Becoming a Practicing Muslim: The Five Pillars of Islam [VI]
Becoming a Practicing Muslim: The Five Pillars of Islam
24 Mar 2018
Third: Fasting (Sawm)
Fasting or sawm is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam. When practicing sawm, Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise (fajr) to sunset (maghrib). Sawm, to Muslims, is a way to strengthen one’s faith, patience, endurance and help Muslims feel closer and more compassionate with those who are less fortunate.
Muslims are required to fast throughout the month of Ramadan every year, however, there are exceptions; Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and women who are menstruating, pregnant, or nursing are, either, permitted or required, to break their fast. According to the rules of Islamic jurisprudence, this non-fasting days must be made up either, by fasting an equivalent amount of days in other months, or by paying a fidyah (a recompense). Fidyah is essentially providing a satisfying meal to an impoverished person. In general, paying a fidyah is only permitted if a person is unable to make up for non-fasting days by fasting.
Sawm is obligatory, only, for whoever fulfils the following conditions.
- He or She is a Muslim.
- He or She is past the age of puberty.
- He or She is able to fast.
- He or She is settled (not travelling).
Finally, sawm is not confined to the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims are also encouraged to fast all year long, except during Eid al Adha and Eid el Fitr. On the other hand, fasting every single day of the year is discouraged; as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "He, who perpetually fasts, has not fasted."
In the end, Allah has been merciful in this regard; for although Muslims are required to fast, those who cannot fast are given other options that would actually also benefit those who really need help. This ensures that Muslims always stand by each other.
Prophets in the Quran: Ibrahim III
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Prophets in the Quran: Ibrahim II
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Prophets in the Quran: Ibrahim I
Ibrahim, in Arabic, or Abraham, as known in Hebrew, was born in, what is today, Iraq. His people, including his father, used to worship idols. Ibrahim’s father used to make these idols for people to worship, but Ibrahim could not understand how these idols would answer people’s requests. Allah says, “And recite to them the news of Abraham, when he said to his father and his people, "What do you worship?" They said, "We worship idols and remain to them devoted." He said, "Do they hear you wREAD MORE