The chapter Al-Baqarah of the holy Quran has five verses that deal with fasting during the month of Ramazan. (Al Quran 2:183-187). The book of Hadith Mishkat AlMasabih ,quotes seventy three sayings of the Prophet on fasting. Detailed provisions regarding Ramazan are given in the books of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence).
The Holy Quran says: The month of Ramazan is the month when the Quran was sent down as guidance to mankind with clear proofs of guidance and the criterion by which to distinguish right from wrong .Therefore ,Whoever of you is present in that month let him fast (THE QURAN 2:185)
In a Hadith the Prophet of Islam (Pbuh) has said Every deed in Islam is rewarded from ten to seven hundred times .But God says Fasting is for ME and I will give unlimited reward to one who fasts .This unequivocally states the importance of fasting .The question is What is the importance of fasting such that one who fasts shall be given unlimited rewards ? The above Hadith gives reason .It says that one who fasts gives up food and water for the sake of God .The words for the sake of God are very clear .It means that a person who fasts prepares himself for the mission of God .Given this high purpose he will win the highest reward .In the month of Ramazan it is required that every believer must study the Quran to discover its message and adopt the spreading of this message as his mission .The month of Ramazan is meant for preparation and remaining eleven months are for spreading the message of the Quran to all mankind .Spreading the Quranic message is a divine mission and signifies providing support to God .The prophet of Islam informed his followers that fasting is preparing oneself for the sake of the divine mission .This is the greatest mission ,so one who devotes himself is liable for the greatest reward.
Fasting means staying away from all distraction .Infact the month of Ramazan is the month of etikaf (going into seclusion). Minimum etikaf is for ten days and maximum etikaf is for one month . Ramazan thus frees one from all other activities and stay totally engaged in the study of the Quran .In this sense the month of Ramazan is the Holy month of discovery of the Quran .The one who observes fasting prepares and dedicates himself to this divine mission is promised an unlimited reward .
Dr Aejaz Iqbal