Fasting literally means to abstain or stay away from something. Islamically, it denotes to abstain from foods, drinks and sexual cohabition from dawn until sunset with the intention of fasting and solely for the pleasure of the Almighty Allaah (i.e. One God).
BY Moulana Ilyaas McAlan Saidi
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islaam. Islaam means peace, to surrender and to submit one’s desires to the will of the Almighty Allaah.
Allaah, the Exalted clearly mentions in the glorious Qur’aan that He ordained fasting upon the believers (thus, Muslims) just as He ordained it upon the previous nations, so that they may be God-conscious. Fasting has been made compulsory and incumbent upon each and every Muslim in the ninth Islamic lunar month, called Ramadhaan.
Between one billion and two billion Muslims from all over the world, shall be observing this sacred and form of worship for a specific period, during the same time, and serving the creator of the entire universe, Allaah Almighty. The month of Ramadhaan stands as the training period for Muslims. From dawn till sunset, one is not allowed to eat nor drink anything, including the permissible foods and drinks (Halaal), and is totally forbidden to engage in sexual activities with his/her legal spouse. So if one is able to abstain and leave out those three most desired and permissible things, then it becomes easy for one not to partake any forbidden (Haraam) food or drink, nor will one indulge in promiscuity with an illegal partner.
By this, one will gain true consciousness and self-discipline. This is the core purpose of fasting — to recognise the position of our maker and sustainer by fulfilling His commands and staying away from His prohibitions.
Fasting during the month of Ramadhaan has been made compulsory upon every Muslim, males and females, above the age of puberty. Exempted from fasting are non-Muslims, children below the age of puberty, travellers, those whom fasting can deteriorate their health standards due to sickness or oldage.
The month of Ramadhaan is also known as the month of sympathising. The rich and the poor are all equally obliged to observe fasting. In this worldly and temporaly life, Allaah Almighty blessed some above others in sustenance and wealth. Through fasting, the rich ones can practically experience what the less fortunate and the poor go through on a daily basis. They therefore, deeply appreciate and are grateful for what they have in hand, and will be in a position to share with their poor relatives, neighbours and friends. May Allaah Almighty bless us all and guide us to the straight path. Aameen.