"1 asked, 0 Messenger of Allah,
what is the best of deeds in this month?' He replied: 0 Abu'l Hassan, the best
of deeds in this month is to be far from what Allah has forbidden."*
"0 you who believe,
fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those that were before
you, so that you may be godfering. (Fast) A certain number of days. But whoever
of you is sick or on a journey, then (he shall fast) the (same) number of other
days and for those who are able(with hards-hip to fast) a redemption by feeding
a needy poor person. But whoever volunteers to do good it is better for him;
and to fast is better for you,if you know. The month of Ramadhan in which the
Qur'an was sent down to be a gyidance for mankind and as clear signs of
guidance and a criterion (between right and wrongl. Therefore, whoever of you
is present at the month, fast it; and whoever is sick, or on a journey, then
(fast) the (same) number of other days; Allah desires ease for you, and desires
not hardship for you; so that you should complete the nwnber (of days decreed),
and exalt Allah for His guiding you, so that you might be thankful."
Holy Qur'an (2 :183 - 185)
Originally, in Arabic the word as-sawm meant aI-Jmsak i.e. to abstain totally from any
act including eating, drinking, walking, speaking etc. Thus, the Arabs used to
refer to' a horse refusing to run or to be fed, as!a'im i.e.
As is clear the word sawm is ancient and was used in a different context by the Arabs
before Islam. Then, however it did not have the specific meaning given to it by
Islam as a term denoting a certain religious obligation.
* Shi eikh Saduq - Uyun Akhbar ar-Rid/ia.