Source: Asrar al-Muhibbiin fii Ramamdan, by Shaikh Muhammad Husain ya’qub

In Islam, Fasting is a complete change of life; it is not just abstinence from food and drink for a certain period of time.

The fasting person should perceive many acts of worship while he is fasting, which they should have an impact on his heart. We want to stress on the actions of the heart while fasting. [Because as we said: “Allah Looks at our hearts and deeds.”]

First matter one should perceive is Submission and acceptance. It should be borne in mind that fasting is not only refraining from food, drink and sexual intercourse; but it is an act of worship (عباده) which starts from a time which Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) ordered with and continues till the permission from Allah comes. So you are in continuous state of worship the whole day, from dawn to sunset. Exactly like the Salat which starts with Takbeerat ul-Ihram till the Tasleem.

Do you join between obedience and disobedience in the same time? Do you commit sin while you are performing an act of worship? Do you backbite while you are praying? The answer to all these questions is no.

Fasting is similar; the believer disdains to commit sins during his fasting.

Note:

Some people ask, shall we make the intention of fasting before morning incase they are observing the obligatory (Fardh) ones? The answer is, ‘Yes.’

Because the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “No fasting is accepted from the one who does not commit his intention to fast before dawn.” [Sahih Abu Dawoud]

In another narration, the Prophet  (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “No fasting is accepted from the one who does not make the intention to fast at night.” [Sahih an-Nisaa’i]

The place of the Niyyah is the heart. It is not affirmed that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) uttered the Niyyah nor his companions (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum).

Fasting is a secret between the slave and his Lord. Therefore, the slave needs continuous observation and to be mindful of Allah Right (not to violate it by committing sins) until he reaches to a state of devotion in which he feels Allah’s being will him so he will feel ashamed of committing wrong in His Presence.

All these meanings, you should remind yourself with while you are fasting.

The second matter:

Your heart should be attentive and heedful (awake) all the time during fasting. When Ramadan starts, we should inwardly be afraid and worry to lose the reward of fasting during the month of Ramadan without being saved from Hell-Fire and to be written from one of the people of Paradise.

Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Verily, there are (certain) people, who are freed (saved) from Hell Fire by Allah, the Blessed, the Most High, and that is in every day and night of the month of Ramadan. And there is a granted invocation for every Muslim in every day and night of Ramadan.” [Al-Bazzar]

It is a great matter to reach the month of Ramadan, but our greatest concern should be attaining the salvation from Hell-Fire and for our be sure that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) will open for you the gates of good if you continue standing at His gate being patient. Because Allah, Our Lord is Most Generous, Shakour (Appreciates even the little good that you do) if we sees you really eager and keen to strive hard against the evil people, evil self, the Shaytan, then He will support you, help you and guide you.

Every day (of Ramadan) ask yourself: “Am I freed of Hell or not? Did you do a good act that accordingly I deserve to be saved from Hell?”

The third Matter:

Bear in mind that Allah Alone Who can help you to worship Him. Therefore, don’t let your heart to be attached to the means.

Watch Allah’s Favors and Grace upon you:

He Who guided you to obey Him, gave you the honor to stand before Him in the Salat, gave you the honor of remembering Him made easy for you to recite His Mighty words on your tongue, in spite of all your sins, He is bestowing upon you the well-being, the strength and allowed you (though His is the Most great), He has chosen you, though you don’t deserve this honor and bestowed upon you and made you busy with His worship and honored you with Him.

After Looking at Allah’s Blessings and favors you look into your sins, and feel regret for wasting your time without obeying Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) so you long to make up for what you have missed.

The fourth matter:التوحيد

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-An’aam (6:14):

قُلْ أَغَيْرَ اللّهِ أَتَّخِذُ وَلِيّاً فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَهُوَ يُطْعِمُ وَلاَ يُطْعَمُ قُلْ إِنِّيَ أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ وَلاَ تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكَينَ

Say O Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam): “Shall I take as a “Wali” (Lord, protector, object of worship) any other than Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth? And it is He Who feeds but is not fed.” Say: “Verily, I am commanded to be the first of those who submit themselves to Allah (as Muslim). And be not you of the Mushrikun [Polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah].”

And He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat al-Ma’idah (5:75):

مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ كَانَا يَأْكُلاَنِ الطَّعَامَ

“The Messiah (Jesus), son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother (many) was a Siddiqah [i.e. she believed in the words of Allah and His Books]. They both used to eat food (as any other human being, while Allah does not eat).”

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) negated the divinity of Jesus (‘Alayhissalaam) and his mother by saying that they used to eat food. So the first percept that the fasting person should witness is the Tawheed.

The heart should witness or acknowledge Allah’s (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) Greatness and His Exaltedness over His Creation.

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ البَصِيرُ

There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (Ash-Shura 42:11)

He is the Rich, who is in no need of anyone or anything. The slave bear witness against himself on his need, weakness, poverty, humiliation, etc..

Such that his abstinence from food and drink for few hours weakens his body, slackens his mind, prevents his mind from thinking except in food and drink which he needs.

The fasting person witnesses the Greatness of His Lord, His Richness and Ability.

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat Fatir (35:3):

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ هَلْ مِنْ خَالِقٍ غَيْرُ اللَّهِ يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَأَنَّى تُؤْفَكُونَ

“O mankind! Remember the grace of Allah upon you! Is there any creator other than Allah who provides for you from the sky (rain) and the earth? La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). How them are you turning away (from Him)?” (35:3)

When the heart feels of this greatness (of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) this will fill it with richness and strength when crossing the way to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala).

This feeling makes the slave not to turn to any of the creatures in his affair nor relying on them or joining them in relation. Besides purifying the heart from uncountable defects.

During Ramadan, one can see and witness the state of the people. For 30 days one sees the humiliation and the dejection of the people for because they are deprived of food and drink. [While the exalted Richness appears on the one who witnessed the Tawheed and made him happy of what he feels of.]

Don’t you see the Prophet  (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) preferred to continue fasting over breaking it, because witnessing the Tawheed was satisfying him. He (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) used to say: “During the night my Rabb gives me food and drink.” [Sahih Abu Dawoud and authenticated by al-Albani no. 2080]

The fifth matter: Patience and Gratitude:

The religion is two halves. One half is Shukr (gratitude) and one half of it is Sabr (patience).

Man usually is living with consecutive blessings which require from him Shukr or facing Fitnah (a trial, affliction, etc.) which needs Sabr.

Patience is of different kinds:

1-    Patience when performing an ate of obedience.

2-    Patience when refraining from committing sins.

3-    Patience at time of calamities and afflictions.

Shukr is also of different kinds:

1-    Shukr (gratitude) for fixed or established blessings.

2-    Shukr (gratitude) for new blessings.

3-    Shukr (gratitude) when driving away an evil etc..

The greatness of Ramadan is due to that every day of this month, the slave is practicing all these acts of worship (of the heart):

For example; during the day man needs patience to fast in the same time he needs patience to stay away from committing sins. Such that he sees food and drink in front of him, but he can not take them.

Accordingly, he remembers the pain of the deprived ones among the poor, the needy and the sick who see all what their selves desire but cannot have it either because of their poverty or because of their sickness.

So this will make him to thank Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) for His blessings. So the fasting person will remain the whole day either patient or grateful. When he breaks his fast at sunset and fulfills his need from food and drink and desire; this requires from him even deeper (greater) gratefulness. At night, he goes back to patience in establishing the night with prayer, also patience preventing him from all kinds of sins (the outward and inward sins) such as watching films, sense on TV, etc…

The believing slave lives the days and nights of Ramadan in patience and gratitude.

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat Ibrahim (14:7):

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

“And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks, I will give you more (of My blessings), but if you are thankless, verily! My punishment is indeed severe.”

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) also said in Surat an-Nahl (16:126-127):

وَلَئِن صَبَرْتُمْ لَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لِّلصَّابِرينَ{126} وَاصْبِرْ وَمَا صَبْرُكَ إِلاَّ بِاللّهِ

“But if you endure patiently, verily, it is better for the patient. And endure you patiently; your patience is not but from Allah.”

Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this is not the case with anyone except a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patently and that is better for him.” [Muslim]

The sixth matter that the slave should witness:

The percept of holding and expanding or stretching, those who do not understand the purpose of their creation and do not know what Allah wants from them, always complain boring.

While the faithful slave who knows or lives as Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) wants from him, always his life is renewed. He is practicing the acts of worship in every moment, every hour he makes a different intention. Specially, during Ramadan.

The fasting person lives between refrain (abstinence) during the day (so he witnesses the percept of holding) then when he breaks his fast and all the gates of good Allah opens for him, so he witnesses the expanding or stretching. So he is between sleeping and awaking, fasting and breaking the fast, relaxing and energ. The Muslim lives Ramadan without being bored.

The seventh matter: the good Manner:

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat Al-A’raaf (7:199-200):

خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ{199} وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللّهِ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e. don’t punish them). And if an evil whisper comes to you from Satan then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower.”

Allah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Verily, I was sent to refine the Manners.” [Ahmed and authenticated by al-Albani in Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 2349]

The month of Ramadan is related strongly with the high conduct and good manners.

Allah Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said : “Fasting is a shield (or a screen or shelter from the Hell-Fire), so the person observing fast should avoid sexual relation with His wife, should not disobey (Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala)) nor behave foolishly or clamor (raise his voice loudly), and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should say to him: ‘I am fasting.” [Ahmad and authenticated by al-Albani in Sahih at-Targhib wat-Tarhib no. 978]

Commentary: this Hadith laid emphasis on the characters of the fasting people:

1-    The fasting person is calm, relent, respectable; he observes his fasting such that he avoids sexual relation and does not even talk about it or what agitate (moves) it.

2-    He does not outrage the limits of good manners neither by utterance nor by action; however he is controlling himself to the extreme.

3-    He does not clamor, raise his voice loudly. Because fasting is a kind of calm and quiescence.

The fasting person hates noise and loves silence because it brings together his heart unto His Lord.

4-    He does not behave foolishly and ignorantly.

Bear in mind that every sin is considered foolishness and ignorance and every sinner is considered ignorant. He who treats people badly and in away that they hate, then he acted foolishly and impudently. Because he ignored their rights (which is to treat them kindly).

Therefore, it is required from the fasting person to remember that he is fasting all the time, by saying: “I am fasting.”

5-    If somebody harmed or abused him, then he should return the evil with good.

As Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat Fussilat (41:34-36):

وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ{34} وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ{35} وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily! He, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient, and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion (of the happiness in the Hereafter i.e. Paradise and in this world of a high moral character). And if an evil whisper from Satan tries to turn you away (from doing well, etc.) then seek refuge in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-knower.” (41:34-36)

Notice how Allah(Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) promised you that if you excuse those who treat you badly and be good to them; they would love you to an extent that they become close friends.

But many people turned away from this divine advice saying: “If you forgive, you will be ill-treated by people.” Therefore, they failed.

Allah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “There is nothing like the good manner which makes the balance heavy (on the Day of Judgment).” [Ahmad and authenticated by al-Albani in Sahih al-Jamie’ no. 5390]

He (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) also said: “The most perfect faith among the believers is the one who possesses the best character. And the good conduct reaches (with its owner) to the degree of fasting and praying.” [Ahmad and authenticated by al-Albani in al-Silsilah al-Sahiha no. 284]

Ramadan is a chance to refine your manner in order to reach the highest degree with your fasting.

Allah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “I guarantee abode within the boundary of Paradise for one who gives up arguing off, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Paradise for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee the sublime portion of Paradise for one whose conduet is excellent.” [Abu Dawoud]

Eighth Percept is to live an ascetic life and the contentment on the small portion.الزهد في الدنيا

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) enjoined the month of Ramadan in order to lead us to an ascetic life and also to know the value of the Duniya, the value of food and drink such that they can control them and not the other way (the enjoyment and food and drink are controlling the man).

The virtuous Zuhd is to bring the Duniya out of your heart, not give it a heed and keep it in your hand (such as to give it away easily)

Zuhd is not to forbid the Halal or the spending. But if the slave knows that this Duniya is a vanishing world, he will not care about it much, will not fight for it Ramadan is a chance to give away the Duniya.

The ninth percept is the preference الإيثار

Fasting helps a lot to get rid of greed because human self is created to be greedy as Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala)said in Surat an-Nisa’ (4:128):

وَأُحْضِرَتِ الأَنفُسُ الشُّحَّ

“And human inner-selves are swayed by greed.”

And is Surat al-Hashr (59:9) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said:

وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful.”

Also Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) said in Surat Al-Isra’ (17:100):

قُل لَّوْ أَنتُمْ تَمْلِكُونَ خَزَآئِنَ رَحْمَةِ رَبِّي إِذاً لَّأَمْسَكْتُمْ خَشْيَةَ الإِنفَاقِ وَكَانَ الإنسَانُ قَتُوراً

“Say, “If you possessed the treature of the Mercy of my Lord (wealth, money, provision, etc…), then you would surely hold back (from spending) for fear of (being exhausted), and man is ever miserly!”

Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) ordained fasting and for one month to treat and cure this sickness, to teach man to be generous and to spend preferring Allah’s reward.

To prefer Allah’s pleasure (love) over the pleasure (and love) others is the best and most Excellent preference.

The sign of this preference is:

1-    To do what Allah loves even if one-self hates it.

2-    To leave what Allah hates even if one-self loves it.

By these two conditions the status of إيثار preference will become correct. This requires a lot of struggling with oneself but Allah will make it easy for whomever He wills from among His faithful believers who has strong and firm belief, strong patience and to have a tender and soft nature which submit willingly to Allah’s commandment.

During the month of Ramadan, this percept of إيثار is shown very clearly. When one leaves the food and drink in spite of your love of them, seeking Allah’s pleasure, this is إيثار.

Remember this all the time when you are fasting.

The Tenth percept: the positive meanings of fasting.

1-    Bear in mind that fasting is not deprivation but it is a means of self-controlling and self-restraint-remember, yesterday, you were trying to keep away from abusing or harming others by your tongue, but today you are protecting it from even answering those who teases and meddles (tamper) with you (or pick a quarrel with you) you answer then with (I am fasting)

2-    Fasting teaches you patience.

3-    Fasting teaches you generosity and to be good to others Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibreal (Gabriel) (‘Alayhissalaam) met him. He (Jibrael) used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur’an. Allah Messenger.

Allah loves to see the effect of His blessings on his slave. One of His Names is Al-Mannan (the Bestower) He (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) loves praise.

Ramadan is the month of abundant blessings and great goodness which Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala) bestowed upon His slaves. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the slave to receive these blessings with gratitude taking Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) as an example who was the most generous of all the people in other than the month of Ramadan, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan.

During the month of Ramadan one can do the following:

1-    Feeding the poor and needy persons from the food that you are eating or even better.

2-    Giving charity from the best of what you own

3-    Provide a poor with more than he expects.

Show generosity more than any other time. Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu)give half of his money in charity and Abu Bakr (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) gave all his money in charity,

By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc., it means here Allah’s Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love, and whatever of good you spend, Allah Knows it well.” (3:92)

Ramadan is not a month for sleeping.

Whoever is seeking Paradise, his resolution should be very nigh, should have a strong-well to do the acts of worship which bad loud him to Paradise.

Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) was fasting and making Jihad, fasting and establishing the night/day with prayer, fasting and reciting Qur’an, fasting and invoking, fasting and praying, fasting and teaching, fasting and receiving Qur’an and he was teaching it to the Companions.

May my parents be sacrificed for you O the Messenger of Allah (Salla-Allaahu alaihi wa sallam)

الحمد لله رب العالمين

وصلى الله وسلم على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين


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