In the Quran, Meryem Sura Verse 26 says, “So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone say, ‘Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak to any man today.’”

There are those who think that fasting is a way of worship, it’s what God intended, and it helps us to be more grateful by understanding the poor and hungry. These people hold on to the traditional ways of thinking. They lack flexibility, and so they encourage a ritual to continue indefinitely.

In Turkish, the word for “to fast” (Oruç) comes from a Farsi word, and it is not mentioned in the Quran. This word is “Ruze,” which means “daily.” It then became used as “Oruze,” followed by “Oruç.”

In Arabic, meanwhile, the word for “to fast” is “savm.” Its root meanings include to stand still, to stop, to block, to become still, to calm down, to cease negativity and weakness, and to relax. The word “siyam,” meanwhile, means  to calm down completely.

In the Quran, all these terms relate to fasting. It all aims for Takva, which literally means “self-consciousness.” It expresses a state of being aware of existence with respect, love, and gratitude. It derives from the Arabic word “Vikaye,” which in turn comes from the word “ittika,” which means to be conscious of your own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

Now, if we put aside the traditional religious understanding that has been programmed into our minds, we can raise our awareness of these notions. No one is so deaf that they cannot hear their own call to themselves!

The goal of fasting is to pull us back away from the chaos of our minds, which are bombarded by thoughts that keep us away from the truth. It aims to simplify things and to put us in a more meditative state. It is intended to help us experience the consciousness of Unity.

You can construct meaningful explanations for why you stay hungry and thirsty during a period of fasting, possibly using scientific explanations, but the meaning is not in the act itself but rather the intention behind it.

How could the intention be anything other than to grow closer to your Self, to ending the longing, and to acknowledging the power you always knew was within but avoided? Your intention is actually nothing more than seeking consent from yourself, from a part that was always there, so you can be accepted and know that you are loved and protected.

Different religions and spiritual teachings have their own understanding of fasting, but they all have the same intention behind them. The exact form of expression may vary, but one intention is universal, and that is awakening, understanding the truth, and returning to the Self.

You can be the witness of the faith you shape by fasting, and you do not need to wait for death to receive the blessings of your faith!

Salute the sunrise and remember your intention. Remember your truth as you step into peace and calm with that last glass of water. The greater your thirst for the truth, the more that the discipline you’re following will push you.

Although fasting is often expressed as bodily hunger and thirst, you may also notice the thirst and deprivation of your soul, so get closer to God, and get closer to yourself.

The closer you get to yourself, the closer you get to others.