The translation of one of the Quranic verses regarding fasting in the month of Ramadhan is as follows: "O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint." (Al-Baqara, 183).
It is obvious from the verse that one of the objectives of fasting is `Taqwa' or `self-restraint' or `God-consciousness'. As such we Muslims should ask ourselves often whether our current abstinence from food and drinks during this month of Ramadhan has really increased our `God-consciousness'. Have we been able to improve our life in terms of increased commitment to the religion? What about our ability to refrain ourselves from committing sins such backbiting, engaging in conversations that are not allowed in Islam, listening to haram conversations, looking at things or images that are not allowed etc. The best person to answer those questions is our own self. We are the ones who truly knows whether we are improving, stagnant or regressing. Therefore we are also the ones who can really assess whether our Ramadhan has benefited ourselves or not i.e. whether it has fulfilled the prupose as stipulated by Allah s.w.t. in the verse mentioned at the beginning of this article. If we feel that it has not, then nobody can do anything about it other than ourselves. Improvements in iman and amal do not come by themselves but require efforts from us. We have to spend some efforts to improve ourselves. By simply having some intentions to improve without really doing something to improve ourselves will not lead us anywhere. So let us start to do something. Have a personal targets of improvement in this Ramadhan. It could be increasing our daily recitations of Quranic verses or it could be increases in the number of `Nawafil/Sunat' prayers or in the case of men, the number of times we perform our daily fard prayers in Jemaah at the masjid or surau. May Allah help us all to improve ourselves and make us among those whom He classifies as `Muttaqoon' (those who are God-conscious).