Becoming a Practicing Muslim: The Five Pillars of Islam [IV]
Becoming a Practicing Muslim: The Five Pillars of Islam
24 Mar 2018
Fourth: 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 fulfills the following conditions.
1. He or She is a Muslim.
2. He or She is past the age of puberty.
3. He or She is able to fast.
4. He or She is settled (not traveling).
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.
If you haven't read the previous part, you can read The Third Pillar In Islam.
Interested to know more, read The Fifth Pillar In Islam.
Companions of the Prophet: Omar ibn Al Khattab
Perhaps one of the most notable figures in Islamic history and one of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) most well-known companions is Omar ibn Al Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him). He was so influential that he later became the second Caliph of the Rashidun (righteous) Caliphs, following Abu Bakr, after Prophet Muhammad's death. Under his rule, the Muslim Caliphate expanded extensively.READ MORE
Dua'a in the Morning and Evening
In order to keep Allah close to our hearts, we must always remember Him through Dhikr (short phrases of glorifying and praising Allah are repeatedly recited silently within the mind or aloud) and Dua'a (prayer and supplication).READ MORE
Famous Muslim Figures across Time: Aisha Bint Abu Bakr
Many women, during Prophet Muhammad’s time, had a great influence on the spread of Islam across the Arab world and beyond. One of these influential female figures was one of Prophet Muhammad’s wives, Aisha Bint Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with her) who is known as the Mother of the Believers.READ MORE