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Sawm (Fasting)

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 God-consciousness.

By: Dr. Farida Khanam
Source: alrisala.org

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