It's that particular time of the year once again, when you are more likely to check the time than you are to check Snapchat, when you are less likely to converse with individuals around you out of concern that your breath will frighten them away, and when you are more likely to get a variety of queries from those around you.
At this time, many of our non-Muslim friends and coworkers ask us why we fast, and the answer that the vast majority of us provide in response is that we do it so that we may feel empathy for those who are less fortunate.
This is correct; yet, what does the Qur'an really have to say to us concerning the practice of fasting? In Surah Al-Baqarah [2:183], Allah (swt) says, " You who have believed, in order for you to become virtuous, the act of fasting has been determined upon you, just as it was declared upon those who came before you. " This scripture gives us the command to exercise our faith by abstaining from food and drink throughout the month of Ramadan.
What do we learn from fasting?
It teaches us that the objective of the fast is not to lose weight or show off, but rather to voluntarily fast out of the sincerity of our faith. The second point that the text makes is that the practice of fasting will assist one in arriving at a state of righteousness. (taqwa). So what does it really mean to arrive at a state of righteousness?
As we fast, we put ourselves in a more spiritual frame of mind, which helps us learn how to be more submissive to our Maker. This entails putting a stop to inappropriate behavior and actively seeking out positive alternatives.
Consider it in this light: if you are able to manage your want for food, which is something that you really need in order to survive, then you are also teaching your mind to regulate other desires and temptations (things you are able to live without). Take some time during the holy month of Ramadan to reflect on the purpose of your fasting. Indeed, abstaining from food may help us have more empathy for others who are less fortunate.
Certain chores are necessary.
So instead of doing that, why not simply spend the day with someone who is homeless?
While abstaining from food can assist us in controlling our anger, why don't we simply enroll in some seminars on how to better deal with it?
Why do we have to abstain from food and drink for a period of one month at a certain time of the year?
As you can see, there are various reasons to fast, but the primary one is to gain favor with our Creator.
May Allah (swt) bless all of our fasts, pardon all of our sins, and improve our faith throughout this holy month. Ameen.