Fasting Dimensions

Marhaban Yaa Ramadhan.  How do we interpret the wisdom of fasting in multi dimensions?  At least there are four important dimensions of the results of doing Ramadan fasting at both individual and social levels, namely the dimensions of spiritual intelligence, physical intelligence, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence.

First, is the dimension of spiritual intelligence, which emphasizes the importance of a transcendental divine relationship.  The foundation of fasting is faith and indeed fasting is commanded only to those who believe so the sound of QS Al Baqarah 183 is "Yaa Ayyuhalladzi na aamanu" and not "yaa ayyuhal muslimun".  Therefore the intention of fasting should be based on faith.  As the Hadith of the Prophet said "Whoever fasts for faith and sincerity will be forgiven of his previous sins".  So faith is the main capital of fasting, and fasting is also intended to increase faith.  With fasting, the capital of faith will continue to grow.  The mechanism of increasing faith is reflected in the intensity of worship demands during the month of Ramadan: the multiplication of sunnah prayers, tadarus al quran, i'tikaf, and dzikir.  In response, the increase in faith is part of the process towards taqwa status, namely the status pursued by every believer who fasts.  Because this status is the highest in the eyes of Allah SWT.

Second, the dimensions of physical intelligence, which emphasizes the benefits of people fasting which seen in biological perspective.  Biologically, fasting is very healthy because fasting 30 days indirectly is an important detox activity for our body.  Any health and nutrition expert places fasting as a functional activity supporting the health of the body.  However, a healthy body is not everything.  A healthy body is one of the prerequisites for a healthy soul, as the infamous saying said, "in a healthy body lies a healthy soul". How does fasting grow a healthy soul?

Third, the dimensions of self control and emotional intelligence.  The essence of fasting is self-control.  Fasting trains people to be able to control themselves in both aspects of innate desire and emotion.  Control of biological appetites is increasingly being trained, such as restrictions on sharia regarding consumption of food and drinks.  Control of economic desires is also trained, such as the command to multiply alms.  Meanwhile control of emotions is also trained, such as holding back anger, patience, and being able to manage emotions so that they affect their behavior towards others.  This is what is meant by
strong emotional intelligence, which according to Cardon consists of strong self awareness, self management, empathy, and relationship management.  The end of strong emotional intelligence is good interpersonal skills.  Thus, fasting trains to manage emotions themselves which can then create good social relations.

Fourth, is the social intelligence dimension that people who fasting is having an increase in intelligence of building social life.  How did it happen?  Emotional intelligence obtained from fasting can be a provision for strengthening social intelligence.  But, there is another side that needs to be studied in this social intelligence, which is about trust.

There is a belief that fasting people are honest.  Because indeed, fasting forces people to say right and practice honesty.  Individually, honesty will lead to one's success. As Stanley's research results put honesty as the number one factor of 100 determinants of success in the working world.  Meanwhile, socially, honesty leads to the creation of trust.  Because of the assumption of people are being honest during fasting, then in the fasting month in general, the level of trust of others to people who are fasting will increase.  With more people fasting, more and more people can be trusted.  With more and more people who can be trusted, it increasingly characterizes the creation of high trust societies, namely people with high mutual trust.  This is what Francis Fukuyama has become an important social capital for the progress of the nation.  According to Fukuyama, an advanced nation is a nation that has high social capital, namely a high trust society such as Japan, Germany and other developed countries.  Thus, fasting can contribute to the creation of high trust societies and then make the nation more advanced.  The problem is whether the atmosphere of the fasting month which is full of mutual trust can be continued for the next 11 months?  If the answer is yes then the thesis that fasting can improve the progress of the nation will be proven.

The dimension of social intelligence, which is strengthened by our ability to build trust society as being mentioned above, is increasingly enriched with the spirit of social solidarity by giving to people in need.  Fasting trains people to care for others.  The mechanism of zakat, infaq, and shadaqah (alms) (ZIS) during the fasting month is the main instrument. Coupled with the fidyah mechanism for those who do not fast for certain reasons increasingly shows the social dimension of fasting.  Thus, fasting not only strengthens social intelligence with high trust society but also inscribed with anti-gap spirit. This anti-gap spirit will be more effective if all ZIS mechanisms are institutionalized properly.

With the wisdom of fasting in the four dimensions mentioned above, hopefully it will make us more confident that the command of fasting can create us as whole human beings who are healthy spiritually, mentally, physically and socially. 

 Bogor, May 5th, 2019
 (Material delivered to Tausiyah at Al Hurriyah Mosque, IPB University Dramaga Campus)