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FASTING


Allaah has blessed His slaves by assigning for them certain seasons of goodness in which hasanaat (rewards for good deeds) are multiplied, sayyi`aat (bad deeds) are forgiven, people’s statuses are raised and the hearts of believers turn to their Master. Those who purify themselves attain success and those who corrupt themselves fail. Allaah has created His slaves to worship Him. One of the greatest acts of worship is fasting, which Allaah has made obligatory on His slaves.

 

Table of Contents

 

Linguistic definition of Siyaam (Fasting)

Linguistically, siyaam in Arabic means abstinence.

 

Islamic terminology

It means abstaining from things that break the fast, from dawn until sunset, having first made the intention (niyyah) to do so.

 

Qur’an

“Observing al‐siyaam (the fast) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed forthose before you, that you may become al‐muttaqoon (the pious).” [Surah al‐Baqarah 2:183]

 

Allaah encourages His slaves to fast : “… And that you fast, is better for you, if only you know.” [Surah al‐Baqarah 2:184]

 

He has made fasting dearto people and has made it easy forthem so that they do not find it too difficult to give up their habits and what they are accustomed to. Allaah says: “…for a fixed number of days…” [Surah al‐Baqarah 2:184]

 

He has mercy on them and keeps them away from difficulties and harm, as He says:

“… but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up)from other days…” [Surah al‐Baqarah 2:184]

 

Hadith

Abū Hurayrahرضي الله عنه  said that the Allah’s messenger said: Ramadan has come to you, a blessed month. Allah has obligated fasting for you during it. During the month, the gates of heaven are open and the gates of Hell are closed. The strongest, most arrogant devils are chained during it. Allah has in it a night  that is better than a thousand months; whoever is prevented from obtaining the good of that night is certainly prevented (from much good) Ahmad and al-Nasā’ī (see al-Albānī’s “Ṣaḥīḥ Sunan al-Nasā’ī,” no. 1992) and by al-Albānī in “Ṣaḥīḥ al-Targhīb wa al-Tarhīb” (no. 985).

 

Abū Hurayrahرضي الله عنه  said that the Allah’s messenger said:  On the first night of the month of Ramadan, the devils are chained as well as the strongest, most arrogant of the Jinn. The gates of the fire are closed and not one of its gates will be opened. The gates of paradise are opened and not one of them will be closed. A caller will call out, “Oh seeker of good, come forward. And oh seeker of evil, refrain.” Allah frees people from the fire, and that happens every night.  al-Albānī’s “Ṣaḥīḥ Sunan al-Tirmidhī” (no. 549).

 

The Ruling concerning Fasting

The Ummah (Islamic nation) is in agreement to the fact that fasting the month of Ramadan is obligatory, the evidence for which is in the Qur`aan and Sunnah. Allaah says: “O you who believe! Observing al‐sawn (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become al‐muttaqoon (the pious).” [Surah al‐Baqarah 2:183]

 

The Prophet(S) said: “Islam is built on five [pillars]…” Sahih al Bukhari vol 1:8

…among which he mentioned fasting inRamadan.

 

The Virtues of Fasting

The virtues of fasting are great indeed, and one of the things reported in authentic (saheeh) ahaadeeth is that Allaah has chosen fasting for Himself, and He willreward it and multiply the reward without measure, as He says [in a Hadeeth Qudsi  “Except for fasting which is only for My sake, and I will reward him for it.”  Al‐Bukhaari, al‐Fat’h, no. 1904; Saheeh al‐Targheeb, 1/407

 

‐ Fasting has no equal    Al‐Nasaa`i, 4/165; Saheeh at‐Targheeb, 1/413, and the du‘aa (supplication) of the fasting person will not be refused.8  Reported by al‐Bayhaqi, 3/345; al‐Silsilat al‐Saheehah, 1797.

 

‐ The fasting person has two moments of joy: one when he breaks his fast, and one when he meets his Lord and rejoices over his fasting Reported by Muslim, 2/807.

 

‐ Fasting will intercede for a person on the Day ofJudgment and will say, “O Lord,I prevented him from his food and physical desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.” Reported by Ahmad, 2/174. Al‐Haythami classed its isnaad as hasan in al‐Majma’, 3/181. See also Saheeh al‐Targheeb, 1/411.

 

‐ The smell that comes from the mouth of a fasting person is more beloved to Allaah than the scent of musk.  Muslim, 2/807.

 

‐ Fasting is a protection and a strong fortress that keeps a person safe from the Fire. Reported by Ahmad, 2/402; Saheeh al‐Targheeb, 1/411; Saheeh al‐Jaami’, 3880

 

‐ Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will distance him from the Fire a distance of seventy years from the Fire. Reported by Muslim, 2/808.

 

‐ Whoever fasts one day seeking the pleasure of Allaah, if that is the last day of his life, he will enter Paradise. Reported by Ahmad, 5/391; Saheeh al‐Targheeb, 1/412.

 

‐ “In Paradise there is a gate called al‐Rayyaan through which those who fast will enter, and no one will enter through it except them; when they have entered it will be locked, and no‐one else will enter through it.”  Al‐Bukhaari, Fath, no. 1797.

 

- Ramadan is a pillar of Islam, the Qur`aan was revealed in this month, and in it there is a night that is betterthan a thousand months.

 

‐ “When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are putin chains.” Reported by al‐Bukhaari, al‐Fat’h, no. 3277.

 

‐ Fasting Ramadan is equivalent to fasting ten months. See Musnad Ahmad, 5/280; Saheeh al‐Targheeb, 1/421.

 

‐ “Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and with the hope of (Allah’s) reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” Reported by al‐Bukhaari, Fath, no. 37.

 

‐ With the breaking of every fast, Allaah will choose people to free from Hellfire. Reported by Ahmad, 5/256; Saheeh al‐Targheeb, 1/419.

 

The Benefits of Fasting

There is much wisdom and numerous benefits in fasting which relate to the taqwaa, Allah mentioned in the aayah : “…that you may become al‐muttaqoon (the pious).” [Surah al‐Baqarah 2:183]

 

The interpretation of this aayah is that if a person refrains from halaal things hoping to gain the pleasure of Allaah and out of fear of His punishment, it will be easier for him to refrain from doing haraam things.

 

When a person’s stomach is empty and he is hungry, many of his other faculties are kept from feeling hunger or desires; but when his stomach is satisfied, his tongue, eyes, hands and private parts start to feel hunger Fasting leads to the defeat of Shaytaan; it controls desires and protects one’s faculties.

 

When the fasting person feels the pangs of hunger, he experiences how the poor feel, thus he feels compassion towards them and gives them something to ward off their hunger. Hearing about them is not the same as sharing their suffering, just as a rider does not understand the hardship of walking until he gets down and walks.

 

Fasting trains the person to avoid desires and to keep away from sin; it helps a person to overcome his own nature and to wean himself away from bad habits. It also trains a person to get used to being organized and punctual, which will solve the problem that many people have of being disorganized, if only they realized.

 

Fasting is also a demonstration of the unity of the Muslims, as the Ummah (Islamic nation)fasts and breaks its fast all at the same time. Fasting also provides a great opportunity for those who are calling others to Allaah. In this month many people come to the mosque for the first time, and also those who have not been to the mosque for a long time, and their hearts are open, so we must make the most of this opportunity by preaching in a gentle manner, teaching appropriate lessons and speaking beneficial words, whilst also cooperating in righteousness and good deeds.

 

The Etiquettes and Sunan of Fasting

Some aspects of fasting are obligatory (fard) and others are recommended (mustahab).

 

We should make sure that we eat and drink something at suhoor(the time before dawn), and that we delay it until just before the adhaan of Fajr. The Prophet(S) said: “Have suhoor,forin suhoorthere is blessing (barakah).” Reported by al‐Bukhaari, Fat’h, 4/139

 

“Suhoor is blessed food, and it involves being different from the people ofthe Book.What a good suhoorforthe believeris dates.”  Reported by Abu Dawood, no. 2345; Saheeh al‐Targheeb, 1/448.

 

One should not delay iftaar (breakfast after dusk), because the Prophet (S) said: “The people remain upon goodness so long as they do not delay iftaar.” Reported by al‐Bukhaari, Fat’h, 4/198

 

A person should break his fast in the manner described in the hadeeth narrated by Anas (R):

“The Prophet (S) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if fresh dates were not available, he would eat (dried) dates; if dried dates were not available, he would have a few sips of water.” Reported by al‐Tirmidhi, 3/79 and others. He said it is a ghareeb hasan hadeeth. Classed as saheeh in al‐Irwaa´, no. 922.

 

After iftaar, it is Sunnah to recite the words reported in the hadeeth narrated by Ibn ‘Umar(may Allaah be pleased with them both), according to which the Prophet(S), when he broke his fast, would say: “Dhahaba adh‐dhama´, wabtallat il‐‘urooq, wa thabat al‐ajru in shaa Allaah (The thirst has gone, the veins are flowing again, and the reward is confirmed,in shaa Allaah).” Reported by Abu Dawood, 2/765; its isnaad was classed as hasan by al‐Daaraqutni, 2/185.

 

What should be done in this Great Month

Prepare yourselves and your environment for worship [by doing the following]:

 

‐ Hasten to repent and turn back to Allaah.

 

‐ Rejoice at the onset of this month.

 

‐ Fast properly.

 

‐ Have the correct frame of mind and fear Allaah when praying Taraaweeh.

 

‐ Do not become tired during the middle34 ten days ofthe month.

 

‐ Seek Laylat al‐Qadr.

 

‐ Read the entire Qur`aan repetitively, try to weep, and try to understand what you are reading

 

Umrah during Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj [performed with the Prophet(S)].

 

‐ Charity given during this virtuous time is multiplied.

 

‐ I’tikaaf (retreat in the mosque for worship) is a confirmed Sunnah of the Prophet.

 

‐ There is nothing wrong with congratulating one another at the beginning of the month. The Prophet used to tell his Companions the good news of the onset of Ramadan and urge them to make the most of it.

 

Abu Hurayrah (R) said: “The Messenger of Allaah said, ‘There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month. Allaah has made it obligatory on you to fast (this month). During it, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are locked, and the devils are chained up.In it there is a night that is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived ofits goodness has indeed been deprived.’ ” Reported by al‐Nasaa`i, 4/129; Saheeh al‐Targheeb, 1/490

 

References

Written by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al‐Munajjid,

http://d1.islamhouse.com/data/en/ih_books/single/en_Matters_Related_to_Fasting.pdf

 

 

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