Islam

THE COMMAND OF FASTING

The command to fast has been given in detail in the Quran. We quote here the relevant verses:

Fast for a specified number of days, but if any one of you is ill, or on a journey, let him fast the same number of days later. For those who can fast only with extreme difficulty, there is a way to compensate — the feeding of a poor man. But he who does good of his own accord shall be well rewarded; but to fast is better for you, if you only knew.

Ramadan: A Month of Sympathy and Compassion

According to a tradition, Prophet Muhammad observed: “The month of fasting is the month of compassion.” (Mishkat al-Masabih, 1/613). That is, it is a month in which people are helped and shown compassion. This is the human aspect of fasting. That is why the Prophet and his followers used to be generous in giving alms to the poor and needy during this period. No one who asked for anything was ever turned away without his needs being met. One Hadith to this effect is that, whoever feeds the hungry in the month of Ramadan will be forgiven by God on the Last Day.

INNUMERABLE BOUNTIES OF FASTING

Fasting (sawm) is the third pillar of Islam. Right from dawn till dusk, a man who is strictly on a fast will neither eat as much as one morsel of food nor drink a single drop of water. By submitting to this discipline, that is, by depriving himself of the prime necessities of life, man learns the valuable lesson of fortitude. With no food and drink, he naturally feels hungry and thirsty, and his strength begins to ebb.

FASTING: A CULTURE OF THANKSGIVING AND SELF-CONTROL

According to Islamic teachings, the month of Ramadan is the month of fasting. Fasting means abstaining from food and water from dawn till sunset. Fasting begins from the new moon of Ramadan and ends at the new moon of Shawwal.

Apparently fasting is observing hunger, but this is the form of fasting. There is another aspect of fasting, that is, the spirit of fasting. According to the Quran, the spirit of fasting is shukr. (2:185).