Here from S13 is a discussion by a student this term about Ramadan:
our group discussion, the topic of the Muslim month of Ramadan came about. I thought it would be nice to share some information about this month for the rest of the students!
Every year, Muslims have a month called Ramadan. Muslims follow the lunar calendar (it's more accurate than the solar calendar) so the months shift by 10 days every year. We still have 7 week days and 30 day months, all without the need for a leap year every four years.
So we have Ramadan, and Ramadan is a very holy month. During this month, Muslims who have passed the stage of maturity are required to fast during daylight hours. This means that from sunrise to sunset, we do not eat or drink. When the sun is down, we are allowed to eat and drink as normal.
Muslims fast primarily so that they can realize what it is like to be poor without food, and this helps them become more generous and give to those that don't have as much. It helps them realize about the plight of people around the world who do not have anything to eat.
I must say that this month really opens up one's eyes. In this rich Western society we do not appreciate food to the extent that we should. We throw away so much, meat, vegetables, grains, etc. We know that people around the world do not have it. But like they say, you do not appreciate what you have until it is taken away.
And it is during this month that you actually appreciate the food that you have. There is nothing like abstaining from water for 12 hours to make you realize how sweet and precious it really is. It puts things into perspective. You realize that you have been blessed with sustenance, and that others are not as lucky.
The hunger that you feel all day also serves as a reminder to protect you from other sins. Because hunger is a constant feeling, you are continually aware that you are fasting, and therefore continually mindful of God.
So if you are tempted to lie, or steal or cheat etc you won't do it because you're constantly reminded that you're fasting for God, and you're constantly reminded that God doesn't want you to commit those other sins. The hunger reminds you that God is always present and that you must live your life morally.
This whole deal lasts for a month because that is a sufficient time to build habit - if you abstain from sins like lying or cheating or stealing for a whole month, it's probably going to become a habit for you so even after the month is done you'll still be living with goodwill. So, the month is like a yearly rejuvenation for Muslims that makes us better people in general!
Fasting also has incredible heath benefits. It's good for your metabolism and stamina, acts as a detox session, and allows you to burn off a lot of excess fat. In a week I lost several pounds, all fat. When I look in the mirror I can see my muscle tone more clearly, which is definitely a plus. So all in all it's a whole month of rejuvenation, spiritually and health wise as well!