Fasting in Ramadan creates a mental barrier between the believer and the world, resulting in a form of detachment which is of the highest value in devotional life. The Qur’an declares the primary purpose of fasting is that, “…you may learn taqwa…”. The word taqwa, for which there is no precise equivalent in English, refers to the immediate consciousness that Allah is watching one’s acts. Those who have carried out the Ramadan fast know how much one’s other acts of worship improve as one’s awareness of Allah progressively grows through fasting.
Fasting awakens in man the feeling of gratefulness. The temporary deprivation of food and water emphasizes the importance of these mundane things as divine blessings. Then when he partakes of food and water after having experienced hunger and thirst, he can feel how truly precious the food and water provided to him abundantly by Allah is. This experience increases manifold his feelings of gratitude to Allah.
Fasting produces moral discipline within man. By restricting the basic things he desires, the devotee is trained to lead a life of self-restraint and not of permissiveness. What the speed-breaker does for the speeding motorist, fasting does for the devotee.
By having a curb put on his various desires for one month at a time man is trained to lead a life of selfrestraint for the whole year, making no attempt to exceed the limits set by Allah.
What man does by fasting is engage himself more and more in the remembrance and worship of Allah, and in the recitation of the Qur’an. Thus fasting serves as a strategy to increase the efficacy of worship. In this way Allah accepts our worship in its heightened form.
Fasting is, in short, a training course. Its purpose is to place man on a special spiritual plane for one month so that he may be better able to lead the life of a true devotee of Allah and a true lover of humanity.