The Inner Secrets of Fasting

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The Inner Secrets of Fasting


Salaams, Happy Jummah. Welcome to the Muslimsworldwide newsletter.
For all of you who join me today, the article entitled The Inner
Secrets of Fasting was brought to you by the site: As all may know, the sacred month of Ramadan is
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May Allah be with you every step of the way...
M. Editor

The Inner Secrets of Fasting
Imam Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee
Mukhtasar Minhaaj ul-Qaasideen (pp. 38-41)
Hudaa, Ramadhaan 1419
Translated by Ismaa`eel Ibn al-Arkaan and edited by Abu Khaliyl.

Know, that in the fast (Sawm) is a special quality that is not found
in anything else. And that is its close connection to Allah, such
that He says: "The fast (Sawm) is for Me and I will reward it."
[Saheeh al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

This connection is enough to show the high status of fasting.
Similarly, the Ka`bah is highly dignified due to its close connection
to Him, as occurs in His statement:

"And sanctify My House." [Soorah al-Hajj:26]

Indeed, the fast is only virtuous due to two significant concepts:

The first: It is a secret and hidden action thus, no one from the
creation is able to see it. Therefore riyaa' (showing off) cannot
enter into it.

The second: It is a means of subjugating the enemies of Allah. This
is because the road that the enemies (of Allah) embark upon (in order
to misguide the Son of Aadam) is that of desires. And eating and
drinking strengthens the desires.

There are many reports that indicate the merits of fasting, and they
are all well known.

The recommended acts of fasting

The pre-dawn meal (suhoor) and delaying in taking it are preferable,
as well as hastening to break the fast and doing so with dates.

Generosity in giving is also recommended during Ramadaan, as well as
doing good deeds and increasing in charity. This is in accordance
with the way of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa

It is also recommended to study the Qur'aan and perform I`tikaaf
during Ramadaan, especially in the last ten days, as well as
increasing upon the exertion (towards doing good deeds) in it.

In the two Saheehs, `Aa'ishah said:

"When the (last) ten days (of Ramadaan) would come, the Prophet would
tighten his waist-wrapper (izaar), spend the night in worship, and
wake his family up (for prayer)." [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]

The scholars have mentioned two views concerning the meaning
of "tighten his waist-wrapper (izaar)":

The first: It means the turning away from women.

The second: It is an expression denoting his (sallallahu `alayhi wa
sallam) eagerness and diligence in doing good deeds.

They also say that the reason for his (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam)
exertion in the last ten days of Ramadaan was due to his (sallallahu
`alayhi wa sallam) seeking of the Night of Al-Qadr (Lailatul-Qadr).

An explanation of the inner secrets of fasting and its

There are three levels of fasting: The general fast, the specific
fast, and the more specific fast.

As for the general fast, then it is the refraining of the stomach and
the private parts from fulfilling their desires.

The specific fast is the refraining of ones gaze, tongue, hands,
feet, hearing and eyes, as well as the rest of his body parts from
committing sinful acts.

As for the more specific fast, then it is the heart's abstention from
its yearning after the worldly affairs and the thoughts which
distance one away from Allah, as well as its (the heart's) abstention
from all the things that Allah has placed on the same level.

From the characteristics of the specific fast is that one lowers his
gaze and safeguards his tongue from the repulsive speech that is
forbidden, disliked, or which has no benefit, as well as controlling
the rest of his body parts.

In a hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhaaree:

"Whosoever does not abandon false speech and the acting upon it,
Allah is not in need of him leaving off his food and drink." [Saheeh
al-Bukhaaree, Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah]

Another characteristic of the specific fast is that one does not
overfill himself with food during the night. Instead, he eats in due
measure, for indeed, the son of Aadam does not fill a vessel more
evil than his stomach.

If he were to eat his fill during the first part of the night, he
would not make good use of himself for the remainder of the night. In
the same way, if he eats to his fill for suhoor, he does not make
good use of himself until the afternoon. This is because excessive
eating breeds laziness and lethargy. Therefore, the objective of
fasting disappears due to one's excessiveness in eating, for what is
intended by the fast, is that one savors the taste of hunger and
becomes an abandoner of desires.

Recommended Fasts

As for the recommended fasts, then know that preference for fasting
is established in certain virtuous days. Some of these virtuous days
occur every year, such as fasting the first six days of the month of
Shawaal after Ramadaan, fasting the day of `Arafah, the day of
`Aashooraa, and the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram.

Some of them occur every month, such as the first part of the month,
the middle part of it, and the last part of it. So whoever fasts the
first part of the month, the middle part of it, and the last part of
it, then he has done well.

Some fasts occur every week, and they are every Monday and Thursday.

The most virtuous of the recommended fasts is the fast of Dawood
(`alayhis salaam). He would fast one day and break his fast the next
day. This achieves the following three objectives:

The soul is given its share on the day the fast is broken. And on the
day of fasting, it completes its worship in full.

The day of eating is the day of giving thanks and the day of fasting
is the day of having patience. And Faith (Eemaan) is divided into two
halves - that of thankfulness and that of patience. [Note: the
hadeeth with a similar stament is unauthentic, see adh-Dha`eefah:

It is the most difficult struggle for the soul. This is because every
time the soul gets accustomed to a certain condition, it transfers
itself to that.

As for fasting every day, then it has been reported by Muslim, from
the hadeeth of Abu Qataadah, that `Umar (radhiallahu `anhu) asked the
Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam): 'What is the case if one were
to fast every day?' So he (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: "He
did not fast nor did he break his fast - or - he did not fast and he
did not break his fast." [Saheeh Muslim]

This is concerning the one who fasts continuously, even during the
days in which fasting is forbidden.

Characteristics of the most specific fast

Know that the one who has been given intellect, knows the objective
behind fasting. Therefore, he burdens himself to the extent that he
will not be unable to do that which is more beneficial than it.

Ibn Mas`ood would fast very little and it is reported that he used to
say: "When I fast, I grow weak in my prayer. And I prefer the prayer
over the (optional) fast.

Some of them (the Sahaabah) would weaken in their recitation of the
Qur'aan while fasting. Thus, they would exceed in breaking their fast
(i.e. by observing less optional fasts), until they were able to
balance their recitation. Every individual is knowledgeable of his
condition and of what will rectify it.

There were a slight modification to the article by the editor, such
as the exclusion of the couple of statements.
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