In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful Fasting in Islam, known as Sawm (صَوْم) , is the practice of abstaining, usually from food and drink. The observance of Sawm during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam, but is not solely confined to that month
Fasting does not just consist of refraining from eating and drinking, but from every kind of selfish desire and wrong-doing. The fast is not merely of the body, but essentially that of the spirit as well. The physical fast is a symbol and outward expression of the real, inner fast.
Fasting is a spiritual practice to be found in all religions. The great Founders of various faiths (Buddha, Moses, Jesus, etc.) practised quite rigorous fasting as a preliminary to attaining their first experience of spiritual enlightenment and communion with God.
Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein.
Purpose of fasting in Islam
1- To develop and strengthen our powers of self-control, so that we can resist wrongful desires and bad habits, and therefore “guard against evil”. In fasting, by refraining from the natural human urges to satisfy one’s appetite, we are exercising our ability of self-restraint, so that we can then apply it to our everyday life to bring about self-improvement.
2- To attain nearness and closeness to God so that He becomes a reality in our lives. As we bear the rigours of fasting purely for the sake of following a Divine commandment, knowing and feeling that He can see all our actions however secret, it intensifies the consciousness of God in our hearts, resulting in a higher spiritual experience.
3- To learn to refrain from usurping other’s rights and belongings. In fasting we voluntarily give up even what is rightfully ours; how can then we think of taking what is not ours but belongs to someone else?
4- Charity and generosity is especially urged during Ramadan. We learn to give, and not to take. The deprivation of fasting makes us sympathize with the suffering of others, and desirous of alleviating it; and it makes us remember the blessings of life which we normally take for granted.
Proofs on fasting from Quran and Sunnah:-
Fasting is a deeply spiritual practice that is meant to benefit us in body, mind ,and heart.
1-Allah said:يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you may become righteous.”
2- Uthman ibn Abi Al-‘As reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:الصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ مِنْ النَّارِ كَجُنَّةِ أَحَدِكُمْ مِنْ الْقِتَال‘Fasting is a shield from the Hellfire just like the shield of any of you in battle.”
3- Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:إِذَا أَصْبَحَ أَحَدُكُمْ يَوْمًا صَائِمًا فَلَا يَرْفُثْ وَلَا يَجْهَلْ فَإِنْ امْرُؤٌ شَاتَمَهُ أَوْ قَاتَلَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ“When one of you awakes in the morning for fasting, then he should not use obscene language or behave ignorantly. If anyone slanders him or tries to argue with him, he should say: Indeed, I am fasting. Indeed, I am fasting.
4- Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ“Whoever does not give up false speech and evil deeds while fasting, then Allah is not in need of his leaving food and drink.”
5- Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said:لَيْسَ الصِّيَامُ مِنَ الطَّعَامِ وَالشَّرَابِ وَحْدَهُ وَلَكِنَّهُ مِنَ الْكَذِبِ وَالْبَاطِلِ وَاللَّغْوِ وَالْحَلِفِ“Fasting is not merely from food and drink. Rather, it is from lies, falsehood, vain talk, and swearing.”
6- Abu Umamah reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me a deed to do.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:عَلَيْكَ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لَا عَدْلَ لَهُ“You must fast, for there is nothing equal to it.”
7- Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:إِنَّ لِلَّهِ عِنْدَ كُلِّ فِطْرٍ عُتَقَاءَ وَذَلِكَ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍVerily, Allah has people he redeems at the time of breaking fast, and that is during every night.
We ask Allah Almighty to accept our fasting and instill within us all of its virtues.