1Sahil B = ""The third Pillar, the month-long Muslim fast (sawm in Arabic) which takes place during Ramadan, was not firmly instituted as a Muslim ritual until after the emigration to Medina. Considering that the concept of fasting was thoroughly foreign to the Bedouin experience—it would have been absurd to go voluntarily without food or water in a desert climate—there can be no doubt that Muhammad adopted this ritual from Arabia’s Jews. The Quran admits as much when it states “Fasting is prescribed for you, just as it was prescribed for those before you” (2:183; emphasis added). And al-Tabari notes that the first Muslim fast coincided with Yom Kippur; Muhammad specifically ordered his followers to fast with the Jews in commemoration of their flight from Egypt. Only later was the fast changed to Ramadan, the month in which Muslims believe the Quran was first revealed to Muhammad. For the twenty-eight days of Ramadan, no one may eat, drink, or have sexual intercourse between sunup and sundown. Again, the chief purpose behind the ritual fast is to bind the community as one. It is a reminder of the suffering and poverty of those among them who go without food throughout the year. For this reason, Muslims who are not obliged to fast—the old and the sick, the pregnant and nursing, travelers, and those who perform heavy manual labor—are instead required by the Quran to feed the hungry (2:184). And while an entire month of fasting may sound like a grim experience, Ramadan is in actuality a time for both spiritual introspection and festive celebration. Friends, families, entire neighborhoods spend the long nights of the month breaking fast together, while the final night of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, is the most widely celebrated holiday in the whole of the Islamic world."-No god but God, Reza Aslan "