The Merit of Fasting (1/2)
Fasting enjoys, in the eyes of God, a grace unparalleled by other acts of
piety and worship.
In a (qudsi hadith (utterances attributed to God outside the Qur'an), Allah
says: "All man's work belongs to him. A good deed is repaid from tenfold to
seven hundred times". God said: "Fasting belongs to Me and I repay."
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) (Peace be upon him) said: "By He in whose
hands Muhammad's soul rests, Allah prefers the stench of the mouth of lie who
fasts to the scent of musk".
The Merit of Ramadan
Al-Bukhari and Muslim both reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had
said: "With the advent of Ramadan, the portals of Paradise are opened, the
gates to hell are closed, and the devils are chained."
According to Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (Peace
be upon him) said at the beginning of Ramadan: "A glorious and blessed month
has come Allah ordained that you fast during it. During this month, the
portals of Paradise are opened, the gates of hell are closed, and the devils
are chained. In this month there is one night which is worth more than one
The Merit of Ramadan Fast
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: "Whoever fasts during Ramadan out of
faith seeking no reward, will have all his past sins forgiven."
Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Peace
be upon him) also said: "Whoever breaks the fast even for one day in Ramadan
without any legitimate reason, cannot compensate for it by a period of fasting
at another time during the year".
Regulations Governing the Fast of Ramadan
Fasting means to refrain and abstain, from dawn till sunset, from certain
things forbidden by Islamic Law. These are dealt with later. Fasting is
divided into two main categories:
a. Fard (obligatory fasting), which comprises the following:
i. Ramadan fast.
ii. kaffara (the fasting of atonement).
iii. Nadhr (relating to the taking of a vow).
b. Tatawwu' (voluntary fasting), which is confined to those additional days
throughout the year which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to observe as
Fasting is One of the Five Pillars of Islam
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: "Islam is built on five pillars: the
Shahada (profession of faith) that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad
is the Messenger of Allah, Salat (prayers), Zakat (alms-tax), the Sawn of
Ramadan (fast) and Hajj (pilgrimage).
Ramadan fast was prescribed on the second Monday of the month of Sha'ban, in
the second year of the Hijra.
Fasting is obligatory for every Muslim provided that he or she is adult and in
full possession of his or her faculties.
Exemptions for Temporary Causes Include:
i. Women in menstruation or child-birth bleeding.
ii. Persons in sick bed or on a journey.
These exemptions will be discussed later.
It is preferable that children, though they are not under obligation to fast,
should be trained in fasting in order to prepare them for carrying out their
adult obligations in this respect.
Al-Rabi Bint Mu'awwadh said in this connection "On the Day of Ashoura, the
Prophet (Peace be upon him) had a man tour the villages of the Ansar (the
original inhabitants of Medina who supported the Prophet (Peace be upon him))
ordering those who had not yet partaken of food to fast during the day and
those who had eaten to abstain and fast the rest of the day. Later, we used to
fast that day and have our small children fast upon it. We used to take them
to the mosque and give them toys made of wool to distract them from their
hunger until iftar time". (i.e. the breaking of the fast).
Source: Al-Siyam "Fasting"