Why Do Muslims Fast During Ramadan?
By Charity RightMar 31, 2022
Ramadan is one of the most important months in the Islamic calendar. This ninth month commemorates the first of Mohammed (PBUH)’s revelations. During this month, on a night known as Laylatul Qadr, Allah (SWT) revealed the first verses of the Quran to Prophet Mohammed through The Angel Jibreel.
Since the Quran plays a central role within Islam, the month that commemorates this is hugely important. Mohammed (PBUH) declared that: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”
But the most well-known part of Ramadan is how Muslims fast during this month. To those not in the know, they all have one question – why?
In fact, “Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?” is one of the most frequently asked questions about Islam.
Throughout the month, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking anything between sunrise and sunset. This abstinence from food and drink is fasting. This is central for Ramadan primarily because it allows Muslims a chance to truly devote themselves to their faith and come even closer to Allah (SWT).
Each day begins with suhur, a meal before the sun rises. As you can imagine, this includes lots of high-protein food and as much water as possible to keep up energy for the coming day.
And energy is needed. Muslims carry on with their everyday life as normal, be it school or work. Some Muslim countries might reduce their hours, but on the whole, it’s business as usual even in Ramadan!
Not every Muslim takes part in this fast though. If a woman is pregnant or has just given birth and is breastfeeding, they’re exempt. Similarly, for those who are too ill or elderly, they aren’t expected to fast.
At the end of each day, once the sun dips below the horizon, Muslims can break their fast with a meal called iftar.
But what exactly is the point of fasting?
Each Muslim has to live by the Five Pillars of Islam, tenets that form the basis for how they’re intended to live their lives. These are:
- Belief (Shahadah)
- Prayer (Salat)
- Charity (Zakat)
- Pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah (Hajj)
- And fasting (Sawm)
The primary reason for Sawm, or fasting, during Ramadan is to establish Taqwa (God-consciousness) firmly in the heart.
“O You who believe! Fasting is prescribed upon you as it was prescribed on those before you so that you may attain Taqwa” Quran – [2:183]
Everyone makes mistakes – we all sin, whether deliberately or not. That’s something that fasting during Ramadan can help. It teaches Muslims to be pious and to restrain themselves from the temptation of worldly pleasures.
Instead of letting the temptation of materialistic desires drive us, fasting helps control those urges that cloud your judgement and focus on your faith instead. It is like a training period – without the distraction of food and drink, Muslims learn to control their vices and urges, they have an opportunity to dwell on their relationship with Allah (SWT), pray to Him and study the Quran.
And this fast doesn’t just include food and drink. During Ramadan, Muslims also give up other activities that may distract them from the primary purpose of Ramadan, such as smoking and sexual activity.
During Ramadan, the Pillar of Sawm can also strengthen other Pillars. For example, fasting can help you focus more on your prayer (Salat) and strengthen your belief (Shahadah). But it’s particularly important for Zakat.
Zakat is the Pillar which commands Muslims to donate a portion of their wealth to charity. By fasting, Muslims can improve their compassion and empathy for those less fortunate.
So not only is Ramadan a time for fasting and improving devotion to Allah (SWT), but it’s a perfect time to give to charity. Fortunately, you’re in the right place.
Click here to give your Zakat and Sadaqah now and donate to Charity Right’s worthy causes.