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.
The Story of the Golden Calf
When Allah saved Moses (PBUH) and his followers from the tyrant Pharaoh, they travelled to another land. On their way, the people of Israel found people who were worshiping an idol, and they asked Moses (PBUH) to make an idol for them to worship similar to the one of the people they saw. Allah says: “And We took the Children of Israel across the sea; then they came upon a people intent in devotion to [some] idols of theirs. They said, "O Moses, make for us a god just as they have gods." He saiREAD MORE
Asiyah the Pharaoh’s Wife
Anas [may Allah be pleased with him] Narrated: that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "Sufficient for you among the women of mankind are Mariam bint 'Imran, Khadijah bint Khuwailid, Fatimah bint Muhammad and Asiyah the wife of Fir'awn (Pharoh)." [Sahih (Darussalam), Book 49, Hadith 4252]READ MORE
Memorizing and Understanding the Quran
The Quran is the holy book upon which all Muslims depend to understand Islam and its teachings, so it is a must for all Muslims to be able to interpret what the Quran says. Many Muslims also choose to memorize the Quran in order to gain the most benefit out of its teachings.READ MORE