How fasting in Ramadan helps in developing self-restraint and self-discipline

The holy month of Ramadan starts from Thursday. It is an illuminating example of how humanity can come together in a positive way for a common good.

Fasting or saum is one of the vital pillars of Islam. Saum is from the root sama, which means ‘to abstain’: abstain from evil speech, evil thoughts and evil deeds.

Saum is an act of worship. It is a silent prayer for the attainment of spiritual exaltation and eternal salvation and gain contentment of our creator.

Contrary to the popular perception, fasting is not about hunger and thirst. It is an exercise in self-restraint and self-discipline. It strengthens our faith in God. It strengthens our resolve to fight the demons inside us.

The month of Ramadan is also called the month of God – Shahrullah – as it strengthens the bond between Him (khaaliq) and us (makhlooq)

The month of Ramadan is also called the month of God – Shahrullah – as it strengthens the bond between Him (khaaliq) and us (makhlooq).

The purpose of fasting is not simply refraining from eating and drinking but refraining from indulging in prohibited acts.

“There are many people who fast, whose fast is nothing but hunger and thirst. There are those whose prayer is not better than wakefulness and hardship. The eating and drinking in case of the former and sleeping in the case of latter are far better options”. (Nahjul Balagha). 

The month of Ramadan is the month of barakah or divine grace, when the gates of heaven are thrown wide open. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said it is the “month of endurance” and the “reward of endurance is paradise”. 

It is the month of action, piety, reform, creativity, generosity. More importantly, Allah revealed the Holy Qur'an via His apostle and vicegerent, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), in this blessed month.

Ramadan honors the memory of sending down of the Holy Qura'n. It hosts a special occasion, the immortal night, Laylatul Qadr

Fasting is the sword and shield against sins. It is the best time to seek Allah's forgiveness for past sins.

“He who fasts during Ramadan with pure faith and seeks reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. He who spends nights in Ramadan praying will have his past sins forgiven. He who passes Laylatul Qadr in prayer, seeking reward from Allah will have his sins forgiven,” said Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). (Sahih Al Bukhari). 

A fasting person is in a state of worship even if asleep. Every breath he takes while asleep is Tasbih, and his sleep itself is worship.

Those who cultivate good and ethical manners in this month will walk over Sirat, the bridge to paradise, on the day when the feet of others will tend to slide. 

Earlier, fasting meant abstention from food and drinks to denote mourning or grief. In the days of Jesus Christ, fasting was regarded as a special mark of devotional spirit.

Then, in Prophet’s time, the people of Makkah used to observe fast on the day of Ashura (10th of Muharram) which also coincided with the custom of changing cover of Holy Kabah.

After the Holy Prophet (pbuh) migrated to Medina, he too observed this fast as duty, till the time obligatory fasts were prescribed. 

Those who cultivate good and ethical manners in this month will walk over Sirat, the bridge to paradise, on the day when the feet of others will tend to slide

Regular observance of fasts creates remarkable power of endurance in a person, besides the special feeling of empathy for the needy.

It also creates sense of equality between rich and poor. Net results are manifested individually as well as collectively through the refinement of character and purification of soul.

Fasting invites Allah’s blessings and mercy. It also has great medicinal value. It is a key to sound health and healthy body. 

Fasting is recognized to be instrumental in alleviating a number of physical diseases and helps in keeping the body fit. So, it is the best month to remember Allah and remember your own well-being. 

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