4. Sawm
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The Pillars of Islam - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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4. Sawm. The Pillars of Islam. Introduction. Food is an important part of every humans’ existence. Without it we would die. However, for several reasons people deny themselves food, and sometimes water too:. Starter Activity

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4. Sawm

The Pillars

of Islam


Food is an important part of every humans’ existence.

Without it we would die.

However, for several reasons people deny themselves food, and sometimes water too:

Starter Activity

What do the words ‘fasting’, ‘starving’ and ‘dieting’ mean? What are the similarities and differences between them?

Fasting means denying oneself food deliberately for a religious reason. This said, some people today fast for charity (sponsored), or for the health benefits to the digestive system of occasional fasting.

Starving means that you cannot get either enough food, or any food. It occurs during famines, or in areas where people are so poor that they can’t afford the basics of life.

Dieting means avoiding certain foods, or denying oneself food for the purposes of losing weight or becoming more healthy.

Sawm as a Pillar of Islam.

Sawm roughly translates as “fasting” in Arabic.

For a whole lunar month of the Muslim calendar known as Ramadan.…

Muslims will not EAT or DRINK anything during the hours of daylight!

This statement always gets the same responses:

What! ALL day- NO WATER even?

Yes! No water during DAYLIGHT hours.

Does everyone have to do it- even sick people and little children?

No! Islam is very practical. If it would injure one’s health, or that person is very young or old they don’t have to fast with the others. You can even get special exemption if you are an athlete training, or have exams.

3. Does it mean you can binge at night?

No! Islam states that only moderate meals should be taken in the morning (break-fast) and after sunset.

Why fast?

It may seem strange to many people that Muslims choose to give up such a lot for this month of Ramadan.

Even Christians today usually only give up a luxury during Lent (the weeks preceding Easter) e.g. chocolate or alcohol.

So why do it? Do you have any suggestions?

In pairs, use the pictures on the next slide to help come up with some ideas.

Reasons for fasting:

You hopefully got some of the following…

More time freed-up to study the Qur’an.

A statement to Allah about the importance of studying and worshipping Him, relative to even such an important task as eating/drinking.

A unifying experience, bringing the whole UMMAH (community) of Muslims together, whether rich, poor, Arabic, Asian, European etc.

An exercise in EMPATHY (or feeling for) those without life’s basic needs.

Empathy for the poor and starving.

Sometimes the only way to really understand how it feels to do, or be something is to try it.

This is called empathy, because you are putting yourself into another's place to experience what they do.

We live in a world where, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO):

1/3 of the world is over-fed

1/3 is under-fed

1/3 is starving

Plenty vrs. Poverty

  • Most of the world’s resources are controlled by a wealthy MINORITY of people and countries.

  • Even in the UK and USA there are impoverished communities.

  • However the biggest gap is between Africa and the developed world.

  • We have obesity, they have starvation.

Make Poverty History

Recently the issue of African poverty was discussed at the G8 conference of nations, at the same time as several LIVE 8 concerts organised by Sir Bob Geldof amongst others. These concerts aimed to raise awareness of the issues surrounding poverty.

See a short film outlining why the concerts were held by clicking here

The ONE campaign involves some of the world’s most famous actors, asking for people to consider the plight of Africa

See video HERE

What can we learn from Sawm?

We live fast-pace lives, we want more ‘things’- the latest mobile phone, iPod, plasma screen TVs, designer clothes and trendy (but not TOO trendy- so last week!) music.

We think they make us who we are, and that they make us better people.

The truth is they don’t and the example of Sawm teaches us that there are higher things in life- even more vital than physical needs.

It also says that we should think about the suffering on earth and by experience push ourselves to try and stop it