In a hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim our Prophet says: “Satan circulates in the body like blood. Make his passage narrow by means of hunger.”
In the words of al-Ghazali, lusts are grazing grounds for the devils. As long as there is something to be grazed on, Satan will be present. Fasting, through which one establishes a mastery over one’s most fundamental (and unmanageable) drives – i.e. his self, narrows the activity field of the Satan and opens space for our soul to expand.
In this final turn, as we become more and more accustomed to hunger, have narrowed the ways of the Satan as much as possible, and as the mercy and forgiveness of our Lord have climaxed, it is time to gather strength for post-Ramadan and to make plans for a new start. Itikaf is the activity that will help us most in achieving this goal. Even if we are unable to spend these last days in the mosques (or in a corner of our homes), devoting ourselves entirely to worship and contemplation, we can still increase these reorientations of the soul for a few hours a day and attempt to purify ourselves, from the most far-off corners of our souls to the details of our outer appearance.