A Muslim does not eat, drink or smoke and undergoes a severe and rigorous discipline during the month of fasting because of his faith in Allah, and for His love and for fear of His punishment. This continues rigorous discipline strengthens one’s faith in Allah and makes one sincere, faithful and obedient to His command.

Hunger is, in fact, a great revealing experience. It shows people what it is like to be hungry. It helps them to feel and share other people’s suffering in hunger and thirst.

All Muslims, rich and poor, all over the world, go through this experience of hunger and thirst. They all are brought closer to each other through fasting. This is bound to renew their brotherly ties and awaken sympathy for the poor in the hearts of the rich.

During the month of Ramadhan, all Muslims, rich and poor, gather in the mosques at the time of iftari (breaking of fast) and for additional tarawih prayers at night. In fact, it is a great time of great festivities in the mosques.

The rich and the poor all come to the mosque during this month at least and meet each other. This greatly helps to strengthen the feeling and ties of Muslim brotherhood among them.

They feel experience and see brotherhood in practice in the mosques every day during this month. Thus fasting can have immense social value. Certainly it has great social impact when all Muslims, from every walk of life, fast together. They come to gather in large numbers for iftari and for tarawih prayers in the mosques and sit together. It helps to bring them closer to each other, thrilled and filled with sentiments of love and brotherhood.

Fasting has also many great physical benefits for us. Abstention from food and drink for a full month of days does a lot of good to the physical health of the person. It gives the stomach a rest during the day when nothing is eaten or drunk and provides it with an opportunity to do an annual cleaning.

During the year, many kinds of toxic matter and other unwanted chemicals are formed in the body, which, if left there, are likely to cause damage to the bodily

system and thereby invite various kinds of diseases and sickness.

During the month of fasting, the stomach has plenty of time to do the annual cleaning and repairing of the body system. All toxic matter is dissolved, burnt or removed from the body during fasting.

The whole system is cleansed of undesirable and unwanted material and is greatly strengthened after this annual overhauling through fasting. Even fatty substances in the body are eliminated in this process. After this, the body is completely restored to its natural condition ready to face with strength the journey of the next year.

Fasting also helps to strengthen one’s will and determination to face the hardships of life. It is, in fact, a practical training in increasing and building up one’s power of resistance.

Fasting teaches a man moral disciple through practical training during the month of Ramadhan. It is through fasting that he suffers and undergoes trials of hunger and thirst. He goes through this hard discipline day in, day out, for a full month.

He abstains from food, drink and from all other pleasures of life and restrains himself from indulgence in enjoyment during the day. He does this willingly without any external pressure or coercion, merely in obedience to the command of Allah, to seek His pleasure. It helps in building up his moral character.

It also teaches him self-control and self-restrain, in order to overpower his sensual lusts and conquer his physical desires. He does not eat or drink when he wishes, or when his appetite is strong. He eats and drinks at intervals when he is allowed to do so. This enables him to be the master and not the slave of his desires and appetite.

He become strong to control and rules his desires. His confidence in himself grows and his will power is strengthened. He has subdued his wishes and has become master of himself. A Muslim learns to suppress his passions and his desires every day during the month of fasting, for the sake of Allah. Thus, through fasting a man attains real greatness.                             

 (To be continued)

(Prepared by Afzalur Rahman)