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"For Muslims, fasting has both advantages and disadvantages" - discuss in relation to Ramadan

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Introduction

"For Muslims fasting has both advantages and disadvantages" Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic year (the Islamic calendar is lunar so therefore the ninth month always changes) observed as sacred with fasting practiced daily from dawn to sunset. The Month of Ramadan is when it is believed Muhammad received the words of Allah (the Islamic word for God) through the angel Jibril, which was later transcribed as the Islamic holy book the Qur'an. Therefore this month is extremely special for Muslims. Fasting during Ramadan constitutes one of the five pillars that make up Islam so is therefore compulsory to all those expected to fast. The only people exempt from fasting are: * Children under twelve * The mentally ill * The elderly - as it would be too strenuous for them but instead they must feed at least one poor person for every day that they have not fasted. * Pregnant women or women that are breast-feeding. The ill, women who are menstruating and travellers are exempt from fasting but they must make up the days they miss later on. ...read more.

Middle

This shows that for some Muslims hunger is not always a problem and that the body can adjust to a different eating habit. However, it should be noted that there is a slight risk that some people may develop an eating disorder as a result. Another possible disadvantage I can think of is for a Muslim to be excluded due to fasting from social interactions with non-Muslims. Non-Muslims who do not understand the importance of fasting for Muslims might exclude them just because they do not know how to handle food related gatherings with Muslims during Ramadan. Also being around non-Muslim co-workers might mean there is a lot of temptation around. 'A lot of people find it strange when they see a person practising Ramadan and ask awkward questions... and there's always a lot of temptation around you that makes you want to break the fast' - A young Muslim woman from Leicester University. This could result in a Muslim feeling very lonely if they do not live in a community where there are other Muslims. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is my opinion that people are more at peace with themselves because whilst Fasting one is not troubled with trivial things and has more clarity towards life. "When I took part in my first fast of Ramadan I had never felt as close to God as I did then"- A Muslim. I believe the reason why Muslims feel closer to God is because they are doing something purely for themselves and for God. I also think that they feel more connected with God as Ramadan requires a lot more focus on prayers so if one is concentrating on prayers then one should automatically feel very close to their God. In conclusion, I believe that Ramadan has a major effect on the lives of Muslims for both negative and positive reasons. However, it is clear to me that the positive aspects far out weight the negative aspects. Therefore it is my belief that Ramadan is very beneficial and a life enriching expereience for Muslims. Laura D'Anzieri 10HD February 2004 ...read more.

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