What is a sawm (fast)?
"The meanng of the ritual FAST is not simply abstaining from eating and drinking, for one must also abstain from sin. This is amongst the main aspects of the fast for (spiritual) beginners - while for those who wish to reach the source of magnificence, the aspects of fasting are more profound". - Imam Khomeini (A.R.)
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) has said:
"The month of Ramadhan is the month in which you are called to divine hospitality and therefore:
- Seek from Allah that He purifies your intentions and hearts from (the stains of) sins and ugly qualities.
- That He grant you success in keeping the fast and reciting the Qur'an.
- When you are hungry and thirsty, remember the hunger and thirst of Qiyama.
- Search out the poor and needy and supply their needs.
- Treat children and relatives with kindness.
- Guard the tongue from that which should not be said.
- Guard the eyes from that which is forbidden to look at.
- Guard the ears from that which is forbidden to listen to.
- Be kind to the orphans of others so that others will be kind to your orphans."
Imam Ja'fer As-Sadiq (A.S.) has said:
"Fasting is not merely refraining from eating and drinking. On the contrary, your fast must be coupled with:
- Keeping your tongue from lying.
- Not quarelling with one another.
- Refraining from jealousy.
- Not backbiting or gossiping.
- Putting aside disputes.
- Not swearing oaths, EVEN if they are true.
- Being careful not to utter bad language or abuse.
- Not being mean and miserly.
- Not being unjust to anyone.
- Keeping your eye from that which is forbidden to look at."
The Prophet (S.A.W.) has also said:
"There are many a people who derive no benefit from fasting except for hunger and thirst."
In Hadith Qudsi Allah says:
"The fast is for me and I shall give its reward."