the “Sons of Zebedee”.

The misconception that Constantine changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday arises from his decree of March 7 321 AD. On that day, he declared that, “On the venerable Day of the Sun, let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.”

Throughout his reign, Constantine worshipped Apollo, the “Saviour Sun God”. Apollo was the Greek name for the Anunnaki god Utu-Shamash, the son of Nannar-Sin (Zeus) and the grandson of Enlil, the Jehovah of the Bible.

Constantine  never worshipped Jesus whatsoever. So his decree of March 7 was in honour not of Jesus but of his own Sun-God Apollo. Note that Constantine simply hallowed Sunday; he did not proscribe the Sabbath. The person who proscribed the Sabbath was Pope Sylvester I (reign: 314-335). It was he who decreed that “the rest of the Sabbath should be transferred to the Lord’s Day (Sunday).


Humans have always been played by the Anunnaki. The idea of  the same Anunnaki gods posing as a distinct god of a particular religion was their strategy of divide and rule.  Let us take Nannar-Sin, the second-born son of Enlil, the Bible’s Jehovah predominantly.

As god of the Jews, he was called Yahweh. As god of the Ishmaelites, he was called Allah. As god of the Greeks, he was called Zeus. As god of the Romans, he was called Jupiter. But as far as Christians and the Jews were concerned, Zeus, Jupiter, and Allah were little more than idols. Of course the Romans and Greeks had the same view of Yahweh. Yet unbeknown to all, such was the foolproof wool pulled over their eyes by the Anunnaki, all these were one and the same god. 

You are therefore right when you say in deifying the Sun-God Apollo, Constantine was no different from any other person who claimed to worship Yahweh, Jupiter or Allah.  I suppose Constantine was aware of such a subterfuge, as a result of which he decided to take political advantage of this blindfold.    


It was not Constantine who declared December 25 as the birthday of Jesus; rather, it was the Catholic papacy.   Constantine chose December 25 to honour his Anunnaki Sun God Apollo. Like most Anunnaki gods, Apollo was worshipped as a Saviour Sun God.

The sun element stemmed from the fact of the sun being the sustainer of life on our planet. In ancient times therefore, the Sun was referred to as the Saviour.  As such, Sun Gods like Apollo were called Saviour Sun God because they were deemed as indispensable as the sun.

December 25 was particularly chosen by Constantine as the ceremonial birthday of the god Apollo because astrologically, the Sun reaches its lowest point (from the point of view of the northern hemisphere) in the sky on December 22, the so-called winter solstice.  From December 22 to 24, it is basically stationary: the metaphor is that it has “died”.  

Then on December 25, it begins to move to bring with it the season of spring. Thus on December 25, the sun was said to have “risen”  or  be “born again”.  That’s the reason Constantine chose the day as a ceremonial birthday of his god Apollo. The first such birthday was celebrated in 336 AD. A few years later, Pope Julius I (Bishop of Rome from 6 February 337 to his death in 352 AD) declared that Jesus’s birthday would also be celebrated on December 25.  The finger of indictment should therefore point to the Vatican and not to Constantine.


Granted, Constantine was a counterfeit Christian but what he did for the faith was epoch-making: without him, Christianity would not be the pervasive and authoritative faith it is today. The watershed event was the promulgation by the emperor of the 313 Edict of Milan which allowed freedom of religious expression in his empire.

Christianity was of course just one of the many religions that benefited from the edict but this augured well for the faith all the same. Before the advent of Constantine, Christians had been at the mercy of  institutionalised harassment and persecution.  Emperor Dioclesian for one instituted what was to become known in history as the Great Persecution, which lasted from 303 to 311 AD.

Christian assembly buildings were razed down and every Christian who refused to offer a sacrifice to the emperor (who fancied himself as a demi-god) or his god faced death. Constantine put an end to all this with the Edict of Toleration in 311.  One chronicler further underscores the emperor’s invigoration of Christianity thus:  “Constantine took over the role of patron of the Christian faith.

He supported the Church financially, had an extraordinary number of basilicas built, granted privileges (e.g., exemption from certain taxes) to clergy, promoted Christians to high-ranking offices, returned property confiscated during the Great Persecution of Diocletian, and endowed the church with land and other wealth.” And of course it was the 325 Nicene Council – decreed and wholly financed by Constantine – that marked the birth of the canon we today call the Bible. If Christianity is today a leading cultural force, it is because Constantine put it on a pedestal at the expense all other religions which at the time were vying for preeminence.    


True, it was not Constantine who designated Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire. The person who did that was Theodosius I, the 67th  Emperor of the Roman Empire, when on February 27 380 AD he issued the Edict of Thessalonica, which ordered all subjects of the empire to “profess the faith of the Nicene Council”.  As much as Constantine valued Christianity, he was not prepared to exalt it above every other faith.

This was because Catholicism, its main expression, was a hybrid religion that drew from  Western, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern faiths. Even more important, Constantine as an individual never fully embraced Christianity: he worshipped the Sun God Apollo.

Throughout his rein, he continued to mint coins bearing symbols of Apollo with the inscription “Sol Invictus”, meaning the “Unconquerable Sun”, that is, his Sun God Apollo. Even if he did perchance profess to be a Christian, he was far from exemplary virtue-wise. He had his own firstborn son executed; a nephew strangled; and his wife cooked alive in boiling water. Goodness knows how many other ancillary family members and friends he secretly sacrificed to his god.   


The son was Julius Valerius Crispus, his firstborn. Constantine had Crispus by his first marriage with Minervina.  Crispus was an illustrious general and was described by all and sundry as “a prince of the highest merit” and therefore a worthy successor to the throne.

His rock-star popularity had his step mother and empress Fausta green with jealousy.  Constantine had divorced Minervina in 307 to tie the knot with Fausta in a politically expedient union: Fausta was the daughter of former emperor Maximian who was still politically influential (Maximian had ruled jointly with Dioclesian). 

Fausta had three sons with Constantine. They were Constantine Jr, Constantius, and Constans, none of whom were in their teens yet.  Fausta thought Crispus stood in the way of his sons, particularly her eldest Constantine Jr. 

According to the Byzantine historian Zosimus, who lived at the time of Emperor Constantine, Fausta first tried to endear herself to Constantine Jr by making sexual overtures to the handsome heir 27 years her junior. When Crispus politely rejected her, she set about poisoning him to his father – that he had designs on the throne and so posed a threat to the emperor’s continued occupancy of it.  Although there was no evidence of any disloyalty on the part of Crispus to his father, the emperor was swayed by his scheming wife.

First, he stripped Crispus of rulership of Gaul in 323 AD and summoned him back to Rome, where he could keep close watch on him, and Constantius at only 9 years old was declared the new Caesar, that is, deputy to his father, whose title was Augustus.  Then in August 326, Crispus was arrested, banished to Pola in Istria (today part of Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy), and executed after a sham trial. That Crispus’s death was the result of sheer spite on the part of Fausta is evidenced by the fact that his cousin Licinianus, the son of the emperor’s sister Constantia and who was only 12 years old, was also killed in cold blood.

Clearly, Fausta instigated the murders to ensure that there was no viable potential contender to the throne other than her own sons. The emperor was to rue his act.  His 80-year-old mother Helena confronted him and bitterly reproached him for killing an innocent child. Constantine indeed confirmed this, as a result of which he had Fausta murdered by suffocation in an over-heated bath later the same year.  As for the death of his son, the emperor was genuinely contrite.

According to another Byzantine historian Codinus, Constantine “raised to the memory of Crispus a golden statue, which bore the inscription, ‘To the son whom I unjustly condemned’, and fasted and refused the comforts of life for forty days.” This obviously sincerely remorseful gesture did not placate the bishops a jot, who stoutly refused to “purify” him from his crime. The philosopher Sopater, to whom he desperately turned for comfort, also told him to his face that he would have nothing to do with a “heinous sinner”. That was who Constantine was to his subjects and not the god-fearing icon Christendom misrepresents him as.


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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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