8 Things You Should Know about Fasting (Sawm)

Each year in Ramadan, millions of Muslims around the world observe one of their religion’s most sacred practices, fasting (Swam). During this month, Muslims refrain from eating any food, drinking any liquid, smoking and engaging in any sexual activity from dawn to sunset. They also try to abstain from vices in favor of spirituality and seeking closeness to Allah. Here are some spiritual and social facts about fasting, you might find new:

 

fasting in Ramadan

 

1. The Physical Aspect of Fasting (Sawm) is a Way to Reach Spiritual Growth

 

 

Wouldn’t it be easier for you to refrain from unlawful acts when you deliberately avoid doing things which are lawful for you on normal days? Despite its physical benefits, fasting is much beyond mere abstention from foods, drinks and other physical wants. In fact, we have fully observed the practice of fasting only if we also keep your tongue, ears, eyes, hands, feet and all our other organs away from sin. So, fasting would be the most helpful if our soul also refrains from worldly desires [i].

 

 

“There are many people who get nothing out of their fasts but hunger and thirst, and many more who get nothing out of their night prayers but exertions and sleepless nights.” [2]

 

2. Fasting (Sawm) Teaches us to Be Patient

 

 

Patience is one of the most important virtues in Islam. Muslims have always been advised to learn and develop this characteristic in different aspects of their life. There are many verses in the Quran and narrations about the significance of patience. the Holy Quran says: “O you who have faith! Take recourse in patience and prayer; indeed, Allah is with the patient” (2:153). It is also narrated from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that: “Faith is composed of two halves: One half is patience and the other is gratitude” [3]

 

 

As through fasting, we endure the pains of thirst and food deprivation patiently. We can also practice self-control and tolerance in other situations.

 

 

fasting

 

3. Fasting (Sawm) is Good for Health

 

 

Many studies have shown that fasting can have many health benefits. These include lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, reduction in blood sugar levels, detoxification of the body, and brain and Alzheimer’s disease prevention, etc. [4]. That is why fasting has now become one of the most popular diet trends around the world. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: “fast to be healthy” [5]

 

 

4. Fasting (Swam) Brings about Inner Peace

 

 

When fasting, we focus more on our inner self. We try to free ourselves from worldly desires, which makes us achieve contentment, happiness and inner peace.

 

 

5. Allah Bestows His Favors upon the People Who Observe Fasting (Sawm)

 

 

One aspect of God’s favor upon the fasting person is that his/her request will be always fulfilled by Him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said: “The invocation of the fasting person will never be rejected” [6]. It is also narrated from Imam Ali (AS): “The sleep of the fasting person is worship, and his/her silence is deemed as glorifying, his/her prayer is answered and his/her good deeds are multiplied” [7].

 

 

salvation, spiritual, peace, poor, fasting, sawm

 

 

6. Fasting (Sawm) Makes us Experience How it Feels to Be Poor

 

 

By forbidding ourselves from eating, we begin to feel, although to a small extent, the pain of poverty a countless number of our fellow human beings suffer from. And this taste of hunger will make us feel we are all equals in one way or another. That is, when we will most probably have mercy on the poor and give in charity to support them.

 

 

What’s more, fasting, in a different sense, is a reminder of the deprivation we will undergo on the Day of Judgement.

 

 

7. Fasting (Sawm) Can Strengthen the Social Ties

 

 

Fasting is a manifestation of the Islamic unity. Muslims around the world start and end fasting nearly the same day. They also make visitations and gather together to break their fast, at Iftar. Inviting friends and relatives for Iftar is so recommended in Islam introducing it as one the most rewarding acts in Ramadan. “The reward of giving Iftar to a fasting person is the same as the reward of fasting.” [8] This enhances friendship and family ties among members of the Muslim community. It also brings them kindness, brotherhood, sympathy, compassion, and love, as well.

 

 

8. Fasting (Sawm) Leads to Salvation

 

 

In a rather spiritual sense, fasting will grant us protection from the wrath of Allah and lead to salvation from hellfire in the hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said: “Fasting is a shield that protects against hellfire” [9].

 

 

There is still more to fasting than the eight above-mentioned points. fasting is actually one the most important practices the religion of Islam has been built upon. In short, it is a sign of faith, to see which one of us is sincerely obedient to Allah. It is a way to renew our faith in Allah. To be more observant of our deeds, to get in touch with our inner self and our Creator once again. What other lessons do you think we can learn from Ramadan?

 

 

Notes:

[i] Imam Ali (AS): “The most advantageous form of fasting is the abstinence of soul from worldly desires” [1].

 

References:

[1] Tasnif al-Ghurar al-Hikam. Wa Durar al-Kilam, p. 176, Hadith 3346

[2] Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), Sobhi Saleh, p. 495, Saying. 145

[3] Nahj al-Fasaha, Hadith 1070

[4] https://authoritynutrition.com/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting/

[5] Nahj al-Fasaha, p. 547, Hadith 1854

[6] Nahj al-Fasaha, p. 547, Hadith 1856

[7] Da’wat, p. 27, Hadith 45

[8] الکافی، ج 4 ص 68، ح 1

[9] al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 62, Hadith 1