The Quran tells us that fasting is prescribed for you so that you may fear God (2:183). So, what does it mean to fear God? Fearing God means that man should acknowledge his helplessness vis-a-vis God’s greatness.
The truth is that the acknowledgement of one’s helplessness is the beginning of imaan. When a person realizes God, at that point, he is overwhelmed by the feeling of his helplessness. (ijz).
Belief in God is, in fact, to discover this boundless greatness of God. And one who discovers this boundless greatness will be overwhelmed with the feeling of helplessness.
Imaan is another name for the realization of God — the realization of the God who is the Creator and Sustainer of the infinite universe, who is controlling the infinite universe with astonishing power. Those men and women who are aware of this will feel that all greatness belongs to God and they will come to understand their trial of helplessness.
The feeling of helplessness (ijz) is not simply a feeling but is rather the greatest motivational force in the life of a person. Ijz revolutionizes one’s entire personality. It shakes one’s whole being and brings about a complete revolution in one’s mind.
The feeling of ijz relates to God. But when this feeling of ijz is produced in man in the real sense, it finds expression in human relations. One who becomes truly modest before God, finds this same spirit making him modest before human beings. In relation to God, this feeling is called ijz, while in relation to man this feeling is called modesty.
Fasting, in essence, is a training in humility.