Fasting (Siyam) – Fasting the Holy Month of Ramadan
Along with salat, another important form of worship is fasting. It is obligatory for each Muslim, who is an adult of sane mind and physically able, to fast the holy month of Ramadan. The Holy Quran states, “O you who believe, Observing the fast is prescribed to you s it was prescribed for those before you so that you may become pious.” (2:183)
Ramadan is the month of mercy, repentance, and purification, and lasts for a period of 29 or 30 days. During the hours of fasting, which is from dawn until sunset, food and drink and conjugal relations between husband and wife are forbidden. Human life is dependent on food and drink, and the continuation of the human race depends on the marital relationship. While fasting, one refrains from them both, as if bearing witness to God that for His pleasure man gives up the factors (temporarily) upon which his very existence depends. There are many lessons to be learned from fasting. We sacrifice physical comfort to endure hunger and thirst. Fasting creates a sense of equality between the rich and the poor. By developing an empathic attitude toward hunger and thirst, fasting makes the wealthy remember the needs of the poor, and impresses a feeling of compassion in their hearts.