Fasting in Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Therefore it’s pretty important as pillars hold up a building. Without the pillars, the building will fall. In Islam, we have five things that Allah Almighty has given us specially to hold up our faith and our way of life.
We fast (this is very important, and sometimes as Muslims we forget why we’re doing it) because Allah tells us to fast and that’s it. There is no other reason. Allah Almighty tells us in the Quran:
Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn taqwa (Fear of Almighty).
Fasting throughout Ramazan assists us in gaining a proper perspective on our life. As Muslims, when we pray, we place our foreheads on the floor and address Allah, saying, "I am nothing without You. Without You, I am powerless."
We want to be significant and in command of other people, and we project important pictures of ourselves onto the world. As we pray, our lives are put into perspective. Without Allah, we really are nothing. We could not even breathe without Him giving us life each day, therefore without Him, we are nothing.
So taqwa, fear of the Lord, piety, is what we learn by fasting in Ramazan. That is what Allah tells us. We do not do it to lose weight, we do not do it to please other people, we do not do it to please the other people in the mosque, “oh he’s fasting… isn’t he a good Muslim!” That is not why we do it. We fast to please Allah.
Well, we don’t eat and we don’t drink; but there are many other things we don’t do, we don’t smoke, we don’t take things into our bodies.
In Islam, sexual activities during the hours of fasting are not allowed. Is sex wrong? No, it is not. Food isn’t wrong, drink isn’t wrong but Allah tells us to fast from these things during the hours of fasting,
As well as the things we do not take in, also we try to fast from bad thoughts, from backbiting, speaking ill of people using bad language.
You see, Ramazan is a whole package; it’s not just about missing your lunch, or not having a cup of tea. It is about becoming a better person, a better Muslim. That is why we do it.
Now, if you fasted the whole day, and it could be tough, sometimes you will have a terrible headache, you will not feel well, but at the end of the fast, when we break the fast, you know how good it can feel: “I fasted today for Allah’s sake.” You feel good, doing good makes you good, and it makes you feel good as well; just as doing bad things, if the truth be told, makes us feel bad.
So, there are some people who are exempt from fasting. Who are these?
The chronically ill don’t have to fast, the very old people if it will make them ill they don’t have to fast, a woman who is expecting a baby doesn’t have to fast, little children don’t have to fast… it makes sense.
Ramazan isn’t a punishment, and Allah Almighty doesn’t want to make us ill by fasting. But if these people cannot fast, they can do other things to help them to gain all the benefits of Ramazan as other Muslims are gaining, they can pray more, they can recite the Quran more and so on.
Because we become better people and we become closer to Allah Almighty. That’s what Ramazan is about; it’s becoming closer to our creator. It’s not about keeping rules and regulations; it’s about coming closer to our creator, to become better people, to become better Muslims.
Ramazan is the month of the Quran. The Noble Quran was first revealed to our beloved Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan; and during Ramadan, we try as best we can to recite as much of the Quran as we can.
Ramazan is the month of prayer; it’s a month when we set aside time; it’s a month when we try to get up in the middle of the night, when all is dark and quiet, and all the business of life has gone, we get up quietly, no one need to see us, and we prostrate ourselves before Allah and we listen to Him and we know that Allah is waiting and listening for those who will come to Him in the night and ask things of Him.
So, Islam tells us that Ramazan is the month of Quran and prayer and it is a month of fasting; not a punishment, not of dieting, but of fasting for Allah’s sake, we do it for Allah’s sake so that we are spiritually renewed.
So, Ramazan will be a time when we will become better people, better Muslims for Allah’s sake.