With the holy month of Ramadan back in motion again, Muslims all over the world are now fasting from dawn to sunset as required by their religion.
Due to our lack of knowledge about the significance of fasting during Ramadan, we decided to consult our Muslim colleagues and here are some of the interesting facts surrounding this annual routine.
1. Why do Muslims fast?
Ramadan serves as a commemoration of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) first revelation and is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
The instruction from Allah s.w.t to fast is also clearly stated in the al-Quran, where Surah al-Baqarah 183 and 185 reads:
“To those who believe, it is obligatory upon you to fast as it was obligatory upon those before you, that you may guard against evil.”
“Hai orang-orang yang beriman, diwajibkan atas kamu berpuasa sebagaimana diwajibkan atas orang-orang sebelum kalian agar kamu bertakwa” (QS. Al Baqarah: 183)
“Ramadan is the month sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, and also clear signs for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong).”
“Bulan Ramadhan adalah bulan diturunkannya Al Qur’an. Al Quran adalah petunjuk bagi manusia dan penjelasan-penjelasan mengenai petunjuk itu dan pembeza (antara yang hak dan yang bathil)” (QS. Al Baqarah: 185)
2. Fasting has several health benefits
Fasting has been proven to improve the digestive system as it is given time to rest and recuperate. Fasting can also help reduce weight and refresh one’s body, provided that he/she doesn’t overeat outside of fasting hours.
As for the spiritual aspect, fasting trains one in practising stronger self-control in refraining from immoral activities and also helps in sharpening one’s mental state.
Interestingly, heavy smokers usually use the Ramadan month as a “training period” to slowly and gradually quash their smoking habit for good.
3. It’s not just about eating and drinking
One common belief surrounding the fasting month is that Muslims are forbidden from eating and drinking only.
However, there are other activities that they are not to partake in while fasting such as smoking, having sex, swearing, or speaking ill of others.
And if you’re wondering whether they can just “sleep” the temptations off, the answer is unfortunately no. After all, self-restraint is key when it comes to strengthening one’s mental fortitude.
Muslims are also encouraged to do more good deeds, reflect on their values, and increase their knowledge about the Holy Quran and the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
4. Who can be exempted?
While it’s compulsory for Muslims to fast from dawn to sunset, there are several exceptions.
Individuals who are too young, too old, ill, breastfeeding, diabetic, menstruating, pregnant, or travelling (musafir) are not required to fast. However, most of them, especially the travellers, are to compensate for the days they’ve not fasted once Ramadan passes.
5. How is fasting like?
According to our Muslim colleagues, the first week of fasting is usually the hardest but one will eventually get used to it as the days go by.
But, it’s important to note that every person’s physical condition varies and may experience something different.
Now that you know the importance of fasting during Ramadan to our Muslim friends, be sure not to eat or drink in their presence to avoid tempting them even if they are okay with it!
Here’s the Ramadan calendar for 2022:
Cover image via Berita Harian & religionnews.com
Editor: Sarah Yeoh