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Inner abstentions are five:
– The First Abstention refers to restraining the mind from being occupied with base or worldly concerns. The mind is where reasoning and intellect are developed for interaction with the world. When used properly they lead to rational and good understanding. The Prophet has taught that the contemplation of one hour is better than the actions of seventy years.
Abstention of the Tongue: This concerns useless, foolish, or discourteous speech, as well as anything which would be contrary to what pleases Allah. The Prophet said:~ Whoever is silent is saved.
~ When the discussion reaches Allah, then be silent.
~ Whoever knows his Lord, his tongue becomes still.
The fast is to refrain from specific things during certain specified intervals of time. Among its stipulations is the soundness of the intention covering a specific time period, for example, the month of Ramadan, or for the purpose of fulfilling an oath (nadhar). The intention which specifies the type of fast must also be made at the time when it is begun.
For Muslims fasting, or ‘sawm’ in Arabic, was commanded in the Qur’an as a major obligatory spiritual discipline for the duration of the month of Ramadan. The Arabic word for fasting is derived from the root, ‘sama’, meaning to abstain from food, drink, smoking, sensual gratifications, wrong actions, harmful intentions, thoughts, words and deeds.
Islamic fasting is obligatory for one month in every lunar year, that is, Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. All healthy adults are expected to adhere to the proper rules of fasting. In addition to this obligatory fast, there are many optional fasts, some of which occur regularly every week or month, and some that are scattered throughout the year. These fasts are Sunnah, or the practice of the Prophet. Fasting is also used as a penance for breaking an oath and as a compensation for some other religious obligation.