Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the Pillars of Islam, and thus one of the most important acts of worship. By fasting — whether during Ramadan or other times — a Muslim draws closer to his Lord by abandoning the things he enjoys, such as food, drink and sexual intercourse. This makes the sincerity of his faith and his devotion to Allah (God) all the more evident. The believer knows that Allah will love him when he is ready to abandon worldly comforts for Allah’s sake.

Allah tells us in the Qur’an that fasting was prescribed for those before us (i.e., the Jews and Christians) and that by fasting we gain taqwa, which can be called the care taken by a person to do everything Allah has commanded and to keep away from everything He has forbidden. Fasting helps prevent many sins and is a shield with which the Muslim protects himself from Hell-fire.

Fasting is more than abstaining from food and drink. It also means to abstain from any falsehood in speech and action, from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing and fighting. Therefore, fasting helps to develop good behavior.

Fasting also inculcates a sense of brotherhood and solidarity, as a Muslim feels and experiences what his needy and hungry brothers feel. Moreover, Ramadan is a month of giving charity and sharing meals to break the fast together.

A Muslim is encouraged to read the entire Qur’an during Ramadan and to perform extra salah (ritual Prayers) at night. Thus Ramadan becomes a blessed month of physical and spiritual renewal through fasting and worship.