Indeed all praises are due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we rely solely on Him. We seek His refuge from the evil in our souls and from our wicked deeds. Whoever Allah guides, no one can misguide. And whomever Allah misguides, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah, He is One, with no partners, and I testify that Mohammad (pbuh) is His Messenger and His slave.
Fasting is one of the five pillars1 of Islam. Fasting is called “sawm” in the Qur'an, which literally means "to abstain". It is abstaining from food, drink and sexual desires from dawn until sunset with an intention of doing it explicitly for Allah (The Only One who is worthy of worship). Fasting is also an exercise to realize the greatness of the Creator who provided us with necessities and luxuries of life. It softens the heart of those who enjoys these luxuries in life towards those who are not so fortunate. It restores the simplicity and humbleness. It teaches self-restraint and prepares Muslims for any unforeseen difficulties in life.
Fasting teaches patience and increases “taqwa”. Taqwa is piety, righteousness and consciousness of Allah. A person with taqwa remembers his Creator, and fulfills his obligation towards him by doing what is right and avoid what is evil.
Fasting is done explicitly to please Allah, as Prophet Mohammad (ﷺ) told us that "Allah said: Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for that is solely for Me (Allah). I (Allah) give the reward for it".
Fasting is an obligatory act for Muslims during the month of “Ramadan”. Ramadan is 9th month of Islamic Calendar, and it has special significance for Muslims. The first revelation of Qur'an (The Book of Allah) was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (ﷺ) in this month.
Muslims start their fasting day before sunset by taking an early breakfast (called “Sahour”) followed by the morning prayers. Thereafter, they spend the day like a normal day with their usual business and social activities, but by abstaining from food, drink and sexual activities. During the day they make extra effort for exemplifying basic Islamic etiquettes such as philanthropy, humbleness, honesty, hospitality and charity. They also say their routine day-prayers during the day.
Muslims in general are most generous and charitable people. However, in month of Ramadan their generosity is further increased with the distribution of Sadaqat, Zakat-ul-Fitr (Charities) and feeding the poor. Indeed Allah is the most Generous and Giving of all and He likes Muslims to be generous and giving.
Ramadan enhances family values. Muslim families gather together at sunset to break their fast (called “Iftaar”), traditionally with dates and milk. It is preferred by all family members to arrive home in time to share the food and quality time together. They thank Allah for his blessing and guidance before breaking their fast. After their meal they say their sunset prayer and praise the All Mighty.
This act of increased thankfulness and praising their Creator has very high significance during the month of Ramadan. Muslim use their time at nights praising and praying to their Creator. After their routine night-prayers, Muslims gather in larger groups at their mosque for special prayers called “Taraveeh”.
The completion of Ramadan is marked with the festivities of “Eid-ul-Fitr”, which is the day for thanking their Lord, giving out charity and food, celebration, joy and entertainment for children.
Muslim believes that Islam is the same religion that was of Adam and Nuh (Noah), and that of Ibrahim (Abraham), Ismael and Ishaq (Isaac), and the one of Musa (Moses) and Esa (Jesus), and Prophet Mohammad (ﷺ) was the last Messenger, and they make no distinction between any of the Messengers. Allah says in Qur’an:
“They say: ‘We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers’.." – Al-Qur’an 2:285
Muslims also believe that fasting was prescribed by Allah to previous nations, as Allah says in Qur’an:
“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious)” Al-Qur’an 2:183
Muslims believe this act of remembrance, glorifying and thankfulness of the creator, and purifying oneself by avoiding partners to Him and by praying to Him, is indeed the real success and the success in hereafter. Muslim believes that this message is the same message given to previous messengers, as Allah says in Qur’an:
“Verily! This is in the former Scriptures. The Scriptures of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses).” Al-Qur’an 87:18-19
- Other pillars are Tawheed (Believe in the oneness of Allah), Salaah (5 times daily prayers), Zakaat (Charity), Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah and Medina)