Soldier of Allah 

1. Introduction

The Fourth Pillar of Islam

The most important issue in Islam after prayers and Zakat, is fasting during Ramadan which is one of the five pillar of Islam as mentioned in the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be on him):

"Islam is based on five (pillars)(1) To testify that there is no Allah except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (2) To offer Salat (prayer). (3) To pay Zakat (obligatory charity) (4) To observe Saum (fasts during the month of Ramadan) and (5) to perform Hajj ( pilgrimage to Makkah)."

Literally defined, fasting means to abstain 'completely' from foods, drinks, intimate intercourse and smoking before the break of the dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year. Fasting this month is obligatory for every adult, male or female, who is healthy, physically and mentally and who is settled at his home.

Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

"O you who believe! Observing As Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaq'un*.

Observing Saum (fasts) for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast is better for you if only you know.

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 of the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (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 Takbir (Allahu Akbar; Allah is the most great] for having guided you so that you maybe grateful to Him. (V.2:183,184,185).

*(Taqwa is translated sometimes as piety, sometimes as consciousness of Allah, sometimes as fear of Allah. It is derived from the word Wiqayah for "Shield" and the connection is explained by scholars: To shield yourself from Allah's wrath by hurrying to do what He ordered you and by strictly avoiding what He has prohibited).

And the prophet (P.B.U.H) said: "Saum (fasting) is a shield (or a screen or a shelter) from Hell-fire." (Agreed upon)*.

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