MANY of the world's faiths include an element of fasting. In Islam fasting is embodied as one of the Five Pillars of Faith: “O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you, just as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may learn self- control.” (Sura 2. V183). From this we learn that fasting is nothing new for people of faith, but the fact that it is prescribed - it is a requirement - suggests that there are benefits that accrue from this practice which are worth transmitting to future generations. It serves to remind us of our connection with our Creator, and a duty to follow a lifestyle which He has provided for our welfare. Fasting on a basis that lets us feel the experiences of those less fortunate than ourselves should motivate us to take practical steps to alleviate those conditions; and for some the month of Ramadhan is an occasion to observe another of the Five Pillars of Faith - that of giving charity. Fasting needs to be approached with the appropriate intention. If it is regarded as a burdensome obligation, and one seeks to discharge one's obligation by effectively turning night into day, and overloading the stomach when permitted to eat, the individual will be at a loss and no spiritual gain will be experienced. Ramadhan should teach us to learn self-control, and give our bodies a rest and promote an internal healing. May we approach it in the true spirit of the occasion, and share it with others in our extended community. Ramadhan Kareem.

Hassan Burrows, Muslim Community in Kendal (MCIK)