All praise is due and belongs to Allâh. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allâh from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever that Allâh guides, none can mislead him, and whomever He sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ )
(O you who believe, fear Allâh as he should be feared and die not unless you are Muslims) [Al-Imran: 102]
( يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا )
(O people fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. From it, He created its spouse, and from both of them scattered many men and women. Fear Allâh, by whom you ask one another, and (fear) the wombs (lest you sever its relationship). Allâh is ever watching over you). [An-Nisa: 1].
( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا * يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا )
(O you, who believe, fear Allâh and say sound statements. He will mend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger shall win a great victory) [Al-Ahzab: 70-71].
O believers! We are not the only nation that Allâh has imposed fasting on, as we do know that Allâh the Most Glorified and Exalted has imposed fasting on nations before us. Allâh, the Most High, said,
( يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ )
O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you [Al-Baqarah: 183].
But we do not think their fast was like ours; for the noble Qur’an has related to us that fasting of nations before us was to avoid speech, as Allâh, the Most Glorified and Exalted said about Maryam (Mary):
( فَإِمَّا تَرَيِنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡبَشَرِ أَحَدً۬ا فَقُولِىٓ إِنِّى نَذَرۡتُ لِلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ صَوۡمً۬ا فَلَنۡ أُڪَلِّمَ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ إِنسِيًّ۬ا)
And if you see any human being, say: ‘Verily! I have vowed a fast unto the Most Gracious (Allâh) so I shall not speak to any human being this day [Maryam: 26].
And concerning Zakariyya, Allâh, may His mention be Exalted, said in the Qur’an:
( قَالَ رَبِّ ٱجۡعَل لِّىٓ ءَايَةً۬ۚ قَالَ ءَايَتُكَ أَلَّا تُكَلِّمَ ٱلنَّاسَ ثَلَـٰثَ لَيَالٍ۬ سَوِيًّ۬ا (١٠) فَخَرَجَ عَلَىٰ قَوۡمِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلۡمِحۡرَابِ فَأَوۡحَىٰٓ إِلَيۡہِمۡ أَن سَبِّحُواْ بُكۡرَةً۬ وَعَشِيًّ۬ا)
[Zakariyya (Zachariah)] said: “My Lord! Appoint for me a sign.” He said: “Your sign is that you shall not speak unto mankind for three nights, though having no bodily defect.” (10) Then he came out to his people from Al-Mihrâb (a praying place or a private room), he told them by signs to glorify Allâh’s Praises in the morning and in the afternoon [Maryam: 10-11].
However, our Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), has forbidden us to observe this type of fast. Ali bin Abi Talib, (May Allâh be pleased with him) said: « I have retained in my memory the saying of the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) that: “No one is considered an orphan after he has attained the age of maturity; and it is unlawful to remain silent from dawn till night » (Abu Dawud).
What do you think about fasting in Islam? We say that our fasting is to worship Allâh, the Most High, by refraining from eating, drinking and other things that break the fast from the true dawn to sunset, and the proof of this is the words of Allâh, the Most High:
( وَكُلُواْ وَٱشۡرَبُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ ٱلۡخَيۡطُ ٱلۡأَبۡيَضُ مِنَ ٱلۡخَيۡطِ ٱلۡأَسۡوَدِ مِنَ ٱلۡفَجۡرِۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّواْ ٱلصِّيَامَ إِلَى ٱلَّيۡلِ )
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 Saum (fast) till the nightfall [Al-Baqarah: 187].
Moreover, Umar bin al-Khattab, may Allâh be pleased with him, said: The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, « When the night approaches from this side (i.e., the east) and the day retreats from that side (i.e., west) and the sun sets, then it is time for a person observing Saum (fasting) to break his fast » (Agreed upon).
O Muslims! When fasting was first legislated, it was legislated in a different form. It was indeed more severe and more difficult. Al-Baraa, May Allâh be pleased with him, narrates and says: « It was the custom among the companions of Muhammad, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) that if any of them was fasting and the food was presented (for breaking his fast), but he slept before eating, he would not eat that night and the following day till sunset. Qais bin Sirmah al-Ansari was fasting and came to his wife at the time of Iftar (breaking one’s fast) and asked her whether she had anything to eat. She replied, “No, but I would go and bring some for you.” He used to do hard work during the day, so he was overwhelmed by sleep and slept. When his wife came and saw him, she said, “Disappointment for you.” When it was midday on the following day, he fainted and the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) was informed about the whole matter and the following verses were revealed:
( أُحِلَّ لَڪُمۡ لَيۡلَةَ ٱلصِّيَامِ ٱلرَّفَثُ إِلَىٰ نِسَآٮِٕكُمۡ )
ۚ”You are permitted to go to your wives (for sexual relation) at the night of fasting” [Al-Baqarah: 187]
So, they were overjoyed by it. Then Allâh revealed:
( وَكُلُواْ وَٱشۡرَبُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ ٱلۡخَيۡطُ ٱلۡأَبۡيَضُ مِنَ ٱلۡخَيۡطِ ٱلۡأَسۡوَدِ مِنَ ٱلۡفَجۡرِ )
“And eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)” [Al-Baqarah: 187] (Al-Bukhari).
In a narration of Al-Bukhari also: « When the order of compulsory fasting of Ramadan was revealed, the people did not have sexual relations with their wives for the whole month of Ramadan, but some men cheated themselves (by violating that restriction). So Allâh revealed:
( عَلِمَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّڪُمۡ كُنتُمۡ تَخۡتَانُونَ أَنفُسَڪُمۡ فَتَابَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ وَعَفَا عَنكُمۡ )
“Allâh is aware that you were deceiving yourselves but He accepted your repentance and forgave you..” [Al-Baqarah: 187]
Fasting was declared obligatory in the second year of the Prophet’s migration. Before this time, fasting was optional and not mandatory. Salamah bin al-Akwa’, may Allâh be pleased with him, tells us that: «When this verse:
ۖ ( وَعَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ ۥ فِدۡيَةٌ۬ طَعَامُ مِسۡكِينٍ۬)
And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a poor person (for every day) [Al-Baqarah: 184].
He who liked to observe fast did observe it and he who felt reluctant to observe it ate and expiated until the verse was revealed which abrogated it » (Agreed upon), He refers to the verse where Allâh, the Most High said:
( فَمَن شَہِدَ مِنكُمُ ٱلشَّہۡرَ فَلۡيَصُمۡهُۖ )
So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadân i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month [Al-Baqarah: 185].
O Muslims! Since then fasting has become an integral pillar among the pillars on which the edifice of Islam as a whole rests, and the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) declared it explicitly, saying: «the superstructure of Islam is raised upon five pillars», and he mentioned: «fasting of the month of Ramadan» (Agreed upon), and without fasting the whole structure would break down.
Furthermore, fasting my beloved ones is the righteous deed that has no parallel. It has no co-equal, as the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said. Abu Umamah narrated: The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) set up an army, and I came to him and said: O Messenger of Allâh, pray to Allâh that I am martyred in His cause. He said: «O Allâh deliver them and their flocks». We fought the battle and we and our flocks were delivered. He continued until he mentioned it three times. He said, and then I approached him, I said: O Messenger of Allâh,I came to you three times in succession, I ask you to pray to Allâh that I am martyred, but you said: «O Allâh deliver them and their flocks», and we and our flocks were delivered, O Messenger of Allâh. So, bid me to do a deed that will get me into the Paradise. He said: «You should fast; for there is nothing like it». He said, smoke was never seen in Abu Umamah’s home during the day unless they had some guests. Therefore, if they see the smoke in their home during the day, people know that they had some guests (Ibn Hibban).
In another narration, he said, «you should fast; for it has no parallel “.
In addition, fasting is a barrier and protection between one and the hellfire. The prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, «Fasting is a shield, and a fortress from the hellfire» (Ahmad).
The Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) also said, « Any slave of Allâh who observes Saum (fasting) for a day in the Cause of Allâh, Allâh will keep his face from Hell-fire at a distance of seventy years » (Muslim).
Fasting is an assured reason for entering Paradise, if the slave observes it with sincerity, especially if he dies while he is fasting. Hudhaifah narrated that the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said: «Anybody that dies while fasting on that day will enter Paradise» (Al-Bazzar).
As fasting occupies a special place in the sight of Allâh, the Almighty, He has singled out its observers with a gate among the gates of Paradise, as the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, «In Paradise, there is a gate which is called Ar-Rayyan through which only those who observe Saum (fasting) will enter on the Day of Resurrection. None else will enter through it. It will be called out, “Where are those who observe fasting?” So they will stand up and proceed towards it. When the last of them will have entered, the gate will be closed and then no one will enter through that gate » (Agreed upon).
Al-Jalil, the Most Exalted, has singled out fasting from other acts of worship to divide its reward with His own hands, after He has attributed it to Himself, the Almighty. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, «Allâh, the Most Glorified and Exalted, said: Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it. » (Agreed upon).
It appears from the following hadith Qudsi how Allâh, the Almighty, appraises the fasting of those observing fast. Allâh, the Most Glorified says, « He abstains from his food, drink and lust for my sake! Fasting is for Me, and I shall reward for it » (Al-Bukhari).
In addition, fasting is a school of patience, the source of endurance, and the birthplace of pardon and forgiveness. In the former hadith, the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) says, « Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting ” (Agreed upon).
Again, Allâh the Most Glorified and Exalted, will indeed accept the intercession of fasting for a person on the Doomsday. The Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) says, «Fasting and Qur’an will intercede for the slave of Allâh. Fasting will say: O my Lord, I prevented him from food and lusts during the day, so let me intercede for him, and the Qur’an will say: I prevented him from sleep at night, so they will intercede» (Al-Hakim), and that is because of the status of fasting in the sight of his Lord.
O believers! This is nothing but a little of much, and a tip of an iceberg, otherwise the status of fasting and virtues are hardly limited, but those blessings of fasting are conditional on the achievement of the essence of fasting and the realization of its reality; for « There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray at night and get nothing from their night prayer but a sleepless night » (Ibn Majah).
Hence, the condition for obtaining the reward of fasting and getting the best of it is the preservation of the limbs, especially the tongue, from committing sins. Abu Hurairah, may Allâh be pleased with him, said: the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, « Whoever that does not leave false speech, and acting according to it, then Allâh is not in any need of him leaving his food and his drink » (Al-Bukhari).
He (Abu Hurairah) also narrated that the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, « Fasting is not just abstaining from eating and drinking but abstaining from idle and obscene speech, and if anyone abuses you or acts ignorantly towards you should say, ‘I am fasting » (Al-Hakim).
Now listen to the advice of the great companion Jabir bin Abdullah saying: «When you fast, let your sight, your eyes, and your tongue abstain from lying, forbidden acts, and abstain from harming the servant. But you should observe decorum and tranquility during your fast, and do not make your fasting day and the day you are not fasting the same» (Al-Bayhaqi related it in Shu’ab Al-Eiman).
All praise is due and belongs to Allâh alone, and may the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon the last Prophet.
Slaves of Allâh! Defeated and disappointed is he that does not fast during Ramadan without an excuse. For him is a special punishment on the Day of Resurrection. Abu Umamah, may Allâh be pleased with him, said, I heard the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), say, « Whilst I was sleeping, two men came to me because they took hold of my upper arm, brought me to a bumpy mountain and said to me: climb, I said: I am not capable of climbing. They said: we are going to facilitate it for you. I climbed until I arrived at the mountaintop and I heard strong voices. I said: what are these voices? They replied: this is the howling of the people of hellfire. Then they took me further until I saw people hung with their shanks, and their mouths torn and pouring with blood. I said: who are these? They said: These are people, who break their fast before fulfilling their fast “(Al-Hakim).
This is his reward in the hereafter, but for the expiation he should do in this world, the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), has explained it in the hadith narrated by Abu Huraira, when he said: While we were sitting with the Prophet peace be upon him, a man came to the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) and said, “l am ruined O Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him)! ” The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) asked him, “What has ruined you?” The man replied, ‘I had intercourse with my wife during the day in Ramadan while fasting.’ The Prophet said to him, “Are you able to free a slave?” The man said, ‘No.’ The Prophet said, “Can you fast for two consecutive months?” He said, ‘No.’ The Prophet then asked him, “Can you provide food for sixty poor people?” He said, ‘No.’ Then the man sat down. A basket of dates was brought to the Prophet and he said to the man, “Give this as Sadaqah (voluntary charity)” The man said, ‘To someone who is poorer than us!’ There is no one in this city (Al-Madinah) who is in need of these dates more than us!’ The Prophet laughed until his molar teeth could be seen and said to the man, “Go and feed your family with these dates” (Agreed upon).
Those who fasted and observed their fasting in the best manner should have glad tidings of two joys; joy in this world, and the other in the hereafter. In the hadith Qudsi: «Allâh, the Most Glorified says, fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it. He abstains from his lust, food, and drink for my sake! Fasting is a shield, and there are two pleasures for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord. And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allâh’s Sight than the smell of musk» (Agreed upon).
O Allâh, make us among those who will gain salvation on the day of meeting with You, and let fasting and the Qur’an intercede for us …
Invoke prayers and blessings of Allâh upon the one Allâh, the Most Exalted and Glorified, has commanded you to do so when He said,
( إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا )
Allâh sends His Salâh (Graces, Honours, Blessings, Mercy, etc.) on the Prophet (Muhammad) and also His angels too (ask Allâh to bless and forgive him). O you who believe! Send your Salâh on (ask Allâh to bless) him (Muhammad), and (you should) greet him with the Islamic way of greeting [Al-Ahzab: 56].