Intro to Fasting During Ramadan

Once again Allah (s.w.t) has granted us the honor of experiencing the holy month of Ramadan. This post will be a very brief introduction to fasting during this holy and blessed month.
Fasting during the blessed month of Ramadan is an obligatory act of worship. Allah (s.w.t.) says in the holy Quran:

The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.

The Arabic word for fasting is As-Siyam. This word literally means abstinence. Fasting in Islam means to abstain from all forms of food, drink, and intercourse. The main purpose of fasting is to attain taqwa. Taqwa has several different meanings. Some of these meanings include heightened spiritual awareness of Allah, always aware of God, having self-control, abstinence from evil action, fear of Allah, etc. Taqwa is the human characteristic that prevents the individual from committing an evil action.  In order to truly benefit from fasting a Muslim must purify their thoughts and actions. An individual that is fasting must use their eyes, ears, and tongue in a manner that is pure, proper, and pleasing to Allah (s.w.t.). As a person continues to practice restraining himself from the things he most desires in order to please Allah, self-discipline will eventually become part of his nature. Therefore, this individual will be able to attain taqwa. As stated in the holy Quran, the Mutaqeen (those with taqwa) will be rewarded generously by Allah (s.w.t.) in Heaven.

One of the great benefits of fasting during Ramadan is that the fasting person will have the opportunity to feel the hunger and thirst that a poor person may constantly feel. These feelings of hunger and thirst should encourage the fasting individual to be more generous. This is especially important if this individual is financially well off. The holy prophet, who was described as “the most generous of all people” was so generous in the month of Ramadan that his companions described him as being “more generous and charitable than unrestrained wind”. Thus, in order to follow the tradition of the holy prophet Muslims are encouraged to be especially charitable during this blessed month.

Ramadan is the month in which its beginning is compassion, its middle is forgiveness, and its end is a chance to be saved from the fire of Hell. Here is how the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) described the significance of this blessed month:

“A great and blessed month is approaching. One of its nights is better than a thousand months. Allah has made fasting in it obligatory, while worship in its nights voluntary. He who fulfills one religious obligation in it receives the reward of 70 such obligations fulfilled in other times. It is the month of perseverance and endurance which can be rewarded only by admission into heaven. It is the month of comforting in which the means of a believer are improved. He who gives food to another to break his fast is forgiven his sins and he saves his neck from hell”.

May Allah (s.w.t.) grant us all the strength and the ability to take advantage of this blessed month!

Islamic Aqidah and Fiqh by Aisha Lemu