Fasting in Islam

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Fasting in Islam (known as Sawm (صَوْم) Arabic pronunciation: [sˤawm or Siyam (صِيَام) Arabic pronunciation: [sˤijæːm, also commonly known as Rūzeh or Rōzah (Persian: روزه‎) in non-Arab Muslim countries), is the practice of abstaining, usually from food, drink, smoking, and sexual activity. Fasting in Islam_sentence_0

During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Sawm is observed between dawn and nightfall when the evening adhan is sounded. Fasting in Islam_sentence_1

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar and fasting is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam. Fasting in Islam_sentence_2

Introduction Fasting in Islam_section_0

Fasting is not for only Muslims, it has been practiced for centuries by religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Taoism, among others. Fasting in Islam_sentence_3

It is stated in the Quran that Allah says "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness." Fasting in Islam_sentence_4

(Quran 2:183). Fasting in Islam_sentence_5

Some societies in North America fasted to serve as penance for sin and avert catastrophes. Fasting in Islam_sentence_6

Incas of Peru and Native Americans of Mexico observed fasts to appease their gods. Fasting in Islam_sentence_7

Former nations such as Assyrians and the Babylonians observed fasting as a form of penance. Fasting in Islam_sentence_8

Jews observe fasting as a form of purification and penitence on the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur annually. Fasting in Islam_sentence_9

Food and drinks are not permitted on this day. Fasting in Islam_sentence_10

Fasting took a different form in the West such as hunger strike which is a form of fasting, used in modern times as a political weapon which was made popular by the leader of India's struggle for freedom,(Mohandas Gandhi). Fasting in Islam_sentence_11

He undertook fasts to compel his followers to obey his precept of non violence. Fasting in Islam_sentence_12

Early Christians during the first two centuries, associated fasting with purification and penitence. Fasting in Islam_sentence_13

The Christian church made fasting as a voluntary preparation for receiving the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion and for the ordination of priests. Fasting in Islam_sentence_14

Later, they were made compulsory and other days were subsequently added. Fasting in Islam_sentence_15

The Lenten fast was expanded in the 6th Century to 40 days where one meal was allowed on each day. Fasting in Islam_sentence_16

Fasting was retained by most Protestant churches and was made optional in some cases after the Reformation. Fasting in Islam_sentence_17

However, stricter Protestants condemned both the festivals of the church and their traditional fasts. Fasting in Islam_sentence_18

The Roman Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as their fast may involve partial abstinence from food and drink or total abstinence. Fasting in Islam_sentence_19

In the Quran Fasting in Islam_section_1

In the Quran, the practice of fasting is mentioned. Fasting in Islam_sentence_20

In verse 2:183, Quran expresses situations in which a Muslim is allowed to abstain from fasting and introduces alternative solutions such as feeding needy people. Fasting in Islam_sentence_21

Also, it is emphasized in verse 2:183-185 that it is not necessary for people who are traveling or sick to be fasting. Fasting in Islam_sentence_22

It can be postponed until "another equal number of days." Fasting in Islam_sentence_23

According to verse 5:95, among other things, fasting may be used to make up for certain sins, such as killing an animal during a state of ihram. Fasting in Islam_sentence_24

The Quran verse 2:185 also states that the Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan. Fasting in Islam_sentence_25

Another verse 97:1 in the Quran states that it was revealed "on the Night of Power," where Muslims observe in one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan. Fasting in Islam_sentence_26

Definition Fasting in Islam_section_2

Fasting is primarily an exercise of devotion to willingly renounce oneself, for a definite period of time, from all bodily appetites in order to form spiritual discipline and self-control. Fasting in Islam_sentence_27

Muslims are prohibited from eating or drinking from dawn (fajr) to dusk (maghrib) when the adhan is sounded. Fasting in Islam_sentence_28

It is considered time to begin fasting when a person standing outside can tell a white thread from a black thread, i.e the light of sun rise and the darkness of the night. Fasting in Islam_sentence_29

Conditions Fasting in Islam_section_3

Intention (niyyah) Fasting in Islam_section_4

"The intention (niyyah) means resolving to fast. Fasting in Islam_sentence_30

It is essential to have the intention the night before, night by night, in Ramadaan." Fasting in Islam_sentence_31

For fasting, the intention is necessary. Fasting in Islam_sentence_32

General conditions Fasting in Islam_section_5

Throughout the duration of the fast itself, Muslims will abstain from certain provisions that the Quran has otherwise allowed; namely eating, drinking and sexual intercourse.This is in addition to the standard obligation already observed by Muslims of avoiding that which is not permissible under Quranic or shari'a law (e.g. ignorant and indecent speech, arguing and fighting and lustful thoughts). Fasting in Islam_sentence_33

Without observing this standard obligation, sawm is rendered useless and is seen simply as an act of starvation. Fasting in Islam_sentence_34

The fasting should be a motive to be more benevolent to the fellow-creatures. Fasting in Islam_sentence_35

Charity to the poor and needy in this month is one of the most rewardable worships. Fasting in Islam_sentence_36

If one is sick, nursing or travelling, one is considered exempt from fasting. Fasting in Islam_sentence_37

Any fasts broken or missed due to sickness, nursing or travelling must be made up whenever the person is able before the next month of Ramadan. Fasting in Islam_sentence_38

According to the Quran, for all other cases, not fasting is only permitted when the act is potentially dangerous to one's health – for example, those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are menstruating, pregnant, or nursing are permitted to break the fast, but this must be made up by paying a fidyah which is essentially the iftaar and suhur for a fasting person who requires such financial help. Fasting in Islam_sentence_39

Muslim scholars have stated that observing the fast is forbidden for menstruating women. Fasting in Islam_sentence_40

However, when a woman's period has ceased, she must bathe and continue fasting. Fasting in Islam_sentence_41

Any fasts broken or missed due to menstruation must be made up whenever she can before the next month of Ramadan. Fasting in Islam_sentence_42

Women must fast at times when not menstruating, as the Quran indicates that all religious duties are ordained for both men and women. Fasting in Islam_sentence_43

The reason for this is because the Quran refers to menstruation as "Say: It is a discomfort(Menstruation)" According to Nouman Ali Khan an Islamic speaker in the United States the reason for this prohibition is because of the pain associated with it. Fasting in Islam_sentence_44

A Muslim woman may still do dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and make dua (supplication to Allah) during this time. Fasting in Islam_sentence_45

Fasting is obligatory for a person if they fulfill five conditions: Fasting in Islam_sentence_46

Fasting in Islam_ordered_list_0

  1. They are a Muslim.Fasting in Islam_item_0_0
  2. They are accountable (Islamic past the age of puberty).Fasting in Islam_item_0_1
  3. They are able to fast.Fasting in Islam_item_0_2
  4. They are settled (not traveling).Fasting in Islam_item_0_3
  5. There are no impediments to fasting such as sickness, extreme pain from injury, breastfeeding, or pregnancy.Fasting in Islam_item_0_4

Breaking the fast and the consequences Fasting in Islam_section_6

During Ramadan, if one unintentionally breaks the fast by eating or drinking, then they must continue fasting for the rest of the day and the fast remains valid. Fasting in Islam_sentence_47

For those who intentionally break the fast by eating or drinking, they have to make up for that and also repent. Fasting in Islam_sentence_48

For breaking fast by having sexual intercourse, the consequences are: Fasting in Islam_sentence_49

Fasting in Islam_ordered_list_1

  1. Free a slave, and if that is not possible,Fasting in Islam_item_1_5
  2. Fast for two consecutive Hijri (moon) months, and if that's not possibleFasting in Islam_item_1_6
  3. Feed or clothe sixty people in need.Fasting in Islam_item_1_7

During voluntary fasts, if one unintentionally breaks the fast then they may continue for the rest of the day and the fast remains valid. Fasting in Islam_sentence_50

If one intentionally breaks the fast there is no sin on them, because it is only voluntary. Fasting in Islam_sentence_51

Breaking oaths and consequences Fasting in Islam_section_7

If an oath is given and circumstances dictate that it must be broken (or if the one giving the oath deliberately breaks it), one must offer expiation (kaffara) by freeing 60 slaves, or feeding or clothing sixty needy people with the average of what is needed for one's own family, or if neither of those can be done then a fast for three days is prescribed instead. Fasting in Islam_sentence_52

Beginning and ending Fasting in Islam_section_8

In accordance with traditions handed down from Muhammad, Muslims eat a pre-dawn meal called suhur. Fasting in Islam_sentence_53

All eating and drinking must be finished before the adhan for fajr, the pre-dawn call to prayer. Fasting in Islam_sentence_54

Unlike the zuhr and maghrib prayer, which have clear astronomical definitions (afternoon and after-sunset), there are several definitions used in practice for the timing of "true dawn" (al-fajr al-ṣādiq), as mentioned in the hadith. Fasting in Islam_sentence_55

These range from when the center of the sun is 12 to 21 degrees below the horizon which equates to about 40 to 60 minutes before civil dawn. Fasting in Islam_sentence_56

There are no restrictions on the morning meal other than those of Islamic dietary laws. Fasting in Islam_sentence_57

After completing the suhur, Muslims recite the fajr prayer. Fasting in Islam_sentence_58

No food or beverage can be taken after suhur. Fasting in Islam_sentence_59

Water can enter the mouth, but not be swallowed, during wudu. Fasting in Islam_sentence_60

The meal eaten to end the fast is known as iftar. Fasting in Islam_sentence_61

Muslims break the fast with dates and water before maghrib prayer, after which they might eat a more wholesome meal. Fasting in Islam_sentence_62

Spiritual aspect Fasting in Islam_section_9

Fasting has been prescribed to all Muslims as a form of religious obligation for overcoming their lust and desires within a reasonable limit so that one can control oneself and prevent becoming a slave to their appetites. Fasting in Islam_sentence_63

The Qur’an states that if humans cannot prevent themselves from desires then they cannot achieve salvation. Fasting in Islam_sentence_64

“As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains himself from low desires, Paradise is surely the abode” (Verse 79: 40-41). Fasting in Islam_sentence_65

Muslims abstain from a permissible norm of daily life due to the command of Allah so it strengthens one’s self-control and increases consciousness of the Lord. Fasting in Islam_sentence_66

It is not prescribed as a punishment upon people or to inflict burdensome practices. Fasting in Islam_sentence_67

It is a moral and spiritual training whose underlying idea is to teach moderation and spiritual discipline so that human temptations do not surpass the moral disciplines implemented in Islam. Fasting in Islam_sentence_68

Furthermore, fasting is mandatory for only a definite period of time and does not promote total renunciation from the appetite of the flesh. Fasting in Islam_sentence_69

Eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse become permissible for a human at the end of the fast. Fasting in Islam_sentence_70

Therefore, Islamic fasting aims at promoting proper limits within its natural bounds. Fasting in Islam_sentence_71

Harmful effects Fasting in Islam_section_10

Islamic fasting, as a time-restricted eating habit that inverts the normal human day-night-routine for the observants, can have deleterious health effects on sleep patterns and the general health. Fasting in Islam_sentence_72

Fasting in Ramadan has been shown to alter the sleep patterns and the associated hormone production. Fasting in Islam_sentence_73

Statistical comparison of thousands of school children, part of whom were born without the month of Ramadan during pregnancy and part of whom where Ramadan coincided with the pregnancy, has revealed significantly lower intelligence, lower cognitive capability, and lower growth in adolescence if the mother observed Ramadan fasting during pregnancy. Fasting in Islam_sentence_74

Children whose mother fasted during Ramadan also have a higher incidence of several chronic diseases, e.g. Type 2 Diabetes. Fasting in Islam_sentence_75

The education departments of Berlin and the United Kingdom have tried to discourage students from fasting during Ramadan, as they claim that not eating or drinking can lead to concentration problems and bad grades. Fasting in Islam_sentence_76

Ramadan fasting has also been associated with loss of workplace productivity by 35 to 50%. Fasting in Islam_sentence_77

Many of the purported health benefits associated with Ramadan fasting only take into account the abstinence from food while ignoring the lack of water intake, which can have a harmful impact even in healthy individuals. Fasting in Islam_sentence_78

In many cultures, it is associated with heavy food and water intake during Suhur and Iftar times, which may do more harm than good. Fasting in Islam_sentence_79

Ramadan fasting is safe for healthy people provided that overall food and water intake is adequate, but those with medical conditions should seek medical advice if they encounter health problems before or during fasting. Fasting in Islam_sentence_80

The fasting period is usually associated with modest weight loss, but weight can return afterwards. Fasting in Islam_sentence_81

A review of the literature by an Iranian group suggested fasting during Ramadan might produce renal injury in patients with moderate (GFR <60 ml/min) or severe kidney disease but was not injurious to renal transplant patients with good function or most stone-forming patients. Fasting in Islam_sentence_82

Ramadan fasting can be potentially hazardous for pregnant women as it is associated with risks of inducing labour and causing gestational diabetes, although it does not appear to affect the child's weight. Fasting in Islam_sentence_83

It is permissible to not fast if it threatens the woman's or the child's lives, however, in many instances pregnant women are normal before development of complications. Fasting in Islam_sentence_84

Days Fasting in Islam_section_11

Month of Ramadan Fasting in Islam_section_12

Main article: Fasting during Ramadan Fasting in Islam_sentence_85

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is considered Fard. Fasting in Islam_sentence_86

Days of Oath Fasting in Islam_section_13

If you swear or make an oath, for example: "If I graduate with a good mark, I will fast for three days for God" then common belief dictates that one should fulfil this. Fasting in Islam_sentence_87

This type of fasting is considered obligatory. Fasting in Islam_sentence_88

Breaking such an oath is considered sinful. Fasting in Islam_sentence_89

Days for voluntary fasting Fasting in Islam_section_14

Muslims are encouraged, although not obliged, to fast days throughout the year: the ninth and tenth, or tenth and eleventh of Muharram, the first month of the year. Fasting in Islam_sentence_90

The tenth day, called Ashurah, is also a fast day for the Jews (Yom Kippur), and Allah commanded the Muslims to fast. Fasting in Islam_sentence_91

such as: Fasting in Islam_sentence_92

Fasting in Islam_unordered_list_2

  • any 6 days in the lunar or "Islamic" month of Shawwal (the month after Ramadan (Hijri)Fasting in Islam_item_2_8
  • Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is desirable if possible.Fasting in Islam_item_2_9
  • The White Days, the 13th, 14th, and 15th day of each lunar month (Hijri)Fasting in Islam_item_2_10
  • the Day of Arafah (9th of Dhu'I-Hijja in the Islamic (Hijri) calendar)Fasting in Islam_item_2_11
  • As often as possible in the months of Rajab and Sha'aban before RamadanFasting in Islam_item_2_12
  • First 9 days of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Islamic calendar (but not for any who are performing Hajj (the pilgrimage)Fasting in Islam_item_2_13

Days when fasting is forbidden Fasting in Islam_section_15

Although fasting is considered a pious act in Islam, there are times when fasting is considered prohibited or discouraged according to the majority of the sunni scholars: Fasting in Islam_sentence_93

Fasting in Islam_unordered_list_3

  • Eid al-Adha and three days following it, because Muhammad said "You are not to fast these days. They are days of eating and drinking and remembering God", reported by Abu Hurairah.Fasting in Islam_item_3_14
  • Eid al-FitrFasting in Islam_item_3_15
  • It is also forbidden to single out Fridays and only fast every Friday, as 'Abdullah b. 'Amr b. al-'As said that he heard Muhammad say "Verily, Friday is an eid (holiday) for you, so do not fast on it unless you fast the day before or after it."Fasting in Islam_item_3_16
  • Fasting every day of the year is considered non-rewarding; Muhammad said: "There is no reward for fasting for the one who perpetually fasts." This Hadith is considered authentic by the Sunni scholars.Fasting in Islam_item_3_17

Fasting is also prohibited on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul Hijjah - Days of Tashreeq The Quran contains no other prohibition regarding the days of fasting. Fasting in Islam_sentence_94

In polar regions Fasting in Islam_section_16

Nothing was said directly about the polar region and fasting. Fasting in Islam_sentence_95

But there is Hadith about Al-Masih ad-Dajjal that proves that fast as prayers have to be estimated and done every 24 hours, this is the opinion of the Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fasting in Islam_sentence_96

These concerns are because at polar latitudes, summer solstices feature the midnight sun and winter solstices have polar night. Fasting in Islam_sentence_97

These natural phenomena occur because the earth's axis tilts toward the sun in summer and away from the sun in winter, causing the poles to be exposed to the sun's rays for six months each, non-stop. Fasting in Islam_sentence_98

The reason most of the earliest Muslims did not experience these phenomena during Islam's early days is because they did not live in polar regions, but in the Subtropics, where the Sun can be directly overhead and does set at night. Fasting in Islam_sentence_99

In Tafsir Maarif ul Qur'an it is said that the Quran states that "(During Ramadan) eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread." Fasting in Islam_sentence_100

This results that fasting is a duty for Muslims only when days and nights are producing otherwise fasting is not necessary. Fasting in Islam_sentence_101

So the Muslims of Svalbard have to fast only when days and nights are prominent by the sun. Fasting in Islam_sentence_102

If Ramadan comes in June/December (when days and nights are not prominent by the sun in Svalbard, Norway) they may leave fasting and then complete their fasting in March/September (when days and nights are prominent by the sun in Svalbard, Norway). Fasting in Islam_sentence_103

In Islamic law it is called Qadha. Fasting in Islam_sentence_104

God says in the Quran: "God intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. Fasting in Islam_sentence_105

(He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful." Fasting in Islam_sentence_106

See also Fasting in Islam_section_17

Fasting in Islam_unordered_list_4


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting in Islam.