By Alh. Abdulfatai Abdulrauf
The month of Ramadan is dedicated to fasting in Islam. Linguistically, fasting means abstaining but religiously it has to do with abstinence from food, drink and sex as well as other vices that would make us far from righteousness.
How did fasting come about?
The Islamic fasting started around the second year after Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam migrated to Medina in the month of Shaban. This is the month that comes before Ramadan, meaning while the Muslims were in Mecca before the migration to Medina, there was no fasting regulation. Although they fasted, there was no specific significance attached to it.
The verses were revealed afterwards that made it compulsory for every Muslim to fast in the month of Ramadan (Quran 2 vs 183). It says “O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you —so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah˺”. This instruction was, particularly to the believers. Allah gave direction on how to fast, the time to begin and end.
Why do we fast?
Fasting helps attain righteousness. It is one of the five pillars of Islam that is between a person and his creator because someone can pretend to be fasting and others won’t know.
The prophet Mohammed SAW said fasting is like a shield that prevents one from committing sin and ultimately going to hell. By fasting, you are more inclined to the path of righteousness, thus moving towards paradise. It also makes us more focused and committed to worship.
Similarly, Prophet SAW said when someone fasts, he receives a response from the Almighty God.
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