Fasting in Islam
 
Fasting
Fasting definition on the web; is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all fooddrink, or both, for a period of time.Other definition states that fasting is to abstain from all food or to eat only sparingly or of certain kinds of food, especially as a religious observance. Fasting is prescribed for believers and has historically been an institution commonly practiced by various religious communities.
Fasting in Islam 

Though fasting in Islam share a part of the described explanations, it has a broader meaning with more depth, reaching the soul before body. Fasting was prescribed for Muslims to acquire Al-Taqwa (piety) and submission to Allah (obeying God’s orders with no doubts or questioning). Taqwa means giving up haraam things (forbidden acts or behavior), and in general terms includes both {Doing what is commanded and Abstaining from what is forbidden}.

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it and offensive speech and behavior, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” – Narrated by al-Bukhaari

This also show that fasting in Islam target the soul as well as the body.Muslims fast to follow Allah’s orders, purify their souls by giving up forbidden (haraam) acts or deeds, and carry out religious duties.

Fasting is an act of worship
Islam is built upon five pillars or acts of worship:

« Testimony of faith

شــهادة "ألا اله إلا الله، و أن محمدا رسول الله"

« Prayer

إ قامة الصلاة

« Zakaah

إتاء الزكاة

« Fasting

صوم رمضان

« Pilgrimage

حج البيت – لمن استطاع اليه سبيلا


Allah - by his wisdom - has prescribed a variety of acts of worship, to test people with regard to how they will obey all these commands.Will they only choose to do that which suits them, or will they do that which pleases Allah?

"O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may (learn) self-restraint " -Quran 2:183

The major reason we fast is because it has been decreed upon us by God like it was on people before us so that we may become righteous, and closer to God (hopefully).

Why was Ramadan chosen over others for fasting?

There is a common misconception that Ramadan is special because Muslims are prescribed to fast in this month. However, this month is special because the Quran, the book revealed to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), was revealed in this month.

Other Benefits of Fasting 
There is another angle for the benefits of fasting.
  1. Fasting Helps Weight Loss; fasting allows the body to burn fat cells more effectively than just regular dieting.
  2. Fasting Improves Insulin Sensitivity
  3. Fasting Speeds Up The Metabolism; fasting gives your digestive system a rest, and this can energize your metabolism to burn through calories more efficiently.
  4. Fasting Promotes Longevity; studies have shown the less you eat the longer you will live.
  5. Fasting Improves Hunger; fasting helps to regulate the hormones in your body so that you experience what true hunger is.
  6. Fasting Improves Your Eating Patterns
  7. Fasting Improves Your Brain Function; because it boosts the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF.)
  8. Fasting Improves Your Immune System; because it reduces free radical damage, regulates inflammatory conditions in the body
  9. Fasting Contributes To Self-Enlightenment; with no food in the digestive system, this makes room for more energy in the body,
  10. Fasting Helps Clear The Skin And Prevent Acne; Not eating anything for just one day has shown to help the body clean up the toxins and regulate the functioning of other organs of the body like liver, kidneys and other parts.