Sawm, or ritual fasting is the third pillar of
Islam. This fast takes place each year during Ramadan, the ninth month of the
Islamic calendar. The fast of Ramadan lasts for the whole month. From dawn to
sunset we are required to refrain from all types of food and drink. If one is
sick or on a journey, one is allowed not to fast. But the missed fast has to be
made up by fasting the same number of days afterwards.
According to Quran, the main purpose of fasting is to attain Taqwa or
God-consciousness. Thus, fasting brings us closer to God.
Fasting, according to the Prophet, is a shield, which guards us from evil ways.
In Ramadan, extra salah in performed. There is extra Sunnah salah on Ramadan
nights called salat-ut-Tarawih. In the last ten days of Ramadan, some retreat to
the mosque to perform Itikaaf, to pray and to read Quran as much as they can.
Ramadan is a blessed month. The Holy Quran was revealed in this month.
Ramadan is also called the month of the Quran.
Benefits of Fasting
1. There is a feeling of togetherness, as all
Muslims, rich and poor, fulfill the same demands of the fast and then share
their food together at night.
2. The rich gain a better understanding of what it
must be like for the poor who can not always eat when they want to. This should
make them more generous towards them.
3. Muslims will learn to appreciate all the good
things they have each day, and to thank Allah for them, instead of just taking
them for granted.
4. Muslims learn self control.
5. Muslim learn how to endure hardship.
Ramadan thus brings us closer to the path of goodness and
By: Dr. Farida Khanam