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Running head: FASTING IN ISLAM

Fasting In Islam


Fasting In Islam
Meaning of Fasting
Fasting refers to an act of reducing or abstaining from certain or all drink, food or both
for a time for religious sake. An absolute fast is usually described as abstinence from all liquid
and food for a defined period, normally a single day or several days. Other fasts may just include
partially restrictive, limiting meticulous substances and foods. The fast may also be alternating in
nature. On top of food, fasting practices may prohibit other activities such as sexual intercourse.
Fasting in Islam normally practiced during the month of Ramadan. For a period of about 30 days,
Muslims refrain from food, drinks, sexual activities and smoking to pray, as well as engage in
charitable activities. During Ramadan, Muslims only eat at night (Budak, 2006).
Reasons Behind Fasting in Islam
Fasting is an act of devotion undertaken in pursuit of being near to God as well as to
beseech Him for forgiveness and His pleasure upon human life. This is considered as the prime
reason for fasting, and it generates a spirit of faithfulness in man. Another reason for fasting is to
obey the divine order, which is the measure of mans faithfulness to God. It is a severe test
whereby individual subjects themselves to hunger and thirst successfully during the stipulated
time in obedience to God. Moreover, it is through fasting that the value of the reward of God is
enhanced through the formation of artificial non-availability. This is because man can take Gods
plentiful availability for granted, and therefore, this act of devotion helps man seek what he want,
not just getting everything anyhow. Fasting moderates and restrains an individuals activities and
it curbs over indulgence especially after taking a square meal and a glass of water after a long
fast which brings with it the value of Gods bounties (Sunnah Organization, 2012).


Through fasting, human beings become deeply conscious of the discomfort and the pangs
of hunger that the less fortunate members of the society suffer. This rekindles their spirit to give
towards the well being of the suffering brethren. Endurance is also attained through fasting, as
well as the ability to accept the inevitable. This is necessary in preparing an individual to put up
with life situations that cannot be altered. Fasting cultivates fortitude, fighting spirit, and courage
in an individual to undertake lifes heavy odds with a tranquil and cool mind. The power of
concentration and overcoming of obstacles is sharpened through a vigorous fasting process of the
whole month. Fasting teaches confidence and reliance in God, especially when going through
bitter situations in life. It also alternates the state of plenty with scarcity, therefore inculcating in
a man the right attitude no matter the situation. It fosters thanksgiving and gratitude in life, as
well as forbearance and patience in difficult times (Sunnah Organization, 2012).
Benefits of Fasting
Muslim fasting is accompanied by a myriad of benefits. Through the process, people
experience thirst and hunger, and therefore, sympathize with those who lack food. The devotion
also draws people closer to God helping them recognize that everything human beings have been
obtained from God. A feeling of generosity is also generated toward others during fasting
because Muslims usually engage in activities of charity during fasting. In fact, they base their
generosity on Prophet Muhammads sentiments that charity does not diminish ones wealth
(Sunnah Organization, 2012). Fasting natures self-control whereby one is able to restrain himself
from the craving for food. Self control in turn cultivates good habits, good speech, and good
manners. In addition, changing the routine of eating leads to a healthy body. During the month of
fasting, Muslims restrain from alcohol and cigarette, and this benefits the body whereby it gives
the body time to shed off harmful substances. Fasting promotes social aspect, as well as oneness

among Muslims. As Muslims gather to worship during the fasting period, they share what they
have and this promotes oneness and family hood (Budak, 2006).


Budak, A. (2006). Fasting in Islam and the Month of Ramadan (Islam in Practice). Istanbul:
Tughra Books.
Council of Muslim Theologians. (2010). 18 Reasons Why Muslims Should Fast in Ramadan .
Johannesburg, South Africa: Council of Muslim Theologians.
Sunnah Organization . (2012). Why do Muslims fast? Retrieved December 02, 2013, from
Sunnah Organization : http://sunnah.org/ibadaat/fasting/fast.html