Photographer's Note

This photograph was taken in Lake Eymir at Ankara...


Muslims abstain from food and drink and gambling and all sensuous pleasures from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. And its mean is Sawm...

Sawm: Sawm is an Arabic word for fasting regulated by Islamic jurisprudence. Contrary to popular (non-Islamic) belief, its observance by Muslims is not confined to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Literally, Sawm means 'to abstain'. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means 'to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse.

Muslims are prohibited from eating, drinking, smoking, and engaging in sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset. Fasting is essentially a means of seeking nearness to Allah and increasing one's piety. One of the remote aims of fasting is to sympathise with those less fortunate ones who do not always have food and drink readily available. Also one must try to avoid cursing and thinking evil thoughts. Fasting is also viewed as a means of controlling one's desires (of hunger, thirst, sexuality, anger) and focusing more on devoting oneself to God.

For a fast to be valid in the first instance, an intention (niyet) must be made beforehand; this is considered to form an oath.

General conditions
Throughout the duration of the fast itself, Muslims will abstain from certain provisions that God has otherwise allowed; namely eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse. This is in addition to the standard obligation already observed by Muslims of avoiding that which is not permissible under Qur'anic law. Without observing this standard obligation, Sawm is rendered useless, and is seen simply as an act of starvation.

If one is sick, nursing or travelling, one is considered exempt from fasting. According to the Qur'an, for all other cases, not fasting is only permitted when the act is potentially dangerous to one's health - for example; those elderly who are too weak to fast for extended periods of time, diabetics, nursing, and pregnant women.

Observing the fast is not permitted for menstruating women. However, when a woman's period has ceased, she must bathe and continue fasting. Any fasts broken/missed due to menstruation must be made up whenever she can before the next month of Ramadan. Women must fast at times when not menstruating, as God indicates that all religious duties are ordained for both men and women.

Benefits of fasting: Fasting inculcates a sense of fraternity and solidarity, as Muslims will feel and experience that which their needy and hungry brothers and sisters feel; however, even the poor, needy, and hungry may participate in the fast. Moreover, Ramadan is a month of giving charity and sharing meals to break the fast together, the latter offering more reward than if eating alone. Sawm is intended to teach believers patience and self-control in their personal conduct, to help control passions and temper, to provide time for meditation and to strengthen one's faith. Fasting also serves the purpose of cleansing the inner soul and freeing it of harm. Most importantly, the fast is also seen as a great sign of obedience by the believer to Allah. Faithful observance of the Sawm is believed to atone for personal faults and misdeeds and to help earn a place in paradise.
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Additional Photos by Salim Fikirkoca (sufi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1705 W: 165 N: 1512] (9588)
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