Episode 3: Kinds of Fasting
Fasting, like the other special acts of worship, is one of two kinds: one obligatory and the other recommended. The form of the fasting is the same; it is only the days of fasting which differ. Fasting is always during daytime. It starts from dawn and ends at sunset. During this period of the day one abstains completely from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse.
But this by itself is not sufficient. One also has to abstain from all kinds of sins, like foul language, backbiting, drinking, lying, prohibited listening, and dealing in unlawful items like drugs, wine and pork.
The fasting which is a pillar of Islam is a fasting of every day of the lunar month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the lunar Islamic calendar.
Why this month in particular?
Because it is a special month. It is, in fact, the best of all of the months of the year and one of its nights, the night of Qadr, is the best of all nights of the year. It is for this reason that the Qur`aan was sent down on that night. Thus when God urged the faithful to fast during the month of Ramadan, He endeared it to them by reminding them that it was the month in which the Qur`aan was sent down, as a guidance to people, a Book that contains clear evidence of the truth of that guidance, and a criterion of discrimination between truth and falsehood (this is a paraphrase of the Qur`aanic verse 2:185)