Fasting during Ramadan (the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. This month, every able-bodied Muslim, is required to fast, every day from dawn until dusk.
The fast is aimed at developing self-restraint, self-purification, God-consciousness, compassion, the spirit of caring and sharing, the love of humanity and the love of God. The Fast is an act of worship and obedience to God, thanksgiving, forgiveness, spiritual training, and self-examination. It indoctrinates patience, unselfishness, and gratitude, besides cultivating the principle of sincere love. During Ramadan, Muslims devote more time on virtuous acts -- intense study of Holy Qur’an, prayers, charity, and quality time with family, to name a few. It is also a reminder of our duty to our Lord, Almighty Allah, and our purpose and higher values in life, as the Holy Qur’an says: O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. (2:183)
The month provides us intense moral training. Many people who experience fasting, feel the impact that this intense training has on their habits, and realize the power of this transformative tool designed to make us better human beings. The Ramadan atmosphere is the driving force for this positive change.
It makes us realize the reality of life and death. Fasting makes us realize how dependent our lives are on things that we often take for granted, such as food and water. It makes us think about our dependence on God and God's mercy and justice. Moreover, it reminds us of the life after death, which itself has a great impact in our lives.
Ramadan is a blessed month for a special reason: It is the month in which Almighty Allah revealed His final message and guidance the holy Qur’an for mankind to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Therefore, Muslims try to do an intense study of the Qur’an in this month, and evaluate their lives according to the standards and guidance contained in it. In a nutshell, even though the real purpose of Fasting is to discipline our soul and moral behavior, and to develop sympathy for the less fortunate, it is a multi-functional and a comprehensive tool of change in various spheres of our lives, including: social and economic, intellectual and humanitarian, spiritual and physical, private and public, personal and common, inner and outer ---all in one!