Why do Muslims Fast?

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting has been prescribed as an act of worship by Allah (swt).

“Oh You who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness.” (QUR’AN 2:183)

Fasting is an act of restraining and denying oneself food, drink and other physical desires. It is this action which enables to control nafs (ego) so that we may learn taqwa (consciousness of Allah (swt)).

The Benefits of Fasting:

Cleansing of the Heart

When we fast, we are placed in a state of restraint and abstinence which enables us to develop a great sense of self-awareness and a greater sense of our relationship with Allah (swt). Fasting for his sake, increases us in sabr (patience) and taqwa, leaving us in a position of self-reflection and self-discipline.

Cleansing of the Body

It has long been documented that fasting allows the body to cleanse itself of impurities and toxins. Indeed many dieticians recommend intermittent fasting for its health benefits. By abstaining from food and drink from dawn to sunset, our body is able to rest and repair, expel and cleanse our digestive systems. Blood sugars and cholestrol are lowered and energy levels and reserves are used to improve our overall health.

Cleansing of the Mind

There is no doubt that when we refrain from eating and drinking, we realise how fortunate we are to have food and sustenance. Fasting awakens us to remain grateful for all that we have and to renew our appreciation for our blessings and his mercy. It reminds us to look towards those who do not have the opportunity to eat and drink at their leisure, as so many of us take for granted. This awareness and gratitude enables us to draw closer to Allah (swt) and to those in our world who are suffering.

Cleansing of the Soul

Fasting is an expiation for our sins. Allah (swt) says in a hadith Qudsi “Every sinful deed can be expedited and the fast is for me , so I will give reward for it. And the smell which comes from a fasting person’s mouth is better in Allah (swt)’s sight than the smell of musk” (Bukhari).