The Three Principles of Fasting in the Month of Ramadan

The three principles of fasting in Ramadan are abstention, Tawheed (monotheism) and devotion. Without these three principles, the Muslim fasting has failed.

Ramadan occurs annually and it's a month of fasting that's considered mandatory for all Muslims, except if they are sick or in the midst of traveling. Whether doing a required fast in Ramadan or a voluntary fast, such as on the day of Arafat, Muslims follow the three principles of fasting. A Muslim cannot have a successful fast without following those three principles which include:
  • Abstention: No food, intercourse, bad speaking, lying, stealing or fighting.
  • Tawheed: The belief in One God, Allah as the sole provider of everything.
  • Devotion: Loving Allah and the Prophet more than their self or loved ones.

 What is Abstention in the Month of Ramadan?

Abstention means to go without many things; it's not just a matter of going without food and water from sunrise to sunset. Ramadan serves as a reminder for Muslims, who experience a bit of what it's like to be poor and to go without; it instills compassion and awareness. Ramadan requires all Muslims to ensure that their neighbors have sufficient food and clothing. Through abstention and following the three principles of fasting, all devout Muslims experience immense joy during the month of Ramadan.

Abstention also includes avoiding intercourse or sexual relations with the spouse. Intercourse or sexual relations can be resumed after the fast is broken until the start of the fast the following morning, if desired. Before the fast can resume the next morning, both husband and wife must fully bathe.

Muslims must also give up bad speech, and they avoid watching and listening to material dealing with forbidden subjects. During Ramadan fasting, Muslims must not lie, steal, backbite, be guilty of scandal mongering and they cannot smoke until the fast is broken. If the fasting Muslim makes a mistake in eating accidentally, it's acceptable to ask for forgiveness from Allah; then, the fast is resumed. In Islam, engaging in sexual relations during the Ramadan fast nullifies the fast.

Tawheed, the Main Principle of Fasting

Tawheed or monotheism is the belief that there is only one God; Muslims do not believe in the trinity. For a Muslim, to even think or say that Jesus was the son of God is considered shirk (attributing partners to Allah) and is regarded as an unforgivable sin in Islam. Shirk is the only unforgivable sin and is considered to be worst than rape or murder.

Tawheed is part of the shahadah (declaration of faith) that is signed by all Muslim converts and is the main belief in the three principles of fasting in Ramadan. Without Tawheed, also translated as Tawhid and Tauheed, Muslims cannot exist in this world. Tawheed teaches the principle of destiny. Muslims must never question why such and such as happened, but merely accept that Allah has decided and He has done what He pleases.
In Islam, it's believed that sustenance, health and children are all from Allah and believing in Allah's mercy and wisdom is a must. So when considering the three principles of fasting, the Muslim must first consider Allah.


Devotion to Allah and Islam is the Third Principle of Fasting

In Islam, Muslims must love Allah and His messenger, Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him*), more than their own life or loved ones. This means that what Allah wants is what the practicing Muslim wants. A woman who converts to Islam must leave after three menstrual cycles if the non-Muslim husband refuses to convert.

When Allah has ordered Muslims to fast, the Muslim must fast. Praying five times a day is required — not a choice — and giving zakat is also required. Loving the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him*) with every breath is also a must in Islam; this is why when Prophet Mohammad is insulted, it's said that the whole Muslim nation weeps.

Devotion includes worshiping Allah with praise and by reading the Quran. Many find that it is not easy to be Muslim in this day and age, particularly with the many requirements that a Muslim must perform. The three principles of fasting were designed to increase faith and religious endurance for all believing and devout Muslims across the world.


The Three Principles of Fasting in the Month of Ramadan

To summarize the three principles, the Muslim fasting must be humbly devoted to Allah, the Creator and follow the rules of Islam. The reward for following the three principles of fasting, is jannah or heaven. It is a pleasure and a way to raise the status of the Muslim by following the three principles of fasting which are included in the principles of Islam.

It's believed that the love of Allah will increase and so will the desire to be a better Muslim through sincere devotion and belief. The love and devotion to Islam will cause hopefully all sins to be removed and body is left clean and the soul is refreshed.

* Muslims invoke Allah's blessings on the Prophet Muhammad whenever this name is mentioned.


"Ramadan Rules and Regulations," Islam Today.

Photo courtesy of Photobucket:  umm_rumaysa