The Five Pillars of Islam

The Fourth Pillar of Islam: Saum, The Islamic Fast

dates in a plate

Azhar Goraya, Mexico

In earlier times, the thought of fasting brought to mind images of Buddha, monks or Hindu yogis, locked deep in contemplation, foregoing food and water in the quest for spiritual enlightenment. Fast-forward to today and fasting brings to mind the latest diet trends and fads, where it has been popularized as a quick way to get into shape.

Fasting, the perhaps counter-intuitive practice of denying the body sustenance in an effort to gain a positive effect, is a practice as old as human beings themselves. In ancient times, it was done through necessity – when food was scarce, our ancestors would go without. Unfortunately, this type of involuntary fasting is still a reality for many people today.

The powerful effects of fasting on the body and mind have made it ubiquitous across religions and cultures. In the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), Jews are obligated to fast on one day of the year, known as Yom Kippur. This is the only day of fasting mentioned in the Torah (Leviticus 23:26-32). In Christianity, there is no clear-cut obligation to fast found in the reported declarations of Jesus (as) in the Gospels. Nevertheless, Jesus (as) himself would fast for various reasons (Luke 40:1-2), as did members of the early church (Acts 13:2).  

Out of the three, Islam has the most developed framework regarding the practice of fasting and the most deeply refined legal and theological framework regarding it.

Fasting is known as Saum in Islam. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, or the five actions which are mandatory upon all Muslims – the Declaration of Faith (Kalima Shahadah), Salat (the daily prayers), Zakat (the just distribution of wealth), Fasting and Hajj (the pilgrimage).

The Islamic fast is performed from the first to the last day of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. There are 29 or 30 fasts in this month, one each day, which Muslims perform consecutively. That is, there is a fast every day of this month that is performed during the hours of the day. It is not a single continuous fast for the entire month.

The word Saum is derived from the trilateral Arabic root Suad-Wau-Laam, which primarily means to abstain from something (Lanes Lexicon).

Islam is a complete religion which has institutionalized fasting in the pursuit of a lofty moral and spiritual ideal. While describing the purposes of the fast, the Holy Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, states:

[2:184] O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous. [1]

Nevertheless, the pursuit of righteousness through fasting in Islam also brings with it a myriad of physical and social benefits. This is because Islam is a religion that is completely holistic. The mind, body and soul are all connected. That which is truly good for our souls will also benefit our bodies and minds. As the Holy Qur’an tells us:

[2:185] And fasting is good for you, if you only knew. [2]

Fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadan

Islam compounds the intrinsic benefits of fasting by placing the days of fasting in the auspicious Islamic month of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is when the revelation of the Holy Qur’an and the mission of Prophet Muhammad (sa) began. The Holy Qur’an states:

[2:186] The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and discrimination. [3]

Fasting in this holy month brings into sharp focus the message of Islam and the Holy Qur’an for man. It calls to mind the struggles and sacrifices of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) and his companions for the faith. Where the physical rigors of the fast soften one’s heart to the suffering of those long gone and those still with us, it also strengthens ones’ resolve and readies a person to make similar sacrifices.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) (1835-1908), the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi, was the divinely appointed reformer of the age. Born in Qadian, India, he claimed to be the second advent of Jesus (as), the awaited Messiah and Mahdi. He was commissioned to explain and clarify the true teachings of Islam. He writes about the significance of the Arabic term “Ramadhan” in the following words:

‘ “Ramadhan” refers to the heat of the sun. In Ramadhan, because a person abstains from food, water and all physical comforts, and moreover develops a longing and eagerness to fulfil the commandments of Allah, both the spiritual and physical fervor and passion combine to give rise to “Ramadhan”. What the grammarians have stated, that it [i.e. the month of fasting], came in a month of heat and was thereafter referred to as “Ramadhan” is not correct in my estimation, because this cannot be a special characteristic [of any month] for the Arabs. The meaning of spiritual Ramuz (heat) is spiritual passion and eagerness and fervor for the faith. Ramuz also refers to that heat which heats up rocks.’ [4]

The Islamic calendar is lunar. The month begins with the sighting of the new crescent of the moon on the western horizon, immediately after sunset. According to whether the new moon can be spotted, the month will be 29 or 30 days.

Muslims look to the western horizon to see the new moon on the 29th day of Sha’ban, the eighth month of the Islamic calendar. If the new moon is seen, Ramadan begins at sunset, but the fasting begins at the next sunrise. If the new moon is not seen on this 29th day, Muslims complete 30 days of Sha’ban and Ramadan begins the next day.

In the same way, on the 29th of Ramadan after sunset, Muslims will observe the horizon, and if the new moon is seen then the next day is the month of Shawwal, and will be celebrated as the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, the festival at the end of the month of fasting. If the new moon is not seen, then the next day is considered the 30th of Ramadan, on which a fast will be kept.

In our modern world, astronomical calculations are normally used to determine these dates.

The Spiritual Benefits of Fasting

There are a great many benefits to fasting. True to its stated purpose, the major benefits of fasting in the month of Ramadan are spiritual and moral in nature.

The month of fasting is a time for the acceptance of prayers. The Holy Qur’an states within the context of fasting in the month of Ramadan:

[2:187] And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’[5]

The Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated that fasting in the month of Ramadan is a means of forgiveness:

‘…whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.’ [6]

He also stated that it is a means of salvation from Hell:

‘Indeed, anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s Pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) seventy years.’ [7]

Fasting is also a method of attaining entry to Paradise. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) explained that there is a gate in heaven through which those will enter who observed the fast during this month:

‘There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed, and nobody will enter through it.’ [8]

The ultimate reward though, is that God Himself will become a close friend and helper of he who fasts sincerely during this month. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated:

‘Allah said, ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it [Myself]…’ [9]

The Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) explained how the fast illuminates the heart of a man. He writes about the verse,

‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down [10]‘ (2:186):

‘This verse indicates the greatness of the month of Ramadan. The Sufis [mystics] have recorded that this is a good month for the illumination of the heart. One who observes the fast has frequent experience of visions in this month. The Salat purifies the spirit and the fast illumines the heart. The purification of the spirit means that one may be delivered from the passions of the self that incites to evil; and the illumination of the heart means that the gates of vision may be opened so that one may be able to behold God.’ [11]

Other Benefits of Fasting

There are a number of psychological benefits linked with fasting. Fasting increases one’s willpower, as one must forego food and drink that is otherwise available. This willpower enables one to avoid sinful actions in the future – if one can temporarily relinquish that which is lawful, it will be much easier to give up that which is unlawful.

On a moral level, fasting aids in identifying compassionately with those that have nothing to satiate their hunger. This leads to a specific social benefit of the fast – increased charity. Not only is one naturally more inclined to give charity during the fast, but Islam itself mandates it. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) is recorded to have become even more charitable than normal during the days of Ramadan[12], and those that cannot fast due to indisposition are encouraged to feed the poor instead. Moreover, during the fast one is required to forego arguments, fights and any sort of objectionable actions and words[13]. Therefore, the Islamic fast is one that encourages societal harmony and tranquility.

Islam does not permit sexual relations outside of marriage. In this context, fasting is useful in controlling one’s sexual appetite for those who are either away from their spouses for extended periods of time or who have not yet married. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) is reported to have stated:

‘He who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him refrain from looking at other women, and save his private parts from having illegal sexual relations; and he who cannot afford to marry is advised to fast, as fasting will diminish his sexual appetite.’ [14]

There are also a number of physical benefits found in fasting. Some of these are:

  • Promotion of blood sugar control by reducing insulin resistance
  • Reduced inflammation in the body
  • Improved blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels
  • Prevents neurodegenerative disorders
  • Can aid weight loss by limiting calorie intake and boosting metabolism
  • Increased growth hormone secretion, which is important for growth, metabolism, weight loss and muscle strength
  • Could help in delaying aging
  • May aid in cancer therapy and effectiveness of chemotherapy [15]

The Islamic Method of Fasting

The Islamic fast consists of complete abstinence from three physical things from sunrise to sunset:

  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Marital relations

One may not eat anything (vegetables, meat, bread, etc.) or drink anything (water, juice, etc.) during the fast.

Muslims generally rise before sunrise and partake of food and drink, known as the Suhur. Once night falls, Muslims break the fast, usually with dates and water, according to the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (sa). The breaking of the fast is known as Iftar.

Apart from avoiding food, drinks and conjugal relations, a Muslim must also abstain from all immoral conduct during the fast. The Islamic fast is thus not just a mere physical exercise, rather a vehicle for self-reform. A person who is fasting should not fight with anyone or tell lies or curse. Rather, he should engage in the remembrance of God as much as possible and focus on his inner reform. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) once said:

‘Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.’ [16]

The emphasis on self-reform and forging a closer relationship with Allah is palpable in all aspects of Ramadan.

The Promised Messiah (as) writes about the requirements of the fast and its effects:

‘The third thing which is a pillar of Islam is the fast. People are unaware of the reality of the fast. The truth is that a person is unable to speak about that country which he has never visited or that world of which he is not familiar. The fast is not merely that a person remain hungry and thirsty, rather it has a reality and an effect that is known through experience. It is part of the nature of man that the less he eats, the more his inner self is purified and his ability to receive visions is increased. God desires through this that you decrease one type of food and increase the other. A person who fasts should always be mindful that his purpose is not to merely remain hungry, rather he should remain occupied in the remembrance of God so that he may achieve a state of complete devotion to God whilst cutting asunder all worldly inclinations. So, the essence of the fast is that a person leaves one type of bread which nourishes the body and gain another type of bread which satisfies and fulfills the soul. Those that keep fasts wholly for the sake of God and not merely as a matter of custom should remain occupied in the praise, glorification and celebration of God, which will grant them the second type of nourishment.’ [17]

The month is generally divided into three parts, each one being ten days. The first ten days are considered as days of receiving the mercy of God, the next ten as days of His forgiveness, and the last ten as being a means of salvation from the fire of Hell [18]. Muslims offer special prayers directed towards these three purposes during their respective days.

Being the month in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed, Muslims try to ponder over it during this month and read it from cover to cover. This was the practice of the Holy Prophet (sa). It is stated that during the month of Ramadan, the angel Gabriel would descend, and every night would revise the text of the Holy Qur’an with him, completing a full revision with him by the end of the month [19]. Many Muslims complete several readings of the Holy Qur’an during the month.

Being a month for the acceptance of prayer, Muslims make special efforts to improve the number, length and quality of their prayers. Many get up during the nights to offer voluntary prayers, known as Tahajjud. For those who can’t, special prayers known as Tarawih are offered in the late evening in the mosques.

All of the efforts come to a head during the last ten nights of Ramadan, where the Prophet Muhammad (sa) would redouble his efforts. He would retire to the mosque for the entirety of these last ten days, spending all of his time in the remembrance of Allah. This is known as Itikaaf. Although not mandatory, many Muslims aspire to do the same. Nevertheless, even if they can’t do the Itikaaf for the full ten days, any number of days spent in the mosque is still valid and meritorious.

Those Who are Exempt from Fasting

Fasting is obligatory for all adult, healthy Muslims who are not traveling. Those that don’t qualify to fast according to these conditions are exempt.

The reason for the exemption is because the purpose of fasting in Ramadan is not to harm one physically, but to train them spiritually. Therefore, Islam has prohibited those Muslims from fasting who risk harming their health in doing so.

The Holy Qur’an exempts two categories of adults from fasting. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

[2:185] The prescribed fasting is for a fixed number of days, but whoso among you is sick or is on a journey shall fast the same number of other days; and for those who are able to fast only with great difficulty is an expiation — the feeding of a poor man. And whoso performs a good work with willing obedience, it is better for him. And fasting is good for you, if you only knew. [20]

The first category comprises of adults who are normally healthy and can fast, but are temporarily in situations where, if they were to fast, would risk damaging their health. Students who are preparing for exams, or those who work jobs that are physically strenuous, may also fall into this category.  The Holy Quran says that, instead of fasting while sick or while traveling, that they should complete the number of missed days in another part of the year before the next Ramadan. It is not necessary to complete the number consecutively. For example, if someone did not fast for five days in the month of Ramadan, he can observe the number in other months, fasting for example one day per month for five months.

Women who experience their menstruation during the month of Ramadan fall into the above category as well and should not fast. They should complete the number of fasts after Ramadan [21].

The second category covers those adults who are not healthy and cannot fast without putting their health at risk. This category includes the elderly, women who are pregnant and nursing, and the permanently sick. This category is for people who cannot observe the number of days of fasting either in Ramadan or in other months before the next Ramadan. Instead of fasting, those in this category should feed the poor for each fast that is missed if possible, known as the Fidya.

Fidya is the term used for this payment in the Holy Qur’an, and it literally means atonement. Two reasons come to mind why this word is used to describe this act of charity.  

It may be that through the blessings of Fidya, one will receive the opportunity and strength to fast in the future. The Promised Messiah (as) writes:

‘On one occasion I began to reflect on the purpose of the prescribed expiation of missing a fast and I conceived that the expiation is prescribed so that one may be bestowed the capacity and the strength to observe the fast. God Almighty alone can bestow such strength and everything should be sought from God Almighty. He is the All-Powerful; if He so wills He can bestow the strength for observing the fast on one who is afflicted with tuberculosis. The purpose of the prescribed expiation is that one may be bestowed the strength for the observation of the fast, and this can be achieved only through the grace of God Almighty. One should supplicate:

Lord! this is Thy blessed month and I am being deprived of its blessings. I know not whether I shall be alive next year, or would find the opportunity of observing the fasts that I am missing. Do Thou bestow upon me, by Thy grace, the strength that should enable me to observe the fast.

I am sure that one with such a heart would be bestowed the needed strength by God Almighty…

According to me the principle is that when a person supplicates God Almighty with perfect sincerity that he should not be deprived of the blessings of the month of Ramadan, he is not so deprived, and if such a one should become ill during the month of Ramadan his illness becomes a source of mercy for him, inasmuch as the value of every action is determined by the motive that inspires it. It behoves a believer that he should prove himself brave in the cause of God Almighty.

He who is heartily determined that he would observe the fast but is held back from doing so on account of illness while his heart yearns after the observation of the fast would not be deprived of the bounty resulting from the observation of the fast and angels would observe the fast in his place. This is a subtle matter. If a person finds the observation of the fast difficult on account of the slothfulness of his spirit and imagines that he is not in good health, and that if he misses a meal he would suffer from various types of disorders, such a one, who imagines that a Divine blessing would sit heavy on him, would not deserve any spiritual merit. On the other hand, a person who feels happy at the approach of the month of Ramadan and is eager to observe the fast, but is held back by illness from doing so, would not be deprived of the blessings of Ramadan.’ [22]

Another is that there is a possibility that those who didn’t fast considering themselves incapacitated in fact erred in their conclusion. It is possible that according to the knowledge of Allah they could very well have completed their fasts. Through the Fidya (atonement) of feeding the needy, Allah will forgive their oversight. Of course, sincerity of intention is a prerequisite in the payment of Fidya. One cannot willingly forego the fast knowing they can probably do it and give Fidya in place of it.

This atonement of feeding a person in need applies to those who can financially afford it. Historically, the amount was generally understood as being a half a kilogram of food per day, or enough money to buy that amount.

The Fidya should be given for every day that a person has not fasted. Though not obligatory, it is nonetheless meritorious to give the Fidya even if one is fasting, or if one is only temporarily incapacitated and plans to make up the fasts after Ramadan [23].

Breaking the Fast

If someone unknowingly eats or drinks something during their fast, they are not penalized for it and their fast is still deemed valid. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated:

‘If anyone forgets that he is fasting and eats or drinks he should complete his fast, for it is only Allah Who has fed him and given him drink.’ [24]

If someone finds that they have fallen sick and require immediate medical attention, the fast can and should be broken so that they can be properly attended to. Once they have recovered, they can make up the fasts they have missed in other months.

Breaking the fast willingly when not under medical duress is considered a sin. One of the purposes of the fast is to train our self-control – this is negated when one does not respect the restrictions.

On one occasion, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) approached him and stated that he had broken his fast by having intimate relations with his wife. The Prophet (sa) charged him to either free a slave, fast sixty days, or feed the poor as an expiation, in that order of preference [25]. The same penalties apply today as well.

The Night of Destiny

Any explanation of Fasting in the month of Ramadan would be remiss without mentioning the Night of Destiny or Power, known as Lailatul Qadar.

The Holy Qur’an makes special mention of this term in the following verses:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ

[97:2] Surely, We sent it down on the Night of Destiny.

[97:3] And what should make thee know what the Night of Destiny is?

[97:4] The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months.

[97:5] Therein descend angels and the Spirit by the command of their Lord — with every matter.

[97:6] It is all peace till the rising of the dawn.

Among the various explanations of the term “Night of Destiny” is one which refers to a special night during the final ten nights of the month of Ramadan. This night is said to occur on one of the odd nights, although the date is not fixed and can change from year to year.

Those who are fortunate to be occupied in prayer during this night are granted great blessings and forgiveness. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated:

‘Whoever stands in prayer during Lailat-ul-Qadar (the Night of Destiny) with faith and hope of Allah’s reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.’ [26]

During the last ten nights and especially the odd nights, Muslims make special efforts to spend more time in worship. Hazrat Aisha (ra), the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), narrates:

‘With the start of the last ten days of Ramadhan, the Prophet (sa) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.’ [27]

The experience of the night can be different for each person. Some people have reported experiencing dreams or visions or receiving revelations from Allah, while others report experiencing a sense of profound peace, satisfaction or spiritual enlightenment.

Other Obligatory Fasts

Though not part of the five pillars of Islam, there are certain cases in Islam where a person is obligated to fast a certain number of days, usually as part of a process of repentance, atonement or as a penalty.

For example, a person is obligated to fast for two months in atonement for unjustly suspending conjugal relations with his wife and insulting her (58:3-5) [28]. In another case, a Muslim is obligated to fast for ten days if he does not sacrifice an animal during Hajj (the Islamic pilgrimage) (2:197) [29].

Optional Fasts

Aside from obligatory fasts, Islam also encourages its followers to keep voluntary fasts in other parts of the year. These are meritorious actions and bring one closer to Allah. Instructions regarding them are found primarily in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Some of the optional fasts found in Islam are:

a) Six days of fasting (one each day) after Ramadan in the month of Shawwal. It is not necessary to do them consecutively.

b) Fasting on the Day of Ashura (the 10th of the Islamic month of Muharram)

c) Fasting on the 13th, 14th and 15th of each lunar month according to the Islamic calendar

d) Three days a month at any time

e) Fasting every third day

f) The fast observed by the prophet Dawud (one fast every other day)

There are also a few days where fasting is not permitted. It is not permitted to fast on Eid-ul-Fitr (the celebration on the first of Shawwal after the month of fasting of Ramadan) or Eid-ul-Adha (the day of sacrifice during the Hajj). Moreover, the day of Jummah (Friday) should not be chosen specifically for fasting.

Aside from the above, voluntary fasts can be done on any other day of the year.


After the conclusion of the month of Ramadan, Muslims are enjoined to show their gratefulness to Allah for having been enabled to witness the blessed month of Ramadan. This gratefulness is demonstrated through a day of celebration, known as Eid-ul-Fitr, or the celebration of the opening [i.e. of the fast].

Eid-ul-Fitr falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. Fasting is forbidden on this day [30]. Muslims of all ages adorn themselves in their best clothes and perfume. Many prepare special foods and eat together with friends and family.

On the day of Eid, there is a special prayer in congregation followed by a sermon given by the Imam.

Muslims try to gather in large numbers to participate. It is encouraged that they proceed to the location of the Eid prayer and return from two different paths [31]. This is in part so that as many streets as possible be filled with the worshippers of Allah and His praise.

On this day, there are special prayers, known as Takbirat (sing. Takbir) which are recited from sunset on the last day of Ramadan (i.e., the first day of the month of Shawwāl) until the Imam rises to lead the prayer of Eid.

The prayer is:

اَللہُ اَکَبَرُ اَللہُ اَکْبَرُ لَا اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللہُ وَ اللہُ اَکْبَرُ اَللہُ اَکْبَرُ وَ لِلّٰهِ الْحَمْدُ

Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, La Ilaha Illallah wallahu akbar, Allahu akbar, wa lilla hil hamd

Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is none worthy of being worshiped but Allah; Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, and to Him belongs all praise.

There is also a mandatory financial contribution for this day, known as Sadaqatul Fitr or Zakat-ul-Fitr.

Allah has commanded every Muslim who has more food than he needs for the day and night of the feast to give a measure of one Sa (approximately three liters) of food – such as wheat or rice – or its equivalent in money to needy Muslims so that no one is left without food on this day. The amount should be paid or distributed before the sermon of Eid starts.


Fasting in Islam is thus a practice that brings with it a great many benefits – spiritual, physical and social. Like all other Islamic practices, it is highly refined in both theology and exercise. Combined with prayer, it becomes an important and necessary vehicle for one’s journey towards God.

About the Author: Azhar Goraya is a graduate from the Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology in Canada. He is currently serving as an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Mexico. He is also the Central American Coordinator for The Review of Religions en Español.



يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ


وَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ


شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ


رمضان سورج کی تپش کو کہتے ہیں، رمضان میں چونکہ انسان اکل و شرب اور تمام جسمانی لزّتوں پر صبر کرتا ہے دوسرے اللہ تعالٰی کے احکام کے لئے ایک حرارت اور جوش پیدا کرتا ہے، روحانی اور جسمانی حرارت اور تپش مل کر رمضان ہوا۔ اہل لغت جو کہتے ہیں کہ گرمی کے مہینے میں آیا اس لئے رمضان کہلایا، میرے زندیک یہ صحیح نہیں ہے۔ کیونکہ عرب کے لئے یہ خصوصیت نہیں ہو سکتی۔ روحانی رَمُض سے مُراد روحانی ذوق و شوق اور حرارتِ دینی ہوتی ہے، رمض اُس حرارت کو بھی کہتے ہیں جس سے پتھر وغیرہ گرم ہو جاتے ہیں۔

(تفسیر حضرت مسیح موعود، ۲:۱۸۶۔ اصل الحکم جلد ۵، نمبر ۲۷ مورخہ ۲۴ جولائی ۱۹۰۱ صفحہ ۲)

Commentary of the Promised Messiah (as), under 2:186. Original from Al-Hakam, vol. 5, number 27, July 24, 1901, pg. 2


وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖفَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ


وَمَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ (صحیح البخاری، کتاب فضل لیلة القدر، باب فَضْلِ لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ، حدیث ۲۰۱۴)

Sahih Al-Bikhari, the Book of the Virtues of the Night of Qadr, Chapter: The Superiority of the Night of Qadr, Hadith #2014.


مَنْ صَامَ يَوْمًا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بَعَّدَ اللَّهُ وَجْهَهُ عَنِ النَّارِ سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفًا (صحیح البخاری، کتاب الجھاد والسیر، باب فَضْلِ الصَّوْمِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ، حدیث ۲۸۴۰)

Sahih Al-Bukhari, The Book of Jihad and Seir, Chapter: the Superiority of Observing the Fast in the Cause of Allah, Hadith #2840)


إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ بَابًا يُقَالُ لَهُ الرَّيَّانُ، يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ الصَّائِمُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، لاَ يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ يُقَالُ أَيْنَ الصَّائِمُونَ فَيَقُومُونَ، لاَ يَدْخُلُ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ غَيْرُهُمْ، فَإِذَا دَخَلُوا أُغْلِقَ، فَلَمْ يَدْخُلْ مِنْهُ أَحَدٌ (صحیح البخاری، کتاب الصوم، باب الرَّيَّانُ لِلصَّائِمِينَ، حدیث ۱۸۹۶)

Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Book of Fasting, Chapter: Ar-Raiyan is for people observing Saum, Hadith #1896)


قَالَ اللَّهُ كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ لَهُ إِلاَّ الصِّيَامَ، فَإِنَّهُ لِي، وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ (صحیح مسلم، کتاب الصیام، باب فَضْلِ الصِّيَامِ، حدیث ۱۱۵۱)

Sahih Muslim, the Book of Fasting, Chapter: the Virtue of Fasting, Hadith #1151


شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ


Essence of Islam, vol. 2, pg. 313. Taken from Malfuzat, vol. 4, pg. 256-257.


عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ بِالْخَيْرِ وَكَانَ أَجْوَدَ مَا يَكُونُ فِي شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ

Ibn ‘Abbas reported that Allah’s Messenger (sa) was the most generous of people in charity, but he was generous to the utmost in the month of Ramadan… (Sahih Muslim, The Book of Virtues, Chapter: His Generosity, Hadith #2308)


الصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ إِذَا كَانَ أَحَدُكُمْ صَائِمًا فَلاَ يَرْفُثْ وَلاَ يَجْهَلْ فَإِنِ امْرُؤٌ قَاتَلَهُ أَوْ شَاتَمَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ  (سنن ابو داود، کتاب الصوم، باب الْغِيبَةِ لِلصَّائِمِ، حدیث ۲۳۶۳)

“Fasting is a shield; when one of you fasts, he should not behave in an obscene or foolish manner. If a man fights or abuses him, he must say, ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.” (Sunan Abu Daud, the Book of Fasting, Chapter: A Fasting Person Backbiting, Hadith #2363)


مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ، فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ، فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ (صحیح البخاری، کتاب الصوم، باب الصَّوْمِ لِمَنْ خَافَ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ الْعُزْبَةَ، حدیث ۱۹۰۵)

Sahih Al-Bukhari, The Book of Fasting, Chapter: Fasting for those who fear committing illegal sexual acts, Hadith #1905)

[15]  “8 Health Benefits of Fasting, Backed by Science”. Healthline. Accessed September 4 2020.


مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ وَالْجَهْلَ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ (صحیح البخاری، کتاب الادب، باب قَوْلِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى وَاجْتَنِبُوا قَوْلَ الزُّورِ‏، حدیث ۶۰۵۷)

Sahih Al-Bukhari, The Book of Good Manners, Chapter: “…and shun lying speech”, Hadith #6057


تیسری بات جو اسلام کا رُکن ہے، وہ روزہ ہے۔ روزہ کی حقیقت سے بھی لوگ ناواقف ہیں ۔ اصل یہ ہے  کہ جس ملک میں انسان جاتا نہیں اور جس عالم سے واقف نہیں اس کے حالات کیا بیان کرے۔  روزہ اتنا ہی نہیں کہ اس میں انسان بھوکا پیاسا رہتا ہے، بلکہ اس کی ایک حقیقت اور اس کا اثر ہے جو تجربہ سے معلوم ہوتا ہے۔ انسانی فطرت میں ہے کہ جس قدر کم کھاتا ہے اُسی قدر تزکیۂ نفس ہوتا ہے اور کشفی قوتیں بڑھتی ہیں۔ خدا تعالیٰ کا منشا اس سے یہ ہے کہ ایک غذا کو کم کرو اور دوسری کو بڑھاؤ۔ ہمیشہ روزہ دار کو یہ مدّنظر رکھنا چاہئے کہ اس سے اتنا ہی مطلب نہیں ہے کہ بھوکا رہے بلکہ اُسے چاہئے کہ خدا تعالیٰ کے ذکر میں مصروف رہے تا کہ تبتّل اور انقطاع حاصل ہو۔ پس روزے سے یہی مطلب ہے کہ انسان ایک روٹی کو چھوڑ کر جو صرف جسم کی پرورش کرتی ہے، دوسری روٹی کو حاصل کرے جو روح کی تسلی اور سیری کا باعث ہے۔ اور جو لوگ محض خدا کے لئے روزے رکھتے ہیں اور نرے رسم کے طور پر نہیں رکھتے، اُنہیں چاہئے کہ اللہ تعالیٰ کی حمداور تسبیح اور تہلیل میں لگے رہیں جس سے دوسری غذا اُنہیں مل جاوے۔‘‘ (ملفوظات جلد 5 صفحہ 102(

Malfuzat, vol. 5 pg. 102.


…وَهُوَ شَهْرٌ أَوَّلُهُ رَحْمَةٌ، وَأَوْسَطُهُ مَغْفِرَةٌ، وَآخِرُهُ عِتْقٌ مِنَ النَّارِ… (صحيح ابن خزيمه، حدیث ۱۸۸۷)

“…And it is a month whose beginning is mercy, the middle is forgiveness, and the last is salvation from fire (Sahih ibn-e-Khuzaimah, Hadith #1887)


عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ، وَأَجْوَدُ مَا يَكُونُ فِي رَمَضَانَ، حِينَ يَلْقَاهُ جِبْرِيلُ، وَكَانَ جِبْرِيلُ ـ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ ـ يَلْقَاهُ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ، فَيُدَارِسُهُ الْقُرْآنَ فَلَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَجْوَدُ بِالْخَيْرِ مِنَ الرِّيحِ الْمُرْسَلَةِ (صحیح البخاری، كتاب المناقب، باب صِفَةِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم، حدیث ۳۵۵۴)

Narrated Ibn `Abbas (ra):

The Prophet (sa) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him. Allah’s Messenger (sa) then used to be more generous than the fast wind. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, The Book of the Virtues and Merits, Chapter: the Description of the Prophet (sa), Hadith #3554)


أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ ۚ وَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ


Hazrat Aisha (ra) narrates:

كَانَ يُصِيبُنَا ذَلِكَ فَنْمَرُ بِقَضَاءِ الصَّوْمِ وَلاَ نُؤْمَرُ بِقَضَاءِ الصَّلاَةِ (صحیح مسلم، کتاب الحیض، باب وُجُوبِ قَضَاءِ الصَّوْمِ عَلَى الْحَائِضِ دُونَ الصَّلاَةِ ، حدیث ۳۳۵)

“We went through this (period of menstruation), and we were commanded to complete the fasts, but we were not commanded to complete the prayers.” (Sahih Muslim, The Book of Menstruation, Chapter: A menstruating woman is obliged to make up missed fasts but not prayers, Hadith #335)

[22] Essence of Islam, vol. 2, pg. 313-315, taken from Malfuzat vol. 4, pg. 258-260


Hadhrat Musleh Maud, the second Khalifa after the Promised Messiah (as), once stated:

“If one cannot fast for some reason, one should try to feed a person. If you cannot do so, then intention is enough. Whether he gave Fidya or not, he should complete the number of fasts later, if he has the power to do so, because Fidya is because one cannot fast with everyone during the month. If one cannot fast, then Fidya is in place of that. If one fasts and also gives Fidya, he gets more reward. There are two kinds of excuses: temporary and permanent. You must give Fidya for both situations. When the excuse is no longer valid, you must complete the fasts. If the illness or excuse is temporary and later he decides to complete the fast but the illness becomes permanent, Fidya is sufficient. (Abbreviated translation from Al-Fazl, August 10, 1945)


مَنْ نَسِيَ وَهُوَ صَائِمٌ فَأَكَلَ أَوْ شَرِبَ فَلْيُتِمَّ صَوْمَهُ فَإِنَّمَا أَطْعَمَهُ اللَّهُ وَسَقَاهُ (صحیح البخاری، کتاب الصیام، باب أَكْلُ النَّاسِي وَشُرْبُهُ وَجِمَاعُهُ لاَ يُفْطِرُ، حدیث ۱۱۵۵)

Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Book of Fasting, Chapter: The one who eats, drinks, or has intercourse by mistake does not break his fast, Hadith #1155)


جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ هَلَكْتُ‏.‏ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ وَمَا ذَاكَ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ وَقَعْتُ بِأَهْلِي فِي رَمَضَانَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ تَجِدُ رَقَبَةً ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ لاَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَهَلْ تَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ تَصُومَ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ لاَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَتَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ تُطْعِمَ سِتِّينَ مِسْكِينًا ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ لاَ‏.‏ قَالَ فَجَاءَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ بِعَرَقٍ ـ وَالْعَرَقُ الْمِكْتَلُ ـ فِيهِ تَمْرٌ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ اذْهَبْ بِهَذَا فَتَصَدَّقْ بِهِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ عَلَى أَحْوَجَ مِنَّا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِي بَعَثَكَ بِالْحَقِّ مَا بَيْنَ لاَبَتَيْهَا أَهْلُ بَيْتٍ أَحْوَجُ مِنَّا‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ اذْهَبْ فَأَطْعِمْهُ أَهْلَكَ (صحیح البخاری، كتاب الهبة وفضلها والتحريض عليها، باب إِذَا وَهَبَ هِبَةً فَقَبَضَهَا الآخَرُ، وَلَمْ يَقُلْ قَبِلْتُ، حدیث ۲۶۰۰)

A man came to Allah’s Messenger (sa) and said, “I am ruined.” The Prophet (sa) asked, “What do you mean?” He said, “I had a sexual intercourse with my wife during Ramadan (while fasting).” The Prophet (sa) asked him, “Can you manumit a slave?” He replied in the negative. He then asked him, “Can you fast for two successive months continuously” He replied in the negative. The Prophet (sa) then asked him, “Can you feed sixty poor persons?” He replied in the negative. In the meantime an Ansari came with a basket full of dates. The Prophet (sa) said to the man, “Take it and give it in charity (as an expiation of your sin).” The man said “Should I give it to some people who are poorer than we O Allah’s Messenger (sa)? By Him Who has sent you with the Truth, there is no family between Medina’s two mountains poorer than we.” Allah’s Messenger (sa) told him to take it and provide his family with it.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, The Book of Gifts and the Merit of it, and the Encouragement in Giving them, Chapter: The Receiver Taking the Gift into his Possession, Hadith #2600)


مَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدَرِ إِيْمَانًا وَ اِحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهٗ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ (كتاب فضل ليلة القدر، باب فَضْلِ لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ، حدیث ۲۰۱۴)

Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Book of the Virtues of the Night of Qadr, Chapter: The Superiority of the Night of Qadr, Hadith # 2014)


كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذَا دَخَلَ الْعَشْرُ شَدَّ مِئْزَرَهُ، وَأَحْيَا لَيْلَهُ، وَأَيْقَظَ أَهْلَهُ (کتاب فضل لیلة القدر، باب الْعَمَلِ فِي الْعَشْرِ الأَوَاخِرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ، حدیث ۲۰۲۴)

Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Book of the Virtues of the Night of Qadr, Chapter: Good deeds in the last ten days of Ramadan, Hadith #2024


الَّذِينَ يُظَاهِرُونَ مِنكُم مِّن نِّسَائِهِم مَّا هُنَّ أُمَّهَاتِهِمْ ۖ إِنْ أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ إِلَّا اللَّائِي وَلَدْنَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّهُمْ لَيَقُولُونَ مُنكَرًا مِّنَ الْقَوْلِ وَزُورًا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَعَفُوٌّ غَفُورٌ [] وَالَّذِينَ يُظَاهِرُونَ مِن نِّسَائِهِمْ ثُمَّ يَعُودُونَ لِمَا قَالُوا فَتَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَتَمَاسَّا ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ تُوعَظُونَ بِهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ [] فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ شَهْرَيْنِ مُتَتَابِعَيْنِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَتَمَاسَّا ۖ فَمَن لَّمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَإِطْعَامُ سِتِّينَ مِسْكِينًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِتُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۚ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ ۗ وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

[58:3] Those among you who put away their wives by calling them mothers — they do not become their mothers; their mothers are only those who gave them birth; and they certainly utter words that are manifestly evil and untrue; but surely Allah is the Effacer of sins, Most Forgiving.

[58:4] As to those who call their wives mothers, and then would go back on what they have said, the penalty for it is the freeing of a slave before they touch each other. This is what you are admonished with. And Allah is Well-Aware of what you do.

[58:5] But whoso does not find one, he must fast for two successive months, before they touch each other. And whoso is not able to do so, should feed sixty poor people. This is so, that you may truly believe in Allah and His Messenger. And these are the limits prescribed by Allah; and for the disbelievers is a painful punishment.


وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۖ وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ الْهَدْيُ مَحِلَّهُ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِ فَفِدْيَةٌ مِّن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ ۚ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَمَن تَمَتَّعَ بِالْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى الْحَجِّ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۚ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ ۗ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ۗذَٰلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

[2:197] And complete the Hajj and the ‘Umrah for the sake of Allah: but if you are kept back, then make whatever offering is easily available; and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination. And whoever among you is sick or has an ailment of the head, should make an expiation either by fasting or almsgiving or a sacrifice. But when you are safe, then he, who would avail himself of the ‘Umrah together with the Hajj, should make whatever offering is easily obtainable. But such of you as cannot find an offering should fast three days during the Pilgrimage, and seven when you return home; these are ten complete. This is for him whose family does not reside near the Sacred Mosque. And fear Allah and know that Allah is severe in punishing.


حَدَّثَنَا سَهْلُ بْنُ أَبِي سَهْلٍ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي عُبَيْدٍ، قَالَ شَهِدْتُ الْعِيدَ مَعَ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ فَبَدَأَ بِالصَّلاَةِ قَبْلَ الْخُطْبَةِ فَقَالَ إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ نَهَى عَنْ صِيَامِ هَذَيْنِ الْيَوْمَيْنِ يَوْمِ الْفِطْرِ وَيَوْمِ الأَضْحَى أَمَّا يَوْمُ الْفِطْرِ فَيَوْمُ فِطْرِكُمْ مِنْ صِيَامِكُمْ وَيَوْمُ الأَضْحَى تَأْكُلُونَ فِيهِ مِنْ لَحْمِ نُسُكِكُمْ (سنن ابن ماجہ، کتاب الصیام، حدیث ۱۷۲۲)

It was narrated that Abu ‘Ubaid said:

“I was present for ‘Eid with ‘Umar bin Khattab. He started with the prayer before the sermon, and said: ‘The Messenger of Allah (sa) forbade fasting on these two days, the Day of Fitr and the Day of Adha. As for the Day of Fitr, it is the day when you break your fast, and on the Day of Adha you eat the meat of your sacrifices.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah, The Book of Fasting, Hadith #1722)


عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ،كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذَا خَرَجَ يَوْمَ الْعِيدِ فِي طَرِيقٍ رَجَعَ فِي غَيْرِهِ ّجامع الترمذی، أَبْوَابُ الْعِيدَيْنِ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، باب مَا جَاءَ فِي خُرُوجِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِلَى الْعِيدِ فِي طَرِيقٍ وَرُجُوعِهِ مِنْ طَرِيقٍ آخَرَ، حدیث ۵۴۱)

Abu Hurairah narrated:

“When Allah’s Messenger would go out on the day of Eid by one route, he would return by another.”  (Jami At-Tirmidhi, The Book on the Two Eids, Chapter: What Has Been Related About the Prophet Going To The Eid By One Route, And Returning By Another, Hadith #541)