Salam (Peace),

Thank you for your question. Muslims fast Ramadan according to the command of God in the following verse:

{O you who believe. Fasting has been prescribed for you, just as it was prescribed for those who came before you (i.e. Christians, Jews, etc.) so that you may learn piety.} ( Qur’an Chapter 2: verse 183)

According to the teachings of Islam and prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, the fast that Muslims perform is the same as the fasts performed by the devout followers of Jesus, Moses, David, Abraham, and all prophets of God, may peace be upon them all. Prophet David is known to have performed the best fast. Throughout his whole life, he fasted every other day. We are not expected to live up to this standard, but we are expected to follow the example of God’s final prophet to mankind, Muhammad, peace be upon him.

We believe that Jesus, peace be upon him, fasted as we fast. We do not eat or drink at all from dawn (before sunrise) until the setting of the sun. With all due respect, merely refraining from some types of food or drink while engaging in others is not a true test of self-restraint. True learning or change takes place when we break cycles and routines and replace it with something better. A minor shift in our eating habits may be fulfilling for some, but real change or growth happens when we really put ourselves to the test.

The fast in Islam does not put most people in danger of harming themselves, however, there are exceptions for those who are elderly, suffer from medical conditions, are pregnant, travelling, etc. and would be putting themselves through great difficulty or jeopardizing their health by adhering to the rules mentioned above.

Above refraining from food and drink, Muslims are required to abstain from sexual relations during the day, avoid vain speech, lying, cheating, throughout the month of Ramadan. We are encouraged to strengthen family ties, visit the elderly and the sick. We are encouraged to feed the poor and provide for their needs as best as we can while fasting. We are encouraged to avoid conflict and arguing as much as possible so that we truly practice self restraint in real terms.

This is the fast of Muslims. I encourage you to explore Islam more and hope that you will share your new-found knowledge with your fellow Christians as well. One of the best ways to learn more about Islam is to visit a mosque during Ramadan and see for yourself the best that Islam and Muslims have to offer.

I hope this has helped you. Please keep in touch.