Ramadan Fasting And Muslims
For Muslims, Ramadan fasting teaches oneself to learn self-restraint from indulgence in everyday pleasures, for self-discipline, to develop God-consciousness, to develop self-control, to purify the body, and to empathize with the poor and hungry. This involves restraining anger, doing good deeds, exercising personal discipline, and preparing one to serve as a good Muslim and a good person. The holy month is also viewed as a form of spiritual journey, encapsulating them in a feeling of inner peace and tranquility.
Ramadan fasting is obligatory for the healthy adult but, when fasting might significantly affect the health of the fasting individual or when one is genuinely sick, Islam exempts him or her from fasting. Instruction for fasting came from the Holy Quran and for Muslims, it is a great source of guidance to humanity and nothing in it is without the objective of benefits. With that, let’s take a look at some of the psychological and social effect of Ramadan fasting.
Psychological Effects of Ramadan fasting
Psychological effects of Ramadan fasting are well-known thanks to the description of people who fast. Fasting is more than just abstaining from food and drink – it also includes abstaining from any falsehood in speech and action, abstaining from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing, fighting, and having lustful thoughts. Therefore, fasting strengthens a person’s control of impulses and helps develop good behaviour.
On a moral level, believers strive to attain the most virtuous characteristics and apply them in their daily conducts. These characteristics include showing compassion, generosity and mercy to others, exercise patience, and control their anger. In essence, Muslims are trying to improve what they believe to be good moral character and habits. On the surface level, the restriction of food intake from dawn till dusk sends a message that overindulgence in food is discouraged, but instead, only eat enough to silence the pain of hunger, all while tending to all their commitments and never falling short of any duty. This body and soul purification harmonizes the inner and outer spheres of an individual.
Social Effects of Ramadan fasting
An extension to the virtuous characteristics that Muslims strive for in the holy month, Ramadan fasting ultimately affect societal values. To start with, empathising with the poor and giving more alms to the needy sends a message of equality amongst the individuals of the society. The poor are given attention and benefit from charity and the faithful practise of the concept of neighbourhood and hospitality. Apart from benefiting oneself’s to achieve self-purification, these acts of charity addresses key problems within the society and helps to improve the overall quality and harmony of the larger population. The message of equality is resonated again as it also establishes the equality between the rich and the poor; the rich experience the pangs of hunger and thus fulfil their obligations with respect to the poor.
Furthermore, Ramadan helps those with addiction problems since smoking and sexual intercourse isn’t allowed during fasting. It is the best time for them to quit these habits, which is not only detrimental to oneself, but also to the society through environmental effect and health effect (passive smoker). Since they are restraining themselves from these habits for one month, it serves as a powerful foundation for people to cut down their addiction and achieve abstinence. For those who are chain smokers, or nibble food constantly, or drink coffee every hour, it is a good way to break the habit, hoping that the effect will continue after the month is over. In fact, in the United Kingdom, the Ramadan model has been used by various health departments and organizations to reduce cigarette smoking among the masses, especially among Africans and Asians.
Ramadan is a month of self regulation, process of self purification, truthfulness and self trainings with the hope that this training will last beyond the end of Ramadan. If a person take care of their dietary patterns, avoid addictions, speak the truth, practice the concept of neighbourhood and hospitality and give charity as prescribed, the effects of Ramadan fasting will make that become an ideal human beings and ultimately, improves the community.
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Review Date: May 10, 2019 | Last Modified: May 11, 2019
Casablance, Morracco (1994) A Report on First International Congress "Health and Ramadan" Foundation Hassan II, for Scientific and Medical Research on Ramadan.
Turner BS (1992) The Body and Society. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.