“There are many who fast whose fast is nothing more than hunger and thirst. There are many who offer prayers whose prayer is no better than wakefulness and hardship. The sleep, eating and drinking of the intelligent God-conscious person is far better.”
~ Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib
This is not to suggest we shouldn’t fast or pray, no these are part of Islam. The point is that these are not the goals, but rather tools and practices we use while striving to attain God-Consciousness (Taqwa).