The fourth pillar of Islam

the fourth pillar ofislam 10 facts about fasting in ramadan

Fasting,The fourth pillar of Islam

Sawm, fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, is one of the five pillars of Islam. According to Islamic tradition, it was during this month that God revealed the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad. As such, Muslims worldwide observe fasting from sunrise to sunset to focus on spiritual contemplation and devotion.

As part of their religious observance, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking during Ramadan and engage in extra prayer and charity work. Fasting allows believers to practice self-discipline by controlling their desires and humbly submitting themselves before Allah (God).

Sawm also helps Muslims cultivate empathy for those less fortunate who do not have enough food or water year-round. By experiencing hunger during Ramadan, they can better appreciate what others may go through daily due to poverty or other circumstances beyond their control. Thus, the fourth pillar of Islam, the sawm, serves spiritual and social purposes within the Muslim community.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered the holiest month in the Islamic faith. It is a period of fasting, prayer, and increased devotion to Allah (God).

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset. They also refrain from smoking, sexual activity, and other sinful behaviors. Fasting is not only about abstaining from food and drink but also about controlling one’s thoughts, actions, and speech.

Muslims are encouraged to increase their acts of worship during Ramadan, such as reciting the Quran, performing voluntary prayers, and giving to charity. It is also a time for spiritual reflection and seeking forgiveness for sins.

The end of Ramadan is celebrated with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting period. It is a time of feasting, gift-giving, and joyful celebrations with family and friends.

Ramadan is not only a time of individual reflection and worship but also a time for community and togetherness. Muslims often gather for iftar, the evening meal to break the fast, and taraweeh prayers, which are performed in congregation.

Ramadan is an important part of the Islamic faith and is seen as a means of spiritual purification and self-discipline. It is a time for Muslims to strengthen their relationship with Allah and to seek forgiveness for their sins.

benefits of fasting

What is the best age to start fasting for Ramadan?

The ideal age for a person to begin fasting during Ramadan is when they reach puberty. This marks when a person becomes legally responsible for their actions, enabling them to observe all Islam tenets without parental supervision or guidance.

However, it is common for younger children (as young as seven) also to start fasting. If a young child wishes to fast, they should do so gradually, increasing the duration and intensity of their fasts each year until they can sustain an entire day without food or water.

Parents must ensure that their children are equipped with the necessary understanding and knowledge to properly observe Ramadan so that it can be a meaningful and positive experience for them. Ultimately, the decision of when to start fasting is up to each individual, but everyone must observe Islamic law responsibly and with an appropriate level of maturity.

Dua for breaking fast in Ramadan:

The dua or supplication for breaking the fast during Ramadan is summarized in the following short prayer:

“O Allah, I have reached the time of breaking my fast, and I rely on You, so accept it from me.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

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This prayer, known as “Du’a al-Iftar,” is a reminder for Muslims to be grateful for the sustenance that Allah has provided them throughout the day and to acknowledge the blessings of being able to observe Ramadan. It also serves as a reminder that all our deeds should ultimately be offered up in surrender to Allah’s will.

Du’a al-Iftar is typically recited as soon as the sun sets, but it can be said anytime during the evening. Additionally, Muslims may recite other du’as and verses from the Qur’an to enhance their spiritual experience while breaking their fast.

Ultimately, any form of prayer or supplication that is offered up in sincerity is accepted by Allah. Muslim communities worldwide celebrate Ramadan as a time of meditation, spiritual growth, and renewal, and Du’a al-Iftar is an integral part of the experience. May Allah accept our prayers and supplications during this blessed month. Ameen.

What if you can’t fast during Ramadan:

There are exceptions to fasting during Ramadan for those who cannot do so for valid reasons. Children under puberty, pregnant women, nursing mothers, the sick, the elderly, and travelers are exempt from fasting. Those who are exempt are expected to make up the days they miss at a later time or provide food to people experiencing poverty instead.

Fasting is meant to be challenging but not detrimental to one’s health. The Quran states that God intends for you ease, not hardship.

What breaks your fast in Ramadan:

Certain things break the fast during Ramadan. Some of the significant things that invalidate the fast are:

  • Eating or drinking anything, including water
  • Having sexual intercourse
  • Masturbation
  • Intentional vomiting
  • Menstruation or postnatal bleeding for women
  • Anything that is regarded as nourishment entering the body

If any of the above things happen, the fast is broken, and one has to make up for that day after Ramadan. However, if sexual intercourse, menstruation, or postnatal bleeding occurs at night during Ramadan, the fast is not invalidated, but one cannot fast the following day. One can resume fasting after purification during menstruation or postnatal bleeding and after performing ghusl (complete ablution) in the case of sexual intercourse.

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Importance of 6 days of fasting after Ramadan:

After the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr. However, many Muslims also observe six days of fasting during Shawwal, the month following Ramadan. These six days of fasting are known as the fasting of Shawwal.

The importance of fasting these six days is that it is believed to bring great reward and blessings from Allah (God). It is considered as if one has fasted the entire year, as the reward for one good deed during Ramadan is multiplied by ten, and fasting for six days after Ramadan would be equivalent to fasting for 60 days.

Fasting during the month of Shawwal is also seen as a way to maintain the spiritual momentum gained during Ramadan. It is a time to continue the acts of worship, such as reciting the Quran, performing voluntary prayers, and giving to charity.

Fasting the Six Days of Shawwal is not obligatory, but it is highly recommended for Muslims who are physically able to do so. It is an opportunity to gain extra reward and to continue the acts of worship that were practiced during Ramadan.

In conclusion, fasting the Six Days of Shawwal is a recommended act of worship in the Islamic faith. It is a way to gain extra reward and to maintain the spiritual momentum gained during Ramadan.

While fasting during Shawwal is not obligatory, it is highly recommended as fasting these 6 days is believed to be equivalent to fasting the whole year. By completing the 6 fasts, Muslims hope to gain more blessings and rewards from God.

Overall, the fasting of Shawwal serves as a way for Muslims to continue the spirit of Ramadan and strengthen their faith and discipline.

Facts about the fourth pillar of slam, the sawm:

  1. Sawm is an Arabic word meaning “fast” or “abstain,” referring to abstaining from food and drink during Ramadan, one of Islam’s five pillars.
  2. Fasting (sawm) during Ramadan is obligatory for all healthy adult Muslims who are not traveling.
  3. The fasting period lasts around 12 hours, usually between sunrise and sunset during a lunar cycle.
  4. It is forbidden to eat or drink anything during this period, including water, as it must be broken with an evening meal known as Iftar.
  5. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims will typically wake up before dawn to eat and drink before the start of fasting.
  6. During Ramadan, Muslims also perform extra prayers and recite the Qur’an more often than usual to gain blessings from Allah (SWT).
  7. Breaking your fast with dates is a tradition practiced by Muslims for centuries, as it was one of the habits of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
  8. The fourth pillar of Islam, Sawm, encourages Muslims to practice self-control and patience during this holy month and throughout their lives.
  9. People who cannot fast due to illness or other reasons, such as traveling, can make up for their missed days at another time or provide food for those in need instead.
  10. Fasting is seen as a way of developing one’s spirituality, self-awareness, and connection with God. It is believed that fasting during Ramadan can lead to greater personal insight and increased feelings of empathy for those in need.
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How does sawm show devotion to Allah?

Sawm, or fasting during Ramadan, is one of the five pillars of Islam. By abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs during daylight hours for an entire month, Muslims show discipline, self-restraint, and devotion to Allah.

Fasting is meant to be a time for Muslims to practice sacrifice and empathy for those less fortunate than themselves. It is also a time for increased prayer, reading the Quran, charity, and self-discipline. Through sawm, Muslims strengthen their faith and devotion to Allah.

FAQs

1- What is a sawm?

Sawm is the Arabic term for fasting, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Sawm is an obligatory act of worship for all adult and healthy Muslims during the month of Ramadan, where they abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset.

Sawm is not only about abstaining from food and drink but also about controlling one’s thoughts, actions, and speech. Muslims are expected to avoid all sinful behaviors during the fast, such as smoking, sexual activity, and other harmful activities.

Sawm is a way to demonstrate submission to Allah (God) and to purify the soul and body from sins. It is also a time to increase acts of charity, kindness, and compassion towards others.

The end of the fasting period is celebrated with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which is marked by feasting and joyful celebrations. Sawm is an important part of the Islamic faith and is seen as a means of spiritual purification and self-discipline.

2- Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?

Fasting helps Muslims strengthen their faith by sacrificing physical needs to focus on spiritual needs. Muslims also believe that by offering the physical, they can better empathize with those who are less fortunate and do not have access to necessities..

Muslims fast during Ramadan as it is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is a time of spiritual reflection, self-discipline, and increased devotion to Allah (God). Fasting is a way to demonstrate submission to Allah and to purify the soul and body from sins.

During the fast, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset. They also refrain from smoking, sexual activity, and other sinful behaviors. Fasting is not only about abstaining from food and drink but also about controlling one’s thoughts, actions, and speech.

Ramadan is also a time for Muslims to strengthen their relationship with Allah and to seek forgiveness for their sins. It is a time to increase acts of charity, kindness, and compassion towards others.

The end of Ramadan is celebrated with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, which is marked by feasting and joyful celebrations.

3- Is sawm required for all Muslims?

Yes, sawm or fasting during the month of Ramadan is an obligatory act of worship for all adult and healthy Muslims who have reached puberty and are not traveling, pregnant, menstruating, or suffering from any illness or disability that would make fasting harmful.

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It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which are the basic acts of worship that are obligatory for all Muslims to follow. The other pillars are the declaration of faith (Shahada), performing the daily prayers (Salah), giving to charity (Zakat), and making the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) at least once in a lifetime for those who are able.

Sawm is seen as a means of spiritual purification and self-discipline, and is an important act of worship in the Islamic faith. It is a way for Muslims to demonstrate their submission to Allah (God) and to seek forgiveness for their sins.

While fasting is obligatory during Ramadan, there are exemptions for those who are unable to fast due to health or other reasons. In such cases, they can make up the missed fasts at a later time or pay a fidyah, which is a charitable donation to feed the poor and needy.

4- What happens if someone cannot fast due to illness or travel?

If someone cannot fast during Ramadan due to illness, travel, or other valid reasons, they are exempt from fasting, and they can make up the missed fasts at a later time.

However, if the illness or travel is of a long-term nature, and it is not expected to improve, then they are required to pay fidyah, which is a charitable donation to feed the poor and needy. The amount of fidyah is equivalent to the cost of providing one meal for a needy person for each day of missed fast.

Muslims who are unable to fast during Ramadan are encouraged to make up the missed fasts as soon as they are able. They can do so at any time during the year, but it is recommended to do so before the next Ramadan.

It is important to note that the exemptions to fasting during Ramadan are only for those who have a valid excuse. Otherwise, failing to fast without a valid reason is considered a sin in the Islamic faith.

In summary, if someone cannot fast during Ramadan due to illness or travel, they are exempt from fasting, and they can make up the missed fasts at a later time or pay fidyah.

5- Is sawm only observed during Ramadan?

Sawm or fasting is not only observed during Ramadan, but there are other days throughout the year when Muslims are encouraged to fast as well.

One of the most significant days of fasting outside of Ramadan is the day of Ashura, which is the 10th day of the first Islamic month of Muharram. This day is significant for both Sunni and Shia Muslims, and it is believed to be the day that Allah saved the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and his followers from the Pharaoh of Egypt.

In addition to Ashura, Muslims are encouraged to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, as it is believed that these are the days when Allah accepts prayers and forgives sins. It is also recommended to fast during the 13th, 14th, and 15th days of each Islamic month, which are known as the white days.

Fasting outside of Ramadan is voluntary and not obligatory, but it is seen as a means of gaining reward and spiritual purification. Muslims who fast on these days are believed to receive the same rewards as those who fast during Ramadan.

Overall, fasting is an important act of worship in the Islamic faith, and it is encouraged for Muslims to fast not only during Ramadan but also on other days throughout the year.

Conclusion:

Finally, the fourth pillar of Islam, sawm or fasting during Ramadan, demonstrates Muslims’ devotion to Allah through sacrifice and self-discipline. By abstaining from basic physical needs each day for a month, Muslims strengthen their faith and empathy during this holy month.

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