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The fast of Ramadan has both spiritual significance and physical effects. In addition to the basic requirements of the fast , there are additional and recommended practices that allow people to gain the most benefit from the experience. The Ramadan fast is vigorous, and there are special rules for those who may find it physically difficult to participate in the fast.
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The first verses of the Quran were revealed during the month of Ramadan, and the very first word was: "Read! At the end of the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world enjoy a three-day holiday known as "Eid al-Fitr" Festival of Fast-Breaking.
The lessons learned during Ramadan should last throughout the whole year
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The Arabic word sawm is used for fasting. The word sawm plural siyam literally means 'to refrain', but as an Islamic term, it means refraining from food, drinks and sexual activity from dawn to sunset. Allah says in the Quran, in Surah Al-Baqarah :. The importance of Siyam in Ramadan is clearly expressed in several sayings of the Prophet S. It is reported by Abu Hurairah that the Prophet said:. Fasting in Ramadan is practiced by Muslims all over the world.
The most significant aspect of Siyam is the development of Allah-consciousness Taqwa in the heart and the soul of a fasting Muslim. One must abstain from immoral behavior and attitude as well.
Refraining from food and such is essential during fast but it is not sufficient. The Prophet of Allah is reported to have said:. Fasting is mandatory on every Muslim who is sane, adult, able and resident.
The Benefit of the Ramadan Fast for Muslims
The following exemptions apply:. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. Fasting starts everyday in Ramadan at the break of dawn, which is also the start of the Salatul Fajr time. Fasting ends at sunset or with the call of Salatul Maghrib.
The validity of fasting depends on the following:. It is desirable to break the fast as soon as possible after sunset. Breaking the fast with dates or water is a tradition of the Prophet.
Ramadan: a guide to the Islamic holy month
Following is one of the Du'a for breaking fast:. Allahumma laka sumtu wa 'ala ridhqika aftartu O Allah! For You did I fast and with Your bounties did I break the fast. The things which invalidate fast are of two kinds. The first one requires Qada only making up missed days , the other one not only requires Qada but also Kaffarah a penalty. Things that not only require Qada but also Kaffarah are the following: Sexual intercourse during fasting dawn to dusk. The penalty is to fast an additional period of 60 continuous days.
If one is not able to do so then he must feed sixty poor people-one average meal each. Before the days of the Prophet Muhammad S. Islam eliminated slavery from the society in a very short period of time. A useful approach was to allow people free a slave as a charity or as a penalty for a sin. Thus during the time of the Prophet S.