Fasting is the fourth pillar of Islam. It entails abstaining
from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset with the intention of attaining nearness to Allah. It is obligatory
every day throughout the lunar month of Ramadan.
Fasting in the religions of the past:
Fasting was a religious
obligation for the followers of the religions before Islam, though its form may have been different. Allah says:
you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who came before you that perhaps you might be
The effects of fasting:
1. It develops willpower. In this way, it trains the Muslim
to rise up to the challenges of life. It gives the individual the ability to control his or her desires. It teaches patience;
because the fasting person must give up pleasures that he or she is normally accustomed to enjoying.
is a way of recognizing the blessings of Allah that surround the individual. Allah says:
“If you try to count the blessings of Allah, you will never be able do so.”
the time, people forget these numerous blessings, never remembering them unless they are lost. Fasting provides a reminder
of these blessings throughout the fasting person’s life.
3. Fasting reminds people of the suffering of those
who are deprived, affording those who have means a glimpse of the hardships and hunger suffered by the poor. This makes
the well off more likely to want to help the poor.
4. Fasting is healthy. It provides rest for the digestive
system. It cultivates the habit of eating less. It also provides the body relief from the harmful habits the fasting person
might have, like addiction to narcotics, stimulants, and possibly other forbidden things.
5. Fasting provides an
opportunity for complete devotion to Allah. Fasting is a perfect example of total submission to Allah and fear of Allah
alone. The reason for this is that fasting is not witnessed by anyone except Allah himself. The person gives up all physical
desires for the whole day
exclusively to seek Allah’s pleasure. Allah’s Messenger (may the peace and blessings
of Allah be upon him) related that Allah said:
“Every action of the descendants of Adam is for them except
for fasting; it is for me and I will reward it.”