Fasting in general is one of the best deeds Muslims can do during the year. But fasting Ramadan in specific is considered one of the pillars of Islam, a shield from the hellfire, an expiation of sins, and an intercession. Fasting is a special act of worship and it needs your patience, your sincerity, and your piety. For that reason, fasting has a great reward in return. Moreover, Allah the Almighty said in Hadith Qudsy ” Every act of the son of Adam is for him except fasting. It is done for My sake, and I will give a reward for it.”
What is fasting?
The word fasting comes from the Arabic words (sawm/seyam/saam) which means to refrain from doing something. Fasting in Islam means refraining from food, drinks, and sexual activity from dawn to sunset with having intention and pure sincerity to Allah.
Kinds of Islamic fasting:
There are two kinds of fasting in Islam obligatory fasting and voluntary Fasting. Firstly, obligatory fasting is The fasting of the Holy month of Ramadan which is the ninth month of the lunar year. Fasting Ramadan is to start fasting from dawn till sunset. Secondly, voluntary Fasting is recommended, and whoever makes voluntary fasting gains a great reward from Allah as they are following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. let’s know some of these times. It is recommended to fast each Monday and Thursday of a week, the 13th, 14th, and 15th day of each lunar month, six days in the month of Shawwal (the month following Ramadan). Besides, the Day of Arafat (9th of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Islamic (Hijri) calendar) and the Day of Ashura (10th of Muharram in the Islamic (Hijri) calendar), with one more day of fasting before or after it.
History of fasting:
Allah the Almighty had prescribed fasting in his divine books including Torah, bible, and the Holy Quran. Fasting had been prescribed upon the previous nations, as Allah said in Quran “O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you1—so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah˺.” Fasting has been proved to be in past nations as Allah said to lady Mary during her pregnancy of Jesus ” So eat and drink, and put your heart at ease. But if you see any of the people, say, ‘I have vowed silence1 to the Most Compassionate, so I am not talking to anyone today.” Moreover, the prophet said ” The prayer dearest to God is David’s, and the fasting dearest to God is David’s. He would sleep half the night, get up to pray for a third of it, then sleep the remaining sixth; and he would fast on alternate days.”
Ramadan fasting prescription:
Allah has prescribed fasting upon Muslims in the Holy month of Ramadan. The fasting of Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam. And one cannot be a true Muslim without acknowledging that fasting Ramadan is prescribed upon every Muslim who is adolescent, sane, able, and free of any obstacle that prevents his/her fasting. Fasting of Ramadan is prescribed in the Holy Quran and Hadith.
In the Holy Quran:
- Allah said ” “O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—”
- Narrated Abu Huraira: One day while Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was sitting with the people, a man came to him walking and asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) What is Islam?” The Prophet (ﷺ) replied, “Islam is to worship Allah and not worship anything besides Him, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay the (compulsory) charity i.e. Zakat and to fast the month of Ramadan.”
- bn ‘Umar reported God’s messenger as saying, “Islam is based on five things: the testimony that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, the observance of the prayer, the payment of zakat, the Pilgrimage, and the fast during Ramadan.”
Why do we fast in Ramadan?
- Adhering to Allah’s command.
- Performing one of the pillars of Islam.
- Following the example of Prophet Muhammed and other Prophets.
- Being closer to Allah as you do a great act of worship.
- Ramadan is a time to work on being more patient, more tolerant, and more mindful of the people around them.
- Learning sincerity.
- Reminding us of the suffering of people who are less fortunate than ourselves.
- Fasting is an exercise in self-control as Muslims try to avoid bad actions and behaviors.
- Training to get good habits.
- Ramadan is the perfect time to bring out the best in you.
What are the behaviors that invalidate fasting?
There are certain behaviors that break one fasting and your fasting will not be accepted by Allah. let’s figure out some of them.
- Eating or drinking intentionally. This includes non-nourishing items taken by mouth.
- Deliberately causing oneself to throw up.
- Having sexual intercourse after dawn to sunset.
- Intending to break the fast before sunset even if one changes his mind since the intention is one of the pre-requisites of the validity of fasting.
To sum up, fasting Ramadan is your golden chance for peace, calmness, tranquility, reward, and forgiveness.