Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. This month is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, spiritual growth, and community service. This fasting lasts for 29 to 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon. Muslims all over the world renounce themselves from food and drinks of any form including drinking water and smoking from dawn to sunset. They take their attention away from all these necessary things and put all their focus on getting closer to the Almighty, teachings of Prophet Mohammad (pbuH) and the study of the Holy Quran. The importance of this month for a Muslim can be understood from the fact that the Holy Quran was revealed on Prophet Mohammad (pbuH) during this month. Muslims are encouraged to complete the full recitation of the Holy Quran at least once during this month. It is absolutely necessary to pray five times a day when fasting everyday during the whole month of Ramadan. Ramadan is golden period for spiritual reflection, self-improvement, worship and heightened devotion towards the Almighty. During this month Muslims are encouraged and motivated to dedicate most of their time to follow and reflect upon the teachings of Islam. Devoting more time to the teachings of the Holy Quran develops a deeper understanding of one’s relationship with God. The spiritual reflection attained during Ramadan helps all Muslims feel closer to God and it also helps them to develop more compassion towards the suffering of poor and less fortunate.
Ramadan does not act as a license for any Muslim to do bad and dishonest things for the rest of the year, just because they remained good for one month. Moreover, it is also true that not everyone is physically and mentally strong enough to observe this 10-15 hours of fasting to which Prophet Mohammad (pbuH) said, “If not, then feed a person observing a fast even half a date, or offer him a glass of water”. Even if some Muslims are not able to fast due some unavoidable reasons, they should try to follow the teachings of the Holy Quran in their daily lives. The purpose should be to be sympathetic towards the deprived sections of the society and to be compassionate towards the poor and the needy. The moral is to help the people who need help and bring a smile on the face of someone starving or someone who cannot afford basic human necessities.
It is not to be considered by anyone that the Almighty wants to trouble and increase the hardship of any Muslim. One has to understand the benefits of fasting in order to think that how important it is to purify your soul and how healthy it can be for your body. Islam also advises any Muslim observing fast, not to eat too much food at the time of breaking the fast and just before dawn at the starting of the fast. As we all know that the origin of many physical problems is gluttony which gives additional sugar and fats to the body making the body a perfect ground for the growth of disease spreading microbes. The best way to defend your body against this is to observe fasting. It allows the body to use all the additional and unabsorbed material giving some required rest to the digestive system of the body. This rest is of extreme importance for all the organs which are busy working almost throughout the year. Fasting during Ramadan if done in a proper way can help to detoxify our bodies and help to flush out the toxins that have been collected over a period of time. According to one tradition, Prophet Mohammad (pbuH) has said, “The stomach is the site of all ailments, while dietary (abstinence) is the head of all remedies”. Fasting in the Holy month of Ramadan helps to increase the will power in a person.
It gives a sense of achievement to all the Muslims who observe such difficult hours of fasting. People who are addicted to smoking cigarettes or gutkha, can help to overcome their urges and reduce them by fasting during the month of Ramadan. A Muslim has to overcome all the worldly desires, passions and lusts, in order to increase their spiritual well being. Fasting makes a person more tolerant and prepares them for the difficulties of life such as lack of food, safe drinking water. It helps a person to understand the need of the poor people in the society. It is said that you can help more if you can feel the trouble as your own. Fasting does the exact same. It also is an important tool to train the soul of a person. Keeping oneself away from food and water gives a sense of authority of will, providing ability to stand tall in severe deprivations. It helps to control the restless instincts of a person and provides light and purity of heart in return.
Ramadan is a month for spiritual and soulful detox. This is the time when all Muslims aspire to attain new spiritual heights. It is a time for nourishing the soul and to practice patience and selflessness. The essence of fasting during Ramadan is not just to feel hunger and sacrifice but to feel compassionate towards the less fortunate and the poor. The compassion developed during this month evokes gratitude for even the simplest things, like food and water which are blessings of the God almighty. The surrender and suffering for a higher purpose brings Muslims closer to God. This month also helps Muslims improve interpersonal relationships, understand the importance of charity and help them enrich their souls by praying all day in remembrance of Allah. Ramadan is a symbolic month for Muslims all over the world which helps them cleanse their soul from worldly impurities.