True freedom for the Muslim is rising above and overpowering his base desires. This does not come about except by the success of Allah and the person’s discipline to practice and train himself. It requires a level of detachment from the sensual world which necessitates strength and true bravery. For most, submission to the pleasures of the world is an easier path and that is why the majority choose that way. Allah said:
Allah also said regarding the soul and its inclination to do falsehood;
One such example of striving and overcoming the base desires is fasting which is one of the pillars of Islam. A Muslim abstains from a number of things most of which are normally permissible such as eating, drinking and having relations between the spouses during the fasting hours. Someone may do all of these things and hide them from people. But the true believer abstains for the pleasure of Allah and to attain taqwa, which means consciousness of Allah, fear of His wrath and general obedience to His commands. Allah says this in the verse:
Someone may ask; Why fast and deprive yourself of these pleasures? Firstly, we must understand that eating, drinking and having sexual relations with spouses is held off for a limited time only, which is the daylight hours of the month of Ramadhan. Allah says:
This restriction is to train oneself to be conscious of Allah by obeying him as well as training ourselves to be able to overcome the desire for what we crave. Few see the ridiculous notion of a woman starving herself to be a “supermodel” or restricting her diet in order to lose weight, or a female football player being prohibited from having children for five years in order to play for a team.
Similar to this verse is another, also in Surah al Baqarah in which Allah said:
Both of these verses show that a Muslim does what he is commanded to do by Allah, even if not easy on himself because he wants to please his Creator and because he knows that by obedience to His command, he will attain His rewards and become stronger. The Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him said;