Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam. Muslims observe the fast happily in obedience to Allah and to seek His reward. Ramadan is a great chance for Muslims to be united and maintain their faith. It teaches Muslims spiritual discipline, self-control, patience, and perseverance.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following: Muslims fast in order to obey the order of Allah, their Creator. Being All-Wise and All-Knowing, He alone knows what ails humans and what benefits them. As Muslims we believe that God Who created us has provided for our spiritual welfare even as He has provided for our physical needs. He did so by sending prophets and messengers who guided us unto the straight path, and by adhering to it, humans can realize their full humanity and attain ultimate felicity in this world and the next. Fasting in Ramadan, together with prayer, zakah and pilgrimage to Makkah, is part of a comprehensive program whose purpose is to inculcate in humans true consciousness of their mission in life as God’s servants and develop the right attitude.
Among the many benefits of fasting are the following:
1. It deepens our spiritual awareness by inculcating God-consciousness.
2. It helps our bodies to recuperate and renew; it is comparable to the state of hibernation that all creatures in nature go through.
3. It helps us train in patience.
4. It creates empathy for the poor who are starving.
5. The month of Ramadan gives us a month-long training course to enable us to break free of our bad habits and develop new positive habits.
6. Through fasting we discover true spiritual identity, for too often our entanglements in the physical cares and concerns make us forget our true destiny: We proceed from God and we are ever journeying unto Him.