Fasting in Ramadan is an essential Muslim Ritual. Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan, meaning that they try to stand against all human temptations. They do not eat and drink from dawn to dusk, besides trying not to do all the evils which they are ordered no to do, like telling lies, backbiting, etc. Quran insists on the importance of fasting in many verses. The most relevant Quranic reference to Fasting in Ramadan is as follows:
"O you who have faith! Prescribed for you is fasting as it was prescribed for those who were before you, so that you may be God-wary. That for known days. But should any of you be sick or on a journey, let it be a [similar] number of other days. Those who find it straining shall be liable to atonement by feeding a needy person. Should anyone do good of his own accord, that is better for him, and to fast is better for you, should you know." (2: 183-184)
But what are the effects and the outcomes of Fasting in Ramadan? Why does the holy Quran insist on Fasting, calling it a ritual for the believers to come to Allah's way? Let's study a few purposes and effects of fasting together.
Fasting in Ramadan is a great help in growing patience. Tolerating hunger and thirst for long hours makes one more tolerant. It augments the power of self-control, be it physically or mentally, control over habits and putting aside bad and wrong behaviors. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) calls Ramadan the month of patience: "O people, surely there is a month in which exists a night, worthier than a thousand nights, and that's the month of Ramadan. Allah obliges us to fast, and that is the month of patience." 
According to the verse above (2: 183), the purpose of Fasting is getting closer to Allah, and being more devoted to Him. This verse is referring to the reality behind those hardships, which is finding a better self and a more Allah-knowing creature. And this is the path of perfection for each of us. It brings us good, both here and in the afterlife  Besides, through submitting to Allah's will, despite its challenges and hardships, we learn to serve Him under any circumstances and lay our trusts on whatever He had destined for us. Fasting in Ramadan is a chance to remind us that Allah's command is above any of our desires and wishes, and at the same time, His will undoubtedly results in our own benefit.
Fasting is a ritual that is done just for Allah. One who fasts is only considering the satisfaction of Allah, and that is their ultimate goal. As a result, Allah gives extra values to those who fast. He considers his/her sleeping worship, his/her silence a remembrance of Allah. He accepts his/her rituals and responds to his/her Dua . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) narrates that Allah said: "fasting is for me, and I AM the one who praises that."  This has a lot to say; it shows the greatness of the strives of human beings to keep themselves away from sins and also eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse. He has created us and knows the difficulty, and He is the one who best knows how to praise the efforts of His own creatures.
According to a research done on the effects of fasting on growing self-esteem, reducing stress and depression and better mental health on 60 medical students, it's been concluded that the test takers who fast had higher self-esteem, less depression, and anxiety, obsession, phobia, paranoid thoughts, hostility, etc. 
Besides its beneficial mental effects, Fasting has great impacts on physical health. Our body uses the sources of unused energy inside during Fasting, and that causes the repulse of many toxic combinations in our body. Some medical practitioners believe that Fasting is a great cure for cancer. It also cures many digestive diseases in the stomach, intestines, and bladder. In another study on medical students, the results showed that Fasting had a significant effect on the immunity of their cells and total better cell activity .
These are just some of the purposes of Fasting. One needs pages to write about the positive effects of this ritual. In our other articles, we will discuss Fasting more.
- Thavab-al-Ammal, p 143
- Kanzol Ammal, Hadith 564
- Savvab ol Ammal, p 77
- Saduq, "While there is no Faqih," Vol. 2. P 43
- Javanbakht, Maryam (2010) Study on the effects of fasting in the month of Ramadan on self-esteem and mental health of medical students Fundamentals of Mental Health, Pp 73-266
- The effects of Fasting from the Medical Practitioner's point of View, Zanjan University at
Looking at Imam Hussain (AS)'s movement and the incidents that took place on Karbala, one might wonder if Imam Hussain (AS) ever had the intention of going to war with Yazid or not. In what follows, we raise some questions that will reveal Imam Hussain (AS)'s real attitude toward war.
He did not wish to take the oath of allegiance of a ruthless and corrupt person as Yazid, so he decided to peacefully migrate from Medina to Mecca in which many people had not accepted Yazid’s oath of allegiance yet. In his will which he wrote before leaving Medina, he says:
“I am not leaving here out of selfishness or with the aim of oppression or corruption, but for the sake of improving Muslims’ condition of life. I want to enjoin the right (Amr bi-l-ma’ruf) and forbid the wrong (Nahy’ ani-l-munkar) and to act according to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)’s and Imam Ali’s (AS) way”.
His first motivation to leave Medina was migration, not war. So he left Medina to Mecca along with his family and companions without making any violent move against Yazid. On the day of Ashura on which Imam Hussain (AS) was martyred, 17 to 19 people of his family and relatives were among his companions, including some women and children. Among the martyrs of Karbala, also, there were five teenagers and children. One might ask, as Charles Dickens once asked if Imam Hussain (AS) were after worldly desires as taking over the throne, why would he take his family and children with him and risk their lives?
Imam Hussain (AS) had no intention of going to Kufa, but he was persuaded to do so by the many letters he received from Kufa people asking him to help them against Yazid’s tyranny. His speech in front of Hur’s army proves this fact:
“O’ people! This is my last word to you so that there would be no excuse in Allah’s presence. I would not come to you if you had not sent your letters and messengers and asked me to come to you. You told me that you didn’t have a leader and wanted Allah to guide you through me. So, if you still keep your words, I will come to your city, and if you don’t want me to come, I will return.”
When surrendered by Hur and his army, Zuhair, one of Imam Hussain’s (AS) companions, suggested fighting them. Since they were not still much in number and Imam Hussain’s (AS) camp had the strength to defeat them. However, Imam Hussain (AS) rejected his view and told him that if there would be a war, he did not wish to be its initiator, though he would defend himself if necessary.
Imam Hussain (AS) wanted to postpone the war as much as possible, not because he was afraid of fighting, but to give the enemy more time to think twice about their wrong decision. So, when on the evening of the 9th of Muharram, Umar ibn Sa’ad gathered his army and got them ready for the war, he sent them a message and asked them to postpone the war until the day after and he spent the night praying to Allah.
Even on the very day of Ashura, Imam Hussain (AS) did his best to dissuade the enemy of choosing the wrong path and losing the God-given blessing of life for a ruthless tyrant as Yazid and his vain intentions. That is because Imam Hussain (AS) who was the spiritual leader of Muslims and cared about their fate more than his own life, found it his responsibility to guide them toward what is right before it was too late [i].
[i] For more information see Salam Islam's ebook: 40 Points about Imam Hussain (AS) and the Event of Karbala
No matter if you were born a Muslim or you’ve just converted to Islam; understanding the Quran may be hard for you, because the Holy Quran, unlike any other books, is not classified in chronological or in subject order. You can see that in many cases Quranic stories are repeated in different chapters with slight differences. And when you start reading one chapter, you realize that the topic changes from one point to another. You may think that there are many sudden transitions in the Quran that make understanding it much harder for you, especially if you don’t know Arabic language and you use a translation.
There are also some verses that have been revealed in specific contexts, and you may never understand the meaning or the wisdom behind that verse if you don’t know about the context. As well as translating the Quran into your language, using a dictionary, may not help you understand the whole concept of a verse or a chapter.
Here we are going to share some tips that you may find them useful in the way of understanding the holy Quran and therefore learning more from it.
At the beginning of the Holy Quran, Allah mentions that this book about whose truth is no doubt will be a guide for pious people.  Those “who believe in the Unseen, maintain the prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them; and who believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter. And who believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter.” (2: 2-4)
Here, God is enumerating the characteristics of those for whom the Quran will be guidance. It means that if a person does not have the above characteristics, he should not expect to be guided by the Quran. Therefore, one of the steps of understanding the Quran is to discover and obey its basic rules and regulations.
“Indeed this Quran guides to what is most upright, and gives the good news to the faithful who do righteous deeds that there is a great reward for them.” (17: 9)
Before finding solutions on how to understand the Quran, we need to find out the probable reasons for which the Quran is a hard book for us. As mentioned in the Quran, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) complains to Allah “O my Lord! Indeed my people consigned this Quran to oblivion.” (25: 30)
Hence, if one does not read at least a few verses of the Quran every day, he should not expect to comprehend its messages. However, for those who recite the Quran and are eager to grasp its insights, there are some instructions given by Allah.
“When the Quran is recited, listen to it and be silent, so you may receive [Allah’s] mercy.” (7: 204)
When you go to a classroom, and the teacher is describing something, you need to respect and adhere to the rules of the classroom. It is much more important to be polite and pious while we are being spoken to and taught by God. And as mentioned in the above verse, if we abide by the rules and be respectful, the real teacher of this world will start to teach us. Allah (SWT) promises in the Quran “Be wary of Allah and Allah will teach you, and Allah has knowledge of all things.” (2: 282) Allah enjoins his most faithful servants to ask Allah for knowledge. 
It is based on the same reason that Allah gives his pious servants knowledge and wisdom. “When he came of age, We gave him judgment and [sacred] knowledge, and thus do We reward the virtuous.” (12:22).
As you see in this verse, the requirement of gaining knowledge and wisdom from God is to be virtuous. Real knowledge and wisdom is not something that you can learn in any university or school or workshop. Wisdom is something given by God to His chosen people. And as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the chosen people who take the best benefits from the Quran are those who are pious, believe in the unseen, pray and give charity, and believe in all holy books. 
“…So recite as much of the Quran as is feasible...” (73: 20)
More important than listening to the Quran, is reciting it. In the above verse, God recommends us twice in one verse to recite the Quran as much as possible. This shows that even if we do not understand the real meanings behind the verses, the miraculous characteristics of the Quran will influence us. One of these characteristics as mentioned in the Quran is that when a person recites the Quran God will “draw a hidden curtain between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter…” (17: 45- 46)
“Do they not contemplate the Quran?” (4:82)
Some people are very much concerned about reading a considerable number of verses every day. It is not condemnable as God Himself recommends us to do so. But let’s keep in mind that quality is sometimes more important than quantity.
Since the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) gradually, some faithless people were complaining why the Quran is not revealed to him at once. Allah (SWT) replied the reason: “So it was, that We may strengthen your heart with it, and We have recited it [to you] in a measured tone.” (25: 32)
Therefore, if we want to understand the Quran comprehensively, we should recite it gently, so that we can contemplate its verses.
“… Ask the People of the Reminder if you do not know.” (21: 7)
God tells us to refer to people of wisdom and knowledge and ask them our questions if we cannot reach the answers by ourselves. With regards to Quranic questions, reading or listening to different interpretations of the Quran can be a great help. Different Quran interpreters have discovered different points about the meanings of Quranic verses.
The knowledge in interpretation of the Quran is limitless, and each commentator can find out some points about a verse, and there are still many points that have not been known. And it is one of the miraculous aspects of the Quran; that every individual may understand its points based on his/her conditions of time and place. That is why in Quranic interpretations there is always space for growth in understanding the meanings. Hence, do not stick to one interpretation and try to read and listen to different commentaries. Then you can compare them to each other, and at some points, with the help of Allah, you might find some new points about specific verses.
“We did not send any apostle except with the language of his people so that he might make [Our messages] clear to them.” (14:4)
This verse shows that there should be many different reasons for which the Quran was revealed in the Arabic language; the most important reason is that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was sent in a specific place and time and to people of a specific language. Perhaps it’s better for you to get familiar with Quranic Arabic which is not as hard as you think. Many of the words used in the Quran are repeated many times. This way you can start to memorize Quranic words that are most common, and gradually increase your knowledge of Quranic Arabic.
There is no problem in reading the translation of the Quran, as well as it is not a required condition for being a Muslim. But believe it or not, the joy of understanding the Quran in its real language is so different from reading the translation. It is like watching movies, with subtitles. We may understand the main points, but the real feeling is not conveyed to us.
In this article, we tried not to use any other sources other than the Quran itself to guide us in the way of understanding it.
"We send down in the Quran that which is a cure and mercy for the faithful, and it increases the wrongdoers only in loss.” (17: 82)
Therefore, as you try and read and obey the orders of Allah as mentioned above, make sure that He will reward your eagerness in understanding it by teaching it to you in a miraculous way.
- The Quran (2:1)
- The Quran (20: 114)
- The Quran (2:1)