Musings on the Purpose of Fasting

As Ramadan nears its end, I’ve learned something amazing from one of Yasmin Mogahed’s blogs.

In chapter 2, verse 185, God tells us that “The Quran was revealed in Ramadan, and so we should fast therein.” But it is only when we question and ponder over the Quranic commandments do we realize the wisdom behind them. We should think, “Why, what is the relationship between the two?”

I just did, and was hit by an amazing insight.


See, our abstinence from food and drink is, but a symbolical gesture.  It symbolizes life in general – the greater abstinence of abstaining from detrimental things that the Quran warns against! Fasting is supposed to firm our resolve in doing just that, once Ramadan has passed away. We could take it as a hands-on training period to develop Taqwa (God-consciousness).

But, fasting only holds purpose when we’re able to relate the two things mentioned in the above verse, when it reminds us of a higher purpose. It is, but a means to an end, and not an end in itself as many Muslims make it out to be.


And yet, the Iftar symbolizes that abstaining from the detrimental things seems difficult only in the short-term. In the long term, you will be provided with all that you’ve yearned for – a metaphor for paradise.

Indeed, as the Quran says, there are signs for those who give thought. ❤


Related article: 3 Things You Should Avoid This Ramadan To Make It More Spiritually Meaningful!

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One thought on “Musings on the Purpose of Fasting

  1. I would even argue that Ramadan is really not even about abstention, but about living a life based upon what truly matters — the uphill path if you would call it. In Ramadan, one focuses on the introspection of the self, what he is trying to attain in this world and for what purpose. If one could always live in accordance to what truly matters (attaining Paradise, understanding individual purpose etc) as opposed to what the world says is important (accumulation of wealth, for instance), then we are embarking on a meaningful and God conscious life. Though living in a state of awareness along with being authentic to ones self is difficult (much more difficult to deal with your own emotions, deal with the suffering of this world in comparison to simply shutting your eyes and numbing yourself), it will, God-willing, certainly be worth it in the end (Symbolized, as you mentioned, with the iftar). However, the work we must do to attain a place of eternal rest and joy resides right here on Earth, within this very moment. Hopefully Ramadan has allowed us to slow down the pace of time and really be present within each second God has allowed us to be here.


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