Thank you so much for sending your question. We appreciate your interest in Islam and the thoughtful discussion you are raising with us.
The purpose of Ramadan is not solely to control one’s food intake. Rather, the purpose of Ramadan is to achieve “taqwa”; you can call it God-consciousness. This basically means being conscious of our Creator enough that we eagerly do what He pleases and what is right, and we refrain from what displeases Him and what is wrong.
If, as you mentioned, certain individuals come out of Ramadan the same way they entered it, then maybe they’ve missed the point. We ask Allah Almighty to guide them and show them the purest way of conduct in this life and reward them in the next.
One observation I have is that you have made a generalization based on the few Muslim friends you know. But, can you say with certainty that there aren’t thousands or even millions of Muslims who have indeed benefited tremendously from Ramadan spiritually, physically, intellectually and socially? The point is, we don’t have accurate data to make generalizations.
In all cases, Allah Almighty guides and instructs people and it is upon them to either follow or miss the point.
As they say, don’t blame the game, blame the players.
I personally am surrounded with people who have benefitted immensely from Ramadan, increased in righteous habits, abandoned harmful ones and are currently continuing the fast of the recommended 6 days of Shawwal as the Noble Prophet said:
Abu Aiyub Al-Ansari (RAA) narrated that The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal will be (rewarded) as if he had fasted the entire year.” [Related by Muslim].
So, the point here is that we can’t make generalizations based on a sample that might not be representative. The best thing to do is ask like you’ve so graciously done.
For many people around the world, Ramadan continues to be a time of immense spiritual elevation. It is not merely about food, but rather the deep connection and consciousness of the Creator. It was Ramadan years ago when I first decided to wear the hijab after reading the beautiful explanation in the Qur’an, and I still reap the immense benefits of this decision in my life to date.
It was also in Ramadan when I made supplications to convey the message of Islam as best I could to all sincere seekers, and I still reap the fruits of my supplications to date.
It was also Ramadan two years ago when one of my dearest friends has embraced Islam, and the impact of this decision on her life has been indescribable. I can’t recall how many times she’s expressed being relieved, happy, and in-line with her purpose in life.
So, Ramadan is life-changing. It is one of the greatest blessings we’ve been given by the Creator, truly, and I say this with utmost sincerity.
When it is lived as the Creator instructed, it becomes an unrivaled experience.
You can read here our previous answers on the purpose of Ramadan as mentioned in the Qur’an:
And here is something I wrote also in this regard.
I truly hope this helps, and please continue to send us your questions; we’ll gladly respond to all of them.