The 4th pillar of Islami is Siyam. Siyam is fasting and Muslims are required to fast during the month of Ramadan, which is the 9th month of the Hijra calendar. The Quran teaches us that fasting is a form of worship which has been prescribed and practiced through the ages by many peoples. The Quran states:
"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed
to those before you, that you may (learn) GOD-consciousness."
Here the guidance that fasting is required of Muslims is made clear, as well as the reason for this requirement. Fasting is intended to make one more conscious of the Creator, HIS existence, and HIS presence. It should place this consciousness within us, all the time, so we conduct our lives with the knowledge of HIS presence all around us. This consciousness guides our activities and creates a barrier that separates us from all evil and wrongdoing. Fasting is performed by not taking any food or drink between Fajr time and Maghrib time, every day during the month of Ramadan. After Maghrib, one is allowed to eat and drink Halal (lawful) foods and beverages until Fajr. Of course, since fasting is a prescription for ALLAH-consciousness, other activities are involved, including additional voluntary Salat, additional reading of Quran and meditation and Glorification of ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala.
Note: It should be noted that all intoxicants, including alcoholic beverages and drugs are prohibited and could not be partaken of during or after the fast. In addition, smoking, is discouraged at all times and would break the fast if engaged in during the prescribed fast time. Enjoying marital relations (sex is only permitted between husband and wife) also breaks the fast if performed during the prescribed fast time.
For more information on Siyam or any other aspect of Islam, please contact your local Islamic Center or Masjid.