The benefits of Fasting are not limited purely to the spiritual aspects of life. In Islam, the spiritual, social, economic, political and psychological all intermingle in a consistent and cohesive whole. We give below under the four major sub-heads the blessings to be had from Fasting:-

Social Aspects

Fasting promotes the spirit of -

1. Unity and belonging within the Muslim Ummah. Millions of Muslims all over the World fast during the same month following the same rules.

2. Equality of mankind before Allaah. All the Muslims, male and female, rich and poor, of all ethnic backgrounds, go through the same experience of abstinence and discipline with no privilege or favour for any class or group.

3. Charity and sympathy towards the poor and the need. The rich may "imagine" the sufferings of the poor or "think" about hunger. Yet one cannot appreciate the ordeal until he/she actually "experiences" the same. This may explain, in part, why Ramadhaan is described by the Holy Prophet as the month of patience and compassion, great and glorious and an auspicious month.

4. Sociability: Muslims are urged to invited each other for Iftaar, for Qur'aanic study, sermons and supplications. Such gatherings provide a better chance for fraternisation in a spiritual atmosphere.

Health and Medical Aspects

The medical and health benefits of fasting include the elimination of harmful fatty substances from the blood, relief from certain types of intestinal and stomach aliments and the renewal of body tissues. Needless to say that some aliments may get aggravated by Fasting, in that case, the person is exempted from fasting. For those who may be addicted to unhealthy habits such as over-eating, smoking; self-restraint enjoined in Ramadhaan is an excellent means to drop the bad habits. In this sense, fasting is also the annual physical over-haul of the body.

The main motive behind fasting is to obey Allaah and to seek His pleasure.

Spiritual and Moral Aspects

Fasting is an act of -

(1) Sincere obedience and submission to Allaah, out of love for Allaah and the earnest desire to gain His pleasure and to avoid His displeasure. If there were no other reason for Fasting except the above, even then it would be more than reward,

(2) Faith in Allaah as the Real Master and Sustainer of mankind and the Universe. It is to His Mercy that we owe our existence and sustenance.

(3) Atonement for one's errors and mistakes. The Prophet (S.A.W.) has said:

"Whoever fasts (during the month of) Ramadhaan with Imaan (heartfelt belief) and earnest desire to seek the Pleasure of Allaah, his past sins are forgiven." (Ahmad)

(4) Taqwa (to be mindful of Allaah). If one volunteers to refrain from lawful Things, one would be in a better position to keep away from things unlawful.

(5) Honest endeavour. Unlike other acts of worship, Fasting is entirely based on an inner effort at self-restraint. No one can know for sure the fact of fasting, for one may break it in secret. Fasting thus combines sincerity and faith.

(6) Virtue. Fasting does not exclusively mean refraining from food, drink and sex. Ideally it means refraining from all vices and evils. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) has said:

"If one does not abandon falsehood in words and deeds, Allaah has no need for his going without food and drink." (Bukhari)

The month of Ramadhaan with its additional prayers (Taraweeh) and frequent recitation of Qur'aan Majeed provides an occasion for spiritual embellishment.

Psychological Aspects

Fasting promotes -

(1) Inner peace, contentment of heart, and confidence born out of optimism. These feelings are the direct result of Allaah's pleasure.

(2) Patience and perseverance and the urge for moral accomplishments.

(3) Realisation of the Mercy of Allaah in all its forms which are normally taken for granted (until they are missed!)

(4) The quality of adaptability to the different conditions and circumstances of one's life.

(Courtesy: Yaqeen International)






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