Importance of Fasting
Fasting is an act of worship made obligatory for the believers in the 2 AH. It is one of the pillars on which the structure of Islam is erected. Fasting is prescribed to the Muslims in the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the lunar calendar. To Fast or saum, means to abstain from something or to give up something. In the context of the Holy Quran, it means to completely refrain from food, drink and sex from the break of dawn till sunset. The first revelation of the Holy Quran took place in this month. In this regard the Quran says; “Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran as a guide to mankind…So everyone of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later.” (2:185)
Ramadan is the month of chastity, purity and blessings, in which good flourishes and evil is suppressed. Through fasting, Muslims all over the world reap the rewards of worship in this month and work on their discipline and completion of their obligations. Fasting, like prayer, is a universal religious institution. Its purpose in Islam is not to put the believer in hardship or any sort of torture. It is not just a practice of staying hungry for a certain amount of time. Fasting actually teaches self-restraint, obedience and control. The Quran says; “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you, as it was prescribed to those before you, so that ye may (learn) self-restraint.”(2:183). It teaches a man to be the master of his own desires and will. Fasting also strives to ensure that the follower abstains from sinful acts and wrong doings. A fast which incorporates bickering and quarrelling is merely a fast of food and worth nothing according to Islam. A man observing a fast has to guard his modesty, chastity, purify his soul and abstain from ill doings. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said that fasting was a shield and that the person observing the fast should abstain from falsehood and strongly observes his discipline.
The practice of fasting unites all the Muslims of the world under one banner of Ramadan. It gives them a feeling of brotherhood and togetherness as this act of worship is observed unanimously all across the globe. Fasting helps the soul, the mind and also the body of
the believer. It gives the digestive system a break from the hectic routine that it follows all around the year. Overall, the blessings and rewards obtained through fasting are numerous. The importance of fasting in the life of a believer is immense not just to
cleanse his soul, but also to abstain from ill doings and learn self-restraint.