Wednesday, June 19, 2024

OPINION AND ANALYSIS | 23-03-2023 19:08

Ramadan: Much more than fasting

In Islam, fasting for Ramadan is not just diet, but a way to live in peace.

On the eve of Ramadan, I often feel a mixture of joy, excitement and nervousness. Fasting entails missing coffee in the morning or during work meetings. I have to omit sports in the first few days, until my body has adapted to the new rhythm, which means I miss football. My biggest concern, however, is whether I will be able to fulfil the deeper purpose of the fast, which requires many sacrifices and constant effort.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is one of the five pillars of the religion and is an obligatory commandment for all Muslims. Although, there are some exceptions – For example, exemptions are made for those who are ill or in poor health, pregnant or nursing women, children and adolescents who have not yet reached physical maturity, women during their menstrual period, and those who are travelling. Such persons must make up for the missed days of fasting afterwards or, as atonement, feed a needy person for the same number of days.

Ramadan is an extremely important month in the life of every Muslim because during this time, one not only abstains between sunrise and sunset from food, drink and sexual intercourse, but also focuses on improving one’s spiritual and moral state.

Hence, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "God does not need the renunciation of food or drink from the person who does not renounce the practise of falsehood and evil deeds."

The spirit of Ramadan, with the performance of intense prayers, frequent recitations of the Holy Qur'an and vehement efforts against one's ego, provides believers with the opportunity to experience a spiritual rebirth. Fasting not only requires a Muslim to suffer from hunger and thirst, it also requires a person to keep away from all vices and evil. During this month, emphasis is placed on acts of charity and generosity, fulfilled to draw closer not only to the Creator, but also to his creations, regardless of creed and ethnicity.

This is why the Prophet of Islam gave the following recommendation to his followers: “Fasting is a protection [against sins]. Therefore, when one of you is fasting, let him not speak inappropriately or act foolishly. If anyone disputes with you or insults you, say, ‘I am fasting, indeed I am fasting.’”

Fasting is not merely a diet, but a way to live in peace. Thus, following the month of Ramadan means seeking and finding the peak of your moral and spiritual life.


*Imam Marwan Gill is Islamic theologian and President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Argentina. 

by Imam Marwan Gill*


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