FASTING. Arabic Saum صوم
Persian Rozah روزة. Fasting was highly commended by Muhammad as an atonement for sin. The following are the fasts founded upon the example of the Prophet and observed by devout Muslims:-
(1) The thirty-days of the month of Ramazan. This month’s fast is regarded as a divine institution, being enjoined in the Qur’an (Surah ii, 180) and is therefore compulsory [RAMAZAN.]
(2) The day Ashura. The tenth day of the month of Muharram. This is a voluntary fast, but it is pretty generally observed by all Muslims, for Abu Qatadah relates that the Prophet said he hoped that the fast of ‘Ashura would cover the sins of the coming year. (Mishkat, book vii ch vii pt 1) [ASHURA.]
(3) The six days following the ‘Idu ‘l-Fitr. Abu Aiyub relates that the Prophet said, “The person who fasts the month of Ramazan and follows it up with six days of the month of Shawwal, will obtain the rewards of a continued fast.” (Mishkat, book vii ch vii pt 1)
(4) The Monday and Thursday of every week are recommended as fast days, as distinguished from the Christian fast of Wednesday. Abu Hurairah relates that the Prophet said, “The actions of God’s servants are represented at the throne of God on Mondays and Thursdays.” (Mishkat, book vii ch vii pt 2). These days are only observed by strictly religious Muslims.
(5) The month of Sha’ban. ‘Ayishah relates that “the Prophet used sometimes to fast part of this month and sometimes the whole.” (Mishkat, book vii ch vii pt 1). It is seldom observed in the present day.
(6) The 13th , 14th, and 15th of each month. These days are termed al-ayyamu ‘-biz, i.e. the bright days and were observed by Muhammad himself as fasts. (Mishkat, book vii ch vii pt 2). These are generally observed by devout Muslims.
(7) Fasting alternative days, which Muhaamad said was the fast observed by David, King of Israel. (Mishkat, book vii ch vii pt 1).
In the Traditions, fasting is commended by Muhammad in the following words:-
“Every good act that a man does shall receive from ten to seven hundred rewards, but the rewards of fasting are beyond bounds, for fasting is for God alone, and He will give its rewards.”
“He who fasts abandons the cravings of his appetites for God’s sake.”
“There are two pleasures in fasting, one when the person who fasts breaks it, and the other in the next world when he meets his Lord. The very smell of the of the mouth of a keeper of a fast is more agreeable to God than the smell of musk.”
“Fasting is a shield.”
When any of you fast, utter no bad words, nor raise your voice in strife. If anyone abuse one who is fasting, let him refrain from replying: let his say that he is keeping a fast.” (Mishcat, book vii ch I pt 1.)
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam