Friday, August 13, 2010

Why do Muslims fast?

From Discover Islam:

“O believers!  Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you become more conscious of God.” (Quran 2:183) [Another translation would say, “in order that you become more pious” or Y. Ali says “that you may learn self-restraint.”  The verb is تَتَّقُونَ and refers to taqwa.]

Although in most religions, fasting is for expiation of sin or atonement for sin, in Islam it is primarily to bring one closer to God, as stated in the above-mentioned verse.  Since God-consciousness is the prerequisite for righteousness, great stress is placed on fasting in Islam.  Thus, it is not surprising to find that when Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him) was asked:

“Which is the best deed?”  He replied, “Fasting, for there is nothing equal to it.” (Reported in Al-Nasa’i)

Read the whole thing.  The post reminds me of the verse, “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he would bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).  For us, fasting is a response of faith that renews a hunger for God because we have already been brought close to him in the death of Christ.

Here is a music video (HT: His Peace Upon Us) that explains the benefits of fasting for Muslims.

See The Essence of Ramadan (and Islam) for more on how Muslims view fasting.

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