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10 Points for Fasting

(By Yusuf Estes)

There are important points to understand while fasting the month of Ramadan in order to take the maximum benefit from the wisdom and teachings we gain in this blessed month, in which Allah sent down His last revelation, the Quran.

One of our beloved teachers of Islam, Dr. Tamimi, a student of knowledge of Madinah and Dr. Jafar Idris, produced interesting and beneficial lectures about the importance and rewards of fasting Ramadan. The following is based on some of this excellent knowledge:

POINT 1: Gaining Taqwa

Allah legislated fasting for gaining taqwa,

“O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain taqwa.” [Al-Baqarah 2:183]

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ}

البقرة: 183

Transliteration: Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo kutiba AAalaykumu alssiyamu kama kutiba AAala allatheena min qablikum laAAallakum tattaqoona

Taqwa in this case means to make a shield between oneself and Allah’s anger and Hellfire. So we should ask ourselves, when we break our fasts, ‘Has this fasting day made us fear Allah more? Has it resulted that we want to protect ourselves from the hellfire or not?

POINT 2: Drawing closer to Allah

This is achieved by reciting and reflecting on Al-Quran during night and day, attending the taraweeh prayers, remembering Allah, sitting in circles of knowledge and, for those who can, making ‘umrah. Also for those who can, making I’tikaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadan, so as to leave all worldly pursuits and seclude oneself in a masjid just thinking of Allah, so as to bring oneself closer to Allah. When one sins, one feels distant from Allah. That is why one might find it hard to read the Quran and come to the masjid. However, the obedient worshipper feels closer to Allah and wants to worship Allah more, because he is not shy from his sins.

POINT 3: Acquiring patience and strong will

Allah has mentioned patience more than seventy times in the Quran and has commanded patience in more than sixteen ways in His Book. So when one fasts, and gives up one’s food and drink, and one’s marital sexual relations for those hours, one learns restraint and patience. This Ummah needs men and women that are strong willed, who can stand upon the Sunnah and the Book of Allah and not waver in front of the enemies of Allah. We do not need emotional people, who just raise slogans and shout, but when the time comes to stand upon something firm, they cannot do so, they waver.

POINT 4: Striving for Ihsan (righteousness and sincerity) and staying away from riya (showing off)

Ihsan means to worship Allah as if one sees Him, and even though one does not see Him, He sees all.

Hasan al-Basri said, By Allah, in the last twenty years, I have not said a word or taken something with my hand or refrained to take something with my hand or stepped forth or stepped back, except that I have thought before I have done any action, ‘Does Allah love this action? Is Allah pleased with this action?’ So when one is fasting, one should gain this quality of watching oneself and also staying away from riya (showing off). That is why Allah said in a hadith qudsi,
“Fasting is for Me and I reward it.” [al-Bukhari]

«…الصيام لي وأنا أجزي به…»

رواه البخاري

POINT 5: Refinement of manners, especially those related to truthfulness and discharging trusts.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allah has no need that he should heave his food and drink.” [al-Bukhari]

« من لم يدع قول الزور والعمل به ، فليس لله حاجة في أن يدع طعامه وشرابه»

رواه البخاري

What we learn from this; is that we must pay attention to the purification of our manners. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “I was sent to perfect good manners.” [Malik]

« إنما بعثت لأتمم مكارم (و في رواية صالح) الأخلاق»

رواه مالك

So we must check ourselves, are we following the behavior of the Prophet (peace be upon him)? For example: Do we give salam to those we don’t know and those we do know? Do we follow the manners of Islam, by telling the truth and only telling the truth? Are we sincere? Are we merciful to the creation?

POINT 6: Recognizing that one can change for the better

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Every son of Adam sins and the best of the sinners are those who repent.” [Ibn Majah]

«كل بني آدم خطاء وخير الخطائين التوابون»

رواه ابن ماجه

Allah provides many opportunities to repent to Him and seek His forgiveness. If one was disobedient they can become obedient.

POINT 7: Being more charitable

Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the most charitable amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Jibril (angel Gabriel) used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month.” [al-Bukhari]

« كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود الناس بالخير ، وكان أجود ما يكون في رمضان ، حين يلقاه جبريل ، وكان جبريل عليه السلام يلقاه كل ليلة في رمضان حتى ينسلخ»

رواه البخاري

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, without nothing being reduced from the fasting person’s reward.” [At-Tirmidhi]

«من فطر صائما كان له مثل أجره ، غير أنه لا ينقص من أجر الصائم شيئا»

رواه الترمذي

POINT 8: Sensing the unity of the Muslims

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Those of you who will live after me will see many differences. Then you must cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khalifahs (leaders). Hold fast to it and stick to it.” [Abu Dawud]

«…فإنه من يعش منكم بعدي فسيرى اختلافا كثيرا ، فعليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء المهديين الراشدين تمسكوا بها ، وعضوا عليها بالنواجذ…»

رواه ابو داود

In this month we sense that there is a possibility for unity, because we all fast together, we break-fast together, we all worship Allah together, and we pray Salatul-Eid together. Therefore we sense that the unity of Muslims is possible. It is possible for Muslims to be a single body, but this will only be achieved when obedience is only to Allah and His Messenger.
POINT 9: Learning discipline

The Prophet (may Allah send His blessings and peace upon him) made us adhere to discipline and strictness, strictness that does not lead to fanaticism or going outside the bounds that Allah has laid down. One cannot knowingly break the fast before the sunset, as this will not be accepted by Allah. Muslims should learn to be very strict in their lives, because they are people of an important message, which they mold their lives around.

POINT 10: Teaching the young to worship Allah

It was the practice of the people of Madinah, that during the fast of ‘Ashura to get their children to fast with them. When the children would cry of hunger and thirst, their parents would distract their attention by giving them some sort of toy to play with. The children would break their fast with their parents. [As mentioned in al-Bukhari]

«فكنا نصومه بعد ، ونصوم صبياننا ، ونجعل لهم اللعبة من العهن ، فإذا بكى أحدهم على الطعام أعطيناه ذاك حتى يكون عند الإفطار»

رواه البخاري

So the young should be brought to the masjid and they should pray with their parents, so that they are able to get into the habit of becoming worshippers of Allah. If one does not encourage children to fast when they are young, they will find it very difficult to fast for thirty days at the age of puberty.

There is yet another consideration for the fasters of Ramadan, although this is not something we usually consider as the motivation for following Allah’s command and that is the physical and medical advantages usually associated with fasting.

We are ordered to take care of our health and provide our body with its rights over us. Our prophet, (peace be upon him), told us our body has rights on us and in one hadith he said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, and there is good in everyone.” [Sahih Muslim]

« المؤمن القوي خير وأحب إلى الله من المؤمن الضعيف . وفي كل خير…»

رواه مسلم


More Ramadaan Naseeha From IslamQA

5 – Seeking knowledge in order to be able to follow the rulings on fasting and to understand the virtues of Ramadaan.

 

6 – Hastening to complete any tasks that may distract the Muslim from doing acts of worship.

 

7 – Sitting with one’s family members – wife and children – to tell them of the rulings on fasting and encourage the young ones to fast.

 

8 – Preparing authentic books based on Qur’aan and hadith which can be read at home or given to the imam of the masjid to read to the people during Ramadaan.

 

9 – Fasting some of the month of Sha’baan in preparation for fasting Ramadaan.

 

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said:

 The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast until we said: He will not break his fast, and he used not to fast until we said: He will not fast. And I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) complete a month of fasting except Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more in any month than in Sha’baan.

Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1868) and Muslim (1156).

 

It was narrated that Usaamah ibn Zayd said:

I said: O Messenger of Allaah, I do not see you fasting in any month as you fast in Sha’baan? He said: “That is a month that people neglect between Rajab and Ramadaan, but it is a month in which people’s deeds are taken up to the Lord of the Worlds and I would like my deeds to be taken up when I am fasting.”

Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (2357); classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i.

 

These ahadeeth explain the wisdom behind fasting in Sha’baan, which is that it is a month in which deeds are taken up (to Allaah). Some of the scholars mentioned another reason, which is that this fasting is like Sunnah prayers offered beforehand in relation to the obligatory prayer; they prepare the soul for performing the obligatory action, and the same may be said of fasting Sha’baan before Ramadaan.

 

10 – Reading Qur’aan

 

The month of Rajab is the month for planting, the month of Sha’baan is the month of irrigating the crops, and the month of Ramadaan is the month of harvesting the crops.

The likeness of the month of Rajab is that of the wind, the likeness of Sha’baan is that of the clouds and the likeness of Ramadaan is that of the rain; whoever does not plant and sow in Rajab, and does not irrigate in Sha’baan, how can he reap in Ramadaan?

Now Rajab has passed, and we are in Sha’baan – and we will soon be entering into the blessed month of Ramadaan. Let us follow in the footsteps of our Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the early generations of the ummah as they strove hard this blessed month seeking Allaah’s pleasure.

So, this leads me to ask you and myself – what good will we do this Ramadaan?

 

And Allaah is the Source of strength.

Adapted from: http://www.islamqa.com

Fasting in Sha’baan

As we are now in the month of Sha’baan, it means Ramadaan is drawing closer by the day.

But don’t wait till Ramadaan to start fasting, why not build up the momentum now?

The Prophet sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would fast more in this month than any other month (except Ramadaan).

This would be the perfect time to start making up any owed fasts from last Ramadaan if you still have any.

Usaamah bin Zayd (radiAllaahu ‘anhumaa) relates: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Sha’baan.’

He said, ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadaan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.

[Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 2221.]

Ramadaan Naseeha From IslamQA – Outstanding Fasts

4 – Discharging the duty of any outstanding obligatory fasts

 

It was narrated that Abu Salamah said: I heard ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) say: I would owe fasts from the previous Ramadaan and I would not be able to make them up except in Sha’baan. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1849) and Muslim (1146).

 

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

 

From her keenness to do that in Sha’baan it may be understood that it is not permissible to delay making them up until another Ramadaan begins. Fath al-Baari (4/191).

Ramadaan Naseeha From IslamQA – Rejoicing at the Approach of the Blessed Month

3 – Rejoicing at the approach of the blessed month

 

The arrival of Ramadaan is one of the great blessings that Allaah bestows upon His Muslim slave, because Ramadaan is one of the occasions of good in which the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed. It is the month of the Qur’aan and it is in this month of Ramadaan decisive battles in the history of our religion took place.

 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

Say: ‘In the Bounty of Allaah, and in His Mercy (i.e. Islam and the Qur’aan); —therein let them rejoice.’ That is better than what (the wealth) they amass” [Yoonus 10:58]

 

Ramadaan Naseeha From IslamQA – Du’aa

2 – Du’aa (supplication)

It was narrated from some of the salaf that they used to pray to Allaah for six months that they would live until Ramadaan, then they would pray for five months afterwards that He would accept it from them!

The Muslim should ask his Lord to let him live until Ramadaan with a strong religious commitment and good physical health, and he should ask Him to help him obey Him during the month, and ask Him to accept his good deeds from Him.

Ramadaan Naseeha From IslamQA

Bismillaah,

Assalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh

Ramadaan is approaching. Today is the 24th Rajab, next is Sha’baan then Ramadaan in shaa Allaah!

In order to make us benefit from this blessed month in the best way that we can, preparation in the coming weeks is a must in shaa Allaah!

Here is some naseeha (advice) adapted from IslamQA regarding how we can prepare for Ramadaan in shaa Allaah:

Praise be to Allaah.

Many people misunderstand the true nature of fasting, and they make it an occasion for eating and drinking, making special sweets and staying up late at night and watching shows on satellite TV. They make such preparations long before Ramadaan, lest they miss out on some food bargains before food prices go up. They prepare by buying food, preparing drinks and looking at the satellite TV guide so they can choose which shows to follow and which to ignore. They are truly unaware of the real nature of fasting in Ramadaan; they take worship and piety out of the month and make it a month to fill up their bellies and keeping themselves busy with worldly entertainments. May Allah protect us from this, ameen.

As for the others (inshaa Allah you and I) – they are aware of the real nature of fasting in the month of Ramadaan, so they start to prepare from Sha’baan, and some of them even start before that. If one has not done so already, now inshaa Allah is the time to start.

 

 

Among the best ways of preparing for the month of Ramadaan are:

1 –Sincere repentance

This is obligatory at all times, but in relation to this great and blessed month of Ramadaan, it is even more important to hasten to repent from sins between you and your Lord, and between you and other people by giving them their rights, so as we step in this blessed month we may busy ourselves with the many acts of worship with a clean heart and peace of mind.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [al-Noor 24:31]

It was narrated from al-Agharr ibn Yasaar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O people, repent to Allaah for I repent to Him one hundred times each day.” Narrated by Muslim (2702).

There are 9 other points, each of which I will post daily so that we can benefit successfully from implementing each point one at a time in shaa Allaah.