The fourth pillar: sawm (fasting) in Ramadan
Fasting means abstaining from things which break the fast, such as food, drink and intercourse, from sunrise until sunset, with the intention of fasting.
The relationship of patience to faith is like that of the head to the body. Allah has enjoined upon this ummah (nation) fasting for one month of the year, in order to draw closer to Allah, to avoid that which Allah has forbidden, to get used to being patient, to bring the nafs (self) under control, to compete in generosity and to demonstrate co-operation and mutual compassion. Allah says:
“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)” [al-Baqarah 2:183]
The month of Ramadan is a great month, in which Allah revealed the Qur’an. The reward for good deeds, acts of charity and acts of worship are multiplied in this month. In it is Laylat al-Qadr, which is better than a thousand months. The gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are shut, and the shayateen (devils) are tied up.
Allah has made fasting the month of Ramadan obligatory upon every sane, adult Muslim, male and female alike, as He says:
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him” [al-Baqarah 2:185]There is a great reward with Allah for fasting. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Every action of the son of Adam is multiplied, each good deed receiving a tenfold to seven hundredfold reward. Allah said, ‘Except for fasting, for it is done for Me and I will give a reward for it, for he gives up his desire and food for My sake.’” (Narrated by Muslim, al-Siyaam)