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Fasting in the month of Ramadan is compulsory on every Muslim adult. The Arabic word sawm is used for fasting. The word sawm (plural siyam) literally means 'to refrain', but as an Islamic term, it means refraining from food, drinks and sexual activity from dawn to sunset. Allah says in the Quran, in Surah Al-Baqarah (2-183):

'O you who believe, siyam is prescribed on you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you may become self-restrained.'

The importance of Siyam in Ramadan is clearly expressed in several sayings of the Prophet(S.A.W.). It is reported by Abu Hurairah that the Prophet said:

'He who fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeks his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven; he who prays during the night in Ramadan with faith and seeks his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven; and he who passes Lailat al- Qadr in prayer with faith and seeks his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven.'
(Bukhari and Muslim)

Fasting in Ramadan is practiced by Muslims all over the world. The most significant aspect of Siyam is the development of Allah-consciousness (Taqwa) in the heart and the soul of a fasting Muslim. One must abstain from immoral behavior and attitude as well. Refraining from food and such is essential during fast but it is not sufficient. The Prophet of Allah is reported to have said:

'If one does not abandon falsehood in words and deeds, Allah has no need for his abandoning of his food and drink.'
(Al-Bukhari)