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This Ramadhaan, Fast With Your Heart


بسم اللّٰہ الرحمٰن الرحیم
السلامُ علیکم و رحمۃ اللہ و برکاتہ

This Ramadhaan, Fast With Your HeartO my Brother or Sister in Islaam,

Alhamdulillaah, a unique, a generous and a honorable guest is knocking at our door….a guest that visits us once a year and brings with it immeasurable blessings and happiness. A guest that brings with it the wide Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah. A guest that brings with it the smell of Jannah and the sweetness of Imaan….

That special guest, of course, is Ramadhaan.

Ramadhaan is the month of the Qur’aan, the month of Mercy, the month of Forgiveness, the month of making dua and prayer at night, of Iftaar and Suhoor.

And, insha Allaah most of us are going to be fasting.

However, it is HOW we will be fasting that is of utmost importance.

Some of us will be fasting by staying away from food, drink….but, alas, it will be just that and no more…..

Because they will not keep their hands from committing evil and their tongues from committing evil and their eyes and ears from committing evil.

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allaah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” (Bukhaari: 10/473)

And the Prophet (Sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) also said: It may be that the fasting person gets nothing from his fast apart from hunger, and it may be that the one who prays qiyaam at night may get nothing from his qiyaam but a sleepless night.” (Narrated by Ahmad (8693); classed as saheeh by Ibn Hibban (8/257) and by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb (1/262).And some of us will be fasting, not only staying away from food and drink, etc., but also watching our ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet and keeping them away from sin. And this is definitely better than the first kind of fasting.

And then there is the third and best kind of fasting….the kind of fasting that Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala loves and will be pleased with…..the kind of fasting we ALL should aim for and strive for.

And that is the fasting of the HEART

The fasting of the heart is done by emptying it of all evil, all corruption.

It means getting rid, from our hearts, all forms of shirk, bid’ah, false beliefs, evil thoughts, filthy intentions and immoral ideas.
In fact, the fasting heart is only, and only, filled with the love of Allaah and the desire to please Him.

Its intention is pure, for the sake of Allaah, Alone.
It corrects its Aqeedah and rejects all doubts and false forms of worship.
It stays away from greed, envy, enmity and pride.
It stays away from arguments, gossip and gheebah.
It rejects stinginess and extravagance.

It places complete trust in Allaah, full of patience and serenity.
It doesn’t hold any grudges, anger or hatred.
It readily forgives anyone and everyone, no matter how much harm or grief they caused it.

It is free of deception, slyness and hypocrisy.

It is conscious of Allaah throughout the day and night, doing its utmost to do good deeds and staying away from all that is haraam….. aware of every thought that crosses his mind, every word that he utters, every action that he commits, lest it be displeasing to his Creator, the Almighty.”

The fasting heart is generous and kind…..eager to give in the path of Allaah, not only the obligatory Zakaah, but extra acts of charity, of money and time and effort, with the intention of pleasing Allaah alone, hoping for a reward from Him.

Its day is spent in complete obedience to Allaah and its night in humble prayer.

At the time of Iftaar, such a heart is overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness to the Lord, Almighty for providing him with such abundant food, such immense blessings..

When this heart recites the Qur’aan, it is completely softened and totally overcome by the Power of the Words of the Almighty….understanding them, contemplating over them, determined to implement them in his life.

When the fasting heart stands in front of Allaah, it stands with utmost humility, eyes downcast, trembling with modesty, ashamed of its deeds, submitting completely to His Will.

It spontaneously exclaims…..

Yaa Allaah, I will no longer be a slave to MY whims and desires. Rather, I am a slave to YOU, O Allaah. My desires, my excuses don’t count anymore. From now on, I submit ONLY to what YOU order me to do.

And as it stands for prayer, it does so, full of love for the Almighty….full of awe and Khushoo’.…full of fear of His Wrath….and yet, full of hope for His Mercy.

As this heart listens to the recitation of the Qur’aan in Taraweeh, tears overflow from it. Uncontrollable tears of repentance….tears of regret and remorse, for all its previous deeds….all its previous sins….all its previous mistakes.

It cries out……

Yaa Allaah, You are the Most Forgiving, Most Merciful……forgive me!
I regret all my prior mistakes! I repent to you and I return to you!

This heart vows to do its utmost best from now on. It promises Allaah to obey Him to the best of his ability, resolving to stay away from sin, determined to set his life aright.

O Brothers and Sisters in Islaam,

Are there any hearts out there that are willing to fast like that……???

The heart of the believer fasts during Ramadhaan and outside of Ramadhaan.

It is from the immense mercy of Allah upon us that He made us Muslims and believers and that He extends our lives till we reach this Ramadhaan.

It is reported that the Sahaabah used to pray to Allah during the six months before Ramadhaan to extend their lives so that they can reach Ramadhaan, and in the 6 months after Ramadhaan, they would pray to Allaah to accept their fasting of Ramadhaan.

So take this great opportunity that Allaah, the Most Merciful has provided you with.

Make the most of the upcoming opportunity and don’t let it pass you by.

FAST THIS RAMADHAAN WITH YOUR HEART.

Repentance in Ramadan


Allaah Says (what means): And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers that you might succeed” [Quran 24:31]

And also (what means): “O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance” [Quran 66:8]

Therefore, repentance is not only requested from one who has committed a sin, but rather it is demanded from all people including the believers who wish to win the great prize of Paradise as well as being prosperous in this life.

ask-for-forgivenessOne of the great blessings of Allaah upon His slaves is that He left the door for repentance open for those who wish to repent and return to Him. Allaah made repentance the new dawn that indicates the start of a new day for the journey towards the Hereafter.

Abu Moosaa Al-Ash`ari  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Allaah, the Exalted, will continue to stretch out His Hand in the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and continue to stretch His Hand in the daytime so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west”. [Muslim].

Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “He who repents before the sun rises from the west, Allaah will forgive him”. [Muslim].

`Abdullaah Ibn `Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Allaah accepts a slave’s repentance as long as the latter is not on his death bed (that is, before the soul of the dying person reaches the throat)”. [Ahmad and At-Tirmithi].

Know that the month of Ramadhaan is a great opportunity to repent and return to Allaah, and it is a chance to renew the pledge with Allaah. On the other hand, one must be careful lest Ramadhaan passes him by without him utilizing the season and without being one of those whom Allaah forgave their sins. Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: May Allaah humble the one who lives long enough to witness Ramadhaan and passes the month without being forgiven”. [At-Tirmithi].

Beloved brothers! This blessed month is the month of the Qur’aan, kindness, repentance, expiation of sins, the descent of mercy and elevation of ranks … So let us rush in repentance to Allaah, because the believers will not find comfort except in Paradise … let us take refuge from Allaah with Allaah and repent to Him before our sins destroy us … let us wake up from our deep sleep as the days pass by very rapidly … let us strive not to be of the deprived ones by undermining the pleasure of Paradise … let us rush and repent and make up for what we have missed out on.

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) whose sins have been forgiven repents to Allaah and asked for forgiveness multiple times in a single day. Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) saying: “I swear by Allaah that I seek Allaah’s Pardon and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.” [Al-Bukhaari].

Al-Agharr Ibn Yasaar Al-Muzani  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Turn you people in repentance to Allaah and beg pardon of Him. I turn to Him in repentance a hundred times a day”. [Muslim].

Let us follow the example of our beloved Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and let us not delay our repentance and let us abandon using the term: “I will do it later on”, and remember that life is nothing but an illusion.

O you who has wasted yesterday and is waiting today … you are killing yourself with sins … repent to your Lord and regret your shortcomings … if you cry and humble yourself before your Lord and ask Him to forgive you, He will accept you and be happy with your repentance.

Indeed Allaah is pleased with the repentance of His slaves. Anas Ibn Maalik  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him the servant of the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) narrated: The Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Verily, Allaah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost. He, having lost all hopes (to get that back), lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: ‘O Allaah, You are my slave and I am Your Lord’. He commits this mistake out of extreme joy” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim].

Do you see how Allaah is pleased with the person when he turns to Him in repentance? Who are we for Allaah to rejoice for our repentance? We are nothing but weak creatures of His who possess no power. On the other hand, He is The All Powerful, Almighty, The King and The One Who controls the Heavens and the earth.

Let us not give up on the mercy of Allaah … we must know that there is no sin too great for Allaah to forgive, and that a slave never turns to Him in repentance sincerely, but He will accept and forgive him, as He is The Oft Forgiving and His mercy has encompassed everything.

Anas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Messenger of Allaah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: Allaah, the Exalted, has said: `O son of Aadam! I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of Aadam! I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of Aadam! If you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earth-load of forgiveness` [At-Tirmithi].

When you turn to Allaah repentance, never go back to committing the same sins again, as this is one of the most destructive disasters. Never go back after having been blessed and rescued by Allaah, because returning to sins after having been rescued has severe consequences. Remember that fasting is not merely refraining from eating and drinking, and that you must shun all sins ands rush to Allaah in repentance.

How should we observe Laylat al-Qadr and when is it?


Question: How should we observe Laylat al-Qadr? Is it by praying, or by reading Qur’aan and the Prophet’s Seerah, listening to lectures and lessons and by celebrating it in the mosque?

Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly:

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to strive hard in worship during the last ten days of Ramadaan as he never did at any other time, praying, reading Qur’aan and making du’aa’. Al-Bukhaari and Muslim narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that when the last ten days of Ramadaan came, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would stay up at night and would wake his family up, and would abstain from marital relations. Ahmad and Muslim narrated that he used to used to strive hard in worship during the last ten days of Ramadaan as he never did at any other time.

Secondly:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined staying up and praying on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever stays up and prays on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” Agreed upon. This hadeeth indicates that it is prescribed to observe Laylat al-Qadr by spending the night in prayer.

Thirdly:

One of the best du’aa’s that may be recited on Laylat al-Qadr is that which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her). Al-Tirmidhi narrated, and classed the report as saheeh, that ‘Aa’ishah said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, if I know which night is Laylat al-Qadr, what should I say on that night?’ He said, ‘Say: Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’affu ‘anni (O Allaah, You are forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me).”

Fourthly:

With regard to specifying which night of Ramadaan is Laylat al-Qadr, this needs specific evidence, but the odd-numbered nights during the last ten nights are more likely than others, and the night of the twenty-seventh is the most likely to be Laylat al-Qadr, because that is mentioned in the ahaadeeth.

Fifthly:

With regard to innovations, they are not permissible during Ramadaan or at other times. It was proven that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours that is not part of it will have it rejected.” According to another report, “Whoever does any action that is not part of this matter of ours will have it rejected.”

We know of no basis for the celebrations that are held during some nights of Ramadaan. The best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the worst of matters are those which are innovated (bid’ah).

And Allaah is the Source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.

Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas , 10/413

Important Lessons to be learnt from Ramadaan


Allah – the Most High – said:

“The month of Ramadhan in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance of the Criterion between right and wrong. So whosoever of you sights the crescent for the month of Ramadhan, he must fast that month.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:185].

Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“lslam is built upon five: Testifying that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and the Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the Prayer, giving the Zakah, performing Hajj to the House, and fasting in Ramadhan.”

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said:
“There has come to you Ramadhan, a blessed month, in which Allah has made it obligatory to fast. During it the gates of paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it is a night (Laylatul-Qadr) which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good has truly been deprived.”

From the many important lessons to be learnt from fasting are:-

1: GAINING TAQWA

Fasting has been legislated in order that we may gain taqwa, as Allah – the Most High – said:

“O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed upon those before you in order that you may attain taqwa.” [Surah al-Baqarah 2:183].

Talq ibn Habib (d.100H) – rahimahullah – said:
“When fitnah (trial and tribulation) appears then extinguish it with taqwa.” So he was asked as to what taqwa was, so he replied: “Taqwa is to act in obedience to Allah, upon a light (i.e. iman, faith) from Allah, hoping in the Mercy of Allah. And taqwa is leaving acts of disobedience to Allah, upon a light from Allah, due to the fear of Allah.”

“This is one of the best definitions of taqwa. For every action must have both a starting point and a goal. And an action will not be considered as an act of obedience, or nearness to Allah, unless it starts from pure iman (faith in Allah). Thus, it is pure iman – and not habits, desires, nor seeking praise or fame, nor its like – that should be what initiates an action. And the goal of the action should be to earn the reward of Allah and to seek His good pleasure.”

So fasting is a means of attaining taqwa, since it helps prevent a person from many sins that one is prone to. Due to this, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Fasting is a shield with which the servant protects himself from the Fire.”

So we should ask ourselves, after each day of fasting: Has this fasting made us more fearful and obedient to Allah? Has it aided us in distancing ourselves from sins and disobedience?

2: SEEKING NEARNESS TO ALLAH

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Allah said: Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, I shall be at war with him. My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the obligatory duties that I have placed upon him. My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with optional deeds so that I shall love him.”

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Whosoever reaches the month of Ramadhan and does not have his sins forgiven, and so enters the Fire, then may Allah distance him.”

So drawing closer to Allah – the Most Perfect – in this blessed month, can be achieved by fulfilling one’s obligatory duties; and also reciting the Qur’an and reflecting upon its meanings, increasing in kindness and in giving charity, in making du’a (supplication) to Allah, attending the tarawih Prayer, seeking out Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Power and Pre-Decree), a night which is better than a thousand months, attending gatherings of knowledge, and striving in there actions that will cause the heart to draw closer to its Lord and to gain His forgiveness. Our level of striving in this blessed month should be greater than our striving to worship Allah in any other month, due to the excellence and rewards that Allah has placed in it. Likewise from the great means of seeking nearness to Allah in this month is making i’tikaf (seclusion in the mosque in order to worship Allah) – for whoever is able.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (d.751H)- rahimahullah – laid:

“Allah also prescribed i’tikaf for them, the objective being that the heart becomes fully preoccupied with Allah – the Mort High – concentrated upon Him alone, and cut-off from being preoccupied with the creation. Rather, the heart is only engrossed with Allah – the Most Perfect – such that loving Him, remembering Him, and turning to Him takes the place of all the heart’s anxieties and worries, so that he is able to overcome them. Thus all his concerns are for Allah, and his thoughts are all directed towards remembering Him and thinking of how to attain His Pleasure and what will cause nearness to Him. This leads him to feel contented with Allah, instead of people. This in turn prepares him for being at peace with Allah alone, on the day of loneliness in the grave, when there will be no one else to give comfort, nor anyone to grant solace, except Him. So this is the greater goal of i’tikaf.”

 

3: ACQUIRING PATIENCE

Imam Ahmad (d.241H) – rahimahullah – said:
“Allah has mentioned sabr (patience) in over ninety places in His Book.”

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“The month of Patience, and the three days of every month, are times for fasting.”

Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr (d.464H)- rahimahullah – said:
“What is meant by the month of Patience is the month of Ramadhan … So fasting is called patience because it restrains the soul from eating, drinking, conjugal relations and sexual desires.”

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“O youths! Whoever amongst you is able to marry, then let him do so; for it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts. But whoever is unable, then let him fast, because it will be a shield for him.”

So fasting is a means of learning self restraint and patience. With patience we are able to strengthen our resolve to worship Allah alone, with sincerity, and also cope with life’s ups and downs. So – for example – with patience we are able to perform our Prayers calmly and correctly, without being hasty, and without merely pecking the ground several times! With patience we are able to restrain our souls from greed and stinginess and thus give part of our surplus wealth in Zakah (obligatory charity). With patience we are able to subdue the soul’s ill temperament, and thus endure the ordeal and hardships of Hajj, without losing tempers and behaving badly. Likewise, with patience we are able to stand firm and fight jihad against the disbelievers, hypocrites and heretics – withstanding their constant onslaught, without wavering and buckling, without despairing or being complacent, and without becoming hasty and impatient at the first signs of hardship.

Allah – the Most High – said:O Prophet, urge the Believers to fight … So if there are one hundred who are patient, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there be one thousand, they shall overcome two thousand, by the permission of Allah. And Allah is with the patient ones.” [Surah al-Anfal 8:65-66].

Thus, without knowledge and patience, nothing remains, except zeal and uncontrolled emotions, shouts and hollow slogans, speech that doer not strengthen, but rather weakens, and actions that do not build, but rather destroy! So in this month, we should strive to develop a firm resolve for doing acts of obedience, and to adorn ourselves with patience – having certainty in the laying of our Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.”

4: CULTIVATING GOOD MANNERS

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
Whosoever doer not abandon falsehood in speech and action, then Allah the Mighty and Majestic has no need that he should leave his food and drink.

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said:
“Fasting is not merely abstaining from eating and drinking. Rather, it is also abstaining from ignorant and indecent speech. So if anyone abuses or behaves ignorantly with you, then ray: I am fasting, I am fasting.”

There narrations point towards the importance of truthfulness and good manners. Thus, this blessed month teacher us not only to abstain from food and drink, but to also abstain from such statements and actions that may be the cause of harming people and violating their rights – since the Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said whilst describing the true Believer:A Muslim is one from whom other Muslims are safe from his tongue and his hand.

Thus it is upon us as individuals, to examine the shortcomings in our character, and to then seek to improve them – modelling ourselves upon the character of the last of the Prophets and Messengers, and their leader, Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – aspiring also for the excellence which he mentioned in his saying: “I am a guarantor for a house on the outskirts of Paradise for whosoever leaves off arguing, even if he is in the right; and a house in the centre of Paradise for whosoever abandons falsehood, even when joking; and a house in the upper-mort part of Paradise for whosoever makes his character good.”

So by shunning oppression, shamelessness, harbouring hatred towards Muslims, back-biting, slandering, tale-carrying, and other types of falsehood, we can be saved from nullifying the rewards of our fasting – as Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “It may be that a fasting person receives nothing from his fast, except hunger and thirst.

5: SENSING MUSLIM UNITY

The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Fast when they fast, and break your fast when they break their fast, and sacrifice the day they sacrifice.

Imam at-Tirmidhi (d.275H) – rahimahullah – said:
“Some of the People of Knowledge explained this hadith by saying: Its meaning is to fast and break the fast along with the jama’ah and the majority of people.”

Thus, in this blessed month we can sense an increased feeling of unity and of being a single Ummah due to our fasting and breaking our fast collectively. We also feel an increased awareness about the state of affairs of the Muslims and of the hardships that they endure, because: “During the fast, a Muslim feels and experiences what his needy and hungry brothers and sisters feel, who are forced to go without food and drink for many many days – as occurs today to many of the Muslims in Africa.”

Indeed, the units of the Muslims – and their aiding and assisting one another – is one of the great fundamentals upon which the Religion of Islam is built, as Allah – the Mort High – said: And hold fast altogether to the rope of Allah and do not be divided.” [Surah al-‘lmran 3:103].  Allah – the Most High – also said: “The Believers – men and women – and friends and protectors to one another.” [Surah al-Towbah 9:44].

Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H)- rahimahullah – said:
“The welfare of people will not be complete – neither in this world, nor in the Hereafter – except with ijtima’ (collectiveness), ta’awun (mutual cooperation), and tanasur (mutual help); mutual-co-operation in order to secure benefits, and mutual help in order to ward off harm. It is for this reason that man is said to be social and civil by nature.

Thus we see that Islam lays great importance in bringing hearts together and encouraging ijtima’ (collectiveness). This is not only reflected in the month of Ramadhan, but also in the other acts of worship as well. So, for example, we have been ordered by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to pray the five daily Prayers in congregation, and that it has been made twenty-seven times more rewardful than praying it individually. Likewise, this similar collective spirit is demonstrated in the act of Hajj (Pilgrimage). Even in learning knowledge and studying it, blessings have been placed in collectiveness, as Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “No people gather together in a house from the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it amongst themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy envelops them, the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them to there that are with Him.”

Likewise, even in our everyday actions such, as eating, Islam teacher us collectiveness. Thus, when some of the Companions of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to him: O Messenger of Allah, we eat but do not become satisfied. He replied: “Perhaps you eat individually?” They replied: Yes! So he said: “Eat collectively and mention the name of Allah. There will then be blessings for you in it.”

Indeed, even in the etiquettes of sitting the spirit of collectiveness is demonstrated. So, one day the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came across the Companions who were sitting in separate circles, so he said to them: “Why do I see you sitting separately!”

Similarly, Abu Tha’labah al-Khurhani radiallahu ‘anhu said: Whenever the people used to encamp, they used to split-up into the mountain passes and valley’s. So Allah’s Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Indeed your being split-up in there mountain passes and valley’s is from Shaytan.”  Thereafter, whenever they used to encamp, they used to keep very close together, to such an extent that it was said: If a cloth were to be spread over them, it would cover them all.

Thus, Ramadhan is a time to increase our sense of unity and brotherhood, and our commitment to Allah and His Religion. And there is no doubt that this sense of unity necessitates that: “We all work together as required by Islam as sincere brothers – not due to hizbiyyah (bigotted party spirit), nor sectarianism – in order to realise that which is of benefit to the Islamic Ummah and to establish the Islamic society that every Muslim aspirer for – so that the Shari’ah (Prescribed Law) of Allah is applied upon His earth.”  So we must examine ourselves during the month of Ramadhan and ask: What is my role – and each of us has a role – in helping this precious Ummah to regain its honour, and return to the Ummah its comprehensive unity and strength, and victory that has been promised to it! Likewise, we should reflect upon our own character and actions and ask. Are they aiding the process of unity and brotherhood, or are they a harm and a hindrance to it!

So we ask Allah to grant us the ability to change ourselves for the better, during this blessed month, and not to be of there who are prevented from His Mercy and Forgiveness. Indeed He is the One who Hears and He is the One to Respond.

Source: Al-Istiqaamah Magazine, Issue No.5 ,Jan 1997

Goals of Fasting


During this Ramadhan do not let the sweetness of our deeds vanish into the night, leaving only emptiness. When one contemplates the texts on fasting, its wisdom and goals in Shariah, and looks at the reality of the Muslim communities, one realizes a wide gap between the reality and our obligations. Remember that Ramadhan is a bounty that Allah blessed His servants with, to strengthen their faith, and increase their piety (Taqwa). Allah said: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.” (Al-Baqarah 2:183). This article is an attempt to present the essential causes of this gap, and to some remedies. primary reason for the gap is ignorance about the goals of fasting and the wisdom behind it. Many Muslims ignore the purpose and wisdom of fasting. Fasting is done merely to conform to the social environmet without contemplation. If one is not aware of the divine wisdom of Shariah and its fruits in this world and in the hereafter, one will not apply it in the right way.

Goals of Fasting

Achieving Taqwa: is one of the most important wisdom of fasting. Fasting brings on Taqwa as it lessens the desire of the stomach and mutes the sexual appetite. Whoever fasts frequently would overcome these two desires more easily. This deter against committing abominations and sins and assist in controlling life leading to Taqwa.

Strengthening willpower and acquiring patience: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam called Ramadhan the month of patience as it increases one’s will power to control his desire and the selfishness of his soul. This training allows him to be strong in following Allah’s commands. The most important being to carry the Message and propel it forward. The person trains himself to be patient in obeying Allah by stopping at the limits set by Allah both by way of action and abstention. Allah said: “These are the limits set by Allah, so approach them not.” (Al-Baqarah 2:187)

Fasting is pure worship: The fact that he is abstaining from food and drink both in public and in secret shows his honest faith and strong love of Allah, and his knowledge and feeling that Allah is all-knowing of everything. For this reason Allah has made the reward for fasting greater than for any other type of worship. Allah said in the hadith Qudsi: “Every deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied [in rewards], the good deed by ten of its like, up to seven hundreds, up to whatever Allah wills, except fasting, it is for Me and I will reward it. He abandons his desire and his food for My sake..” (Related by Muslim) lbn al-Qayyim said: “…And people may see that a person is not eating in front of them, but the fact that he is really abandoning his food and his desire for the sake of God is a thing that nobody can find out about, and that is the essence of fasting.” (Zaad al-Ma’ad 2/29).

Relieving Muslims from life’s distractions: Eating, drinking, and socializing all distract a person and weaken ties with Allah. It is by the Mercy of Allah that Muslims are ordered to fast so as not to be bothered by the intrusion of these activities. Nor by the thought about them nor the anticipation for them when devoting themselves to the all types of worship Either reading the Qur’an, offering additional prayer or making I’tikaf. For this reason the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Fasting is a shield, and a secure fortress against Hell fire” (Related by Ahmad).

Discovering Allah’s Blessings: A person experiences the hardship of the poor. He should then be thankful to Allah Who has blessed him with His bounty while others are deprived. This should make him more sympathetic and willing to share this bounty. The poor rediscovers that fasting helps a person be more devoted to worship. More able to concentrate and meditate. He should then be able of this devotion all year long, a blessing he should thank Allah for.

Acquiring strength and endurance:It has been discovered that depriving the body of food for a period of time helps its defense and endurance mechanism. This in turn this protects the body from certain diseases.

Remember that fasting is not only dependent on abstentions: Many believe that fasting consist only of certain abstentions, forgetting that Allah established certain acts of worship with fasting. Among which are:

Qiyamul-layl: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Whoever performed the night prayer during Ramadhan out of belief and anticipating God’s rewards, will be forgiven his previous sins.”(Related by Muslim).Performing Umrah: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “An Umrah during Ramadhan is like a Hajj with me.” (Related by al-Hakim).

Offering Iftar (meal) to those who fasted. The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Whoever feeds a fasting person has the same reward as him, except that the reward of the fasting person will not be diminished.” (Related by Ahmad).

Reading and completing the Qur’an: The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Fasting and [reading] Qur’an will intercede for the person: fasting will say: O Lord I forbade him eating and drinking so let me intercede for him, and the Qur’an will say: I deprived him from his night sleep so let me intercede for him,” he then said: “So they will intercede.” (Related by Ahmad). The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used to recite the whole Qur’an to Angel Jibreel each Ramadhan.

Giving in charity: Ibn Abbas radhiallahu anhu said: “The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam was the most generous among people, and he was more generous during the month of Ramadhan.” (Related by Muslim).

I`tikaaf: which is to confine oneself in the masjid for prayer and invocation leaving the worldly activities. Ibn Abbas radhiallahu anhu said: “The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used to perforrn I’tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadhan.” (Related by Muslim). It is surprising that many people have abandoned I’tikaf though the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam never abandoned it from the time he arrived to Madinah until he died.

Supplication: In the verses dealing with fasting, Allah said: “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then answer them, I am indeed near to them. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 186). This is an encouragement for the fasting person to increase his invocation. The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Three invocations will be answered: The invocation of the fasting person, the invocation of the oppressed, and the invocation of the traveler.” (Related by Muslim).

Repentance: Ramadhan is the time of repentance and return to Allah, for it is a time when the devils are chained, and when many people are saved from hell fire every night by the grace of Allah.

Applying oneself in all good deeds in the last ten days of Ramadhan: Aysha radhiallabu anha said: “When the last ten days come, he sallallahu alayhe wa sallam would pray most of the night and wake his family, and apply himself, and tighten up his loincloth.”, and she also said: “The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhe wa sallam used to strive in the last days of Ramadhan more than he did during the other days.” (Related by Muslim).

Abstaining from vain talk: Sins decrease the reward of fasting although they do not annul it. The Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam said: “Fasting is not [only] abstaining from eating and drinking, but abstaining from vain and obscene talk, so if someone insulted you or wronged you say: I am fasting.” (Related by al-Hakim) and he also said: ‘Whoever does not abandon lying, then Allah does not need him to abandon his food and drink.” (Related by al-Bukhari).

Source: Al-Jumuah Magazine, Vol 8, Issue 9

Things which invalidate the Fasting


It is obligatory for the Muslim to know of all that invalidates the fast so as to be aware of them.

That which invalidates the fast:

1) Sexual intercourse: Whenever the fasting person has sexual intercourse, his fast is invalidated. Subsequently, he is required to make up the fast for that day in which he had sexual intercourse in addition to paying a penalty (kaffaarah) which is to free a slave. If he is unable to find a slave or funds that are equal to that, then he is required to fast consecutively for two months. If he is unable to fast for two months, due to an Islaamically acceptable reason, he is to feed 60 poor people half a saa’ each from the food common in that land.

2) Excretion of semen as a result of kissing, touching with desire, masturbation or persistently looking at that which arouses the desire. In this case, the fast is invalidated and he is required to make up for that day without paying a penalty (kaffaarah), since paying a penalty is specific to having had sexual intercourse.

3) Intentionally eating and drinking, due to that which Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’aala) says:

{…and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your Sawm (fast) till the nightfall}, [Soorah al-Baqarah, Aayah 187]

As for he who eats and drinks out of forgetfulness, then this does not affect his fast as is mentioned in the following hadeeth:

(Whoever forgetfully eats or drinks, then he should complete his fast, for indeed it was Allaah who provided him the food and drink)

And from that which breaks the fast is water and other such substances to pass his throat via his nose. This is known as as-Sa’oof. Likewise, taking a nutritional injection directly into the vein and taking a blood transfusion whilst fasting. All of these invalidate the fast, as it constitutes nutrition for the body.

As regards a non-nutritional injection, then it is better for one who is fasting to avoid this so as to protect his fast. The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

Leave that which you are doubtful (about) for that which are not doubtful (about)

And as such delay it until after having broken the fast at the time of Maghrib.

4) As for extracting blood via cupping or opening a vein or donating blood for medical reasons, then all of this invalidates the fast. As regards giving a small blood sample for testing purposes, then this does not affect the fast. Likewise, this applies to the unintentional flow of blood resulting from a nose bleed, injury or having a tooth removed. All of these do not affect the fast.

5) Intentional vomiting also invalidates the fast. However, the fast is not affected if he is overcome and is forced to vomit without intending so. This is based upon the statement of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam):

Whoever is overcome (and forced) to vomit, then he is not required to make up (the fast for that day) and whoever intentionally vomits then he must make up (the fast for that day.

The fasting person should not exert himself whilst gargling and sniffing water up his nose (when making wudhoo.) because it is quite possible the water may pass his throat and thereby enter his stomach. The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

Whilst making wudhoo, exert yourself in sniffing water up the nose except if you are fasting.

Using the miswaak (tooth-stick) does not affect the fast, rather it is recommended, whether fasting or not, throughout the day.

His fast is not affected if any dust or even a fly was to reach his throat.

It is obligatory for the fasting person to refrain from lying, backbiting and swearing, even if someone was to swear at him. If this is the case, he should say:

(indeed), I am fasting

Certainly, some people find it easy to abstain from food and drink but find it difficult to abandon that which has become a habit for them from evil speech and actions. This is why some of the Pious Predecessors have said:

The easiest (type of) fast is abstaining from food and drink.

So it is upon the Muslim to fear Allaah and be aware of Him and His Greatness and the fact that He Sees all that we do, such that absolutely nothing remains hidden from him. In doing this, he should protect his fast from all that invalidates it or reduces it’s reward so that his fast remains correct and, inshaa.-Allaah, is accepted by Allaah.

It is befitting for the fasting person to busy himself in the remembrance of Allaah, reciting the Qur.aan and increasing in the performance of naafilah (voluntary) prayers.

It used to be that when the Pious Predecessors would fast, they would sit in the masaajid and they would say:

We shall protect our fast and not backbite anyone.

The Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

Whoever does not abandon evil speech and actions, then Allaah is not in need of him having left his food and drink (i.e. fasting).

This is because seeking nearness to Allaah is not complete simply by leaving our personal desires (of eating and drinking, etc). Rather, it is by leaving that which Allaah has prohibited at all times in terms of lying, oppression and the like. In a narration, Abu Hurayrah said:

The fast is accepted as worship so long as no Muslim has been backbitten or harmed.

And it is narrated by Anas, who said: The one who has backbitten the people whilst fasting has not really fasted.

Reference:
Shaykh Ibn Fowzaan
al-Mulakhkhas al-Fiqhee – Volume 1, Pages 268-270


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