Not only the Muslims fast. It has been practiced in connection with religious ceremonies by Christians, Jews, Confucians, Hindus and Taoists for centuries. God mentions this fact in the Qur’an:
„O you who believe fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become godly.“ (Quran 2: 183)
Some American natives fasted to avert disasters or to repent of sin. North American tribes fasted together to avert impending disaster. The natives of Mexico and the Incas in Peru held fasting as a penance to appease their gods. Late generations of the Old World, like the Assyrians and Babylonians, fasted as a form of penance. The Jews fasted annually as penance and purification on the day of the Atonement or Yom Kippur. No food or drink is allowed on this day.
Early Christians associated fasting with penance and purification. During the first two centuries of its existence, the Christian Church established fasting as a voluntary preparation for the preservation of the sacraments of Holy Communion and baptism, and for ordination. This fasting was later made compulsory, while other days were added later. In the 6th century, Lent was extended to 40 days, on which only one meal was allowed. After the Reformation, most Protestant churches maintained fasting and in some cases put it up for election. Stricter Protestants not only condemned church festivals, but also their traditional fasting.
In the Roman Catholic Church, fasting can mean partial or absolute abstinence from eating and drinking. The Roman Catholic Fasting Days are: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In the United States, fasting is mostly done by followers of the Episcopal Church and Lutherans among Protestants, Orthodox and Conservative Jews, and Roman Catholics.
Fasting has developed another form in the West: the hunger strike, a form of fasting that has become a political weapon in the modern age after it became known through Mahatma Ghandi, the leader of the struggle for freedom for India, who fasted to persuade his followers to follow his principle of non-violence.
Islam has been the only religion to preserve the external and spiritual dimensions of fasting through the centuries. Selfish motives and desires alienate people from their creator. The most contradictory human emotions are pride, greed, gluttony, lust, envy and anger. These feelings are not easy to control in nature, so people have to work very hard to discipline them. Muslims Fast to Purify Their Souls It reins most uncontrolled, wild human emotions. In this regard, people have headed for two extremes. Some let these feelings guide their lives, which in the past led to barbarism and nowadays to the stark materialism in modern consumer societies. Others tried
The fourth pillar in Islam, fasting in Ramadhan, happens once every year in the ninth lunar month, the month of Ramadhan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar in which the Qur’an was sent down:
“The month of Ramadhan (is it) in to whom the Quran has been sent down as guidance for people. ” (Quran 2: 185)
In His infinite mercy, God made an exception for the sick, the travelers, and those who are unable to fast Ramadhan.
Fasting helps Muslims to educate themselves, gain a better understanding of God’s gifts, and develop greater affection for those in need. Fasting in Islam involves abstaining from all physical pleasure between dusk and sunset. Not only is food prohibited, but also any sexual activity. All things that are considered prohibited are all the more prohibited this month because of his holiness. At any time during fasting, the person suppresses their passions and desires out of loving obedience to God. This sense of duty and patience helps to strengthen our faith. Fasting helps a person to exercise self-control. Someone who abstains from permitted things, such as eating and drinking, becomes aware of their senses. An increased sense of spirituality helps to break bad dispositions: lies, staring at the opposite sex with pleasure, chatting and wasting time. Staying hungry and thirsty for a day makes you feel the suffering of the 800 million hungry in this world; or the suffering of one in ten households in the US who are hungry or on the border. How can someone feel with those who die of hunger without ever being hungry? We also see why Ramadhan is also a month of alms and gifts. lets you feel the suffering of the 800 million hungry people in this world; or the suffering of one in ten households in the US who are hungry or on the border. How can someone feel with those who die of hunger without ever being hungry? We also see why Ramadhan is also a month of alms and gifts. lets you feel the suffering of the 800 million hungry people in this world; or the suffering of one in ten households in the US who are hungry or on the border. How can someone feel with those who die of hunger without ever being hungry? We also see why Ramadhan is also a month of alms and gifts.
When darkness falls, fasting is broken with a light meal commonly known as Iftaar. Families and friends share a special late evening meal, often with special dishes and sweets that are only served during this time of the year. Many go to the mosque for night prayers, followed by special prayers that are only performed during Ramadhan. Some recite the entire Quran as a special act of piety, and well-known recitations of the Quran can be heard throughout the evening. The families get up before sunrise to have their first meal of the day, which is supposed to strengthen them until sunset. Towards the end of Ramadhan, Muslims commemorate the „Night of Omnipotence“, in which the Quran was revealed. The month of Ramadhan ends with one of the two major Islamic festivals, the festival of breaking the fast, the so-called ´Iid al-Fitr. On this day, Muslims happily celebrate the end of the month of Ramadhan and usually give gifts to the children. Muslims are also obliged to help the poor and to share in their relief and joy by giving Zakat-ul-Fitr. This is a special levy in the form of food, to which the wealthy are obliged so that everyone can share the general joy of this holiday.