While fasting is the most tangible aspect of Ramadan, it does not stop there. Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Therefore, Ramadan is called ‘the month of the Quran.’
The main purpose of abstaining from food is not simply to feel the hunger, or to experience what the destitute and the poor go through. That might be the case, but it is not the main purpose. Clearly Allah connects fasting of Ramadan with the Quran, not with hunger or feeling sympathy for the poor and the hungry.
Allah says in the Quran, “Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard to distinguish between right and wrong. So whoever reaches this month, let them fast. [2:185]
Abstaining from the physiological pleasures of this life increases the mental clarity as well as it increases the power to focus on the spiritual world. This generates the most optimal conditions to recite the Quran and think deeply about its meanings. A whole new world will open up.
The Quran is a unique book and one of its kind. The Quran is not a novel, nor is it a history book or a poetry compilation. It has a unique structure. It could change the topic unexpectedly. It could tell a story over and over again, but in a different context and it brings new facts about it. It juxtaposes. It uses imagery. It warns. It gives glad tidings. It is concise and tells exactly what benefits people. It is not a book loaded with names, dates, and trivial details.
The Quran is the book of knowledge and wisdom. It speaks about the purpose of life, about God, about the future and the hereafter. It speaks about the true nature of humans and their sworn enemy, i.e., Satan. It depicts the essence of human psychology and sociology.
The Quran challenges. It makes claims. It encourages people to think deeply and reflect. It calls upon people to use their brain and logic, over and over again. It uses examples that people understand. It uses the best ways to explain to people. It is the perfect speech of God. It is the most memorized book of human history and its recitation is the sweetest of all.
Ramadan is the month of the Quran. Without the recitation of the Quran, either during the day or during the long night prayer, Ramadan becomes barren and with little benefit. One of the goals of Ramadan is to bring people closer to knowledge; rather, the true knowledge.
If Muslims get equipped with true knowledge and come closer to Allah, only then they can feel more for the poor and understand their limitations as human beings. It is not the lack of food what transforms them, even though it is necessary to create the optimal conditions, but it is the knowledge of the Quran, which is bountiful and “a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard to distinguish between right and wrong” – as the Quran describes itself.