Islam Essay

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Islam often requires much of its followers, and Sawm is an aspect of the Islamic month of Ramadan that is rather intense. Ramadan is an entire month, and is dedicated to cleansing, purification, self-sacrifice, and reflection on one’s connection and relationship with Allah. Since the Islamic calendar is based upon the moon, the first New Moon marks the beginning of Ramadan. Sawm, that aspect of Islam that is followed strictly during Ramadan, is a form of fasting. During Ramada, From the time the sun rises in the morning until the time it sets in the evening followers of Islam are required to go without eating, drinking, and to abstain from all forms of sexual activity. (Huda, 2014) Sawm is one of the five pillars of Islam, and therefore expected of all Muslims. However, the very old or sick, pregnant women, small children, and soldiers are all generally excused, especially during those months in which the heat is oppressive. Again, since the Islamic calendar is Lunar the date range of Ramadan on the Gregorian calendar will have a different range of dates yearly. (Huda, 2014) Sawm is performed in memory of Muhammad’s revelation of his place as a prophet of Allah, as he sat fasting in a cave on Mt. Hira. The night of his revelation is referred to as “the night of power”. For modern day Muslims the night of power is celebrated on or about the twenty seventh day of Ramadan, and is considered the most holy night of their calendar year. The performance of Sawm is meant to focus the practitioner upon their own bodies, minds, and actions, and to give them a means of focusing themselves to be pure in the presence of Allah. Ramadan comes from the word meaning “to burn”, and Sawm means “to refrain”; the combination of burning away s... ... middle of paper ... ...xperience the world around them differently, since they may become more empathic, more focused, and certainly more aware of themselves and their actions. By following a strict regimen, and repeating this ritual yearly, Muslims who practice Sawm attempt to recreate the purity of body and mind that their prophet Muhammed had attained on their most Holy night; and the physical benefits of the ritual are measureable, though other intangible benefits are also apparent. Bibliography 1 - Huda. "All About Ramadan." About.com Islam. About.com, n.d. Web. 02 May 2014. 2 - Hakim, Dr. Abdul. “Significance of Ramadan”. Muslim Ummah of North America. New York, 2013. http://www.muslimummah.org/articles/articles.php?itemno=247&&category=Ramadan 3 - Masroor, Ajmal, ed. Ramadan Health Guide. London: Communities in Action, 2007. http://www.ramadan.co.uk/RamadhanHealth_Guide.pdf

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