The ninth-month of the lunar calendar is marked for its duration by Muslims all over the world with a complete fast from dawn to sunset. While it is mainly associated with abstaining from the consumption of food and drink or cigarettes during daylight hours, the signi cance of Ramadan goes much deeper than that. The observance includes every part of the body, probably best described by the Arabic word for fasting, sawm, which means ‘to refrain’. This includes not looking at unlawful (haram) things, not uttering harsh words or backbiting, not listening to idle gossip and not allowing yourself to visit illicit places. During this period, the complete overhaul of the usual way of life is intended to educate and purify the soul in a rea rmation of the word ‘Muslim’ – a term that translates as ‘one who submits to the will of Allah’. With fasting having been ordained by God in the Qur’an, the adherence to the ritual is an act of obedience.
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Fasting is a fundamental part of being a Muslim; it is one of the ve pillars of Islam that teaches self-discipline, sacri ce, humility
and the importance of giving to those less fortunate. It is a period of self-re ection, intended to eradicate bad habits, strengthen family bonds and encourage forgiveness through Islamic guidance and increased prayer. It is one of the most beautiful times of year for those practicing the Islamic faith, with even small children wanting to get involved and experience Ramadan in its entirety with their adult family members. There are, of course, individuals who are exempt from observing the fast, such as pregnant women and those who have an illness. Yet these people often express regret at not being able to partake in the festivities, which unites Muslims from all over the world – regardless of age, race or colour.