Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Superiority of Fasting-by Hazrat Thanwi R.A.

Fasting- A pillar of Islam

Fasting, like Salaat and Zakaat, is fundamental institution of Islam. The Fardh
Fasting is a practice of vital importance. Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan
“O people of Imaan! Fasting has been decreed compulsory for you.”
The importance of fasting is abundantly established by numerous narrations of
the Qur’aan and Hadith. It is clear from the narrations of the Qur’aan and Hadith
that for attaining salvation, Salaat, Zakaat and Hajj and not sufficient.
It is essential to fast the Fardh fasts of Ramadhaan.

The superiority of fasting over other acts of worship:

Fasting is distinguished from other acts of ibaadat by its inconspicuous nature.
Whereas other acts of ibaadat, e.g. Salaat, Zakaat, Hajj, are conspicuous in
varying degrees. Fasting is totally concealed. Only Allah Ta’ala is aware if one
is fasting or not. Only those who truly have the love or fear of Allah Ta’ala in
their hearts will fast.
Experience proves that weakness in love and fear for Allah could be remedied by 
engaging in such acts which produce muhabbah (love) and azmah (respect, honour 
and awe). Fasting is greatly efficacious in this regard. Thus weakness in one’s 
Imaan and love for Allah is strengthened by fasting. One in whose heart the love 
and fear of Allah Ta’ala become embedded, will be strong and steadfast on the 
Deen. The natural effect of fasting is to produce strength in one’s Deen. This
effect is referred to in the following two hadith:
1. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Allha Ta’ala said:
“Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu
alayhi wasallam) said that Allah Ta’ala said:
“All good deeds are for the one who renders them, but fasting. Fasting is
exclusively for Me (Allah).”    
2. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that Allah Ta’ala said: “The one
who fasts, abstains from eating, drinking and sexual relations for My Sake.”
Another narration states that Allah Ta’ala said that the fasting person leaves
off his desires and pleasures for His Sake. (Ibn Khuzaimah).
Fasting being exclusively for the sake of Allah Ta’ala reflects the high degree 
of sincerity underlying the act of ibaadat. The high degree of sincerity coupled 
with abstention form evil and futility produce glitter and strength in the Imaan 
of the fasting person. Great emphasis is therefore laid on fasting. This is very
clear from the fact that Allah Ta’ala described the act of man’s fasting as
being only for Him (Allah Ta’ala).

The Emphasis on Fasting in Islam:

1. Hadhrat Abu Ummaamah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that he asked Rasulullah
(sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to impose on him some deed of great significance.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said. Adopt fasting, for there is no act
greater than it. Hadhrat Abu Ummaamah repeated his request second time
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) again advised him to adopt fasting.
Hadhrat Abu Ummaamah put forward his request again, a third time,
and Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Adopt fasting, for there is no deed equal to it.”
                                                 (Nisaai, Ibn Khuzaimah)
The superiority of fasting is in relation to certain special characteristics of 
fasting such as degree of sincerity, efficacy in strengthening weak Imaan, 
inculcating love and fear of Allah and its acting as a barrier against sin. 
These special benefits of fasting are attainable only if one fasts consciously 
and observes the respects and rights of fasting.

2. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
Fasting is a shield and a powerful fortress.”
                                                        (Ahmad, Baihaqi)
Like fasting is a shield of protection against internal (spiritual) diseases, 
viz., sins. so too, is it a protection against external sicknesses, i.e. 
physical illness. In the majority of cases, physical sickness is the result of
excessive eating. This cause is arrested in fasting.

3. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu
alayhi wasallam) said:
“Every person has a zakaat (to pay) and the zakaat of the body is fasting.”
                                                             (Ibn Majah)
Like wealth is purified by means of paying Zakaat, the body is purified by means 
of fasting. Zakaat is the elimination of impurities from wealth while Fasting is 
the elimination of impurities from the body. And, the role of fasting as
indicated already, operates in both the physical and spiritual spheres of man’s

4. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Keep fasting; you will remain healthy.”
Fasting produces both physical and spiritual health. Fasting produces spiritual
peace and exhiliration.

5. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) in a lengthy hadith, narrates that
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“The fasting person experiences two (occasions of) delights: At the time of
iftaar and at the time when he will meet his Rabb.”  (Bukhari)
During the month of Ramadhan an additional ibaadat, viz., Taraaweeh Salaat, has
also been decreed. The performance of Taraweeh is Sunnatul Muakkadah which is an
act, the performance of hich is obligatory although it may be omitted for a
valid Shar’aee reason. One who is neglectful of Sunnatul Muakkadah is guilty of
sin and is termed in the Shariah a ‘faasiq’. Taraweeh reduces sleep to some
extent. Sleep is an act highly pleasing and loved by the nafs. Hence, by means
of Taraaweeh Salaat one strives against the nafs and in so doing the nafs is
disciplined. This ibaadat of Taraweeh is an act which is greatly efficient in
the spiritual training of the nafs. During the month of Ramadhan, Allah Ta’ala
hs united two great and highly efficacious spiritual exercises in the form of
fasting and Taraaweeh Salaat.

6. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Allah Ta’ala has ordained fasting in Ramadhan compulsory, and I have decreed
(by the command of Allah) wakefulness at night (i.e. Taraaweeh, etc.) Sunnat.
“Whoever in the state of Imaan and the belief of thawaab fasts in Ramadhan and
stays awake at night (i.e. forTaraweeh), emerges from sin, purified as the day
when his mother gave birth to him.”  (Nisaai)

7. Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Umar (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah
(sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said.
“Fasting and the Qur’aan will intercede on behalf of one on the Day of Qiyaamah.
The Fast will proclaim: ‘O Allah! I prevented him form eating and carnal desire.
Therefore, for my sake accept my intercession on his behalf.’ The Qur’aan will
proclaim: ‘I prevented him from sleep. Therefore, intercession of both will be
accepted.”  (Ahmad, Tibrani, Hakim)

8. In a lengthy aayat Allah Ta’ala says:
“For the fasting man and for fasting woman … Allah has prepared a great reward
and forgiveness.” (Surah Ahzaab)

9. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (adiallahu anhu(, in a lengthy hadith, narrates that
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“I swear by that Being in Whose possession in the life of Muhammad! The odour of
the mouth of a fasting person in sweeter to Allah Ta’ala than the fragrance of
musk.”  (Bukhari)

10. Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhu) narrates, in a lengthy hadith, that
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“Fasting is exclusively for Allah Ta’ala. The thawaab of it (being limitless) no
one knows besides Allah Ta’ala.”  (Tibrani, Baihaqi)

11. Hadhrat Abu Saeed Khurdi (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah
(sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“The Doors of the Heavens are opened up on the first night of Ramadhan. Not a
single Door (among the Doors of Heavens) is then closed until the last night of
Ramadhan. For every Salaat performed (this refers to Taraaweeh Salaat) during
the nights of Ramadhan, Allah Ta’ala records one and a half thousand good deeds
for every Sajdah (of that Salaat). And, for the fasting person, Allah Ta’ala
creates in Jannat a mansion of red Ya’koot (a precious stone in Jannat). This
mansion will have seven thousand entrances. (So huge will be these entrances
that in each entrance will be located) a palace of gold adorned with red Ya’koot.
 When the Muslim fasts the first day of Ramadhan, Allah Ta’ala forgives
all his sins committed from the first of the previous Ramadhan. Daily (i.e.
during Ramadhan) from the time of Fajr Salat until sunset, seventy thousands
Malaaikah supplicate for his forgiveness. In return for every Sajdah which he
(the fasting person) makes of any Salaat, whether during the day or night, he
will obtain (such a wonderful) tree 9so huge) that a horseman will take five
hundred years to pass under its shade.”  (Baihaqi) 

12. Hadhrat Salmaan (radiallahu anhu) narrates that during the last Juma’ of the
month of Sha’baan Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) recited a Khutbah in
which he said:
“O People! An auspicious month has dawned over you. In that month is a night
which is susperior to a thousand months (i.e. ibaadat in this night is superior
to the ibaadat rendered in a thousand months. Allah Ta’ala has made compulsory
fasting in this month and has decreed fasting in this month and has decreed
wakefulness at night (i.e. Tarawaeeh Salaat) Sunnat. A Nafl (non-obligatory or
optional) act rendered in this month for attaining proximity to Allah, is equal
to a Fardh act rendered in other months. A Fardh act rendered in this month is
equal to seventy Fardh acts of other months. Whoever gives to a fasting person
something for iftaar, his sins will be forgiven and he will be saved from
Jahannum: he obtains as much thawaab as the fasting person (to whom he had given
something for iftaar) while the thawaab of the person is not reduced in any
The people asked: ‘O Rasulullah! All of us do not have the means to give
something for the iftaar to another. (They were at the time under the impression
that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) referred to a full meal.)
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“This thawaab is even for the man who gives another a date, a drink of water or
milk (for iftaar)” (Ibn Khuzaimah)

Another special ibaadat during the month of Ramadhan is I’tikaaf during the last
ten days. I’tikaaf during Ramadhan is an ibaadat which belongs to the class of
Sunnat known as Sunnatul Kifaayah. This ibaadat is a collective Sunnat upon all.
However, if a few, even one perons, renders the I’tikaaf, the Sunnat obligation
will be discharged on behalf of the whole community. The Ibaadat of I’tikaaf
consists of secluding oneself inside the Musjid for the last ten days of
Ramadhan. The time has to be passed in ibaadat. Some ahadith regarding the
significance of I’tikaaf are enumerated hereunder.
1. Hadhrat Ali Ibn Hussain narrates from his father that Rasulullah (sallallahu
alayhi wasallam) said:
“He who observes the ten days I’tikaaf during Ramadhan will obtain the thawaab
of two Hajj and two Umrah.”
2. Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu
alayhi wasallam) said in regard to those who observe I’tikaaf:
“They are prevented from all sins and they obtain thawaab as if they are
rendering all good deeds.” (Mishkaat)
By the practice of I’tikaaf, one gains the opportunity of continuous residence
in the Musjid. The significance of remaining in the Musjid for Ibaadat has been
stressed much in the shariah.
 Women who intend to observe I’tikaaf should do so at home. They should 
seclude themselves in a particular place at home.

The day of Eid:
The special acts of Ibaadat of the month of Ramadhan terminate with the coming
of Eid. The hadith explains great significance of the Day of Eid as well. In a
lengthy hadith, Hadhrat Anas (radiallahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah
(sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:
“When Eid arrives, Allah Ta’ala addresses the Malaaikah: ‘They (Muslims) have
fulfilled My Fardh. They have emerged to make dua. I take oath by My Splendour,
by My Grandeur, by My Grace and by My Loftiness that I will most certainly
accept their petition.’ Allah Ta’ala then proclaims to the Believers”
‘Return! I have forgiven you and I have exchanged your evil deeds with virtues.
They thus return from the Musalla (whenever the Eid Salaat was performed) forgiven.”

-Taken from Hayath ul Muslimeen By Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi R.A.

No comments:

Post a Comment