Imam Sadiq (AS) on Fasting

From Light of the Path: Gnosis as Taught by Imam Sadiq (An Annotated Translation of Misbah Al-Shariah by D. D. Sodagar)

قال الصّادق عليه‌السلام قال النّبىّ صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله‌وسلم : الصّوم جنّة من آفات الدّنيا وحجاب من عذاب الاخرة

Imām Şādiq said, “The Prophet of God said, ‘Fasting is a shield’; that is, it is a cover that protects against the afflictions of this world and is a veil that covers the chastisement of the Hereafter.

فاذا صمت فانو بصومك كفّ النّفس عن الشّهوات وقطع الهمّة عن خطوات الشّيطان ،

“When you fast, your intention in fasting should be to restrain yourself from indulging the carnal desires and to prevent your will from following in the footsteps of Satan.

 وانزل نفسك منزلة المرضى لا تشتهى طعاما ولا شرابا، متوقّعا فى كلّ لحظة شفاءك من مرض الذّنوب ، وطهّر باطنك من كلّ كدر وغفلة وظلمة يقطعك عن معنى الاخلاص لوجه اللّه تعالى

“[When you fast, try to] behave like one who is ill: Crave not food or water but rather long every moment for your cure from the disease of sin.  Cleanse your interior from filth, negligence, and darkness, which prevent you from dedicating yourself solely to God the Exalted.

قيل لبعضهم : انّك ضعيف ، وانّ الصّيام يضعفك

“A believer was once told, ‘You are weak, and fasting makes you weaker,’

قال : انّى اعدّه بشرّ يوم طويل ، والصّبر على طاعة اللّه اهون من الصّبر على عذابه

and he said, ‘I consider fasting to be an insurance against the evil of the very long Day [of Judgment], and to endure [hunger and hardship] in obedience to God is easier than to endure His chastisement.’

وقال رسول اللّه صلى‌الله‌عليه‌وآله‌وسلم : قال تعالى : الصّوم لى وانا اجزى به

“The Prophet of God said that God the Exalted said, ‘Fasting is for My sake, and so I will reward it.’

والصّوم يميت هوى النّفس وشهوة الطّبع ، وفيه حياة القلب وطهارة الجوارح ، وعمارة الظّاهر والباطن ، والشّكر على النّعم ، والاحسان الى الفقراء، وزيادة التّضرّع والخشوع والبكاء، وحبل الالتجاء الى اللّه تعالى ، وسبب انكسار الشّهوة وتخفيف الحساب وتضعيف الحسنات ، وفيه من الفوائد مالا يحصى ، وكفى ما ذكرنا منه لمن عقل وفّق لاستعماله

"Fasting kills the [material] longings of the soul and the carnal desires of the [brute] nature.  In fasting lie the revival of the heart; the purgation of the body; the reformation of one’s exterior and interior; appreciation for [God’s] blessings; kindness to the poor; increased humility, soft-heartedness, and weeping [in repentance for one’s sins]; the cord of recourse to God; diminished carnal desire; a lighter burden of sin; and multiplied righteous deeds.  The benefits of fasting are beyond enumeration, but that which we have enumerated here suffices him who has a mind and is capable of fasting.”