Ramadan 2019 – Day 5 : Spiritual benefits of fasting during Ramadan
Ramadan 2019 –Day 5: Spiritual benefits of fasting during Ramadan
The common perception among people regarding Ramadan and fasting which Muslims do in it is that it is only to cause suffering to the human body where the body has to live from dawn to dusk without drinking or eating anything. Thus, for such people fasting is only a means of depriving the body of its nutrition and keeping one’s self hungry.
But according to the believers Fasting is not just nutrition deprivation and hunger- rather it is much more than that. It is an exquisite means of spiritual purification and transcendence. Therefore, thinking of fasting as a compulsion for keeping oneself hungry is undermining its great potential that it carries. The lines below discuss the spiritual importance of fasting and how it can help in elevating the spiritual stature you currently hold.
Apart fasting being one of the Five Pillars of Islam it also has many benefits – let us look at why an average Muslim fast during the month of Ramadan. Here are the 9 benefits of fasting in the holy month.
1 Spiritual Purification
One of the primary benefits of fasting in Ramadan is spiritual purification, the essential goal of Islamic Spirituality. Although we tend to think of the mind, body and spirit as separate components, in reality, they are all connected and interrelated, and improvement in any one naturally affects improvement in the others as well.
2 Health benefits
It has now been scientifically documented and demonstrated that one of the most effective factors in improving human health and longevity is the reduction of intake and consumption. Fasting in Ramadan allows the digestive system, the engine of the body, to rest from the normal demands of processing and breaking down food, freeing up system resources to cleanse and purify the body of accumulated toxins, thereby allowing more effective healing and tissue repair. Fasting in Ramadan keeps the body healthy and youthful (provided one does not overindulge when breaking fast).
3 Teaches to appreciate Society
One of the greatest benefits and reasons for fasting in Ramadan is renewing solidarity and cultivating positive relationships with one’s family and community. The only one who observes fasting in Ramadan can truly know the beauty and joy of breaking fast with others, celebrating the gift of life daily for thirty days with loved ones. Fasting in Ramadan is truly one of the greatest social experiences a human being will ever have, and this is one of the most important aspects of this unique pillar of Islamic practice.
4 Teaches to be Thankful
It’s true that one generally does not realize what he or she has until it’s gone or not available, and by fasting in Ramadan, Muslims become acutely aware of the unlimited abundance of divine favour God Almighty has blessed humanity with, particularly with regards to sustenance. The cultivation of gratitude is a core purpose of Islam, and few spiritual practices cultivate gratitude as does fasting in Ramadan!
5 Teaches Humility
By fasting in Ramadan, a Muslim realizes how totally dependent we as human beings are upon the divine grace of God for survival, and humility is a natural result of this realization. Generally, we take things for granted and become heedless as a result of living in the world, Dunya, yet by fasting in Ramadan, we are continually reminded of our frailty and dependence upon the Divine, leading us to humility, reverence, piety and selflessness — primary goals of Islamic Spirituality.
6 Teaches Compassion
Although we live in a world of natural abundance, of divine grace and providence, unfortunately, due to a lack of empathy, compassion and solidarity among human beings, there are many throughout the globe who still struggle with hunger, poverty, lack and scarcity. When a Muslim observes fasting in Ramadan, he or she feels the hunger that many experiences daily as a normal consequence of their circumstances.
By fasting in Ramadan, we develop the holy qualities of empathy and compassion, becoming more aware of our intrinsic connection and oneness with all human beings regardless of borders or labels that create artificial separation among the citizens of the human race. This then leads us to greater contribution and selflessness in the service of our fellow human beings, constituting one of the most valuable reasons for fasting in Ramadan.
7 Teaches Self-Discipline
The modern world and its culture are largely defined by materialism, consumption and instant gratification of desires. This results in the diminishment of human consciousness, the regression of planetary culture and the suppression of the soul. Yet by fasting in Ramadan, a Muslim consciously curtails this unhealthy norm by intentionally practising restraint and self-discipline, separating him or herself from the animal kingdom which is governed by the unconscious drive to satiate one’s immediate physical needs and desires.
8 Teaches Detachment
Fasting in Ramadan is thus an essential practice for attaining true freedom and independence from Dunya, the external world of form and appearances, and for the liberation of the soul from the self, the mind-body that is unconsciously driven by fear and the struggle survival. When living without discipline and restraint, life quickly becomes overly complicated, leading to a heavy burden that results in unnecessary stress, anxiety, unhappiness and difficulty.
9 Teaches how to Focus
With the constant demands of modern life, it’s all too easy to become lost and forget who we are, and so to unconsciously forget our divine purpose and destiny. Without the constant reminder, we become lost in the dream of Dunya and become disconnected from reality.
Fasting in Ramadan for thirty days is a powerful practice in restoring and strengthening focus, direction, balance and purpose to our lives. Fasting in Ramadan is a Gift from God.