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Some of reasons why fasting is prescribed
08-24-2009, 02:16 AM (This post was last modified: 08-24-2009 02:18 AM by derprinz.)
Post: #1
Some of reasons why fasting is prescribed
Allaah alone is the One Who issues rulings, and His rulings are the most wise and perfect.
Allaah does not prescribe any ruling but there is great wisdom behind it, which we may understand, or our minds may not be guided to understand it. We may know some of it but a great deal is hidden from us.
Allaah has mentioned the reason and wisdom behind His enjoining of fasting upon us, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“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-Muttaqoon (the pious)”[al-Baqarah 2:183]
Fasting is a means of attaining taqwa (piety, being conscious of Allaah), and taqwa means doing that which Allaah has enjoined and avoiding that which He has forbidden.
Fasting is one of the greatest means of helping a person to fulfil the commands of Islam.

Among the reasons behind fasting are:

– Fasting is a means that makes us appreciate and give thanks for pleasures. For fasting means giving up eating, drinking and intercourse, which are among the greatest pleasures. By giving them up for a short time, we begin to appreciate their value. Because the blessings of Allaah are not recognized, but when you abstain from them, you begin to recognize them, so this motivates you to be grateful for them.
– Fasting makes us feel compassion and empathy towards the poor, because when the fasting person tastes the pain of hunger for a while, he remembers those who are in this situation all the time, so he will hasten to do acts of kindness to them and show compassion towards them. So fasting is a means of feeling empathy with the poor.
– The fasting person is training himself to remember that Allaah is always watching, so he gives up the things that he desires even though he is able to take them, because he knows that Allaah can see him
– It makes the Muslim get used to doing a great deal of acts of worship, because the fasting person usually does more acts of worship and gets used to that.
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08-24-2009, 08:51 AM
Post: #2
RE: Some of reasons why fasting is prescribed
A Muslim co-worker - she sat next to an Orthodox Jewish man, both very peaceably - hey this is New York City...

Where was I?

Oh yes. A Muslim co-worker once explained to me that part of the Ramadan fasting ritual was to eat just before dawn and just after sunset. This was to be done in conjunction with the mental commitment to fast as a religious duty and reiteration of that commitment when breaking the fast.

She further explained that traditionally dawn was defined as the time when one can tell a black thread from a white thread and sunset was marked by the call to prayer. But this was not practical in the midst of a Western city and it was done instead by the clock.

I love New York. Every day is an education. Smile
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08-24-2009, 07:31 PM
Post: #3
RE: Some of reasons why fasting is prescribed
The eating before and after dawn is what makes Sawm so interesting, as due to the Muslim lunar calendar Ramadan moves around the western system. Fasting in winter seems to be a little easier, but no food or drink passing lips in summer months is really impressive! It is an admiral way to have empathy with those less fortunate, as well as a great way to make you think of how easy it is in the West to get food. I remember when I was teaching I explained this to classes, and they'd turn, with a look of shock and surprise, to their Muslim class mates, and ask if they did this. I felt this was a nice part of it - that many Muslim kids (a few even younger than they had to) were fasting and just kept quiet about it.
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08-24-2009, 08:42 PM
Post: #4
RE: Some of reasons why fasting is prescribed
(08-24-2009 07:31 PM)Zagreus Wrote:  The eating before and after dawn is what makes Sawm so interesting, as due to the Muslim lunar calendar Ramadan moves around the western system. Fasting in winter seems to be a little easier, but no food or drink passing lips in summer months is really impressive!

In summer, the time between dawn and sunset is really long. To go that far in hot weather without even a drink is definitely impressive.

Ramadan moves around, as you said, due to its being based on a purely lunar calendar. There are not an even number of moons in a calendar year, so Ramadan moves back 10 days every 365 day year. The Jewish calendar is lunar with solar adjustment (the occasional leap month) to keep it more or less in synch with the seasons. The Christian religious calendar is partly lunar/solar/seasonal. Easter, on which part of the liturgical calendar is based, is the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. It therefore cycles around one lunar month. The rest of the liturgical calendar is Western calendar date based, either specific saint's days or the Christmas cycle. The Eastern Rites use a slightly different calendar than the Western Christian churches. Chinese New Year is also lunar/solar/seasonal, cycling around a lunar month, the second following winter solstice.

Fasting used to be an important part of Christianity, especially during Lent, but is nowhere near as widely practiced as it once was. It is still an important part of observant Judaism. One thing that seems to be common to all fasting traditions is the celebratory, family-oriented ‘feast’ when it is over.
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