HOW TO make the most of
in the light of Al-Qur’an and Authentic Hadith
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to thosebefore you, so that you may learnself-restraint”(Al-Qur’an 2:183)
THE WISDOM BEHIND FASTING
Fasting in Ramadan is not merely physically restraining from the obvious foodand drink, but the total commitment of the servant’s body and soul to the letter and spirit of fasting.
1) The fast of the self, means to be free from all carnal desires.
2) The fast of mind is avoiding thoughts about things other than Allah (SWT).
3) The fast of the hand is not touching/taking what does not belong to it.
4) The fast of the nose means not sniffing or smelling unlawful things.
5) The fast of the feet is not going places where sinful acts are propagated.
6) The fast of the eye is to prevent it from seeing forbidden things.
Allah (SWT) says in Al-Qur’an, “Tell the believing men to lower their
gaze and be mindful of their chastity; this will be most conducive to
their purity. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be
mindful of their chastity, and not display their charms (in public) beyond
what may (decently) be apparent thereof, hence let them draw their
head-covering over their bosoms”. (Al-Qur’an 24:30-31)
7) The fast of the tongue is guarding against lying, backbiting, slandering,
reviling, abusing others, cursing, indecent conversation, swearing and false
evidence. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “A Muslim is he from whose tongue and
hands other Muslims are safe”.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “”Whoever does not give up forged speech
and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink
(i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)”
(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 127)
8) The fast of the ears is not to listen to idle talk, gossip, lyrics and notes that
contain obscene and indecent things. Listening to Al-Qur’an bears the fruit of faith, guidance, light and prosperity. It fills the heart with wisdom, tranquillity, intimacy and contentment. It is a source of protection from the dangerous, deviant and sinful thoughts.
9) The fast of the heart means casting out from it the love of worldly things
and by emptying it of all corrupt material such as, false beliefs, evilsuggestions, filthy intentions and degenerate thoughts.
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “There is a piece of flesh in the body if it
becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets
spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.”
(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 49)
The believer’s heart abstains from pride and egotism as these traits breaks its fast. Egotism is when the individual sees himself as perfect and better than others. The cure for this self-importance is to look at one’s faults and shortcomings, thousands of sins and misdeeds that one has committed, wrongs that one has done and forgotten, but knowledge of which are with Allah (SWT).
Allah (SWT) says in Al-Qur’an, “do they, perchance, envy other people for
what God has granted them out of his bounty?” (Al-Qur’an 4:54)
The heart of the believer fasts and abstains from envy as envy lowers
righteous deeds and stops its progress toward Allah (SWT).
WHAT DOES AND DOESN’T BREAK THE FAST
The Prophet (pbuh) said:” Neither vomiting, nor emission, nor cupping
breaks the fast.” (Abu Dawud, Book 13, Number 2370)
There are certain things that break a person’s fast, the most obvious being
those things that are explicitly forbidden during fasting, i.e. eating, drinking,
sexual relations and during menstruation, for females. However, if one eats
something forgetfully, then this fast does not have to be made up:
The Prophet said, “If somebody eats something forgetfully while he is
fasting, then he should complete his fast, for Allah has made him eat and
drink.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 154)
In terms of applying medicine, there is nothing which prevents us from using such as long as it is not entered through the mouth or nose:
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “I have a complaint in my eyes, so may I apply
collyrium while I am fasting?” He replied, “Yes.” (Tirmidhi Hadith 2010)
A certain degree of affection is allowed between spouses as this Hadith shows:
‘A’isha reported, “The Prophet (pbuh) used to kiss me while observing
fast and who among you can control his desire as the Prophet (pbuh)
could control his desire.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 006, Number 2438)
However, the Prophet (pbuh) did report the following Hadith:
A man asked the Prophet (pbuh) whether one who was fasting could
embrace (his wife) and he gave him permission; but when another man
came to him, and asked him, he forbade him. The one to whom he gave
permission was an old man and the one whom he forbade was a youth.
(Abu Dawud, Book 13, Number 2381)
ETIQUETTES OF RAMADAN
The Prophet (pbuh) said “He who does not determine to fast before
dawn does not fast”. (Abu Dawud, Book 13, Number 2448)
We should try our best to get up for Sehri.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Eat a little before dawn (Sehri) as there is
blessings in taking meal at that time.”
(Sahih Muslim, Book 006, Number 2412)
Many people are deprived of this great blessing because of their own
laziness. Even if there is no food, then one date should be eaten or a drink of
water taken. The period before dawn is considered blessed because it is in
the last third of the night, the time of divine descent and forgiveness. It is
another special time when du’as are accepted.
Some time should be left after taking the suhoor and before the Fajr adhan /
“We took the suhur with the Prophet (pbuh) . Then he stood for the
prayer.” I asked, “What was the interval between the suhur and the
Adhan?” He replied, “The interval was sufficient to recite fifty verses of
the Quran.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 144)
It is also narrated that even when the Fajr adhan was made, it was not
necessarily the time to stop eating because the true dawn arises when the
streaks of the whiteness of dawn are horizontal. However these days this is
difficult to ascertain in some countries and in these circumstances we should keep enough time to eat to be confident that we are not eating when dawn appears.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The adhan of Bilal may not mislead you with
regard to your food at the commencement of the fast, nor the vertical
(streaks) of whiteness in the horizon (for it is an indication of false
dawn). You should stop eating (food) till (the whiteness) spreads like it.
Hammad narrated it and with the gesture of his band he explained, the
horizontal position (of the streaks of light).”
(Sahih Muslim, Book 006, Number 2409)
We should hasten to break our fasts.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The people will remain on right path as long as
they hasten breaking of the fast (Iftaar). (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book
31, Number 178 & Muslim, Book 006, Number 2417)
To eat dates to break one’s fast is a Sunnah.
The Prophet (pbuh) said “When one of you is fasting, he should break his
fast with dates, but if he cannot get any, then (he should break his fast)
with water, for water is purifying”. (Abu Dawud, Book 13, Number 2348)
It is also very important that we do not delay the Maghrib salah unnecessarily and pray soon after breaking the fast.
Abu ‘Atiyya reported “I and Misruq went to ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with
her) and Masruq said to her “There are two persons among the
Companions of Muhammad (pbuh) none of whom abandons the good, but
one of them hastens to observe sunset prayer and break the fast, and the
other delays in observing the sunset prayer and in breaking the fast”,
whereupon she said “Who hastens to observe sunset prayer and break the
fast?” He said “It is ‘Abdullah”. Upon this she said “This is how The
Prophet (pbuh) used to do. (Sahih Muslim, Book 006, Number 2419)
It is a Sunnah to use Miswaak.
“The Prophet (pbuh) chewed Miswaak while fasting”.
(Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 154)
It is recommended to take care of the mouth, teeth and gums all the time, and more so during fasting. This can be achieved by the use of Miswaak, a special stick or root (from Arak tree) that is used to cleanse the teeth and strengthen the gums.
The breath of the observer of fast is sweeter to Allah (SWT) than the
fragrance of musk”. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 118 &
Sahih Muslim, Book 006, Number 2564)
DU’AS FOR BREAKING THE FAST
وَبِكَ امنْتُ وَ عَلى رِزْقِكَ اَفْطَرْتُ اللَّھُمَّ اِنِّى لَكَ صُمْتُ
Allahumma inni laka sumtu wa bika aamantu wa ‘ala rizq-ika aftarthu
(O Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You and I break my fast with Your
(Abu Dawud, Book 13, Number 2351)
الْعُرُوقُ، وَ ثَبَتَ الأجْرُ إنْ شَاءَ اللَّھُ ذَھَبَ الظَّمَأُ وَ ابْتَلَّتِ
dhahabadh-dhama’u wab-tallatil ‘urūūqi, wa thabatal arju inshaAllah
(The thirst is gone, the veins are moistened and the reward is confirmed, if
(Abu Dawud, Book 13, Number 2350)
AVOIDANCE OF THINGS THAT CONTRADICT SPIRIT OF FASTING
Allah (SWT) says in Al-Qur’an, “Eat and drink (freely), but do not waste: verily, He does not love the wasteful!” (Al-Qur’an 7:31)
Some people who fast waste money on meals both at the beginning and the
breaking of the fast in Ramadan. They prepare food enough for a crowd of
people consisting of numerous dishes. Then, at the end of this, they only eat a little and throw the remainder into the refuse. This is contrary to the great
teachings of Islam.
There are other people who fill the stomach with delicious foods at “Sehri”, so that one does not feel hungry until “Iftaar”. When opening their fast, they
indulge in excessive eating and drinking. This however, defeats the purpose of fasting, one of which is to empty the stomach of all contaminated material by reducing the intake of food.
Many people spend their fasting hours sleeping. As a result it seems as if they did not fast. The wisdom of fasting is that the one who fasts should experience pangs of hunger and savour thirst in order to gain the pleasure of Allah (SWT).
There are also people who make no effort to do good by giving charity. They
do not honour their tables by allowing others to break their fast with them.
We pray to Allah (SWT) for guidance and help. Surely, He is over all
things Powerful. May Allah (SWT) accept our effort and put it on our
scale of good deeds on the Day of Resurrection to outweigh the evil deeds. Aameen.