Believers, fasting have been made mandatory for you as it was made mandatory for the people before you, so that you may have fear of Allah. (The holy Quran, 2:183)

There are several passages in both the New Testament and Old Testament that discuss the greatness and importance of fasting.  Even today we witness Jews and Christians to fast an optional number of days in a year by refraining from meat, milk or other foods.

We also notice fasting in the story of Zachariah and Maryam (Mary) in the Holy Quran whom made a fast of speech.  Apart from the examples present in the scriptures, fasting can even be seen in ancient atheist tribes such as Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and idol-worshipers of India had a practice of fasting. Hence, fasting is understood by human nature as an act that brings them closer to their Creator and Lord. For instance, the idol-worshipers used to fast in order to repent and reduce the anger of their idols after committing any sin. They also used to fast when they had a specific request from idols. This action was a deal between them. The worshiper attempted to achieve his/her request by fulfilling the needs of the idols.

However, the act of fasting in Islam is not considered as a treaty between people and their Lord.  Allah the Almighty is the Creator of the whole universe and is far from any need or imperfection.

Therefore, just as the result of sin returns back to the sinner himself, similarly the benefits of worship return back to the worshiper himself, “We told you if you do good, it will be for your own benefit, but if you do bad, it will be against your souls” (The holy Quran, 17:7).

Allah (SWT) reminds us in the Holy Quran (2:183) that the result of fasting is piety.  Because of their fitra-a soul that was inspired with the faculty of knowing what is evil and what is good- humans have an understanding that if they want to reach a high status of spirituality, then they should stay away from aspects of useless pure desire.  They should consider themselves more valuable than to set a materialistic life as their utmost goal.  In other words, humans should make sure to keep away from things that prevent them from Allah (SWT).

And purity (Taqwa) is gained through fasting and avoiding carnal desires. The simplest and most effective spiritual diet, that is both beneficial for this life and the hereafter, is to avoid the lust of hunger and sex. If a person continues to avoid these lusts, he will gradually control of himself from committing sins. Then he will have strength to stand against sin, For, he who accepts this invitation and stays away from lawful acts of eating and drinking will become more obedient in avoiding sins.

(Selected from al-Mizan Interpretation, under the verse 183 of Surah al-Baqarah)

Roshd website congratulates the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan, the spring for human spiritual growth, and the month for reading and contemplating Quran to all Muslims.

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