MV: Why do we Fast in Ramadan? We fast for many reasons, one is to forgive our sins another is that allows us to control our desires. No matter what YOU should fast and you should know why.
Why should you fast?
The main purpose of fasting is described in the Quran as “so that you may attain Taqwa or God-consciousness.” Fasting is thus yet another instrument for bringing us closer to our natural state, our state of Fitrah and for cleansing this state from the dross of any disobedience and corruption.
“Fasting is a shield,” said the noble Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) so simply and eloquently. And he also said: “Whoever spends the month of Ramadan in complete faith and self-rectification, his previous sins will be forgiven.”
“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)” [al-Baqarah 2:183]
Fasting is a means of attaining taqwa (piety, being conscious of Allaah), and taqwa means doing that which Allaah has enjoined and avoiding that which He has forbidden.
Fasting is one of the greatest means of helping a person to fulfil the commands of Islam.
The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) have mentioned some of the reasons why fasting is prescribed, all of which are characteristics of taqwa, but there is nothing wrong with quoting them here, to draw the attention of fasting people to them and make them keen to attain them.
Among the reasons behind fasting are:
1 – Fasting is a means that makes us appreciate and give thanks for pleasures. For fasting means giving up eating, drinking and intercourse, which are among the greatest pleasures. By giving them up for a short time, we begin to appreciate their value. Because the blessings of Allaah are not recognized, but when you abstain from them, you begin to recognize them, so this motivates you to be grateful for them.
2 – Fasting is a means of giving up haraam things, because if a person can give up halaal things in order to please Allaah and for fear of His painful torment, then he will be more likely to refrain from haraam things. So fasting is a means of avoiding the things that Allaah has forbidden.
3 – Fasting enables us to control our desires, because when a person is full his desires grow, but if he is hungry then his desire becomes weak. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O young men! Whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting one’s chastity. Whoever cannot do that, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.”
4 – Fasting makes us feel compassion and empathy towards the poor, because when the fasting person tastes the pain of hunger for a while, he remembers those who are in this situation all the time, so he will hasten to do acts of kindness to them and show compassion towards them. So fasting is a means of feeling empathy with the poor.
5 – Fasting humiliates and weakens the Shaytaan; it weakens the effects of his whispers (waswaas) on a person and reduces his sins. That is because the Shaytaan “flows through the son of Adam like blood” as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, but fasting narrows the passages through which the Shaytaan flows, so his influence grows less.
Shaykh al-Islam said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/246
Undoubtedly blood is created from food and drink, so when a person eats and drinks, the passages through which the devils flow – which is the blood – become wide. But if a person fasts, the passages through which the devils flow become narrow, so hearts are motivated to do good deeds, and to give up evil deeds.
6 – The fasting person is training himself to remember that Allaah is always watching, so he gives up the things that he desires even though he is able to take them, because he knows that Allaah can see him.
7 – Fasting means developing an attitude of asceticism towards this world and its desires, and seeking that which is with Allaah.
8 – It makes the Muslim get used to doing a great deal of acts of worship, because the fasting person usually does more acts of worship and gets used to that.
These are some of the reasons why fasting is enjoined. We ask Allaah to help us to achieve them and to worship Him properly.
And Allaah knows best.
See Tafseer al-Sa’di, p. 116; Ibn al-Qayyim’s footnotes on al-Rawd al-Murabba’, 3/344; al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 28/9.
Ramadan’s effect on our body and behavior
The month of Ramadan is an opportunity to develop qualities of endurance and self-restraint, to control anger and a fiery or malicious tongue.
It is an opportunity to fine tune the body and shed it of obesity and sloth, and to benefit from any therapeutic effects fasting may have.
Generosity in Ramadan
Ramadan is a time to awaken compassion and solidarity with others and in particular with the poor. We are urged to be more liberal in giving during Ramadan and are required at the end of fasting to give Sadaqatul-Fitr, an amount to enable all to share in the spirit of warmth, affection and brotherhood.
Ramadan is above all an opportunity to reorient oneself to the Creator and the natural path of goodness and God-consciousness.
The Ramadan spirit
Although Ramadan may appear to be a hard and difficult month, it is in fact an enjoyable time.
A special atmosphere prevails in homes, in mosques and in Muslim communities as a whole. Muslims look forward to the coming of Ramadan with great longing and expectation and feel a certain sadness when the month is at an end.
Ramadan is not about overeating and laziness
It is possible that too much emphasis is sometimes placed on the preparation of food during Ramadan.
In fact a greater variety and quantity of food may be consumed during the month of Ramadan at nights than in other periods.
And some of us may end up weighing more at the end of the month than at the beginning.
It may also be possible that Ramadan be taken as a time when normal work during the daytime is reduced or suspended.
It should be borne in mind that normal work activities should continue during Ramadan and it should not be taken as an excuse for sluggishness and idleness.
You need to be careful that the true benefits of fasting, of self-restraint and control, are not lost through gluttony on the one hand or idleness on the other.