Sawm (plural siyam) meaning Fasting is one of the many unique moral and spiritual characteristics of Islam, being the fourth of the five main religious obligations (pillars) of Islam. Muslims believe the five pillars hold up a temple for God, known as “Arkan”. They believe the religion of Islam is built on these five pillars, each represents a unique utility, an institution, through which the believer builds his relationship with their creator. Of all the five pillars, none is more important than Siyam, Sawm. It is believed that the five pillars do not represent the entire religion of Islam, but without any one of them, the whole religion will collapse. The word Sawm literally means “to refrain”, but as an Islamic term it means refraining from foods, drinks, intimate intercourse and smoking, between the hours of dawn and sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan.
Fasting is the act of abstaining from feeding the body in order to focus more on fully seeking God’s love and trust and feeding the spirit. Fasting is seen as a way of humbling ourselves before God, letting him know that we are willing to exchange physical comforts to seek Him for a spiritual feast.
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“O you who believe, siyam is prescribed on you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you may become self-restrained.” Surah Al-Baqarah (2-183):.
The most significant aspect of Sawm is believed to be the development of Allah consciousness (Taqwa) in the heart and soul of the fasting Muslim. As Muslims must also abstain from immoral behaviour and attitude, as refraining from food ands such is essential during the fast but is not sufficient. The Prophet of Allah is reported to have said, “If one does not abandon falsehood in word and deeds, Allah has no need for his abandoning of his food and drink.”.
“If you do not give up telling lies God will have no need of your giving up food and drink,” (Hadith).
“He who does not desist from obscene language and acting obscenely (during the period of fasting), Allah has no that he did not eat or drink.