Sawm is fasting. It’s the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Muslims are required to fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
Ramadan lasts for 29/30 days. All adult Muslims are required to fast and nothing is allowed to enter the body during the hours of daylight. Below are some examples.
- Food or drink of any sort
- Sexual activity
- Smoking, including passive smoking
The exceptions for Muslims who are
- Physically or mentally unwell
- Under twelve years old
- Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding
If an adult is not able to fast for the reasons above. The fast should be made up at a later date or make a donation to the poor instead
Muslims are also expected to avoid evils thoughts and deeds especially during this month. As it is said that devil is imprisoned during these days and a great opportunity to help us rid our sinful actions and habits.
The fast gives us many benefits such as
- Makes you come closer to your faith
- Obeying Allah Swt
- Teaches us that what poor feel in an daily basis
- Gives us the opportunity to ask for forgiveness for our sins
- Encourages giving
- Teaches Self Discipline
- Encourages fellowships with other Muslims.
Many Muslims will eat a large meal called suhur just before dawn. The fast is closed by saying the following words.
Wa bisawmi ghaddan nawaiytu min shahri Ramadan
I intent to keep fast today for the month of Ramadan
The fast is then broken once daylight is over called iftarri, by saying the following words.
Allahumma inni laka sumtu wa bika aamantu wa ‘alayka tawakkaltu wa ‘ala rizq-ika aftarthu fathakabl minni
O Allah I fast for You and I believe in You and I break my fast with Your sustenance
Most muslims open their fast with dates and water. Following an example of our beloved prophet Muhammad followed by the actual meal.
The evening’s meals during the blessed month of Ramadan are great occasions to bring and community together.
At the end of this blessed month Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Fitr. Which Muslims dress up and pray at the masjid and visit family and friends.
Islam use the lunar Calendar making the month of Ramadan come around 10 – 11 days earlier each year.