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Fasting within Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

It has several different purposes.

Besides the association with Muhammad, the time of Ramadan is a period for reflection, during which the individual is to become closer to Allah. The focus is on submission to Allah, along with increasing connection to the community of Islam. In addition, it is a way of identifying with the poor and hungry in the world, to develop greater compassion (Esack, 1997).

While part of the fast of Ramadan involves the memory of Muhammad and that first time of sacred revelation, the fast associated with Yom Kippur involves the remembrance of one's relationships with others, and how those can be distorted. Yom Kippur is one of the Jewish High Holy Days, called the Day of Atonement. It is both fast and feast, as is Ramadan. The fasting precedes the feasting in both traditions. Both are designed to remind people that everything ultimately comes from God, that all is hallowed to God, and that the people of the faith must always strive to be in right relationship to God and to each other. Within Judaism, the rituals and procedures are laid out for the people within the Torah. This provides the guidance for the way to live by the Law which allows the observant Jew to exist in appropriate relationship to God. Jewish law does not impose austerity on individuals, as some Christian ascetic practices do, but provides for the properly ordered and ritual observance of Jewish life. For Yom Kippur, the emphasis is on


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