Sawm

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Sawm

 

(Turkic, uraza; Persian, ruze), a thirty-day Muslim fast in the month of Ramadan. The sawm derives from the practices of ancient Arab cults. The rules for observing the fast are laid down in the second sura of the Koran. Each day of the fast the Muslim must avoid food, drink, games, and entertainment until dusk. The sawm is obligatory for all believers except children under seven, invalids, pregnant women, travelers, and the insane. If a fast is interrupted by illness or travel, it must be completed at some other time. The month of Ramadan and thus the sawm occur at a different time each year because the Muslim calendar is lunar. In an effort to adapt the observance of the sawm to modern conditions, interpreters of Islamic law have permitted a certain relaxation of the rules governing the fast.