Sawm, or fasting, is the fourth pillar of Islam.
The Arabic word Sawm means abstaining from something.
When a Muslim observes the Sawm he abstains from food and drink from dawn to sunset with the intention of pleasing Allah.
Sawm is another way of worshipping Allah.
Sawm is not a new practice.
Allah had commanded all people who were sent Prophets to fast too.
Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar.
It is compulsory for all adult Muslims to fast in Ramadan.
Children may fast too if they wish but it is not compulsory upon them.
Sawm has many benefits:
– It develops self-control.
– It helps us to overcome our bad habits and evil desires.
– Sawm gives us a feeling of the pain of hunger and thirst.
– This causes us to feel concern for poor and hungry people.
– Fasting creates a feeling of equality between the rich and the poor.
– Sawm helps us to remain truly obedient to Allah.
– It leads us to Jannah and protects us from the fire of Jahannum too.
– For these reasons Allah loves those who fast.
– Allah gives a special reward to those who fast, unlike any other reward.
Allah has selected the month of Ramadan for this very special ‘Ibadah (act of worship).
The Qur’an too was revealed in this month.
When Ramadan starts, the doors of Paradise are opened and the doors of Hell are closed.
Whoever fasts during Ramadan will have all his previous sins forgiven.
There is a night in this month which is better than a thousand months.
This night is called Laylat-ul-Qadr, the Night of Power.
It is a very important night.
The Angels as well as special blessings and mercies of Allah descend on this night.
We should worship Allah as much as we can during this night.
A Muslim observes the sacred month of Ramadan by :
2) Performing extra Salah.
3) Being even more well mannered
4) Giving more charity to the needy and and spending more on ones relatives.
5) Increasing Dhikr and remembrance of Allah.
6) Increasing the recitation of the Holy Qur’an.
7) Performing the sunnah Tarawih salah at night.
8) Staying in I‘tikaf (seclusion in the Masjid) during the last 10 days of Ramadan.
The purpose of Sawm is to learn piety.
Fasting brings us closer to Allah.
It cleanses our hearts, minds and bodies of all filth and evil.