The act of fasting defines a Muslim.
Islam is based on 5 core principles; believing in these principles is key to being identified as a person of the Islamic faith. These five principles are also referred to as the five pillars of Islam, namely Shahadah, belief in one God (Allah) (SWT), Salat (prayer), Sawn (to fast) and Hajj. These are acts that Allah (SWT) has ordained compulsory. Fasting is one of the five pillars meaning that to fast during the month of Ramadan is mandatory for all able Muslims.
There are many spiritual and physical reasons behind fasting during Ramadan.
“One of them, in particular, is mentioned in the Qur’an, and that is in order to develop a higher consciousness and a higher level of mindfulness of Allah the creator, “The second is purification of the self from all bad habits or sinful characteristics so, while we fast as Muslims, we are obligated to reflect and to pay attention to our own habits and to sort of unlearn the bad ones and, hopefully, learn some good new ones in their place.”
“The third reason is to learn self-discipline and self-control so one of the major objectives of fasting is to teach the individual that he or she can control his or her desires.”
As humans, we are susceptible to sins and transgression of the boundaries established by Islam and fasting teaching us to be pious and restrain ourselves from worldly pleasures. The idea is to ensure we are not led astray by materialistic desires and to be able to control urges that can cloud judgement. This requires a fixed training period where Muslims have enough time to know and learn how to put an end to vices, learn virtues and obtain Allah’s (SWT) blessing.
Islam preaches equality and Allah (SWT) made fasting during Ramadan to make the rich and the poor equal in terms of asking for forgiveness for their past sins. Ramadan is a month when many prayers are listened to and answered.
These are just a few reasons why Muslims fast during the blessed month of Ramadan. It defines them as followers of the Islamic faith and billions of Muslims around the world will continue in the tradition of fasting from sunrise to sunset.