what are the spiritual benefits of fasting? (part i)
the human being has a structure composed of body and soul. each of these two elements tries to turn the person around its axis. one of the aspects of these two elements is sensual desire and animal. it is the aspect of the human body.
another aspect of the human being is spiritual, which reminds its reason for existing, encouraged him to perform good actions causes you to see the spiritual realms, makes you enjoy indescribable flavors even if you hunger and thirst, and calls him to stay away from the evils.
if the spirit a person loses power and the carnal becoming dominant, then that person is left take according to their carnal desires. ignores the limits of the mind and religion, and spent nearly all the power of your mind to get the best and most varied types of food and drink. his only concern is to think how to satisfy their sensual desires. there is no better description than the following verse of the qur'an: "but those who refuse to believe are given to the enjoyment and eaten as herd animals;" "and the fire will be the abode they would possess" (koran 47: 12).
fasting recalls the union with god
every moment, every second of the person who fasts is very important since remind god, his blessings, and most importantly the union with him. fasting performs this function in two ways. this can be summed up in the following way: desire to blessings will be not destroyed by the flavors and taste that comes with the decline of the bitterness. a person what a whole day through hunger and thirst, may seem bored, actually blessings that will bring you this prayer make you forget what suffers. the person who fasts only thinks to reach his lord, and by the same stop eating, drinking and thinking about carnal desires. thanks to this thought, all the powers of his life moves with righteousness. and the messenger of god declares: "there are two relaxing periods for the person who fasts." "one is breaking the fast (iftar) and the other is the time in which meets his lord."
fasting makes humans to reach the level of the angeles
there are two aspects in humans: the angelic aspect and the bestial. when a person behaves in a manner opposite to the animal feelings you feel in its consciousness its angelic part and that narrowing the bestial side. humans are beings inferior to the angels but higher than other creatures. and god gave him the power of reaching the highest rank and also lower the level lower. therefore, humans sometimes surpass the angels and leave them back in the level of closeness to god. and sometimes it drops more below where demons live. "that indeed we created man in the best harmony and then became it one of the lowest" (qur'an 95: 4 6).
one of the characteristics of human beings which distinguishes them from the angels is the fact that nafs (the carnal self). in the angels there are behaviors such as eating, drinking, marrying, or rebelling against god. them, by their nature, are innocent creatures and spend every moment praying to god. «do not advance you in the word and act according to what sent.» god knows what they have in front and behind them. who is accepted only can intercede for them. "and are very afraid of him" (21: 27, 28). as human beings, they need to eat and drink to survive. and it is always possible that they make mistakes and rebel. but a believer who fasts acquires angelic qualities to refrain from eating, drinking, carnal desires and bad actions, as lies or cruelty. even beat the angels with these behaviors. and god is proud with his servants who behave this way and makes the angels as an example. 
fasting teaches the value of blessings
god adorned with thousands of blessings the ground leaving the order of the caliph of the earth, in other words, human beings. every day is as if we come down a table of heaven; while removing one immediately it comes another. the trees give fruits in summer or winter; the sky is full of treasures and the earth is brimming with many blessings: "and i have given everything you have asked." if you treat for the blessings of god, ye not enumerate them; "it is true that man is unfair, ungrateful" (qur'an 14: 34).
the heaven and earth have been released under the orders of humans and they still included in them, do not realize these blessings. they are those fish that while they swim in the water, do not recognize the sea. they are in the sea, but are not aware of the water allowing them to swim. the human being, anything between the blessings, thanks to the fast takes into consideration its importance and is thank god for them.
fasting make people to get used to save
the prayer that is, ultimately, fasting in islam, teaches people to preserve is a virtue. fasting can be considered a teacher who taught economics. a person who makes everything gives you win and always want that, when he is fasting has to refrain from some things. for example, a man who always eats and surrenders to the wishes of his body, when fasting, will have to wait to break the fast (iftar); therefore, you will learn to manage and maintain far live irresponsibly.
fasting extols the spirit
human beings are creatures composed of body and soul. in the same way that the body has certain needs and desires, the soul also has some wishes and needs. the human being is a small creature in your body size; however, in terms of their spiritual qualities is highly trained to embrace the eternity. with its thousands of temptations, desires, feelings, emotions, imaginations and thoughts, the human being is like a small repertoire of the universe.
in this way what induces to the desires and temptations that developed all the capabilities and the spiritual aspect of a person; what extends its thoughts and them have, what discipline her sensual powers; what makes it reach maturity, the most sublime and high bond makes him to join his lord is not neither more nor less than prayer. therefore, fasting, which is nothing more than a form of devotion, there are these peculiarities. the prophet muhammad (peace and blessings of god be upon him) in a hadith says: «should be charity for all.» and the part that corresponds to the body is fasting. "fasting is half of patience." salat (daily prayer) is the pillar of religion, fasting is the pillar and the food of the soul, and almsgiving is the pillar of society. i.e. religion without salat, the soul without fasting and alms-free society may not be durable. as the food fed to the body, so fasting feeds the soul; if it is not possible to live without eating anything, it is not possible to continue the spiritual life without fasting.
this is why that, leaving aside the differences in the way of doing this, fasting was a fundamental principle in all religions that seek to beat people with their spiritual qualities. all the prophets who would be guides for mature people, even spent fasting period of preparation to be charged with this important mission. and this is another test that demonstrates the influence of fasting on the maturity of the people.
persons wishing to mature spiritually must be fasting. in other words; those who fast not remain under the influence of his body and cannot reach the desired ripening.
fasting restrains the nafs (the carnal self)
is an essential need for people to take the reins of the nafs; since the wishes and the customs of the nafs are deadly poisons, weights that lead the person to the lowest. nafs always orders the evil person. prophet joseph with the following statement defines the best way the nafs: «cannot exonerate my nafs;» since, except those who protects my lord, normally nafs tends always to sort the evil. actually, my lord is indulgent, merciful. the nafs is magnifies how much more is given, and always wants more and more. the prophet muhammad (peace and blessings of god be upon him) in one of their prayers said: "my god!" me refuge in it of weakness and laziness, cowardice and meanness, old age and the torments in the tomb. my lord! give mercy to my nafs; purify it since you are the best of those who purify. you are its owner and lord (of the nafs). my god! «science that is not beneficial, the heart that has no fear, the nafs which is not satisfied and not accepted prayer i shelter in it». and in another prayer takes refuge in god from the evils and problems that will cause your nafs.
in this sense, fasting is like a shield against fornication that dragged the man to great dangers. which may not marry, on the advice of the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of god be upon him) must fast; since fasting is a shield against the sins.
the practical way of controlling the nafs is fasting. it is for this reason that fasting required (fard) became one of the pillars of religion and was considered as the most practical way for a person to reach the road that goes to la piedad. indeed, god declared the following: «believers!» «prescribed it fasting as were prescribed to those who preceded you» (qur'an 2: 183).
fasting is like a rope and a rein placed on the nafs and serves to soften his obstinacy. in a hadith of the prophet muhammad (peace and blessings of god be upon him) said: «god, to educate the nafs taught him some punishment.» first burned it in the fire and asked him: "who are you and who am i?". the nafs replied: "you are you and i am i". then god so educated with hunger and to ask him again: "who am i and who are you?". the nafs responded in the following manner: "you are the lord of the worlds and i am an insignificant servant of yours".
in summary the man with fasting, saves its own nafs of disobedience against god and turns it into an obedient servant. everyone who fasts finds in his conscience angelic feelings more often than on ordinary days. and also everyone realizes that they are not able to do anything for themselves, they may not even touch the water without permission and therefore each one understands that it is not holder but possessed and is not independent but slave. thus conceived his disability and poverty, realizes his faults and prepares to knock on the door of mercy of god with a hand of thanks.