Fasting in Islam, known as Sawm (صوم) or siyam صيام (known as ruze or rōza Persian: روزه in some Muslim countries), the Arabic words for fasting, is abstaining from eating and drinking. In the terminology of Islamic law, sawm means to abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. The observance of sawm during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, but is not confined to that month.
Muslims are prohibited from eating, drinking and engaging in conjugal sexual relationships from dawn (fajr) to sunset (maghrib). Fasting helps Muslims develop self-control, gain a better understanding of God’s gifts and greater compassion towards the deprived. Fasting in Islam involves abstaining from all bodily pleasures between dawn and sunset.. Not only is food forbidden, but also any sexual activity. All things which are regarded as prohibited is even more so in this month, due to its sacredness. Each and every moment during the fast, a person suppresses their passions and desires in loving obedience to God. This consciousness of duty and the spirit of patience helps in strengthening one’s faith. Fasting helps a person gain self-control. A person who abstains from permissible things like food and drink is likely to feel conscious of his sins. A heightened sense of spirituality helps break the habits of lying, staring with lust at the opposite sex, gossiping, and wasting time. Fasting is also viewed as a means of controlling one’s desires (of food, drink and sex) and focusing more on devoting oneself to God.
Sawm also carries a significant spiritual meaning. It teaches one the principle of God Consciousness: because when one observes fasting, it is done out of deep love for God and to learn self-restraint. As mention in the Quran:”O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous”