Ramadan Fasting and Its Virtues
Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness. Fasting is fardh (obligatory) for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, the elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding.
Ramadan is a month of fasting and prayers for the Muslims and believers of Islam faith. The fast consists of total abstinence from food and drink from dawn to dusk.
However, there is a greater significance to fasting than mere abstinence from eating and drinking. The real objective of fasting is to inculcate in man/woman the spirit of abstinence from sins and cultivation of virtue.
The Qur’an declares that the fasts have been prescribed with a view to developing piety in man, as is clear from the verse quoted at the top of this page. O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. [Quran 2:183]
There are over 2 billion muslim faithfuls in the world who are expected to fast in the month of Ramadan which is a unique annual event shared by a large percentage of able Muslims in what is undoubtedly one of the most profound global spiritual experiences the world has known or experienced.
The reasons for fasting in Ramadan are innumerable, While in reality the rewards for fasting in Ramadan are countless and its full benefits known only to Allah.
Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the 5 Pillars of Islam, constituting one of the most valuable spiritual practices designed to empower a human being in overcoming the self and transcending the ego, the one true veil between a human being and his or her Creator.
Fasting in Ramadan purifies the mind, body and spirit, leading to greater clarity, sensitivity and health.
Fasting has health benefit which allows the digestive system, the engine of the body, to rest from the normal demands of processing and breaking down food, freeing up system resources to cleanse and purify the body of accumulated toxins, thereby allowing more effective healing and tissue repair.
One of the greatest benefits and reasons for fasting in Ramadan is renewing solidarity and cultivating positive relationships with one’s family and community.
The cultivation of gratitude is a core purpose of Islam, and few spiritual practices cultivate gratitude as does fasting in Ramadan.
When muslims fast the month of Ramadan They are continually reminded of frailty and dependence upon the Divine, leading to humility, reverence, piety and selflessness which is the primary goals of Islamic Spirituality.
When a Muslim observes fasting in Ramadan develops the holy qualities of empathy and compassion, becoming more aware of our intrinsic connection and oneness with all human beings regardless of borders or labels that create artificial separation among the citizens of the human race.
Muslim consciously curtails this unhealthy norm by intentionally practicing restraint and self-discipline, separating him or herself from the animal kingdom which is governed by the unconscious drive to satiate one’s immediate physical needs and desires.
Fasting facilitates the return to simplicity and non-attachment, releasing one from dependence on dunya and so contributing to psychological health and happiness, and practical wellness and balance.
Ramadan observation for 29-30 days is a powerful practice in restoring and strengthening focus, direction, balance and purpose to our lives.
Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, improvement and increased devotion and worship. Muslim faithfuls are expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam.
The fast (sawm) begins at dawn and ends at sunset. In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking, Muslims also increase restraint, such as abstaining from sexual relations and generally sinful speech and behavior.
May Allah accept our fasting to come and those of the past.