Sawm is the 4th pillar of Islam and is a religious duty for all Muslims. Muslims are prohibited from eating, drinking, smoking, and engaging in sexual intercourse from dawn (fajr) to sunset (Maghrib). Fasting is a mean of seeking nearness to Allah. One of the aims of fasting is to sympathize with those who are less fortunate and the ones who do not always have food and drink available. Also Muslims must try to avoid cursing and thinking evil and bad thoughts. Fasting is viewed as a way of controlling your desires (of hunger, thirst, sexuality, anger) and focusing more on Allah.
Fasting gives Muslims a chance to feel what a hungry and needy person feels when he or she does not have any food to eat and also teaches Muslims self control because fasting controls his or her desire or need to drink or eat during the fasting period. People who learn self control can resist wrong doing or temptation to do bad things. During fasting Muslims have to have both physical self control- keep from eating, and mental self control-don’t give into temptation.
For a fast to be valid, intention (Niyyah) must be made beforehand; this is type of oath. If this is not said then you’re fast is not valid. Fasting has many benefits to Muslims. Fasting will make the person stronger as a believer, closer to Allah, more blessed and happier to be with Allah and to obey Him. Fasting helps to develop self-control and overcome selfishness and greed, to restrain passion and to prepare for any suffering that may be faced later on in life, to experience hunger so you can develop sympathy for the poor and gain spiritual strength.
For Muslims fasting is important for many reasons .For example it brings the unity of the ummah because they go to read the Taraveeh prayer in the evening at the Masjid together. Also Sawm makes Muslims feel how poor people feel when they don’t have anything to eat. Ramadan makes Muslims appreciate food, thank Allah for what they have and makes them closer to each other and the people around them. Sawm is a Jihadic struggle because Muslims struggle against hunger during fasting.
Another reason why Ramadan is important to Muslims is because it makes you try becoming the best possible Muslim while you’re fasting. Each time you keep a fast it becomes easier and near the end of Ramadan they become short which make them easier to keep. If you get tempted to eat during fasting Muslims do Du’a which is a personal prayer and bring you closer to Allah.
Ramadan also has effects after. After Ramadan, to Muslims, it is a personal experience. After someone has kept all of their fasts then it makes them feel proud, however if someone hasn’t they can still learn from their experience and from their mistakes during Ramadan so they are ready to keep all of them next year. Going through Sawm also makes Muslims stronger against fighting sin and more charitable to others. During Ramadan Muslims struggle against hunger and self control but when Ramadan has finished Eid-Ul-Fitr comes which shows how rewarding religion is. Ramadan also celebrates the time when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received the first revelation from Allah.