We often say to non-Muslims that we fast to empathise with the needy or for spiritual enlightenment.
While those are true and I certainly don’t deny it, we forget to mention the main reason. The mother of all reasons:
For the sake of Allah.
We fast simply because it’s commanded by God.
Fasting or Sawm is the third pillar in Islam. And so if we say we believe in God, it’s our duty to carry out this act of worship to show our allegiance and faith to God.
While the reason for fasting during Ramadan is to worship and remember God, the impact of fasting is that we turn away from worldly desires and tap into our spiritual consciousness.
This is where the enlightenment comes in.
The less junk we put into our body, the ‘cleaner’ our body becomes and the more sound our mind is.
As an individual, we become physically and mentally healthier.
The impact doesn’t stop at an individual level as whatever we do ripples out towards the community we live in. And so with our better judgement and cleansing of our hearts (hopefully), we’re able to help our community and alleviate difficulties.
The act of not eating does help us to feel how the less affluent feel when they can’t put food on the table let alone have a roof over their heads.
And I’m all for instilling empathy so that we may understand others’ situation and lower our ego.
But as Muslims, our ultimate reason should be for the sake of Allah, the Creator of all beings and the Master of the Universe.
For we are but dependent mortal beings at the mercy of something bigger than us.
I was inspired to write this after watching this video by Subhi Taha.