You should fast, nothing compares to fasting

Since 2012-11-29

That was the commandment of Prophet Muhammad, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him. So, he guided you to this act of worship in a brief sentence. Brief as it is, it holds many great secrets for lofty virtuous benefits that are attained by few people only!

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All Praise is due to Allah, we praise Him and seek His help, forgiveness and seek refuge in Him from the evils of ourselves and the evils of our actions, whomever Allah guides is not to be misled, and whomever He misleads is not to be guided. We testify that there is no God except Allah alone Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him.

You should fast:

My dear brother: «You should fast, nothing compares to fasting» [authenticated by Al-Albâni]

عليك بالصوم فإنه لا مثل له» صححه الألباني»

That was the commandment of Prophet Muhammad, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him. So, he guided you to this act of worship in a brief sentence. Brief as it is, it holds many great secrets for lofty virtuous benefits that are attained by few people only!

Dear Brother: if you look carefully into the secrets of those benefits, you will bemoan every day you did not observe fasting, and your soul –yearning for good deeds- would call upon you to fast each commendable day.

Certainly, you know very well about the reward and retribution of the month of Ramadan. It is so magnificent and abundant. The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain the rewards of Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven» [Reported by Al-Bukhari].

 «من صام رمضان إيمانًا واحتسابًا غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه» رواه البخاري
Observing fast during the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Allah made it obligatory to every Muslim. And it is not a ritual fasting that we are talking about here. Our issue is commendable fasting, with its virtues and the reward given by Allah. Fasting in the cause of Allah is a protection from fire, an armor as the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «Fasting is a shield that the slave of Allah uses to shield himself from hellfire» [Declared as good by Al-Albâni, Sahîh Aj-Jâmi': 3867].
  «الصوم جنة يستجن بها العبد من النار» حسنه الألباني، صحيح الجامع: 3867
Fasting intercedes for you in the Day of Resurrection, the Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail, except for him who brings to Allah a clean heart from polytheism and hypocrisy, except for those who come with a pure heart. In a Hadith; the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «Fasting and the Qur'an are two intercessors for the slave of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say: 'O My Lord, I have prevented him from his food and desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.' The Qur'an will say: 'I have prevented him from sleeping at night, so let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted» [Narrated by Al-Haitami Al-Makki, it is authentic or good].
«الصيام والقرآن يشفعان للعبد يوم القيامة، يقول الصيام: أي رب منعته الطعام والشهوة، فشفعني فيه، ويقول القرآن: منعته النوم بالليل فشفعني فيه. قال: فيشفعان» المحدث: الهيتمي المكي، صحيح أو حسن
While every good deed receives ten times its like, Allah made unknown the reward of fasting. This is a clear indication of its great reward. In the Divine Hadith, Allah Almighty said: «Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting. It is (exclusively) meant for Me and I (alone) will reward for it. Fasting is a shield. When any one of you is fasting on a day, he should neither indulge in obscene language, nor raise the voice; or if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him he should say: I am a fasting person» [Sahîh Muslim: 1151].
«كل عمل ابن آدم له إلا الصيام، فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به، والصيام جنة، فإذا كان يوم صوم أحدكم فلا يرفث يومئذ ولا يصخب، فإن سابه أحد أو قاتله فليقل: إني امرؤ صائم» صحيح مسلم: 1151
Ibn Rajab, May Allah have mercy on him, explained this Hadith saying: "fasting is an exception from the manifold deeds. All deeds are ten times rewarded up to seven hundred times, except for fasting; it is not limited to this extent -Allah Glorified and Exalted multiplies it endlessly".

Fasting is a form of patience. So, Allah Almighty has said: {Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning} [Az-Zummar: 10].

{إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ}  الزمر: 10
Transliteration: 'Innamā Yuwaffá Aş-Şābirūna 'Ajrahum Bighayri Ĥisābin

Patience has three forms: patience over acts of obedience, patience over prohibitions of Allah, and patience over the painful divine decrees.

Fasting combines these three forms. In fasting there is patience over the obedience of Allah, patience over the lustrous desires prohibited by Allah during fasting, and patience in enduring the pain of hunger, thirst and weakness of the body and soul. This pain resulting from acts of obedience is rewarded, as Allah Almighty has described the fighters in the path of Allah: {That is because they suffer neither thirst nor fatigue, nor hunger in the Cause of Allâh, nor they take any step to raise the anger of disbelievers nor inflict any injury upon an enemy but is written to their credit as a deed of righteousness. Surely, Allâh wastes not the reward of the Muhsinûn} [At-Taubah: 120]. (Latâ'if Al-Ma'ârif (the Best of Knowledge) by Ibn Rajab: p. 168)

{ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ لَا يُصِيبُهُمْ ظَمَأٌ وَلَا نَصَبٌ وَلَا مَخْمَصَةٌ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلَا يَطَئُونَ مَوْطِئًا يَغِيظُ الْكُفَّارَ وَلَا يَنَالُونَ مِنْ عَدُوٍّ نَيْلًا إِلَّا كُتِبَ لَهُمْ بِهِ عَمَلٌ صَالِحٌ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ} التوبة: 120
Transliteration: Dhālika Bi'annahum Lā Yuşībuhum Žama'un Wa Lā Naşabun Wa Lā Makhmaşatun Fī Sabīli Allāhi Wa Lā Yaţa'ūna Mawţi'āan Yaghīžu Al-Kuffāra Wa Lā Yanālūna Min `Adūwin Naylāan 'Illā Kutiba Lahum Bihi `Amalun Şāliĥun 'Inna Allāha Lā Yuđī`u 'Ajra Al-Muĥsinīna

Alqurtubi, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "the actions of the slaves of Allah fit their conditions, except for fasting; it fits an attribute of The All True. It is as if Allah Glorified and Exalted has said: a fasting servant is approaching Me by a matter which is attached to one attribute of mine."

So my brother, contemplate on the reward of this act of worship... it is a shield from fire, an intercessor in The Day of Return, and only The Lord of all creation knows the greatness of its reward.

The virtue of fasting

The great virtues of fasting have been reported in Many Hadiths. Once a true believer knows about them, he sets out to attain them, and hastens to acquire them. O brother: here is a statement about these fruits:

1- Entering Paradise: The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «In Paradise there is a gate which is called Ar-Rayyân through which only the observers of fast would enter on the Day of Resurrection. None else would enter along with them. It would be proclaimed: Where are the observers of fast that they should be admitted into it? -and when the last one of them would enter, it would be closed and no one would enter it» [Authenticated by Al-Albâni].

«إن في الجنة بابًا يقال له الريان يدخل منه الصائمون يوم القيامة لا يدخل منه أحد غيرهم، فإذا دخلوا أغلق، فلم يدخل منه أحد» صححه الألباني
2- Salvation from hellfire: Many Hadiths were reported about that, among them the saying of Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him: «he who observed fasting for a day for he sake of Allah, Allah will keep Hellfire away from him for (a distance covered by a journey of) a hundred years» [Narrated by Al-Albâni, it is authentic by the virtue of another Hadith, Sahîh At-Targhîb: 988].
«من صام يومًا في سبيل الله بعدت منه النار مسيرة مائة عام» المحدث: الألباني، صحيح لغيره، صحيح الترغيب 988
The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «Every slave of Allah who observes fasting for a day for the sake of Allah, Allah would remove, because of this day, his face farther from the Fire (of Hell) to the extent of seventy years' distance» [Narrated by Al-Albâni, it is authentic by the virtue of another Hadith, Sahîh At-Targhîb: 988].
«من صام يومًا في سبيل الله زحزح الله وجهه عن النار بذلك اليوم سبعين خريفً» المحدث: الألباني، صحيح لغيره، صحيح الترغيب: 988
The Hadiths of such meaning are numerous, and it was previously mentioned that fasting is a shield that protects the slaves of Allah from hellfire.

3- Fasting is the sign of the righteous: In a Hadith, the messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «may Allah let some righteous people pray for you, they spend the night in praying, and fast at day, and they are neither sinful nor wicked» [Narrated by Al-Wâdi'i, it is authentic].


«جعل الله عليكم صلاة قوم أبرار، يقومون الليل، ويصومون النهار، ليسوا بأثمة ولا فجار» المحدث: الوادعي، صحيح

4- The invocation of the fasting man is not rejected: He, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «Three invocations are to be answered: the invocation of a fasting man, the invocation of an oppressed man, and the invocation of a traveler» [Authenticated by Al-Albâni, Sahîh Aj-Jâmi': 3030].
«ثلاث دعوات مستجابات: دعوة الصائم، ودعوة المظلوم، ودعوة المسافر» صححه الألباني، صحيح الجامع: 3030
5- Expiation of the wrong deeds: The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «the affliction of man in his wife, money, soul, offspring, and neighbors is expiated by fasting, praying, charity and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil» [Reported by Muslim].
«فتنة الرجل في أهله وماله ونفسه وولده وجاره، يكفرها الصيام، والصلاة، والصدقة، والأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر» رواه مسلم
O decent brother…Those are some of the great virtues of the optional fasting: wining paradise, salvation from hellfire, and answering your invocation… and expiating your sins, as well as many other virtues known only by Allah. It is a long distance between a man who keeps on filling his stomach, and a man who buys these great virtues by being hungry for a few hours...

The virtues of fasting are not limited to its hereafter benefits; it has sublime virtues in the worldly life of those who fast. Some are:

First: sound bodies as the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said «The worst that the son of Adam fills is his stomach» [Narrated by Mohamed Jâru-Allah As-Sa'di, it is good].

ما ملأ ابن آدم وعاء شرًا من بطنه» المحدث: محمد جار الله الصعدي، حسن»
Ibn Al-Qayyim said in Zâd Alm'âd (the Provision of the Hereafter): "It (fasting) has an amazing effect in maintaining the outer senses and the inner powers by keeping off the mixtures that cause harmful substances to enter them, and throwing away other harmful substances that damage the health."

Second: the integrity of minds and reforming their thoughts. The energy of instinct is stimulated by hunger and thirst, so fasting strengthens its recognition of meanings, and multiplies its pondering of the meanings of righteous deeds.

Third: enhancing memory and reducing forgetfulness. The more we eat the more humidity is in the body, which leads to dullness in nature.

Fourth: agility of the organs in performing acts of obedience. Satiety relaxes the body, and causes slackening in performing acts of worship, and tardiness in responding to them.

Fifth: letting down the supporters of Satan, and helping the soldiers of The Beneficent.

Sixth: tenderness of the heart, and outpouring of tears.

Seventh: responding to invocations; which is a sign of favor and fostering.

Eighth: rejoicing when meeting his Lord because of fasting.

Ninth: rejoicing at breaking his fast. It is not about eating and drinking, it is about getting his reward when he established fasting and that nothing interrupted him from observing the fast.

Tenth: maintaining senses from indulging in committing sins.

Eleventh: pride with fasting on the Day of Resurrection.

Twelfth: having the privilege of entering Paradise from the Gate of Ar-Rayyân (Madârik Al-Marâm (Attaining the Desired): pp78-81).

Fasting is the greatest helper in performing acts of worship

O Muslim brother: you should know that lustrous desire is the greatest obstacle that stands before the Muslim and keeps him from attaining the worship for Allah as He pleases. It lures souls into committing sins, and leads them to committing violations. So, weakening and breaking desire is the most helper to Muslim in worshipping Allah.

Thus appears the value of fasting… it is a great desire breaker and conqueror. With fasting souls are purified and raised. The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes from casting (evil glances), and preserves one from immorality; but those who cannot should devote themselves to fasting for it is a means of controlling sexual desire» [Reported by Muslim].

«يا معشر الشباب! من استطاع منكم الباءة فليتزوج، فإنه أغض للبصر، وأحصن للفرج، ومن لم يستطع فعليه بالصوم فإنه له وجاء» رواه مسلم
Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "As the intent of fasting is to keep one's soul from desires, and to get ready for attaining its utmost happiness and to accept what sanctifies its eternal life. Hunger and thirst reduce its intensity, and remind our souls of the conditions of the poor hungry people. It constricts the paths of Satan in the slave of Allah by constricting the paths of food and drink..."

Accepted fasting

O brother... the accepted fasting that brings forth those great virtues, is not just keeping from eating and drinking from dawn till sunset, it is fasting in its general meaning. It is keeping the stomach and the private parts from food and sexual desires… it is keeping senses from committing acts of disobedience and violations… and it is keeping the heart from obeying the commands and wills but those of Allah.

The Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «there can be a fasting man who gets nothing from his fast except, and there can be a man standing in night prayer who gets nothing from his prayer except only alertness» [Narrated by Al-Albâni, it is good and authentic].

«رب صائم ليس له من صيامه إلا الجوع، ورب قائم ليس له من قيامه إلا السهر» المحدث: الألباني، حسن صحيح
Jâber said: "if you fast let your ears, eyes, and tongue keep from lying and prohibited things and quit harming your neighbor. You should be in reverence and serenity on the day you fast. And beware of treating the day you fast in the same manner as the a normal day wher you don’t fast."

Ibn Aj-Jawzi said: "fasting is three kinds: fasting of the soul, which is limiting hope; fasting of the mind, which is disobeying affection; and fasting of the senses, which is keeping from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse."

Ali Zain Al-'Abedîn said: "it is the right of fasting to know that it is a screen made by Allah on your tongue, ears, eyes, private parts, and stomach to protect you from hellfire". So, the Hadith came: «Fasting is a shield from hellfire» [Authenticated by Al-Albâni].

«الصوم جنة من النار» صححه الألباني

The commendable days of fasting

O brother: here are a collection of the days which Allah commended you to fast… He made them seasons of goodness… they are attained by those who hasten to perform good deeds… those who compete to attain the virtues. {so compete in good deeds} [Al-Mâ'idah: 48].

{فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ} المائدة: 48
Transliteration: Fāstabiqū Al-Khayrāti '

1- Fasting the month of Muharram: the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «the most excellent prayer after the ordained prayers is the prayer during the night, and the most excellent fast after Ramadan is Allah's month of Muharram» [Reported by Muslim].

«أفضل الصلاة بعد المكتوبة الصلاة في جوف الليل، وأفضل الصيام بعد شهر رمضان شهر الله المحرم» رواه مسلم
The Sacred month is blessed and auspicious
and fasting in it is rewarded and following the Sunnah.
And the reward of fasting to the Countenance of Allah
in eternity is stocked with the Sovereign.

2- Fasting the month of Sha'bân: ‘A`ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, has said: «the most preferred month to the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, to fast was the month of Sha'bân; then he joined fasting it with Ramadan» [Authenticated by Al-Albâni].

«كان أحب الشهور إليه -صلى الله عليه وسلم- أن يصومه شعبان، ثم يصله برمضان» صححه الألباني
Ibn Abbâs, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: «The Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) did not fast throughout any month except the month of Ramadan. And when he observed fast (he fasted so continuously) that one would say that he would not break (them) and when he Abandoned, he abandoned (so continuously) that one would say: By Allah, perhaps he would never fasted» [Reported by Al-Bukhâri].
«ما صام النبي -صلى الله عليه وسلم- شهراً كاملاً قط غير رمضان، ويصوم حتى يقول القائل: لا والله لا يفطر، ويفطر حتى يقول القائل: لا والله لا يصوم» رواه البخاري

3- Fasting six days of Shawwâl: the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six fasting days of Shawwâl, it would be as if he fasted for eternity» [Reported by Muslim].
«من صام رمضان ثم أتبعه ستًا من شوال كان كصيام الدهر» رواه مسلم
4- Fasting during the first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah: it is narrated in the Hadith that: «No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah)."Then some Companions of the Prophet said, "Not even Jihâd?" He replied, "Not even Jihâd, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah's sake) and does not return with any of those things» [Authenticated by Al-Albâni].
«ما العمل في أيام أفضل منه في عشر ذي الحجة، ولا الجهاد في سبيل الله، إلا رجل خرج يخاطر بنفسه وماله، فلم يرجع من ذلك بشيء» صححه الألباني
Ibn Sîrîn and Qatâdah used to say: "fasting each day of the ten (of the month of Dhul-Hijjah) is equal (in reward) to fasting a whole year."

5- Fasting the day of 'Arafa (9th of Dhul-Hijjah): the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «fasting the day of 'Arafa expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year» [Authenticated by Al-Albâni].

 «صوم يوم عرفة كفارة السنة الماضية والسنة المستقبلة» صححه الألباني
He, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said «fasting the day of 'Arafa expiates the sins of two years: the preceding year and the coming year, and fasting the day of 'Ashûrâ' (10th of Muharram) expiates the sins of the preceding year» [Authenticated by Al-Albâni].

«صوم يوم عرفة يكفر سنتين، ماضية ومستقبلة، وصوم عاشوراء يكفر سنة ماضية» صححه الألباني

6- Fasting the day of 'Ashûrâ': Ibn Abbâs, may Allah be pleased with them both, narrated that: «I have never seen the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, seeking to fast on a day more preferable to him than this day, the day of 'Ashûrâ', or this month, i.e. the month of Ramadan» [Reported by Al-Bukhari].
«ما رأيت النبي -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يتحرى صيام يوم فضله على غيره إلا هذا اليوم، يوم عاشوراء، وهذا الشهر يعني شهر رمضان» رواه البخاري
7-Fasting the white days: they are the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth of each month, as the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him has said: «if you observed fasting, then fast the folding days (meaning the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth of each month, as they divide the month into two equal halves)» [Al-Albâni said it is good].
«إن كنت صائمًا فصم أيام الغر» حسنه الألباني
The Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «if you observed fasting three days in the month, then fast the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth» [Narrated by Al-Mundhiri, it is authentic or good or close to these].
«إذا صمت من الشهر ثلاثًا فصم ثلاث عشرة، وأربع عشرة، وخمس عشرة» المحدث: المنذري، صحيح أو حسن أو ما قاربهما

8- Fasting Mondays and Thursdays: Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that: the most days the Prophet used to fast on were Mondays and Thursdays; he was asked about this whereupon he answered: «deeds are presented (to Allah) on Mondays and Thursdays, or every Monday and Thursday; so Allah forgives every Muslim or every believer except those who desert each other, so Allah says: delay them» [Narrated by Ahmad Shaker, it is authentic].
«إن الأعمال تعرض كل اثنين وخميس، أو كل يوم اثنين وخميس، فيغفر الله لكل مسلم أو لكل مؤمن إلا المتهاجرين فيقول: أخرهما» المحدث: أحمد شاكر، صحيح
It was narrated that ‘A`ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: «the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, used to observe fasting on Mondays and Thursdays» [Narrated by Ibn Hajar Al-'Asqalâni, it is authentic].
«أن النبي -صلى الله عليه وسلم- كان يتحرى صيام الإثنين والخميس» المحدث: ابن حجر العسقلاني، صحيح
9 -Fasting a day and breaking the fast the other day: the Prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, has said: «The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of my brother Dâwûd (the Prophet David) who used to fast on alternate days, and he never fled before the enemy» [Narrated by ibn Jarîr At-Tabari, it is authentic].
«أفضل الصوم صوم أخي داود، كان يصوم يوماً ويفطر يوماً ولا يفر إذا لاقى» المحدث: ابن جرير الطبري، صحيح


O brother: these are a collection of the commendable days to fast… their virtue is obvious…their fruit is visible… so be serious in obtaining them… You are in the worldly life which is the abode of work and competition… Seek Mondays and Thursdays… and the white days… Fasting in those days relieves your stress… and Allah multiplies your merits and reward… seize the seasons of good, such as fasting the ten days (of the month of Dhul-Hijjah)... They are the most favored in the worldly life… Allah multiplies the reward of deeds on them… and gives abundant reward for those who worship and repent on them.

Here are some stories of our forefathers, who understood the secrets of fasting; so they fought their lustrous desires, and raised their degrees before Allah.

Ayyûb said: "Mohamed Ibn Sîrîn used to fast a day and break fast a day". Ibn 'Awn said: "Mohamed Ibn Sîrîn was the harshest person on himself."

Hesham Ibn 'Urwa said that his father used to fast continuously.
Also, he said that his father 'Urwa Ibn Al-Zubair used to fast all days, except for the Breakfast day (Eid Al-Fitr, and the Slaughter day (Eid Al-Adha), and he died while fasting.

Hammâd narrated about Ibrâhîm: Al-Aswad used to fast till his tongue turned black from the heat.

Abdullah Ibn Bishr said: 'Alkama and Al-Aswad went for pilgrimage, and Al-Aswad was a man of worship. He fasted on a day while it was the midday heat, and his face dimmed. 'Alkama came and slapped his thigh and said: "O Abu 'Amro, do you not fear Allah in your body? Why do you make it suffer?" Al-Aswad replied: "O Abu Shibl: persistence, persistence."

Brother, this is a drop in a sea... If you read more in the life of our predecessors and their ways of fasting you would be astonished… and you will know how defrauded we are as to the great rewards of fasting.

Brother... you should fast, nothing compares to fasting... It expiates your sin... it covers your flaws… it makes you inherit Paradise. It keeps your face away from hellfire… it attires you with the dignity of obedience, and the sweetness of good deeds.

The hours of satiety are transient… the moments of lustrous desire come to an end... Those most satiated in this worldly life, will be the most hungry in the Hereafter.
A hunger that leads to salvation and Paradise is better than a mouthful that leaves cruelty and overabundance of food.

Where are those who filled their stomachs… those who savored the kind of food they desired? Are they not in a pit (grave) where they are most needy for good deeds, and most poor for degrees? So hasten early to the seasonal benefits in this worldly life. A fasting man would feel hungry just as the one who eats. However, the hunger of the fasting is for Him, while the hunger of the feeding one is for him. A fasting man has two joys, and the feeding one has one joy, so contemplate….

Prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon all his family and companions.

Dar Ibn Khuzaymah
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