We all need to understand is that there is most certainly a charity for everything. That is to say, there is something one must give up, donate, and expend for everything in life that’s good and agreeable. And, the charity that you pay for your health is the fast. In the physical sense, fasting allows you to gain health. Fasting helps you to promote health. Fasting produces a spiritual state that, in turn, generates the mental state, the proper conduct, the guidance and understanding that leads one to think, to eat and to act correctly.
Ramadan is a month of Jihad, both within and without. It is a month of physical deprivation through hunger and thirst but also of moral and material reward. Every year we fast during the month of Ramadan. Every year we remember the great Battle of Badr. Every day during this great month of Tilawat and Ibadah we repeat the Most Glorious Qur’an in our homes, our Masaajids and on the airways.
Why is self-restraint important to be successful? Many in Islam say that the strongest man is not he who is the best wrestler, but he who can control his anger. He who can control his anger is able to control his appetite and passions.
It is through fasting that Muslims give up things that are lawful; Muslims give up food and drink; they give up the conjugal rights they have with their spouses. Yes, Muslims give up all these things during the hours of fasting, to gain Allah-consciousness; to get closer to their Glorious Creator and Sustainer and to come to a deeper understanding of the Din of the Almighty.
In this manner, a Muh’min increases his or her remembrance of the Almighty, concentrating on pure and good things. This gives each person an opportunity to purge themselves from things that are not beneficial. Fasting is a tool – a divinely ordained program – so that each may learn self-restraint and appreciate what is of real benefit.
In many ancient faiths (and evidence of it is available even now) fasting was confined to a particular group of people. Among the Hindus, for instance, it was reserved for the Brahmins, and, among the fire-worshipers, for the priests. In ancient Greece only the women folk were required to fast. Islam did away with these classifications and made fasting a universal religious duty.
Fasting in Ramadan reminds the person who fasts that there are people in the world who are hungry even without having to fast. It is the responsibility of all concerned Muslims’ to share Almighty Allah’s bounty with the destitute and less fortunate. Fasting is therefore not only a time of privation, Ibadah and hunger; it is a festival of giving freely, caring and sharing.
During Ramadan, followers of Islam build up credit balances for themselves in the Aghirah. Very intimately tied to the obligation of fasting is the feeding of the poor. Those who are old, or chronically ill, or unable to fast must ransom their fasts by feeding the poor if they have the financial means. Hence fasting in Islam is not simply a duty. It is a lesson.
Muslims purge their hearts of the love for the egotistical and materialistic world during Ramadan. They make their hearts understand the rewards of good deeds and the results of evil deeds while the Door of forgiveness is still open.