• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The dictionary definition of fasting is, 'to abstain from eating and sometimes drinking, especially as a religious observance'. This can relate to many religions, including Islam, where followers fast during Ramadan.

Extracts from this document...


Ramadan The dictionary definition of fasting is, 'to abstain from eating and sometimes drinking, especially as a religious observance'. This can relate to many religions, including Islam, where followers fast during Ramadan. A religious fast extends for a set period of time, and is often used as a means of concentrating on beliefs. The Qur'an 2:183 states 'Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may ward off (evil)'. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Fasting takes place on every day of the month for twenty-nine or thirty days. This varies slightly because the Muslim calendar is based on the moon, and the first sighting of the new moon marks the beginning of each month, whilst the sighting of the next new moon marks the end of Ramadan. The Western year, based on the sun, is eleven days longer than the Muslim lunar year; therefore Ramadan occurs eleven days earlier each year, which means that fasting may take place in various seasons and weather throughout a lifetime. During Ramadan Muhammad had his first revelation of the Qur'an, so it is a special month for Muslims. They commemorate this by fasting, which is also called Sawm. The reasons why Muslims fast during Ramadan are that it is the fourth pillar of Islam, and is an obligatory duty and act of worship commanded by Allah in the Qur'an, also that Muhammad set them the example of fasting. Sunan Abu Dawud; Selection of Hadith, no. 55 states 'Umar reported that the people saw the new moon (of Ramadan.) So I informed the messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that I had seen the new moon. Upon this the Holy Prophet observed fasting and ordered the people to observe the fasts of Ramadan'. At the beginning of Ramadan there is great excitement, as people wait for the sighting of the new moon. ...read more.


Fasting during Ramadan is also important because it is the Fourth Pillar of Islam, and a duty and act of worship, which was commanded for them in the Qur'an by Allah. The Five Pillars are the basis of Muslim faith, and without them Islam would not really exist. The Pillars are Shahadah, the declaration of faith, Salah, prayer 5 times a day, Zakah, the giving of money to the poor, Sawm, fasting during Ramadan, and Hajj, making the pilgrimage to Mecca. 'Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you' The Qur'an. Surah 2:183. The prophet Muhammad set Muslims the example of fasting during Ramadan on being told that the new moon had been seen. As Muhammad was Allah's messenger on Earth, Muslims try to follow his example, the Sunnah. 'Upon this the holy prophet observed fasting and ordered the people to observe the fasts of Ramadan' Selection of Hadith no. 55. Another importance of Ramadan is that it teaches self-control. Muslims must have enough self-discipline, not only to resist the temptation to eat all day for the entire month, but they must also not over indulge after sunset. If a Muslim completes the fast, they believe that they will be rewarded by going to Paradise. Ramadan is very important to Muslims, as it shows total obedience to Allah, and to show this is one of the most essential aspects of Islam. For Muslims, helping the poor and needy is the duty of everybody in the society. For Zakah, one of the Five Pillars, it is compulsory to give 2.5% of their savings to Islam in order to support these people. Ramadan is an opportunity for Muslims to understand how people who are starving must feel. They may realise that they will only be hungry until sunset, but for people living in poverty there is no end to their hunger. ...read more.


A fasting Muslims may also become irritable, which could cause arguments that could have otherwise been avoided, and destroy relationships. Other people may also come to resent the person fasting, as they could try to use fasting as an excuse for not performing their usual duties. Another disadvantage of fasting during Ramadan is that it could interfere with social and family life. Eating with friends and relatives is seen as a very social event, and not being able to do so would limit a Muslim's social activities. This may affect their relationships, as friends and relatives may feel that the person no longer has time for them. Family life could be affected, as it would often be necessary for a Muslim woman to cook for her family, and then be unable to eat the food. As, for some people, eating together is an important part of family life, not being able to have a meal together may cause tension, or cause distance between family members. Also, Muslims fasting are not allowed to inhale cigarette smoke, so if a Muslim's friend's are heavy smokers, it may be necessary to limit contact with them throughout Ramadan. When a Muslim is fasting, this could draw attention to the fact that they are different. This could cause bullying and racism, as many people do not understand or respect other religions. Although this could be hurtful, it may have the affect of strengthening a Muslim's character. Although there are advantages and disadvantages for every Muslims across the world that is fasting during Ramadan, the negative aspects may be more apparent in non-Muslims countries. People living in these places, such as the UK, must rely on the strength of their beliefs, whereas Muslims in Islamic countries are able to rely on their friends, their family, and the Ummah. Fasting for healthy Muslims during Ramadan is not optional, as it is one of the Five Pillars, however, for them, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, as they are fasting for Allah. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hajj section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Hajj essays

  1. Muslims beliefs in the afterlife affect their behaviour during their lives. For example the ...

    They are also referred to, to make contempary laws on new ethical issues such as embryo technology. In Islam there are what are known as the five pillars of Islam, they are: Shahdah: This is when a Muslim declares his faith, which states: "There is no God except Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah."

  2. Hajj and its importance to Muslims?

    the house of Allah is the only place to be on earth. People who complete it are pleased with the titles of Hajji (for a man) and Hajja (for a woman). Muslims would want to go on hajj to strengthen their belief in Allah and learn more about the religion of Islam.

  1. ‘Young Muslims in Britain today have many problems in following their religion.’ Do you ...

    Let's consider some of the problems Muslim teenagers might face in schools : School Meals In Islam, Muslims are only allowed to have halal meat - all vegetables an any animal which has been killed according to Islamic regulation with the Bismillah blessing said over it but they are not allowed to eat any products coming from a pig.


    Carrying it out is not only highly holy, but connects each Muslim to all others around the world, and to all those who have uttered the same words and made the same movements at different times in Islamic history. The set prayers are not just phrases to be spoken.

  1. Running Head: Islam Culture Versus Islam Religion & The Western Perception of Islam

    Malays choose to be Muslims as long as they could revert to their own culture and traditions freely. If they had to live without the Hindu culture blended with the Islamic religion, they wouldn't be able to. In the same way, the belief in other forces other than Allah "kills" the fundamentals of Islam.

  2. Five Pillars of Islam.

    On this day Muslims go to the mosque to perform special prayers of thanksgiving. They celebrate by exchanging visits and greetings and preparing special dishes. Hajj- The Quran commands Muslims to make a hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.

  1. Religious Education Hajj Coursework

    This is why it is such an important event for all Muslims. Muslims take this event very seriously. I think that this is why all Muslims go on their Hajj; to get forgiven and to be accepted into Heaven. Another very important event, which has background information, is the stoning

  2. Muslims, who follow the religion of Islam, are widely discriminated against both here in ...

    their religion have fought back physically and verbally which is just another example of the sort of toll that this sort of discrimination is taking with some Muslims. The extent that this prejudice and discrimination has gotten to be is far-reaching and is a result of various elements and happenings

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work