'Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?’: Fasting, charity, and exemptions explained

We answer the burning questions that people ask Muslims during the month. File Picture: Pexels

We answer the burning questions that people ask Muslims during the month. File Picture: Pexels

Published Mar 11, 2024


As the holy month of Ramadan approaches for Muslims in South Africa, we answer the burning questions that people ask Muslims during the month.

Countries around the world have already started observing the month.

What is the reason for fasting in Ramadan?

While the general understanding is that Muslims stay without food and water from roughly sunrise to sunset, having a great figure by Eid is not the reason for fasting for a month.

The purpose and benefits of fasting go beyond the physical, as it teaches self-control, reinforces one's faith, helps one become more mindful of God and His blessings, and is a means of seeking forgiveness for sins. It also serves as a reminder of those who do not have adequate food, water, and shelter on a daily basis.

Why do Muslims give charity during Ramadan?

For Muslims, the aim of charity during Ramadan and other months is seen as a means of purifying one's wealth in Islam. Giving to those in need and supporting charitable causes is believed to have a purifying effect on one's wealth and financial resources.

What is not allowed during Ramadan/what invalidates fast?

As we established, the month is all about discipline, so naturally, there would be a few 'don'ts'.

In addition to not eating between certain times, this is what is not allowed during Ramadan:

- Drinking and smoking are not allowed.

- Hatred, bitterness, jealousy, and other strong negative emotions may nullify the fast, so it's important to maintain positive emotions and thoughts.

- In the same vein, arguments and conflicts during the fast should be avoided.

- Individuals fasting are to refrain from engaging in illegal activities, both in thought and action.

- Breaking the fast without a valid reason is not allowed.

- Sexual activities with your partner during fasting are also a no-no.

- Another given, but it applies to every day of the year, don't harm another or cheat and deceive anyone during the fast.

Can you drink water during Ramadan?

Muslims cannot drink water during the hours of fasting. However, it is encouraged to keep hydrated or to drink water with electrolytes in the morning to stay hydrated for longer.

Who is exempt from fasting in Ramadan?

Islam and God are about mercy.

There are a number of people exempt from fasting, including prepubescent children, women during their menstrual period or postnatal bleeding, travellers, pregnant or breastfeeding women who believe fasting for long hours may cause harm to either themselves or their babies, and the elderly who may be unable to handle the long hours of fasting.

How do you wish someone for Ramadan?

If you want to wish your Muslim friends and family well over the fast or acknowledge the month, you can say the following:

- "Ramadan Kareem"

- "Ramadan Mubarak"

You can also say something along the lines of "May Allah accept your fast and bless you abundantly".