Ramadan fasting or Sawm is the fourth pillar of Islam and it is another act of Ibadah which is an assumption on every adult Muslim to fast during the month of Ramadan. This fourth pillar of Islam can be preformed annually for a month which starts on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (h.q).
Ramadan fasting can be read as a celebration of the revelation of the holy Quran to Muhammad (pbuh) during this month and It is a celebration of the Quran as both a living guidance and a living proof to humanity.
It stands as a living proof of the divinity of Allahu Ta’aala, as a living proof of the authenticity of the prophet hood of Muhammad (SAW), and of the supremacy of revelation over all else.
Fasting means abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and conjugal relations during the hours of fasting. Travelers and the sick (ill) can defer fasting during Ramadan and make up for it later. Fasting or Sawm develops self-control and helps us to overcome selfishness, greed, laziness and other faults. It is an annual training program to refresh us for carrying out our duties towards Allah (S.W.T), the Creator and Sustainer. Fasting gives us the feeling of hunger and thirst. We experience for ourselves what it is like to have an empty stomach which develops our feeling for the poor and hungry people. Ramazan teaches us to control the love of comfort as well as helps us to keep our sexual desires within control. Hunger, comfort and sex are three main factors which must be kept under control to behave as Allahs servants.
Ramadan fasting starts from early in the morning approximately two hours before the sunrise and ends after the sunset everyday. The very purpose of fasting is to make a Muslim able to control his passions, so that he becomes a person of good deeds and intentions. Fasting, by depriving us of the daily luxuries and niceties of our mundane existence asserts the supremacy of our essential condition as beings endowed with a soul (ruh) over our condition as material and temporal beings. Anger – a common human weakness–can also be brought under control by fasting. In addition to the compulsory Ramadan fasting, a Muslim may fast during other times of the year as well which is Sunnah (done by Muhammad pbuh).
Allah (jalu jalalahu) says: "O you who believe; Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you are expected to be truly obedient". (Quran 2:183)
Ramadan fasting is not obligated on those who are sick or in travel during the month of Ramadan, but they must make it up later recovered. If they didn't preform it later then by missing every single day of fasting, they have to feed 3 hungry person.
It’s related by Abu Huraira (r.a) that
Rasulullah (s.a.w) said: If anyone omits his fast even for one day in Ramadan without a concession or without being ill, then if he was to fast for the rest of his life, he could not make up for it (Bukhari)means that all adult must preform fasting in Ramadhan. Ramadan Fasting is not obligated either for women who are sick in their (period) but they must make it up later when the month of Ramadaan is done.
The following are some of the forbiddens tips while fasting, and they can null the fast.
Deliberate eating or drinking during fasting hours
Anything enters the body through the nose or mouth; this includes smoking or sniffing any powdered substance,
Having any conjugal relations during fasting hours
An injection in the muscle is allowed during fasting but not an intravenous nutritional injection. Unintentional eating or drinking due to forgetfulness or rinsing out the mouth or bathing and putting drops in the eye do not make the fast invalid.
Ibn Umar(r.a) related that the Prophet(s.a.w) said: "Do not start fasting unless you see the new moon, and do not end fasting until you see it. If the weather is cloudy then calculate when it should appear" (Bukhari, Muslim).
Abu Huraira(r.a) related that the Prophet (s.a.w) said: "If a person does not avoid false talk and false conduct during Siyam (fasting), then Allah does not care if he abstains from food and drink" (Bukhari, Muslim).
A Muslim is expected to remain away from all bad actions during his fast. He should not tell a lie, break a promise or do any deceitful act. Fasting is not only by shutting the mouth from eating and drinking but the entire body must be in fast, in order to have a blessed month of fasting 'Ramadhan'. This year Ramadan will be started on August 11th and continues until September 9th 2010.