During the Holy month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world leave behind their day to day life and enter a spiritual world full of discipline, humbleness and fasting.
The core significance of fasting in Ramadan is not to deprive us of food and drink. Fasting has been gifted to us in order to attain and strengthen our Taqwa.
Taqwa means consciousness in faith, increased virtue, ethical values and morality. It leads us to love all that is good and refrain from all that is considered a sin. It is classified as a state of purity; of the mind, body and soul.
It is mentioned in Hadith that fasting shall protect us from the fire of Hell and the angels will protect us until we break our fast. However, not everyone can fast. Some may have helpless circumstances, where fasting would be difficult or could have an impact on their wellbeing. Allah SWT is not unjust and does not command from us what we cannot achieve.
These are some common exemptions from fasting:
There are also some occurrences that do not break the fast, these include:
However, there are certain forfeits that apply to most of these exemptions. These are known as fidya and kaffarah, which will be looked at in more detail in Part 2.
For now though, it is worth sparing a thought for those who struggle to fast during Ramadan. These individuals are likely to struggle all year round, and they need the help and support of others. So donate to Muslim Aid this Ramadan, or indeed, any time of year, and help us to help those in need.