Ramadan is an exceptional month on the Islamic calendar whose magnificence and grandeur are unmatched. It comes only once a year and one of its special features is that, if it is spent in pious devotion, the blessings which are widespread will last throughout the year. It may even become a turning point in life.
In fact, “Islam is built on five (pillars): the testimony that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; establishing prayer; paying Zakah; fasting Ramadan; and Hajj to the House(the Ka’bah).” Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). Consequently, fasting in Ramadan reinforces the fourth Pillar of Islam.
Fasting is a philosophy in Islam whose main purpose is to please Almighty Allah; through Ramadan one seizes the opportunity of getting closer to Almighty Allah by obedience to His commandment and order. “Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if anyone is ill or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later.” Qur’an (2:185).
Thus, the purpose of Ramadan is that people become obedient to their Creator. Man was created as a servant of Allah and worshipping Him is part of man’s nature. Allah provided man with food and through fasting tests him to see if he can “set aside” food and beverages to please Allah and control his desires (nafs) for a whole month during the day.
The motive and judgment behind Almighty Allah commanding fasting upon you is clearly revealed in the Qur’an; “O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” Qur’an (2:183).
The sacred month of Ramadan brings to you many lessons, including two main ones, the worship of Allah and to testify a sincere sympathy, love, a spirit of assistance to humanity and to partake in the pains and the happiness of others. For a month, Allah teaches ways to worship Him and gives you the taste of the worship (Ibadah).
In so doing, you try to achieve piety and consciousness of Allah (Taqwa) by doing that which Allah has ordained and to keep away from that which He has prohibited. By giving up drinking, eating and physical contact with the spouse for a short period, you begin to discern and realize their worth and hence, this prompts you to be thankful for them. Allah says: “The most honored by Allah amongst you are those best in Taqwa.” Qur’an (49:13)
Hence, if you can give up permitted (Halal) things for a short time to please Allah and in the fear of Him, you can then abstain from illicit (Haram) things.
While fasting you feel the ache of hunger for a moment; automatically your thoughts go to those who are in this situation constantly. Ramadan fasting raises a feeling of compassion and concern towards the needy which impels you to do acts of kindness.
“O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an action by which I may enter Paradise. He said: Take to Fasting, there is nothing like it.” Reported by Abu Umaamah(RA) in traditions of Prophet (Hadiths)(An-Nasa’i, Ibn Hibbaan, Al-Haakim, Sahih). Paradise, the best of rewards in itself is enough for you to realize the magnitude of Ramadan fasting.