Fasting is an act of deep personal worship to God in which Muslims seek to raise their level of God-consciousness. The act of fasting redirects the heart away from worldly activities and towards the remembrance of God.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It begins with the sighting of the new moon after which all physically mature and healthy Muslims are obliged to fast for the complete month. Fasting is done as an act of worship and obedience to Allah (God). Between dawn and sunset, Muslims abstain from all food, drink and any kind of sexual contact. In addition to this physical component, the spiritual aspects of the fast include an added emphasis on refraining from gossip, lies, obscenity and in general, any sinful act.
Muslims focus during this month on strengthening their relationship with the Creator. It is a time for spiritual reflection, prayer and doing of good deeds. Fasting is intended to inculcate self-discipline, self-restraint and generosity.
During Ramadan, mosques are full of worshippers, and acts of charity increase, ties of brotherhood strengthen, anger and temper are controlled and an atmosphere of peace prevails. According to psychologists, these are several of the beneficial aspects of conscientious fasting.
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