«Thirty Lessons for Those Who Fast by A a’id A bdullah al Q arni Translated by Dr Daud A. Abdullah Contents In tro d u c tio n Lesson 1 Guidance of ...»
In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful
Thirty Lessons for Those
A a’id A bdullah al Q arni
Dr Daud A. Abdullah
In tro d u c tio n
Guidance of the Prophet in fa s tin g
W hy was fasting o rd a in e d ?
L esson 3
The M ajestic Q uran and the m onth of R a m a d a n....... 20
The chants of those w ho fa s t
l.csso n 3
R am adan is a school for the learning of generosity and sacrifice
Lesson 6 R am adan: the m onth of standing up at n ig h t...............32 Lesson 7 The Islamic home in R a m a d a n
Lesson 8 H ow does the heart fa st?
L esson 9 H ow does the tongue fa s t?
L esso n I0 50 H ow does the eye fast?
L esson 11 H ow does the ear fa s t?
I esson 1 2 H o w does the stom ach fa st?
[,esso n 13 M istakes m ade by those w ho f a s t
[.esson I 4 O ur m em ories in R a m a d a n
L esson 15 R am adan: the way for rep en tan ce
L esson 16 Faith increases in R a m a d a n
L esson 17 The love of Allah becomes greater in R a m a d a n........... 84 L esson 18 H o w do we train o u r children during R am adan and at other times?
L esson 19 The occurrence of waste during R a m a d a n
L esson 20 R am adan: the m onth of righteousness and co n ta ct..... 98 L esson 2 1 R am adan: the m onth of mercy to M uslim s................. 102 Lesson 22 H ow can we revive the traditions in Ram adan? 107 Lesson 23 Letter to M uslim w om an on the occasion of R am adan
Lesson 24 Concerns of the Islamic scholar during m onth of R a m a d a n
Lesson 25 R am adan calls for the preservation of tim e................. 121 Lesson 26 Images of love and b rotherhood are m anifested in R a m a d a n
Lesson 27 R am adan is a blessed m onth for the Islamic c a l l....... 129 Lesson 28 The prayer of the fasting person is never refused...... 134 Lesson 29 Gifts to those w ho f a s t
Lesson 30 Tom orrow is Eid - the festival of the breaking of the f a s t
C o n clu sion
IntroductionAll praise is due to Allah, the M ost Holy, the Source of Peace. He is the owner of might, glory and honour. He guided us to Islam and exalted us w ith prayers and fasting.
May He bestow His peace and blessings upon His noble prophet, M uham m ad, the Imam of all the Messengers, and the best of those who ever pray and fast. We implore similar favour upon his relatives, companions and those who came, after them.
I have gathered in this book, Thirty Lessons for Those who Fast the m ost pertinent Q uranic verses, authentic hadiths, delightful poetry and touching advice. It is, there fore, a book for the righteous when they meet for pleasant conversations. It is also a gift for wayfarers when they break their journeys for rest, a treasure for those who share mutual love and respect, when they assemble for picnics.
It is, in addition, an asset for counsellors in their lectures.
Indeed, the teacher will benefit from it, the orator will turn to it and the imam of the mosque will find it rew arding to
This book is intended to serve three purposes:
First, to document its advice and words which soften the heart with verses from the Glorious Quran and the authentic haditbs. It does not contain a single weak haditb, bogus story or absurd tradition.
Second, through these lessons I also intended to sow the ers. My aim was not to highlight legal rulings or issues, as we are quite satisfied w ith the efforts of our eminent scholars who have enriched the Islamic libraries with their writings. Truly, the field of juridical rulings is packed with scholastic contributions. We remain, however, in dire need of works relating to spirituality, basic morals and sublime calls. I trust that this effort will fulfil this demand.
Third, I have taken special care to clothe these lessons in the garments of attractive literature and present them with exquisite expression and eloquence. Toward this end, we embraced the methodology of the Noble Q uran and the pure prophetic traditions with their beautiful language so that the reader will find himself between a scrub and rivulet, garden and oasis, water and shade and drizzle and dew.
It was confirmed that when the Prophet M uhammad ^ witnessed the new moon at the beginning of Ramadan he would say: ‘My Lord and your Lord is Allah, O crescent of goodness and guidance. O my Lord! Let it dawn upon us with peace, submission, security and faith.’ Surely Ramadan is the noblest m onth and its days are the sweetest days.
The righteous rebuke Ram adan because of the shortness of its visit and the length of its absence. For it comes after much longing and makes amends after separation. It is often
8 Welcome to the month of fasting, O beloved who visits us every year.
We have met you with overflowing love, All love except for the Holy Master is prohibited.
Accept O my Lord our fast And increase us from your great favour.
Do not punish us because we were already punished by sleepless anxiety in darkness.
Strangely enough, Allah mends hearts with the coming of this guest. He forgives sins with his visit, and covers up faults with its arrival.
All praise is due to Allah. May He bestow His peace and blessings upon His Prophet, his relatives, companions and those who are loyal to him.
Ibn al Qayim mentioned that: ‘Among the guidance of the Prophet # in the m onth of Ram adan was his engagement in many forms of worship. The angel Gabriel used to teach him the Q uran in this m onth. Whenever Gabriel met him he was more generous than a guided breeze. He was, ordi narily, the most charitable person, and yet when Ram adan arrived he became even more generous. He gave much charity and engaged in kind acts, recitation of the Q uran, prayers, remembrance and retreat during this m onth.’ He used to apportion to Ramadan a degree of worship that was not set aside to any other month. Some times he actually used to continue into the night. The Prophet, however, forbade his companions from doing so. When they pointed out to him that he continued he responded saying: ‘My body is not like yours, I dwell with my Lord, He feeds me and gives me drink’ (Bukhari and Muslim). Accordingly, Allah Almighty used to nourish His Prophet # during those periods of extended fasts with subtle knowledge, and abounding wisdom and light of the message. Of course, it was not food and drink in the literal sense, for if this were so the Prophet would not be consid ered fasting.
When the Prophet ^ became satisfied from the worship of his creator, and his heart opened up to his aim, and his mind rested w ith the rem em brance of his M aster, and his c o n d itio n im proved by his closeness to H is L ord, he fo rg o t all food and drink. As it was said: spiritual power is in the essence of souls, it is not dependent on food or drink. N othing can harm you, if you have attained the knowledge of your Lord.
The Prophet M uham m ad was the best of those who remembered and worshipped Allah. As for the month of Ram adan, it was made to be a season of worship and a time for remembrance and recitation. His nights were spent in supplication and hum iliation unto his Lord, seeking His help, support, victory and guidance. He read long chap ters of the Q uran and stayed for long periods bowing (in ruku’) and prostrating himself before Him. Such was the desire that was never satisfied w ith w orship, making his standing in the night a source of sustenance and supply as well as power and energy. Allah Almighty says: ‘O Thou enwrapped one! Keep awake [in prayer] at night, all but a small p a rt’ (73:1).
12 During the days of the fasting month, the Prophet M spent his time in propagating the Islamic call, engaging in jihad, providing advice and training, and reminding his companions. Among his practices was that the Prophet M never commenced the fast of Ramadan except with a vision of w hat was to be achieved. He used to encourage his companions to partake of
a meal before daybreak. Indeed, it was confirmed that he said:
‘Have the meal before daybreak, because there is blessing in it.’ The period before daybreak is considered blessed because it is in the last third of the night, the time of divine descent and forgiveness. Allah says: ‘And in the hours of early dawn, they were found praying for forgiveness’ (51:18).
He also says: ‘Those who show patience, firmness and selfcontrol; who are true (in word and deed); who w orship devoutly; who spend in the way of Allah; and who pray for forgiveness in the early hours of the m orning’ (3:17).
Still besides, the meal before daybreak helps the individual in his fast and worship. It is, therefore, a paym ent for the bounty of w orship that Allah has bestowed upon us.
It was also established that the Prophet ^ used to hasten to have a meal after the setting of the sun. He, likewise, ordered his companions to do the same. Usually he had dates or water because something sweet was most agreeable for an empty stomach. Several sources have narrated that the Prophet ^ said: ‘Verily the fasting person has a prayer that will never be rejected.’ Thus, he used to pray for the good of this world and the hereafter. He broke his fast before praying Salaat ul Maghreb (the evening prayer). In one authentic hadith he said: ‘If the night enters from here and slips away 13 from there, then the faster should end his fast.’ The Prophet M uhammad travelled during Ramadan, fasting and then breaking his fast. In this regard, he gave the companions the choice of fasting or not while travelling.
During battle, however, he ordered them to break their fasts, to enable them to fight. Here it would be recalled that the Great Battle of Badr was fought during the month of Ram adan. Then, Allah gave the Muslims a victory that has known no parallel since. Yet, the Prophet M broke his fast in two of his battles according to narrations by Umar ibn al K hattab and collected by A1 Tirmidhi and Ahmad.
The Prophet did not, however, specify the distance after which the fast should be broken. There are in fact no au thentic accounts to prove this.
There w ere, observedly, tim es w hen the m orning prayer, al Fajr, came and the Prophet was still in a state of impurity following sexual intercourse. He would, in those circumstances, perform the ritual bath and thereafter fast.
In a related matter, he used to kiss some of his wives while he was fasting in Ram adan. He compared the kiss of the fasting person to the washing of the mouth.
On another level, the Prophet Muhammad # ruled that the person who broke his fast through a genuine act of forget fulness was not required to make up that day’s fast. He pointed out that it was Allah Almighty who had fed and given drink to that person. We have learnt from the prophetic traditions also that the things which invalidate one’s fast are: eating, drinking, cupping, and vomiting. The Noble Quran explains that sexual intercourse nullifies fasting in the same way that eating and drinking does.
Among his practices also was that of retreat and se clusion during the last ten days of Ram adan. The Prophet # did this in order to attune his heart ever more with Allah and to free his mind from the concerns of the world. The gaze of his heart thus became entirely focused in the heavens.
14 During this time, he limited his contacts with people and intensified his supplication and prayers to Allah, the Lord of all Majesty and Glory. His heart, therefore, indulged purely in the contem plation of Allah’s attributes and quali ties. It reflected upon His clear signs in the universe and of Allah’s creation in the heavens and the earth. With all this in mind, it would be very difficult to determine how much knowledge Prophet # acquired, or how much light was revealed to him, or how many realities were exposed to him. He was, w ithout doubt, the most knowledgeable person about Allah, the most fearful of Him, and the one who trusted and depended upon Him the most. Indeed, he was the most pious of all men and sacrificed himself the most for the sake of Allah! May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him as long as musk continues to give its sweet fragrance and as long as pigeons echo their mournful cries and nightingales sing out their melodies.
Lesson Why was fasting ordained?
To Allah Almighty there are certain secrets in His laws, insights in His rulings and objectives in His creation. In these secrets, insights and objectives are things which minds perceive and others that confound human understanding.
W ith regard to fasting, Allah declared: ‘O you who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of G od’ (2:183).
1 Accordingly, fasting is the way to piety and the fear of God. The fasting person is thus among the closest people to Allah, be He exalted. The stomach of the faster becomes hungry while his heart is purified. When he breaks his fast and quenches his thirst, his eyes overflow with tears. The Prophet said: ‘O youth, whoever is able from among you to pay the dowry, then he should m arry for it is the 16 best way of restraining the eyes and protectin g o n e ’s private parts. W hoever is unable to do so, he should fast because it will be for him a shield.’ Fasting narrows the food and blood arteries. They are known to be canals of the devils, hence fasting reduces their insinuations. It further weakens carnal desires, thoughts and temptations of disobedience. It lightens the spirit. Fasting reminds the individual of his brothers who are also fasting, some of whom are poor and needy. He empathizes with them and extends the hand of help to them.
Fasting is a school for the training of the soul, purifi cation of the heart, lowering of the gaze and protection of the limbs. It is a secret between the servant and his Lord.