The Importance of Fasting
Siyam Ramadaan (Fasting the month of Ramadaan)
Fasting the month of Ramadaan is the 4th pillar of Islam. Ramadaan is that time of the year when Muslims recharge their spiritual batteries. For a whole month they Fast from dawn to sunset, and offer additional prayers at night. After the end of Ramadaan comes one of the two Muslim festivals, a day of Eid. On this day Muslims thank Allah for His guidance and grace in helping them to control their baser desires and fulfill their spiritual needs.
Fasting is a worldwide phenomenon observed by the devoted among the world’s one billion Muslims as one international community. Ramadaan is the ninth month of the Muslim year which follows the lunar calendar. Each month begins with a sighting of the moon’s crescent and lasts 29 of 30 days until a sighting of the next month’s crescent. Due to a difference of interpretation, some Muslims may begin and end Ramadaan a day before the others. One interpretation accepts the sighting anywhere in the world, whereas the other interpretation prefers to wait for a sighting closer to home. Since neither interpretation rejects the Islamic sources, Muslims remain one international community despite this interpretive variety.
- Women during their menses and post natal bleeding should not Fast. It is forbidden to them to Fast, but they have to Fast later when they become clean.
- The pregnant and the nursing mother: If they are afraid for themselves and their children, they may break the Fast and Fast later, but if they are just afraid for their babies only, then they have to Fast later and feed one needy (during Ramadaan) for each day missed.
- The old person who cannot Fast or the ill person with a permanent sickness, should not Fast and feed a needy (during Ramadaan) for each day of the month.
Anybody who breaks their Fast without any valid reason, is committing a great sin, and should repent and make up for the days missed.
Actions that Break the Fast:
- Eating, drinking, smoking or taking any food substitutes such as receiving blood, glucose, or I.V. substances by intention while knowing you should be Fasting. If done without remembering you are Fasting, then it would not count as breaking the Fast. If such an act was prescribed for an essential reason, the Fast would be considered broken but would only require one day for each day missed.
- Vomiting on purpose without necessity.