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The Virtue And Importance Of Fasting

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Salih Ash-Shawy

The virtue and importance of fasting [1]

All praise be to Allah, we praise Him and seek His Help and guidance. We seek refuge in Allah against the evils of ourselves and the evils of our actions, whom Allah guides there is no one can mislead and whom Allah misleads no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone who has no associate and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant, Messenger, and the selected one of His Creation. May Allah send peace and blessings upon the Prophet, his good and purified Companions, and those who follow his way until the Day of Recompense.

Fasting is one the features of religion and conclusive evidence on the fulfillment of the commands of Allah by love, consent, and total submission to His Commands.

Therefore, every religion has fasting as one of its pillars and one of its props. Allah (Blessed and Exalted be He) says: "O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fast) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqűn (the pious)." [Surat Al Baqarah: 183].

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):" and counted fasting Ramadan one of them. [2]

In this blessed month the Qur'an was revealed from Al Lawh-ul-Mahfuzh (the Preserved Tablet) to the worldly sky and the revelation started to come down to Prophet Muhammad. Ramadan contains a night that is better than a thousand months (of worship), a night in which every great matter is detailed and estimations of all matters are established. No one asks his Lord for something but He gives it to him if it is not contradictory with the Shari'ah rulings and as long as it does not contain oppression to others as Allah does not love the aggressors. The wisdom of fasting is strengthening oneself, the will, and determination because when a person obeys the commands of his Lord, overpowers his desires by controlling them, and leaves out delicious food and drink; sexual intercourse; and other lawful things for the sake of gaining the reward, he shall get a strong will and determination. Moreover, a person shall be a servant to his Lord instead of being a servant to his desires and lusts, and he shall become able to control himself and guide it to the correct direction.

According to Islam, the meaning of fasting is not meant to tire the soul as some people think, but the meaning is to rear, cultivate, and train it for observing patience for desires and righteous actions. Ibn Majah reported in his Sunan that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Fasting is half of patience" [3] Allah is Self-Sufficient and does not need our actions, and He only ordained fasting for our benefit to train ourselves for happiness, piety, and winning the meeting of Allah and His Reward in the Hereafter. Allah says in the Divine Hadith: "All the deeds of Adam's sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it."[4] [Reported by Al Bukhari]. In another Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "He leaves his food and drink for My Sake."[5] [Reported by Al Bukhari]. In another Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah's rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven."[6] [Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim].

The benefits of fasting are not limited only to winning the meeting of Allah in the Hereafter, but it has many other benefits that cannot be counted:

Of the worldly benefits of fasting are:

1- The one who fasts out of sincere faith and hoping to attain the reward of Allah does not usurp people's money falsely, insult their honor, or betray them in their trust. It is not easy for him to disobey Allah except if Satan seduces him then the person repents and returns to Allah. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "And most of them We found not true to their covenant, but most of them We found indeed Fâsiqűn (rebellious, disobedient to Allâh)." [Surat Al A'raf: 102].

So, fasting increases the will and restrains desires. Al Baydawy said: "Fasting is abstaining from things that a soul desires."[7]

2- Reminding those who do not suffer hunger and thirsty all year long with their poor brothers to console them and to have pity on them after they had suffered their pains. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "O Allah! I seek refuge with You from hunger; for it is the worst companion."[8] As for real generous people, they do not neglect to show benevolence to those who deserve it not in Ramadan or thereafter.

3- Equality between Muslims where they break their fast in one time and start fasting in one time, in addition to other features of equality between Muslims regarding fasting, thereby a Muslim feels the glory of Islam because union is one of the features of power.

4- Health because fasting improves the body, cures it from moisture, and decreases fats in the body which it is harmful to the heart. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Observe fasting for it is good for the health."[9]

Doctors said: Fasting one month every year is enough to remove all harms of the body that have been precipitated for one year. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Fasting is a shield."[10] i.e., protects the fasting person from faults, harms, and sins.

Given that we reviewed fasting, its benefits, and the worldly wisdom, we have to mention that backbiting, tale bearing, and others may affect the fasting person as was reported from 'A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her).

Imam Al Awza'y said: Backbiting nullifies fasting and entails making up for that day. Ibn Hazm said: Every sin nullifies fasting as long as a person remembers that he is fasting whether that sin was a saying or an action.[11]

Al Ghazaly said about the person who commits a sin while fasting: He is like the person who builds a house but demolishes an entire town. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger."[12]

I ask Allah (Glory be to Him) to guide you and us to the best actions and to accept fasting and Qiyam from you and us. I ask Allah to make our end good, for He is All-Hearing, All-Responding. And Allah knows the best. May Allah send peace and blessings on our Prophet Muhammad who taught the entire humanity goodness. [Excerpted from the book of "Risalatan Fi Al Qadar War-Riba, Maqalat Mutanawwi'ah of the same author].

[1] A speech delivered in one of the masjids dated: 20/9/1375AH.
[2] Reported by Al Bukhari No. (8) and Muslim No. (16) on the authority of 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with them).
[3] Reported by Ibn Majah No. (1745) and Al Bayhaqy in Shu'abul-Iman (3/292) No. (3577) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him). Al Busayry said (1/555): This chain of transmission is weak. Al Albany graded it as weak in Da'if Al Jami' No. (3581) and in As-Silsilah Ad-Da'ifah No. (3811).
[4] Reported by Al Bukhari No. (1904) and Muslim No. (2700) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him).
[5] Reported by Al Bukhari No. (1984) and Muslim No. (1151) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him).
[6] Reported by Al Bukhari No. 38]. and Muslim No. (760) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him).
[7] See: Tafsir Al Baydawy (1/461).
[8] Reported by Abu Dawud No. (1547), Ibn Majah No. (3354), and An-Nasa'y No. (5468) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him). Al Albany graded it as good in Sahih At-Targhib Wat-Tarhib No. (3002).
[9] See: Al Maqasid Al Hasanah (P. 381) and Majma' Az-Zawa'id (3/179). Al Albany graded it as weak in Da'if Al Jami' No. (3503) and in As-Silsilah Ad-Da'ifah No. (253).
[10] Part of a Hadith reported by Al Bukhari No. (1904) and Muslim No. (1151) on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him).
[11]These views were reported by Ibn Hajar in Fathul-Bary (4/104).
[12] pleased with him). Ahmad Shakir said in Tahqiq Al Musnad No. (8843): Its chain of narration is authentic.
 

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