What is definition fasting? What are the benefits of fasting?
The Dictionary and Term Meaning of Fasting
The dictionary meaning of fasting is; to keep oneself away from an action, to refrain oneself from eating and drinking.
Fasting as a fiqh term means; “for people who are held responsible in carrying out this ibadah, to stay away from eating, drinking and engaging in sexual relations with the intention of ibadah, from the time of imsaq up until the setting of the sun.’’
The Importance and Benefits of Fasting
The ibadah of fasting has many benefits for a person. Fasting strengthens a persons willpower and in this way allows them to control the wants and desires of their nafs. The person that holds themselves from commiting sins because of the desires of the nafs due to the fasting, they will reach spiritual maturity from keeping away from sinning. The person who strengthens their willpower because of fasting, they will strive to carry out Allah’s commands in the way they are meant to be carried out.
The fasting person, better understands the value of the nimahs he could not benefit from, due to staying hungry all day long, and he will refrain from wasting them. Along with this, he is always in rememberance of Allah, the one that has bestowed upon him everything that he owns. When this is the case, he will naturally keep himself away from commiting sins.
A person may encounter many difficulties and tribulations in their life, for the person to be able to stay strong and overcome these difficulties and tribulations they must need to have sabir (patience). Fasting teaches a person to become patient. Our Prophet-peace be upon him-has expressed this truth by stating: “Fasting, constitutes half the patience.”
The person who fasts better understands the situation of the poor. He will reach out his hand to help them even more than he ever has.
Another hadith expressing the importance of fasting is as follows: A man came to the Rasulullah-peace be upon him- and said “Order me to do something in which Allah will make me benefit from.’’
Our Prophet –peace be upon him- stated: I recommend fasting to you, continue with that. Because that is an ibadah that is like no other.’’
Because fasting awakes feelings of compassion, love and mercy in people, it will allow for peaceful feelings to take the place of resentments and disappointments.
Fasting will be reason for a persons body to rest, and to work in the proper way. Due to fasting the harmful oils that are accumulated in the body are melted and the body is comforted. This is why our Beloved Prophet has stated: “Fast and you will be healthy.”
Another hadith of our Prophet regarding the topic of fasting is as follows: ” Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. The person who is fasting should not say any unpleasant words. If somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say to them twice, ‘I am fasting.’ (Allah has stated:): The fasting person has left eating, drinking and engaging in sexual relations for my sake. Fasting is an ibadah that is only made for Me And I will give the reward for it.”
Our Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam has expressed with this hadith that fasting is also reason for the forgiving of sins. ‘’He who observes the fast of the month of Ramadhan out of sincerity and hope for the reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.“
 Sunanu Ibn Majah, Kitabu’s-siyam, 44.
 Sunenu’n-Nesai, Kitabu’s-siyam, IV, 165.
 Sunanu’t-Tabarani, Babu’s-sawm, 5.
 Sahihu’l-Muslim, Kitabu’s-siyam, 162.
 Sahihu’l-Bukhari, Kitabu’s-sawm, c. II. s. 288.
Source: Fiqh1 (According To The Maliki School Of Islamic Law), Erkam Publications