Days of Allah – Ramadan

Day Name Resting Abode
1 ‘Urs Shah Nizamuddin Husain Niyazi Nazimi Chishti
Bio
Bareily, UP, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Fazal ‘Ali Qureshi Naqshbandi
Wiki
Miskeenpur, Punjab, PK
2 ‘Urs Ustaz Ahmad Sonhadji b. Mohamed Milatu
Bio
Singapore, SG
3 ‘Urs Sayyidatu-n Nisa Fatima al-Zahra al-Batul bint Rasuli-Llah – Wiki | Her Beautiful Names Madinatu-l Munawwarah
‘Urs Khas Muhammad al-Shirwani
Bio
Damascus, RU
4 ‘Urs Abu-l Faraj ibn Rajab al-Hanbali
Bio
Bab al-Saghir, Damascus, SY
‘Urs ‘Abdu-Llah al-Fā’iz ad-Daghestani an-Naqshbandi
Bio
Damascus, SY
5 ‘Urs ‘Abd al-Mustafa A’zami
Student of Amjad ‘Ali A’zami
Ghosi, IN
‘Urs Muhammad Mohsin Bekas
Wiki
Rohri, PK
6 ‘Urs Hashim Pir Dastaghir Qadiri Shattari
Bio 1Bio 2 (scroll down) | William Dalrymple on Bijapur
Bijapur, KA, IN
7 ‘Urs Badruddin Ahmad Rizvi Qadiri
His Book (swaneh a’la Hadrat)
, IN
8 ‘Urs Samman Baba
Sufis of Ghazipur
Saidpur, IN
9 ‘Urs Companion ‘Abdu-Llah b. Mas’ud
Bio
Madinatu-l Munawwarah
‘’ ‘Urs Qadi Hamiduddin Naguri – Bio Delhi, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Sayyid Mālik Muhammad ‘Ālam (Saīn Gudri Shāh Baba) – Bio | His Shrine Ajmir, IN
10 ‘Urs Nizamu-l Mulk Abu Ali al-Hasan al-Tusi
Bio by Shaikh Hamza Yusuf [pdf] | Wiki
Tus, IR
11 ‘Urs Ummu-l Mu’minīn Khadījah bint Khuwaylid al-Kubra
Wiki | A Ph.D Thesis
Makkatu-l Mukarramah
‘’ ‘Urs Haji Abdul Malik b. Hasan urf Haji Abdul Malek Sungai Pinang – Bio Sungai Pinang, MY
‘’ ‘Urs Khwaja ‘Arifullah Shah
Bio
Kattumannar kovil, TN, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Khwaja Habibullah Shah
Bio | His Maqam
Singapore, SG
12 ‘Urs Abu-l Faraj ibn al-Jawzi al-Qurashi al-Taymi al-Bakri
Bio 1 | Bio 2 | Meeting al-JilaniWiki
Baghdad, IQ
‘’ ‘Urs ‘Isa b. Muhyuddin ‘Abdul Qadir al-Jilani
Qala’id al-Jawahir (p. 177)
Qarafa, Cairo, EG
‘’ ‘Urs Imam al-‘Aidarus al-Akbar
Imams of the Valley (p. 43)
Zanbal, Tarim, YE
‘’ ‘Urs Habib ‘Alawi b. Shihab
Imams of the Valley (p. 113)
Tarim, YE
‘’ ‘Urs Khwaja Mahbūb Kāsim Chishtī
Bio
Calcutta, IN
13 ‘Urs * Abu-l Ḥasan Sarī as-Saqatī b. al-Mughallis
Bio
Baghdad, IQ
‘’ ‘Urs Mir Ahmad Ibrahim (Periya Hazrat)
Bio
Madurai, TN, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Muhammad Ibrahim Soofie Siddiqui
Bio (scroll down)
Ajmir, IN
14 ‘Urs Ummu-l Mu’minīn Safiyya bint Huyayy
Wiki | Response to anti-Islamic polemic
Madinatu-l Munawwarah
‘’ ‘Urs Abu-l Qasim ‘Umar b. Mas’ud al-Bazzaz
Qala’id al-Jawahir (p. 498)
Baghdad, IQ
‘’ ‘Urs Sayyid Muhammad Ghawth Shattari
Wiki | Shattari Sufism by Carl Ernst
Gwalior, MP, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Nathar Wali Tablē ‘Ālam Pādhshā
Bio
Trichy, TN, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Sayyid Shah Abul Fadl Aal-e-Hamza Marehrawi
Bio
Marehra, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Sachal Sarmast Mian Abdul Wahab
Bio  Website  Wiki  FaceBook
Karachi, PK
15 ‘Urs Al-Sayyid Muhammad b. ‘Alawi al-Maliki al-Hasani
Obituary | Wiki
Makkatu-l Mukarramah
‘’ ‘Urs Sachal Sarmast Miyan ‘Abdul Wahhab Faruqi
Bio | Poem | Dargah | FaceBook | Wiki
Daraza Sharif, Sindh, PK
16 ‘Urs Sayyid Shah Abul Barakât Aal-e-Muhammad Marehrawi
Bio
Marehra, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Abu Anees Muhammad Barkat ‘Ali
Wiki | Daru-l Ehsan
Faisalabad, PK
‘’ ‘Urs Ayman Ahwal Abdul Qadir
Bio | Remember the Garden (YouTube)
Birmingham, GB
17 Ghazwatu-l Badr – Battle of Badr
Fethullah Gülen on Badr | Martin Lings on Badr
‘’ ‘Urs Ummu-l Mu’minīn ‘Ā’isha bint Abī Bakr as-Siddīq
Bio | Wiki
Madinatu-l Munawwarah
‘’ ‘Urs Ruqayyah bint Rasuli-Llah
Bio | Wiki
Madinatu-l Munawwarah
‘’ ‘Urs Sharafuddin Bū ‘Alī Shāh Qalandar
Bio | Wiki | FaceBook
Panipat, HA, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Sayyid Muhammad Iqbāl Shāh Chishti Sābirī
Bio (of his son, Khalid) | Pic
Hyderabad, Sindh, PK
‘’ ‘Urs Shah Shahidullah Faridi (John Gilbert Lennard)
Wiki
Karachi, PK
18 ‘Urs Umm al-Mu’minīn Umm Salama Hind bint Abī Umayya – Bio 1 | Bio 2 Madinatu-l Munawwarah
‘’ ‘Urs Khwaja Nasīru-d Dīn Mahmūd Chirag Chishtī
Bio | Bio 2Wiki
Delhi, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Muhammad Lebbai (Lughavi Appa)
– Compiled the first ever Arabic-Arwi dictionary
Kayalpatnam, TN, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Rehān Razā Khān Rahmānī
Bio
Bareilly, IN
19 ‘Urs Abu-l Hasan ‘Ali b. Abu Bakr al-Haythami
Wiki
Cairo, EG
‘Urs Qâssim al-Khassâsi al-Fasi
Bio (French)
Matra al-Janna, Fez, MA
‘’ ‘Urs Sultan Iskandar Shah
NationalLibrary.sg | Wiki
Singapore, SG
20 Fathu-l Makkatu-l Mukarramah
Opening of Mecca the Blessed
‘’ ‘Urs * Imām Abū Turāb ‘Alī b. Abū Tālib b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib al-MurtadāBio | Bio 2 Najaf, IR
21 ‘Urs * Imām Abu-l Hasan ‘Alī b. Mūsā ar-Ridā
Brief Bio | His Famous Student
Mashhad, IR
‘’ ‘Urs Shah Shams Tabrez
His ShrineA Legend
Multan, PK
‘’ ‘Urs Shah ‘Ali Husain Baqi
Bio
Patna, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Muhammad Uthman Siraju-d Din al-Naqshbandi al-Khalidi – Bio 1 | Bio 2FaceBook Istanbul, TK
‘’ ‘Urs Sayyid ‘Abdul Rahman Jilani Dehlavi – Bio Delhi, IN
22 ‘Urs Muhaddith Abū ‘Abdullāh Muhammad ibn Yazīd ibn Majāh ar-Rab’i al-Qazwīnī – WikiBio Qazwin, IR
‘’ ‘Urs Hasan Raza Khan
His Book (Urdu)
Bareilly, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Ustaz Peer Mohamed b. Sina Rawtar
Bio
Singapore, SG
23 ‘Urs Sayyid Isma’il Tangal
Bio
Padur, KE, IN
‘Urs Abul Hasan ‘Ali al-Hasani al-Nadwi
Wiki
Raebareli, IN
24 ‘Urs Qalandar Mastan
Bio
Kadayanallur, TN, IN
25 ‘Urs Maryam bint Imran
Wiki | Chapter from a Book
Palestine
‘’ ‘Urs Abu-l Mukarram Qutbuddin Shah Musa Qadiri
Bio
Kaithal, HA, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Bediüzzaman Said Nursi
Wiki
Isparta, TR
‘’ ‘Urs Mahmud Anwaru-d Din
Bio
Taraikudi, IN
‘’ ‘Urs Lord Stanley of Alderley @ Abdul Rahman
Wiki
Alderley Park, GB
26 ‘Urs Nafisah al-Tahirah al-Misriyyah
Bio
Cairo, EG
27 ‘Urs Khwaja Salim Chishti
WikiBio
Fatehpur Sikri, IN
28 ‘Urs Muhaddith ‘Abdullah b. Mubarak
Bio in eBook
Baghdad, IQ
‘Urs Abū Zayd ‘Abdur Raḥmān b. Muḥammad b. Khaldūn Al-Hadrami
Wiki
Cairo, EG
29 ‘Urs Companion ‘Amr b. al-Āṣ
BioHis Mosque
Cairo, EG
‘’ ‘Urs Sidi ‘Ali al-Jamal al-Shadhili
Glimpses from his life | His stupendous book
Fez, MA
‘’ ‘Urs Shah Badruddin Awliya urf Badr Shah, Badr Pir
[Sufis of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, v.3, p.228]
Bakshi Bazaar, Chittagong, BD
‘’ ‘Urs Muhammad Khādim Hasan (Nawab Gudri Shāh Baba)
Bio
Ajmir, IN
30 ‘Urs Abu Ali al-Husain b. Abdullah b. Sina (Avicenna)
Wiki
Hamadan, IR

* Masters of the ‘Arusiyyah branch of the Qadiriyyah way of Islamic Spirituality DISCLAIMER: Please note that links to external websites are provided only for reference purposes. TAQWA (Singapore) is neither responsible for their content nor adhere to views expressed therein which may be contrary to our ethos and beliefs.

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Surah Al-Fath

Surah:

48 – Al-Fath (The Opening)

Verses:

29

Period:

Madani

Background

This honorable Surah was revealed after the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) returned from the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah, during the month of Dhul-Qa`dah, in the sixth year of Hijrah. This is when the idolaters prevented him from reaching Al-Masjid Al-Haram to perform the `Umrah he intended. They stopped the Prophet from reaching Makkah at that time, but then were prone to peace negotiations. A peace treaty was conducted stipulating that the Messenger would return this year and then come back for `Umrah the following year. The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) agreed.

However, some of the Companions disliked these terms, including sayyidina `Umar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him). After the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) slaughtered his sacrificial animals in the area where he was stopped and headed back to Al-Madinah, Allah, Most High, revealed this Surah about what occurred between him and the idolators. Allah declared the Al-Hudaybiyyah peace treaty a manifest victory, because of the benefits peace would carry and the good results that did originate from it.

Virtue of Surah al-Fath

Imam Ahmad records that sayyidina `Umar bin Al-Khattab said:

“We were with the Messenger of Allah salla-Llahu ‘alaihi wa sallam on a trip, and I asked him about a matter three times, but he did not answer me. So I said to myself, `May your mother lose you, O son of Al-Khattab! You were stubborn in repeating your question three times to the Messenger of Allah salla-Llahu ‘alaihi wa sallam; each time he did not respond to you.’

So I mounted my animal, my camel, and went ahead for fear that a part of the Qur’an might be revealed in my case. Suddenly, I heard a caller calling, `O `Umar!’ So, I went to the Messenger salla-Llahu ‘alaihi wa sallam while fearing that part of the Qur’an was revealed about me. The Prophet said:

Last night, a Surah was revealed to me that is dearer to me than this life and all that it contains: ‘Verily, We have given you a manifest victory. That Allah may forgive you your sins of the past and the future.‘”

— Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i collected this Hadith from several chains of narration through Malik, may Allah grant him His mercy

Benefits of Reciting Surah al-Fath

In Al-Munjiyat, Shaikhuna writes the following salient and experiential benefits to be accrued from reciting this surah:

Benefits for Regular Recitation

  • Attain the same reward if one had given the “Pledge of Support” to the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) under the shade of the tree where the “Treaty of Hudaibiyya” was recorded.
  • Attain the same reward if one had participated in the “Opening of Makka” [fathu-l makkah] with the Prophet of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace).

Benefits for Particular Days

  • If recited during the 3 days preceding the month of Ramadan, it will ward off the strain of fasting for the whole month
  • If recited during the 1st night of Ramadan, Allah’s protection and help will manifest for the year ahead

Allāh and His Beloved Messenger (upon him be blessings and peace) know best. And success and guidance is from Allah, eminent is His Glory.

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Khutba to Welcome Ramadan – 2

On the last day of Sha’ban, the day before the advent of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) delivered this soul-enriching and heart-inspiring sermon [khutba] to his beloved companions (may Allah be pleased with them):

“O people! There comes over you now a great month, a blessed month in which lies a night greater in virtue than a thousand months. It is a month in which Allah has made fasting compulsory by day, and extra prayers recommended by night.

Whoever performs one good deed in it shall be rewarded like the one who had performed an obligation [fard] in any other time. And whoever performs a fard in it shall be given the reward of seventy in any other time.

This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah (paradise). It is the month of sympathy with one’s fellowmen. It is the month wherein a true believer’s rizq (sustenance) is increased.

Whoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast at sunset, for him shall be forgiveness of sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam (hell). For him shall also be the same reward as the one who fasted, without the latter’s reward being decreased in the least.”

Thereupon those listening to this fascinating and appealing message asked, “Not all of us possess the means to give a fasting person to break his fast.”

The sublime orator (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “Allah grants the same reward to the one who gives a fasting person to break the fast a mere date, or a drink of water, or a sip of milk.

This is a month, the first of which brings Allah’s mercy, the middle of which brings His forgiveness, and the last of which brings freedom from the fire of Jahannam. Whoever lessens the burden of his servants (bondsmen) in this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of Jahannam.

And in this month, four things you should continue to perform in great number; two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be that which you cannot do without.

That which shall be to please your Lord are that you should, in great quantity,

  1. bear witness that there is no deity to worship except Allah (i.e. recite in abundance the sacrosanct kalimah tayyibah, ‘lâ ilâha illa-Llâh‘; and
  2. make much istighfâr (i.e. beg Allah’s forgiveness saying, ‘astaghfiru-Llâh‘)

As for that without which you cannot do, you should beg of Allah,

  1. for entrance into Paradise; and
  2. refuge in Him from Hell

And whoever gave a person who fasted water to drink, Allah shall grant that giver to drink from my Fountain; a drink after which  he shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Paradise.”

And Allah is the Guide.

Source: M. Monawwar Ateeq’s “Preparing for Ramadan”

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Khutba to Welcome Ramadan – 1

This khutba was delivered by the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) to welcome the blessed month of Ramadan:

“O people! The month of Ramadan has approached you with His mercy and blessings. This is the month that is the best of all months in the estimation of Allah. Its days are the best among the days; its nights are the best among the nights. Its hours are the best among the hours.

This is a month in which He has invited you. You have been, in this month, selected as the recipients of the honors of Allah, the Merciful. In this holy month, when you breathe, it has the thawab (heavenly reward) of tasbih (the praise of Allah on rosary beads), and your sleep has the heavenly reward of worship.

Your good deeds are accepted in this month. So are your invocations. Therefore, you must invoke your Lord, in right earnest, with hearts that are free from sins and evils, that Allah may bless you; observe fast in this month, and recite the Holy Quran.

Verily! The person who may not receive the mercy and benevolence of Allah in this month must be very unfortunate having an end as bad (in the Hereafter).

While fasting, remember the hunger and thirst of tomorrow in the Day of Judgment. Give alms to the poor and the needy. Pay respects to your elders.

Have pity on those younger than you and be kind towards your relatives and kinsmen. Guard your tongues against unworthy words, and your eyes from such scenes that are not worth seeing (forbidden) and your ears from such sounds that should not be heard by you.

Be kind to orphans so that when your children become orphans they also may be treated with kindness. Do invoke that Allah may forgive your sins. Do raise your hands at the time of Salat (Prayers), as it is the best time for asking His mercy. When we invoke at such times, we are answered by Him, when we call Him, He responds, and when we ask for anything, it is accepted by Him.

O People! You have made your conscience the slave of your desires; make it free by invoking Him for forgiveness. Your back is breaking under the heavy load of your sins, so prostrate before Him for long intervals and make it lighter.

O People! If anybody amongst you arranges for the iftar (food for the breaking of the fast) of any believer, then Allah will give him a reward as if he has set free a slave. He will forgive his minor sins.

Then the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) said: “But everybody amongst us does not have the means to do so.”

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) told them, “Keep yourself away from the Fire of Hell by inviting people for iftar, though it may consist of only half a date or simply with water if you have nothing else.”

Anybody who does not tease others in this month, Allah will keep him safe from His wrath in Qiyamah. Anybody, who respects and treats an orphan with kindness in this month, Allah shall look at him with dignity in Qiyamah. Anybody who treats well his kinsmen, in this month, Allah will bestow His mercy on him in Qiyamah, while anybody who maltreats his kinsmen in this month, Allah will keep him away from His mercy, in Qiyamah.

Whoever offers sunnah prayers in this month, Allah will give him a certificate of freedom from Hell. Whosoever offers one obligatory prayer in this month, for him the Angels will write the rewards of 70 such prayers, which were offered by him in any other months.

Whosoever repeatedly sends peace and blessings upon me, Allah will keep the scales of his deeds heavy.

Whosoever recites in this month only one verse of the Quran, he will be rewarded in a manner as if he had recited the full Quran.”

And Allah is the Guide.

Source: http://www.alhaddad.org/blog/?p=1517

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The Inner Fiqh of Fasting

The proof of Islam [hujjatu-l islam] Al-Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazzali (may Allah be well pleased with him) has elucidated succinctly in his magnum opus, “ihyâ ‘ulûmu-d dîn (Revival of the Islamic Sciences), the inner dimensions of fasting.

The late “Sultan of translators” Sidi Mukhtar Holland (may Allah have mercy on him) translated the Imam’s sublime words in his earlier work entitled, “Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship”.  We present below an extract from this widely acclaimed work.

Inner Dimensions of Fasting [sawm]

From the work entitled, “Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship”
By the erudite Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazzali
Trans. from the Ihya’ by Mukhtar Holland

Three Grades

It should be known that there are three grades of Fasting: ordinary, special and extra-special.

  • Ordinary Fasting means abstaining from food, drink and sexual satisfaction.
  • Special Fasting means keeping one’s ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet – and all other organs – free from sin.
  • Extra-special Fasting means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but God, Great and Glorious is He. This kind of Fast is broken by thinking of worldly matters, except for those conducive to religious ends, since these constitute provision for the Hereafter and are not of this lower world. Those versed in the spiritual life of the heart have even said that a sin is recorded against one who concerns himself all day with arrangements for breaking his Fast. Such anxiety stems from lack of trust in the bounty of God, Great and Glorious is He, and from lack of certain faith in His promised sustenance.

To this third degree belong the Prophets, the true awliya and the intimates of God. It does not lend itself to detailed examination in words, as its true nature is better revealed in action. It consists in utmost dedication to God, Great and Glorious is He, to the neglect of everything other than God, Exalted is He. It is bound up with the significance of His words: ‘Say: “Allah (sent it down)”: then leave them to play in their vain discussions.’ [al-An’am,6:91]

Inward Requirements

As for Special Fasting, this is the kind practiced by the righteous. It means keeping all one’s organs free from sin and six things are required for its accomplishment:

1. See not what displeases God

A chaste regard, restrained from viewing anything that is blameworthy or reprehensible, or that distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of God, Great and Glorious is He. Said the Prophet, on him be peace: ‘The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be God’s curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of God will receive from Him, Great and Glorious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart.’

Jabir relates from Anas that God’s Messenger, on him be peace, said: ‘Five things break a man’s Fast: lying, backbiting, gossiping, perjury and a lustful gaze.’

2. Speak not what displeases God

Guarding one’s tongue from idle chatter, lying, gossiping, obscenity, rudeness, arguing and controversy; making it observe silence and occupying it with remembrance of God, Great and Glorious is He, and with recitation of Quran. This is the fasting of the tongue. Said Sufyan: ‘Backbiting annuls the Fast.’ Layth quotes Mujahid as saying: ‘Two habits annul Fasting: backbiting and telling lies.’

The Prophet, on him be peace, said: ‘Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is Fasting he should not use foul or foolish talk. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say: “I am Fasting, I am Fasting!”‘

According to Tradition: ‘Two women were Fasting during the time of God’s Messenger, on him be peace. They were so fatigued towards the end of the day, from hunger and thirst, that they were on the verge of collapsing. They therefore sent a message to God’s Messenger, on him be peace, requesting permission to break their Fast. In response, the Prophet, on him be peace, sent them a bowl and said: “Tell them to vomit into it what they have eaten.” One of them vomited and half filled the bowl with fresh blood and tender meat, while the other brought up the same so that they filled it between them. The onlookers were astonished. Then the Prophet, on him be peace, said: “These two women have been Fasting from what God made lawful to them, and have broken their Fast on what God, Exalted is He, made unlawful to them. They sat together and indulged in backbiting, and here is the flesh of the people they maligned!”‘

3. Hear not what displeases God

Closing one’s ears to everything reprehensible; for everything unlawful to utter is likewise unlawful to listen to. That is why God, Great and Glorious is He, equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer, in His words, Exalted is He:

‘Listeners to falsehood, consumers of illicit gain.’ [al-Ma’idah, 5:42]

God, Great and Glorious is He, also said:

‘Why do their rabbis and priests not forbid them to utter sin and consume unlawful profit?’ [al-Ma’idah, 5:63]

Silence in the face of backbiting is therefore unlawful. God, Exalted is He, said: ‘You are then just like them.’ [al-Nisa, 4:140]

That is why the Prophet, on him be peace, said: ‘The backbiter and his listener are copartners in sin.’

4. Do not what displeases God

Keeping all other limbs and organs away from sin: the hands and feet from reprehensible deeds, and the stomach from questionable food at the time for breaking Fast. It is meaningless to Fast – to abstain from lawful food – only to break one’s Fast on what is unlawful. A man who Fast like this may be compared to one who builds a castle but demolishes a city. Lawful food injurious in quantity not in quality, so Fasting is to reduce the former. A person might well give up excessive use of medicine, from fear of ill effects, but he would be a fool to switch to taking poison. The unlawful is a poison deadly to religion, while the lawful is a medicine, beneficial in small doses but harmful in excess. The object of Fasting is to induce moderation. Said the Prophet, on him be peace: ‘How many of those who Fast get nothing from it but hunger and thirst!’ This has been taken to mean those who break their Fast on unlawful food. Some say it refers to those who abstain from lawful food, but break their Fast on human flesh through backbiting, which is unlawful. Others consider it an allusion to those who do not guard their organs from sin.

5. Avoid Overeating

Not to over-indulge in lawful food at the time of breaking Fast, to the point of stuffing one’s belly. There is no receptacle more odious to God, Great and Glorious is He, than a belly stuffed full with lawful food. Of what use is the Fast as a means of conquering God’s enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking it one not only makes up for all one has missed during the daytime, but perhaps also indulges in a variety of extra foods? It has even become the custom to stock up for Ramadan with all kinds of foodstuffs, so that more is consumed during that time than in the course of several other months put together. It is well known that the object of Fasting is to experience hunger and to check desire, in order to reinforce the soul in piety. If the stomach is starved from early morning till evening, so that its appetite is aroused and its craving intensified, and it is then offered delicacies and allowed to eat its fill, its taste for pleasure is increased and its force exaggerated; passions are activated which would have lain dormant under normal conditions.

The spirit and secret nature of Fasting is to weaken the forces which are Satan’s means of leading us back to evil. It is therefore essential to cut down one’s intake to what one would consume on a normal night, when not Fasting. No benefit is derived from the Fast if one consumes as much as one would usually take during the day and night combined. Moreover, one of the properties consists in taking little sleep during the daytime, so that one feels the hunger and thirst and becomes conscious of the weakening of one’s powers, with the consequent purification of the heart.

One should let a certain degree of weakness carry over into the night, making it easier to perform the night Prayers (tahajjud) and to recite the praises (awrad). It may then be that Satan will not hover around one’s heart, and that one will behold the Kingdom of Heaven. The Night of Destiny represents the night on which something of this Kingdom is revealed. This is what is meant by the words of God, Exalted is He:

‘We surely revealed it on the Night of Power.’ [al-Qadr, 97:1]

Anyone who puts a bag of food between his heart and his breast becomes blind to this revelation. Nor is keeping the stomach empty sufficient to remove the veil, unless one also empties the mind of everything but God, Great and Glorious is He. That is the entire matter, and the starting point of it all is cutting down on food.

6. Look to God with Fear [khawf] and Hope [raja’]

After the Fast has been broken, the heart should swing like a pendulum between fear and hope. For one does not know if one’s Fast will be accepted, so that one will find favor with God, or whether it will be rejected, leaving one among those He abhors. This is how one should be at the end of any act of worship one performs.

It is related of al-Hasan ibn Abil Hasan al-Basri that he once passed by a group of people who were laughing merrily. He said: ‘God, Great and Glorious is He, has made the month of Ramadan a racecourse, on which His creatures compete in His worship. Some have come in first and won, while others have lagged behind and lost. It is absolutely amazing to find anybody laughing and playing about on the day when success attends the victors, and failure the wasters. By God, if the veil were lifted off, the doer of good would surely be preoccupied with his good works and the evildoer with his evil deeds.’ In too full of joy to indulge in idle sport, while for one who has suffered rejection laughter will be precluded by remorse.

Of al-Ahnaf ibn Qays it is reported that he was once told:

‘You are an aged elder; Fasting would enfeeble you.’ But he replied: ‘By this I am making ready for a long journey, Obedience to God, Glorified is He, is easier to endure than His punishment.’

Such are the inwardly significant meanings of Fasting.

Importance of Observing Inward Aspects

Now you may say: ‘Suppose someone confines himself to curbing his appetite for food and drink and his sexual desire, to the neglect of these inward aspects. According to the experts in jurisprudence his Fast is valid. So what are we to make of this?’

You must realize that those versed in the external requirements of the law base their formal stipulations on evidence less cogent than the proofs we have advanced in support of these internal prerequisites, especially those relating to back-biting and the like. However, scholars of external legality are concerned only with such obligations as fall within the capacity of ordinary heedless people, wholly caught up in the affairs of this world.

As for those learned in knowledge of the Hereafter, the meaning the attach to validity is acceptance, and by acceptance the mean attainment of the goal. According to their understanding, the goal of Fasting is the acquisition of one of the qualities of God, Great and Glorious is He, namely steadfastness (samadiya), as well as following the example of the angels by abstaining as far as possible from the desires of the flesh, for they are immune to such passions. The human status is superior to that of the animals, since man is able by the light of reason to tame his lust; yet it is inferior to that of the angels, in that he is subject to carnality and put to the test in combat with its temptations.

Whenever man falls prey to lust, he sinks to the lowest of the low and joins the animal herd. Whenever he curbs his desires, he ascends to the highest of the high and attains the angelic level. The angels are near the presence of God, Great and Glorious is He, so those who follow their example and model themselves on their character will likewise draw near to God, Great and Glorious is He. To resemble one who is near is to be near. This nearness, however, is not spatial but qualitative.

If this is the secret of Fasting among men of profound spiritual understanding, what benefit is to be derived from postponing a meal only to combine two meals after sunset, while indulging in all other passions the whole day long? If there were any good in such conduct, what could the Prophet, on him be peace, have meant by saying: ‘How many of those who Fast get nothing from it but hunger and thirst?’

This is why Abul-Darda’ said: ‘How fine is the sleep of the wise and their non-Fasting! Don’t they just put to shame the Fasting and wakefulness of fools! A mere atom from those possessed of certainty and true piety is better and weightier than seeming mountains of worship by the misguided.’ For the same reason one of the scholars said: ‘How many who Fast are not keeping Fast, and how many who do not keep Fast are Fasting!’

The Fasting non-Faster is he who keeps his limbs and organs pure of sin while still eating and drinking; the non-Fasting Faster is he who goes hungry and thirsty while giving full licence to his limbs and organs. Those who understand the significance of Fasting and its secret meaning are aware that he who abstains from food, drink and sexual intercourse, while breaking Fast by involving himself in sin, is like one who performs his ablution by wiping part of his body three times (in compliance with the external legal requirement), yet neglects what is really important, namely the actual washing. Because of this stupidity his ritual Prayer is rejected. By contrast, he who does not abstain from eating, yet does Fast in the sense of keeping his organs free from all that is unworthy, is comparable to the one who washes the proper parts of his body only once each. God willing, his ritual Prayer is acceptable, since he has paid due attention to the essentials, even if he has omitted the details. But he who combines the two may be compared to one who not only washes each part of the body, but does so three times each, for he attends to essentials and details alike, and this constitutes perfection.

The Prophet, on him be peace, once said: ‘The Fast is a trust, so let each of you keep this trust!’ And when he recited the words of God, Great and Glorious is He: ‘Surely God bids you to restore trusts to their owners.’ [an-Nisa 4:58], he touched his ears and his eyes, saying: ‘Hearing is a trust and sight is a trust.’ If speech were not likewise a trust of the Fast, the Prophet, on him be peace, would not have said: ‘Say: “I am Fasting!”‘ In other words: ‘My tongue has been entrusted to my care, so how can I release it to answer your insults?’

It therefore becomes apparent that every act of worship has both an outer and an inner aspect, a husk and a kernel.

— Al-Ghazali, A. Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship. Trans. Muhtar Holland. Leicestershire: The Islamic Foundation, 2006.

And Allah is the Guide.

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