There are many reasons why people do fast, depending upon the social, cultural, religious, and economic understanding of the people or the individuals. Dr.Allan Cott in his book, Fasting The Ultimate Diet, explains some of the reasons why people do fast. The following is a partial list of the aims of fasting as seen by the author of that book.
- To lose weight the quickest and easiest way
- To feel better physically and mentally
- To look and feel younger
- To save money
- To clean out the body
- To give the whole system a rest
- To lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- To cut down on smoking and drinking
- To get more out of sex
- To let the body heal itself
- To relieve tension
- To end dependence on drugs
- To sleep better
- To digest food better
- To regulate bowels
- To feel euphoric
- To sharpen the senses
- To quicken mental processes
- To save time
- To boost self-esteem
- To learn better eating habits
- To share with the hungry
- To gain control of oneself
- To seek spiritual revelations
- To observe religious rites
- To call attention to social issues
- To slow the aging process
However, Muslims do fast as a religious obligation upon them, so as to please Allah (SWT) and to earn His blessings and rewards.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam (the other four are: the statement of faith, Prayers five times a day, Zakat, and making the Pilgrimage to Makkah). Ramadan is the ninth month of The Islamic lunar calendar. Depending on the phases of the moon, it begins eleven or twelve days earlier each successive year.
The reason Muslim believers fast can be found directly in the Qur'an, the divinely revealed scripture of Islam, and the Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims fast to fulfill a religious obligation and to earn the blessings and rewards of God (Allah - SWT). Muslims believe that Ramadan confers great blessings. The Revelations of the Qur'an started in this month, and the Qur'an is considered to be a guide to mankind. Scrolls of Prophet Ibrahim were revealed to him in the month of Ramadan. The same thing is to be said about Zaboor, Torah and Injeel. All were revealed in the month of Ramadan on Dawood, Moses and Jesus respectively.