Tag Archive | Yusuf Estes

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