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Girl-child prostitution, a disturbing trend: PART 3


The past two consecutive weeks  saw us publishing  articles that did shade light on some of the causes  and implications of girl-child prostitution.In this one this writer will try to discuss some of the solutions to the problem.

 The first step is to improve our Criminal Laws so that they protect youths. Enforcement of these laws must be strict and deterrent measures must follow. That the girl is a prostitute , sexually receptive or hyper-active should not be a form of defense at all for the offence. The unreported Zimbabwean case of state versus Kereke, a former legislator, has set a good precedent and  must be a locuss classicus in this regard.

 Members of the public ,also, need to have hawk-eyed vigilance if they are to spot perpetrators and report them to the authorities. If needs be, though very difficult to implement,  young prostitutes patronizing beer-halls must be apprehended together with their clients for it takes 2 to ‘tango’.This is the approach followed in such countries as Sweden ,Norway and Iceland.

We have witnessed some of our overzealous ,but semi-literate ,police –officers harassing these youngsters .A possible solution to the above problem is  to ,therefore , offer refresher courses to these police officers so that they can be equipped with skills to translate their Criminal laws (not  interpretive skills, of course, for that is a preserve for lawyers and that will violate the doctrine of Separation of Powers since these  officers belong to the Executive and not Judiciary arm of Government).

To its credit, the Zimbabwean penal  code makes it criminal for one to allow or cause children under 18 years to either associate with prostitutes or be employed to become prostitutes by them(section 87 of the Criminal Codification and Reform Act) and also to have sexual intercourse or being involved in indecent acts with them(ibid: 70 ).

The question of what amounts to ‘allowing or causing children to become prostitutes’ needs no further clarification as it could be  through negligence or intention This(act of allowing causing) would obviously be an omission given that one has a legal duty to protect his children from all forms of hazards.This section denotes  intimacy with a child but does not expressly mention the position if she is already  a prostitute.

And this is a problem. We need ,no implied but ,a specific provision that criminalizes  intimacy with young prostitutes. The reader ,it is hoped , does remember that we have already discussed the loopholes of the Botswana penal code(section 147) with regard to the youthful ,who are subject to sexual exploitation,  in  the article entitled ‘ Do Botswana Criminal Laws Adequately Protect Vulnerable People’.

In that article we noted ,with concern ,that an accused person can raise the defense that either heshe is married to the under-aged(subsection 5) or is unaware that shehe is below the legal consenting age. This defense could also be invoked  by perpetrators with regards to toddler prostitutes.   

Honorable Members of Parliament are further urged to make law that is sensible and comprehensive(ble) ,and not vague or nonsensical,so that ordinary people and law enforcers do not encounter problems when dealing with that law. We call this ,in Latin, the ius certum rule.This could be a good starting point to prosecute involved parties.

Another tragedy is that these MPs have a habit of majoring on minor or trivial issues such as passing legislation meant to outlaw street-vending  while minoring on major issues such as the one in question. Perhaps  Jesus Christ was right in asserting that such like-minded people(like the Pharisees and Scribes) tend to strain out the gnat ,only to swallow a huge Carmel!.(Matthew 23:24).They should ,instead ,minor on minor issues and major on major issues.

Furthermore ,the various tools of statutory ‘mis’interpretation could be handy when dealing with such vague provisions following the ius strictum rule(judges must clarify  vagueambiguous legal provisions). No doubt, massive educational campaigns will provide a magic formula on solutions to this problem. Education may change men ‘s attitudes of perceiving women as sex objects to be manipulated by them. Men will be schooled to think with their brains and not reproductive parts. 

Also the girl child herself needs that education so that she shuns such worrisome behavioral patterns which could lend her into trouble and the targeted group ,for a start, could be children in both Primary and Secondary Schools. Likewise, education may change the girl-child’s negative perception ofabout herself as it is  this attitude that breeds most of the said evils.This might take time ,given that attitudes are die-hards ,but it is worth trying.

These young ,’puppies’, girls can easily be taught new ‘tricks’ of survival( tricks of sustainable development and not cosmetic solutions) as opposed to the old ‘hounds’ seasoned timers who are not teachable. As said before ,Unlike intelligence that is inborn ,knowledge is acquired and learning is not an event but ,instead ,a life-long process.

With life-supporting  resources such as education and money or their labor’ jobs’  available, the child, should she choose to remain rooted in prostitution ,would not be taken advantage of:she will surely insist on safe sex methods and will be in a better position to bargain for money that is commensurate with the services rendered(desperate people cannot do this). This money could be used to maintain her health eg by having HIV related STDs treated on time so that they don’t graduate into AIDS soon.

Our government ,NGOs and other well-wishers  and or ordinary Good Samaritans ,constituting the  civil society,have a moral duty to mitigate the plight of unemployed children by empowering them so that the temptation to resort to the vice of prostitution is nipped in the bud. No single entity or person can win this war singlehandedly but it must a be multi-sect oral approach and this is a corporate social responsibility or ploughing back to the community.

This assistance could be in cash or kind so that these ‘kids’ find means of survival: access to education ,provision of rehabilitationeformatory centers , medical facilities, different life-supporting skills, etc. Indeed these resources are needed in order to rescue  these kids from various forms of  mischief and also to allow them to realize their full potential.Both recreational facilities  and jobs are needed as’ all work and no play  tends to make Jonny a dull boy’  and the converse is equally true.

 It is a fact that both Zimbabwe and Botswana  have ratified a number of International instrumentsConventions on the rights of the child ,in general, and the girl-child ,in particular ,and notable examples are  the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the U.N Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Both countries are  also signatories of Article 34 of the latter Convention which requires member states to protect children from sexual exploitation, including prostitution and involvement in pornography. Unfortunately, and I need to reiterate what I said earlier on ,  the recent Constitutional Court ruling in countries such as Zimbabwe that outlaws arbitrary arrest of women on allegations of soliciting for paid sex on the streets ,tends to erode all these gains. Another question to ask is– have these Conventions really been domesticated or customized to suit local circumstances?.This issue must be re-examined.

While the Bill of Rights section of our Constitutions must be commended for protecting the  dignity of everyone, including the child, and freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and that is the basis of controlling or limiting  the imposition of corporal punishment, this development has made the child wild. In fact we now have cases of parental abuse by their own children. Remember the biblical adage ’spare the rod and spoil the child’ and it holds true (read Proverbs 23:13-14; 15:10 ;13:24;12:1).

Article 241 of the Zimbabwean Criminal Codification and Reform Act allows moderate punishment to be applied by teachers ,while acting in loco parentis ,parents and guardians while Article 7 of the Children ‘s Act of 1972 confirms the right of the said people to administer reasonable punishment. Given that the term ‘reasonable’ is either relative or situational and not fixed or final ,most peopleparents are scared to administer it at all and, as such, will not correct the misbehaving child on time.

In the name of human rights ,quite a number of the USA states and other ‘developed’ countries have totally abolished the administration of corporal punishment on children.This parental helplessness ,with regards to administration of corporal punishment, has definitely resulted in parental abuse at the hands of  the child ,the latter of whom is now free to behave in an I Don’t Care fashion.

Many stories abound of parents who have been dragged to court by their  deviant children after havingmerely reproached themfor misbehavior as  this is regarded emotional abuse by our laws. The new position of the law breeds street-kidding and prostitution. Admittedly ,some wicked parents were abusing the rod by over-using it and or using it excessively but surely the solution lies in controlling or limiting  its administration and not its outright abolition.

Having a proper dressing code to be prescribed is also another solution to the problem of child prostitutes as provocative dressing has a ROMANTIC MAGNETIC FORCE  or irresistible  appeal towards the toddler girl child and if possible the traditional extended family needs to be restored. Yes one inevitable  historical principle is change and culture is no exception.

Admittedly culture is not cast in iron but there are basic traits of this culture which are quite educative and it is these traits that we must retain or revive. No doubt  ,our African  culture is stamped with God’s seal of approval, as opposed to Westernization which we blindly follow.

As has  already been  noted ,parental fights or divorces should be the last resort .They further compound the problem for in this kind of environment it is always the children ,just like the grass in the proverbial tussle of two elephant bulls ,who stand to bear the brunt of being trampled upon. Parents are therefore encouraged to solve problems amicably and ,if necessary ,invoke various intra and inter family therapies such as mediation, counseling etc.  

In the case of evil spirits influencing the children or bad influence from peers, spiritual guidance could help quite a great deal. Take the children to religious leaders ; whether traditional ,Islamic ,Hindu ,Christian etc,   often and this could produce positive results. Parents should also guide their children in choosing good friends  since ’bad company can easily corrupt character’. Remember the popular hermeneutical saying ‘Tell me your friends and then I will tell you your character’.Additionally ,parents need to lead  their children  by example  since they also have a duty to educate their own siblings.

If the Judiciary is  independent ,and not Executive minded ,and or effective ,it can ,through the various tools of (mis)interpretation of statutes,  “correct” flaws in any piece of legislation that is ultra-vires the Constitution by ‘creating sensetreasure’ out of the legislative  trash.That is the amour of our judges.

Before concluding ,I need to share with the reader a few lines from the song  ,’Mwana Mudiki’ , by the Zimbabwean legendary musician ,James Chimombe, as this song  summarizes  the child ‘s virtues :  ‘Mwana Mudiki, Ingirozi ya Mwari,Mwana mudiki, Mudzimu mukuru we Zimbabwe’{A youthful person is God ‘s angel and epitomizes the country ‘s spirit mediums)

As can be seen, the plight of the girl child is real and touching and addressing it remains a toll order. Even the blind can see it . That being the case ,everyone in the community has a role to play in fighting against this monster before it wipes  all girl children. In this fight let us not forget the boy child who is also at the receiving end.

This must be a gender and not feminist issue! We really appreciate the various feminist -inclined laws that are in place but appreci-hate the enforcement  part of it.An enduring solution ,as I see it, lies in changing attitudes otherwise our gains will be like a match-stick that has been precariously inserted on a pillar of drifting sand— unstable. We might have the best laws in the world but as long as our attitudes(deeply rooted in our patriarchal culture)haven’t changed we will remain legging behind the desired changes.

This piece of work would not be complete if I did not emphasize the claim that, given the resources ,the much needed encouragement and a leveled playing field ,the girl child will (and not would) outshine or dwarf her male counterpart.

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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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