The fourth pillar of Islam is fasting during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year. Fasting Ramadan is obligatory on every responsible and fit Muslim. Participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility, and spirituality. But there are other times when it is recommended to make voluntary fasting, after the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad صلي الله عليه وسلم. Among these times are Mondays and Thursdays of every week, a few days of each month in the two months heralding the coming of Ramadan, i.e., Rajab and Sha'ban, six days after Ramadan following the ‘Aidil Fitri’ Day. Besides, it is always compensating to fast any day of any month of the year, except the 'Eid Days and Fridays when no Muslim should fast.
In the Qur'an, Allah (الله) proclaims that "fasting has been written down (as obligatory) upon you, as it was upon those before you".
|Al Baqarah : 183|
Muslims fast for the sake of Allah ( الله,) and to offer more prayer than usual. Muslims believe Ramadan to be an auspicious month for the revelations of God to humankind, being the month in which the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad صلي الله عليه وسلم. The night of ‘Lailatul al-Qadr’ is the night in which the Qur'an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad صلي الله عليه وسلم . Lailatul al-Qadr is considered the most holy night of the year, and it is believed to have occurred on an odd-numbered night during the last 10 days of Ramadan, either the night of the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th. Any failure to observe it without reasonable excuses is a grave sin in the sight of God.
Muslims should start observing the fasting ritual upon reaching the age of puberty, so long as they are healthy, sane and have no disabilities or illnesses. The elderly, the chronically ill, and the mentally ill are exempt from fasting, although the first two groups must endeavor to feed the poor in place of their missed fasting. Also exempt are pregnant women if they believe it would be harmful to them or the unborn baby, women during the period of their menstruation, and women nursing their newborns.
|Al Baqarah : 184|
|Al Baqarah : 185|
In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur'an. Some Muslims perform the recitation of the entire Qur'an by means of special prayers, called Tarawih, which are held in the mosques every night of the month, during which a whole section of the Qur'an (Juz', which is 1/30 of the Qur'an) is recited. Therefore the entire Qur'an would be completed at the end of the month.
Categories: Al Quran