Ramadan (Sawm) is one of the five pillars of Islam and the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The meaning of Sawm is to ‘abstain’. Fasting during Ramadan is to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and conjugal relations from dawn till sunset.
Ramadan is an annual training pro gramme to refresh us for carrying out our duties towards Allah (SWT). Fasting develops self-control and helps us to overcome selfishness, greed, laziness and other faults. This month of patience gives us an opportunity to experience for ourselves what it is like to have an empty stomach. This develops our feeling for the poor and hungry people. Fasting teaches us to control the love of comfort.
Fasting in Ramadan is not merely physically restraining from the obvious food and drink, but the total commitment of the servant’s body and soul to the letter and spirit of fasting.
The fast of the self, means to be free from all carnal desires.
The fast of mind is avoiding thoughts about things other than Allah (SWT).
The fast of the hand is not touching/taking what does not belong to it.
The fast of the nose means not sniffing or smelling unlawful things.
The fast of the feet is not going places where sinful acts are propagated.
The fast of the eye is to prevent it from seeing forbidden things.
The fast of the tongue is guarding against lying, backbiting, slandering, reviling, abusing others, cursing, indecent conversation, swearing and false evidence.
The fast of the ears is not to listen to idle talk, gossip, lyrics and notes that contain obscene and indecent things. Listening to Al-Qur’an bears the fruit of faith, guidance, light and prosperity. It fills the heart with wisdom, tranquillity, intimacy and contentment. It is a source of protection from the dangerous, deviant and sinful thoughts.
The fast of the heart means casting out from it the love of worldly things and by emptying it of all corrupt material such as, false beliefs, evil suggestions, filthy intentions and degenerate thoughts.