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(Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew.

  1. (Fasting) for a fixed number of days;
    C189. This verse should be read with the following
    verses, 185-88, in order that the incidents of the
    physical fast may be fully understood with reference to
    its spiritual meaning.
    The Muslim fast is not meant for self-torture. Although it
    is stricter than other fasts, it also provides alleviations
    for special circumstances. If it were merely a temporary
    abstention from food and drink, it would be salutary, to
    many people, who habitually eat and drink to excess.
    The instincts for food, drink, and sex are strong in the
    animal nature, and temporary restraints from all these
    enables the attention to be directed to higher things.
    This is necessary through prayer, contemplation and acts
    of charity, not of the showy kind, but by seeking out
    those really in need.
    Certain standards are prescribed, but much higher
    standards are recommended.

References:

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (Surah 2 verse 183). Microsoft Word – 002 Baqarah.doc (quran4u.com)

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