What is Fasting In Islam?
Fasting in Islam holds tremendous spiritual and physical benefits for Muslims. It is a means of purifying the soul, strengthening faith, and developing self-discipline. Fasting also promotes empathy towards the less fortunate and serves as a reminder of the blessings one has.
Moreover, it has been scientifically proven that fasting can improve physical health by reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Through observing the fasts prescribed in Islam, Muslims strive to strengthen their relationship with Allah and become better individuals, contributing positively to society.
Here we will learn the following:
History Of Fasting In Islam
Fasting existed before the advent of Islam. The Jews used to fast some days of the year as an expression of grief. The Christians also had separate days during the year that they were keen to fast. Additionally, the ancient Egyptians used to fast under the pretext of drawing closer to the dead.
After that, Islam established special foundations and legislation for fasting, like the rest of the acts of worship and obligations.
Fasting was imposed in Islam during the second year of the Islamic calendar, known as the Hijri year. Ramadan was designated as the month of Fasting at that time. Since then, Sawm during Ramadan has remained an essential practice in the Islamic faith and an integral part of Muslim culture.
Allah mentioned the commandment of Sawm Ramadan in the Quran: “O you who believe! Sawm is imposed on you as it was imposed on those before you, so that you may become pious.” (Quran 2:183).
What Is The Purpose Of Fasting In Islam?
Fasting is a way to prove submission to Allah, increase one’s taqwa (piety), and seek forgiveness for sins. Fasting also serves as a reminder of those less fortunate and encourages empathy and charity towards them.
While abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours, Muslims can develop self-control and discipline that they can apply to other areas of life. Additionally, Sawm is a way to purify the body and mind and draw closer to Allah.
Benefits Of Fasting In Islam
Fasting in Islam has many benefits, both physical and spiritual. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Fasting provides an opportunity to reflect on one’s life and priorities. Besides, it helps set goals for self-improvement.
- Fasting has several physical health benefits, such as weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, Improved cardiovascular health, and reduced inflammation.
- Fasting helps Muslims cultivate taqwa (God-consciousness). That is by controlling their physical desires and focusing on spiritual growth.
- Fasting reminds Muslims of the condition of those less fortunate. It also encourages them to engage in acts of charity and compassion.
- Fasting encourages Muslims to be grateful for the blessings in their lives.
Fasting Days In Islam
Sawm Ramadan is the most considerable and widely observed fasting time in Islam. It lasts for one lunar month and involves refraining from eating, drinking, and sexual activity from dawn till sunset.
In Islam, Sawm Ramadan is obligatory. But there are other voluntary fasts too. Voluntary fasting is an act of worship that a Muslim can choose to do outside of Ramadan. There are several days for voluntary fasts in Islam, including:
1. Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays
It is recommended to fast on these days as they were Sunnah from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
2. Six days of Shawwal fasting
That is a voluntary six-day fast that Muslims can perform anytime during Shawwal, the month which follows the end of Ramadan.
3. Fasting on the white days
These are the 13th, 14th, and 15th days of each lunar month.
4. Fasting on the day of Arafat
Muslims fast on the day of Arafat on the 9th day of Zul Hijjah, the Islamic month within which the Hajj (pilgrimage) occurs. Some Muslims prefer to fast for the first nine days of Zul Hijjah, as the Prophet (PBUH) used to fast them.
5. Fasting on the day of Ashura
It is also a voluntary fast that can be committed on the 10th day of Muharram, the first Islamic month in the Hijri calendar.
These voluntary fasts are not mandatory but are highly rewarding. Besides, it can help one gain greater nearness to Allah (SWT).
Reward Of Fasting During Pregnancy In Islam
Fasting is a form of worship in Islam that can help strengthen one’s relationship with Allah. It is required for all able adults, but young children, the elderly, and menstruated women, pregnant or breastfeeding, are exempted from fasting.
While there may be rewards for fasting during pregnancy in Islam, it is generally not recommended for the health of both the mother and the unborn baby. It is best to consult a trusted healthcare professional before determining fasting during pregnancy.
Yet, if a pregnant woman chooses to fast, the reward for her will be great in the hereafter.