The meaning of fasting
The third fundamental act of worship in the religion of Islam is “fasting.” The original Arabic word for fasting is “Sawm,” and from that is the Masdar, “Siyam,” which means fasting. In Quran and Hadith, the two words “Soom and Sayam” are used. “Roza” is also a Persian word, and like some other terms, this word is synonymous with “Sawm.”
As an Islamic term, fasting means complete abstinence from food, drink, and marital relations from dawn to sunset. There are many types of fasts in Islam; some fasts are wajib (obligatory), for example, Ramadan and Kaffa or Nazr fasts. Fasting on certain days is mustahabb (better), and fasting on certain days is prohibited. The fasts have the status of a member of Islamic worship. It means “Fasting Ramadan” means fasting the entire month of Ramadan. This is the reason why, as a fundamental Islamic worshipper and a member of Islam, when the word “Ruz wa Basigha Wahid” is also spoken, it means the month. Fasting during Ramadan is meant only.
Importance of fasting
In order to understand the importance and obligation of fasting, keep the following issues in front: In the Holy Qur’an, while addressing the Muslims in clear words, it has been said,
كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصَّيَامُ
Fasting has been made obligatory upon you. (2:183)
The Holy Quran has determined the month of Ramadan for fasting and also explains the reason that the connection of Ramadan with the revelation of the Quran gives it this importance.
The Holy Quran has described all the basic essential rules of fasting, for example, travel, sickness and times of fasting, etc. From that time when the fasting of Ramadan became obligatory until the end, the Prophet (ﷺ) not only kept fasts every year but also made fasting a collective system like prayer and zakat. Its most prominent features: (a) Suhoor (getting up to eat suhoor), (b) Qiyam al-Lail (reciting the Holy Qur’an at night with extra rakats of prayer, which we call Taraweeh), (c) Sadaqah al-Fitr (end of Ramadan). But the campaign to deliver bread to the needy (1) Eid al-Fitr (not just celebrations, but prayers) are organized.
Ramadan Sharif is the ninth month of the lunar calendar, and its beginning and end depend on the sighting of the crescent moon. The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) explained not only this vision but also the other essential rules of fasting and its objectives in a very clear manner. Like prayer and zakat, the importance of fasting can be estimated from these details. It is also mentioned in the Holy Quran that fasting was practiced as an obligatory act of worship even in the first nations, and it still exists today in one form or another. But there are many more advantages to Islamic fasting, but there is no example anywhere in the world of fasting for a whole month of the year and that too with collective order:
Due to its collective color, Ramadan becomes an atmosphere of goodness in the entire Islamic world. From the localities to the huts and from the cities to the remote villages, Ramadan shines with its splendor everywhere. A suitable and favorable environment is created for fasting during Ramadan. Otherwise, a person fasts out of fear of shame. Maybe this thing will also lead to a change in him.
Purposes of fasting
Abstaining from food and drink is the outward form of fasting; although it is also necessary, it is known from the Book of Vasant that the fasting person must avoid all kinds of bad things. The Prophet (ﷺ) clearly said:
“مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّوْرِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ.”
(He who does not give up lying and doing it, then Allah does not need him to give up his food and drink.
وَعَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «كَمْ مِنْ صَائِمٍ لَيْسَ لَهُ مِنْ صِيَامِهِ إِلَّا الظَّمَأُ وَكَمْ مِنْ قَائِمٍ لَيْسَ لَهُ من قِيَامه إِلَّا السهر» . رَوَاهُ الدَّارمِيّ
He reported God’s messenger as saying, “Many a one who fasts gets nothing from his fasting but thirst, and many a one who prays during the night gets nothing from his night prayers but wakefulness.”
Darimi transmitted it. The tradition of Laqit b. Sabira has been mentioned in the chapter on how to perform ablution. (Mishkat al-Masabih)
Also, remember that fasting and Ramadan do not only have a negative aspect in which only do’s or don’ts are emphasized. They also have a positive side. There are also “Do’s” for many good deeds. Prayers, Nawafl, recitation of the Qur’an, charity, and almsgiving, in order to do all kinds of good deeds in abundance and refrain from all kinds of evil, have been given in this month.
The general benefits of fasting, such as good effects on health, training in perseverance and hard work, feeling the hunger of the poor, etc., all these things are right and proper in their place, but like other forms of worship, fasting is also a direct communication with our Lord. There is a case. In the state of fasting, a person can and should always feel that Allah is near to him. This is the reason why even in separation, where there is no one to see him, he cannot imagine eating or drinking at all. This is self-accountability, based on which the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيْمَانًا وَإِحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَلَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ”
Whoever fasts Ramadan with faith and accountability, his previous sins will be forgiven.
Miscellaneous Fasting Commandments
It is obligatory for a man or woman who is a traveler or a sick person or has any other Shariah excuse to make up for the fasts that he/she missed in Ramadan, i.e., to fast, in the same way as it is necessary to fast in Ramadan itself. Breaking the Ramadan fast knowingly becomes obligatory for sixty (60) days. Eating something forgetful does not break the fast. This also shows us that it is a grave sin to violate the observance of Ramadan boldly.
Kaffarah and Nazr fasts are also obligatory like Qaza fasts. Fasting on the 15th, 14th, and 13th (days of ovulation) and Dhul-Hajj (the day of Hajj) and every Monday (Monday) and Thursday is mustahab (i.e., good and better) of every lunar month. It is not permissible to fast on the days of Tashreeq 13, 12, and 11 of Dhul-Hijjah on both Eid days. These types of fasts have their own rules and problems. Our aim here was to inform you only about the importance of fasting, its essential and relevant commands, and the aims and objectives of fasting.