Q: Why do Muslims fast?
A: There are 3 main reasons why a Muslim fasts during Ramadan.
1) Muslims fast during Ramadan, firstly, because it is the fourth pillar of Islam, and Allah (swt) ordered us to do so. "...fasting is prescribed for you (Muslims)..." (2:183) and " Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down as a guide to humanity, and to provide clear signs for guidance and judgment. So whoever witnesses the month of Ramadan should fast through it..." (2:185).
By fasting, we get to feel they way the poor and hungry feel; it reminds us, when we forget, that our brothers and sisters go through this pain much too often, and so our hearts become softened, and we become more generous.
2) We learn to control ourselves - mentally and physically. Fasting is not limited to abstaining from food and drink - we also abstain from lying, foul language, sexual activity, medicine (unless it is necessary), etc. By keeping away from these things, we learn to control our desires. We learn to be in charge of our bodies rather than to let our bodies be in charge of us. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once remarked "Whoever does not give up lying and acting on lies during fasting, then Allah has no need of him giving up food and drink." - Bukhari
3) Fasting is healthy for the mind body and soul. When we stop over feeding our bodies, and fast, "our body initiates it's own healing mechanisms, and any ailment may show improvement." - allaboutfasting.com. We constantly over work our bodies by over eating - and just like when we get tired from over working all day then set aside small matters for another day - our body does like wise. Because it is estimated that 65% of the body's energy must be directed to the digestive organs after a heavy meal - fasting is like a vacation for our bodies! With the extra energy your body has, when it is not busy digesting a meal, it begins to heal and work on other areas of the body such as repairing cells and detoxing. Antiaging effects, weight loss, clear skin and clarity (of the mind and soul) are just some of the many benefits of fasting!