Why Muslims fast
Fasting is prescribed in all religions. Muslims have a specific month designated for fasting that is the holy month of Ramadhan.
Fasting is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.
An absolute fast (dry fasting) is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a period of 24 hours, or a number of days.
Water fasting allows drinking water but nothing else.
Other fasts may be partially restrictive, limiting only particular foods or substances. A fast may also be intermittent in nature.
Fasting practices may preclude intercourse and other activities as well as food.
Fasting is practiced in most of major religions in the world.
Muslims fast from dawn until sunset while refraining from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations.
Also refrain from sinful behavior that may negate the reward of fasting, such as false speech (insulting, backbiting, cursing, lying and fighting).
Ramadhan fasting is divine injunction mandatory for all able –bodied Muslims who are free from compelling excuses.
Whoever deliberately forgoes fasting in Ramadhan, should know that he has disobeyed Allah’s injunction and no amount of fasting thereafter can give her/him a reward equivalent to one missed Ramadhan fast
Quran (2:185) states whoever witnesses the month of Ramadhan should fast through it.
This is as obvious as in this Hadith.
Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Whoever did not fast one day of Ramadhan without a genuine excuse or a disease then even if he fasted for a complete year, it would not compensate for that (missed Ramadhan) day.”
Fasting is a way of pious people
It’s a tradition, it is not a new thing in Islam it’s as old as Adam (A.S) who was the first creature and the first Muslim to submit to one Allah.
No one knows precisely when fasting began but even Adam fasted and it is the practice that all the Prophets of Allah and their followers kept. Qur’an mentions that Musa (A.S) fasted for 40 days.
Quran (2:183) ”O ye who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for people before you.“
Therefore, Ramadhan fast should be seen as a propagation of the tradition approved by Allah for all those who submit to Him.
Fasting makes us learn to attain piety.
By the very nature of human beings they are susceptible to sins and transgression of Allah’s limits and this may be due to their ignorance, worldly struggle for ephemeral and tantalizing things or Satan’s handiwork.
In particular Muslims are warned against gossiping, backbiting, slandering, hypocrisy, lying, cheating, duping, hating, grudges, keeping malice, fornicating as these vices negate the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.
But since Muslims are like any human beings created to err as a result of forgetfulness they need to be reminded and coached against any social vices from time to time.
This will requires a fixed training period where Muslims will know and learn how to put an end to vices, learn virtues and get nearer to Allah and that training period is chosen by Allah to be the Ramadan fast which occurs once in every year.
Fasting shows Muslims how to get their past sins forgiven
Islam is a religion that stresses equality for both the poor and the rich (men or women) are equal as slaves in the sight of Allah.
In Islam the surest way to obtain Allah’s forgiveness for one’s past sins is Pilgrimage (the fifth pillar of Islam) which unfortunately is easy for the rich to afford the cost of the journey.
The All-wise Allah did not put the poor Muslims in limbo, rather He made fasting during Ramadhan as a means of placing the poor and the rich on equal footing in terms of asking for forgiveness for their past sins.
If a Muslim has no means of going for hajj, there should be a way to compensate him/her and has chosen Ramadhan for all Muslims to get their past sins forgiven.
This is evident in this Hadith;
Narrated Abu Huraira (R.A) The Prophet said “Whoever fasts during Ramadhan with sincere faith and hoping for his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.”
Muslims fast during the holy month of Ramadhan to reap the full rewards of the Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr).
The last book of Allah to His creatures that is Al-Qur’an was revealed in the night of Ramadhan and what this means is that the first divine revelation to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) took place in the Night of Ramadhan.
Allah chose the night because of the special blessings in it. It is called the night of Power (Lailatul Qadr) or the night of blessing (Lailatul-ul Mubarak).
The deed in this night is better than the rewards of deeds of 1,000 months.
It is in this night that all Muslims are invited by Allah to look for in the month of Ramadhan. Specifically, the night is in the last ten days of Ramadhan and usually in one of the odd days (i.e. 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29th).
A Muslim is expected to perform naafilah, recites the Qur’an and do Dhikr etc in the night and since no one knows precisely which of the odd days the night is, Muslims are expected to be in seclusion (itikaf) during the last 10 days of Ramadhan.
It is also said that the Angels descend in succession during the night of Power and they go round with special greeting of “peace” till day break when they will move back to their position.
The number of these angels is uncountable and they descend with special command of Allah
This will help you answer the often asked question by many children of non – Muslims, Why do Muslims fast.