14 Nov How does an individual benefit from fasting?
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam and it has numerous merits and benefits.
However, just as with any other act of worship, Muslims observe fasting not for the benefits, but rather because they wish to totally submit to the pleasure of Allah.
The Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an:
“I have not created the jinn and humankind but to know and worship Me alone” [ad- Dhariyat 51:56].
Therefore, we can see that the main reason why human beings exist is to worship Allah, making worship a fundamental aim in itself.
Worship is the ultimate goal of all acts of worship including fasting, prayer, pilgrimage, the prescribed alms, and following His commands regarding what is permitted and what is prohibited.
Believers are aware that worldly benefits are not the ultimate goal of fasting. Muslims draw closer to Allah by abandoning the things they enjoy, and this makes the sincerity of their devotion to Allah all the more evident. They know that Allah will be pleased with them if they abandon worldly comforts for His sake.
The reason for their worship is the Divine command and its result is Divine pleasure.
As for spiritual merits and anything else that may be gained from performing the fast, these cannot be considered to be the sole results, irrespective of how satisfactory the fruits are. Since believers fast to seek the pleasure of Allah and to gain salvation in the Hereafter, it is clear that the fruits and benefits of the fast are in the Hereafter.
Nevertheless, exploring the wisdom behind the act of fasting strengthens the faith of Muslims who are aware that whatever Allah commands is always good and whatever He prohibits is always bad and harmful. This helps them proceed in the awareness that Allah, Who is so compassionate and generous, rewards good deeds both in this world and the Hereafter.