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Why No Water While Fasting?

Questioner

Jaap

Reply Date

Apr 26, 2018

Question

Hi, I understand that it is easy not to eat for a long time. But it is difficult not to drink for a long time. Water makes 75% of our body. Can you explain to a reader like me why in Muslims' fasting they do not drink water for long time? Keep up the good work.

Consultant

Answer


No Water

Salam (Peace) Dear Jaap,

Many thanks for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Fasting is a topic that fascinates many who are not Muslim.

It is also one of the questions most often on the minds of those who are new to Islam, because they have not fasted before and they don’t know what to expect.

I remember the first time I fasted during Ramadan. Actually, I wasn’t Muslim at the time, but I fasted with my pupils in school.

It was the least thing I thought I could do to show my solidarity and support for them.

Little did I know that the following year, I would be Muslim myself, fasting as a Muslim during Ramadan during the hours of daylight.

What did it feel like to fast for the first time?

Well, in fact, you hit the nail on the head by asking about water, because I found that it was not the lack of food that was a problem, but the desire for something to drink.

Muslims read in the Quran what means:

{And we send down water from the sky according to (due) measure, and We cause it to soak in the soil; and We certainly are able to drain it off (with ease). With it We grow for you gardens of date-palms and vines; in them have you abundant fruits: and of them you eat (and have enjoyment)} (Al-Mu’minun 23:18-19)

Water is just one of the many gifts we take for granted in this life. Just think how many times we have recourse to water during the day. 

One of the effects of fasting during Ramadan is that it brings all of these things into focus, helping us to remember all the many blessings we receive and take for granted, such as food and water, and the love of the people who are dear to us.

In Ramadan, we give thanks for these things. We can even thank Allah Almighty for the rain, which is so often a nuisance to us, yet which during those fasting days of Ramadan, would be most welcome to trickle down our faces. Why No Water While Fasting

We also remember all of those in this world who do not have the good fortune that we have of being able to drink or eat whenever we wish.

There are many people who will not end the days of Ramadan with a special meal of celebration, but will go hungry because they have neither food nor drink.

All of this, though, is just a prelude to telling you about why Muslims fast. They don’t do it to feel good, or to soar to great heights of spirituality, or for any other reason than the fact that Allah Almighty has commanded them to do so.

It is one of the five “pillars” of Islam, which are required of all Muslims.

These five pillars help us to live as Muslims.

We read in the Quran:

{Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, and also clear signs for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting.} (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

By the way, despite what anyone may claim, Islam is eminently sensible and practical.

It is also very reasonable, so you will see that fasting is for those who are at their homes.

In other words, those who are travelling are not required to fast.

So what, then, is the fast about?

Why do Muslims fast at all? Again, we have recourse to the Quran:

{O You who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn self-restraint.} (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

Muslims fast because Allah has commanded them to do so. Why else would anyone choose to do such a thing?

They fast to please Allah.

In fasting, they give up not only food and drink. In fact, the fast is total. Between the hours of daylight, Muslim men and women refrain from food, drink, and sexual relations with their spouse.

They also refrain from such things as smoking, bad language, and even bad thoughts.

What use would it be to fast all day if a person was thinking ill about others?

The only thing he would gain by doing this, according to our Prophet, is that at the end of the day he would be hungry and thirsty.

So, yes, water is included in the fast. For some it is easy. For others (like myself) this is the most difficult part of the fast.

The lack of water means that towards the end of the day, about one or two hours before it is time to break the fast, I tend to get a headache or feel drowsy.

However, knowing that we do this for Allah and by doing so we please Him, is enough for any Muslim to carry on the fast willingly.

When we consider the terrible sufferings which have just been undergone by our brothers and sisters in countries under attack and in apartheid as we see in Gaza, who have not only lost their homes and their own limbs, but also their children and family members, it is nothing to go without water for a few hours.

When we see how heroically they endured this suffering, giving thanks to Allah even while the bombs were falling around them, it encourages all Muslims to do this small thing in giving up food and water for Allah’s sake.

When the day’s fast is over, all Muslims will join with their family and friends, to break the fast and to give thanks for the gift of food and water, which we so often take from the hand of Allah without even a thought.

It feels good to have fasted during the days of Ramadan, most importantly because it has reminded us that we have been called to be Muslim and that we have carried out this fast for Allah’s sake.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Salam.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

The ABCs of Fasting in Ramadan

Fasting in Different Religions

What Fasting Does to Muslims

Stories of Converts’ First Ramadan (Folder)

 




About Idris Tawfiq

Idris Tawfiq was a British writer, public speaker and consultant.He became a Muslim around 15 years ago.For many years, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom.Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest.He passed away in peace in the UK in February 2016 after a period of illness.May Allah (SWT) have mercy on him, and accept his good deeds. Ameen.

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