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The Rulings of Ramadan


"O you who believe,
fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain piety"

[Al-Baqarah, 2:183]

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rulings of Ramadan
According to the Way of the Best of Mankind (S.A.W.) - by Abu Ammar

1) Translator?s Introduction
2) The Blessed Month of Ramadan
3) Fasting During Ramadan
4) Types of Fast
5) The Sighting of the New Moon (Hilal)
6) Things Disliked and Those Not Disliked Whilst Fasting
7) Things Which Invalidate The Fast But Do Not Require
... Atonement (Kaffarah)
8) Things Which Invalidate the Fast and Require Kaffarah
9) Those Not Obliged to Fast
10) The Recitation of the Quran and its Etiquettes (Adab)
11) Tarawih
12) The Number of Rak?ahs for Tarawih
13) Spiritual Retreat (I?tikaf)
14) Types of I?tikaf
15) The Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr)
16) The Descending of the Angels
17) Knowledge of Laylat al-Qadr
18) Witnessing Laylat al-Qadr
19) The Zakat of ?Eid al-Fitr
20) The Day of ?Eid al-Fitr
21) Description of The Prayer on ?Eid al-Fitr
22) The Mysteries of Fasting
23)
Epilogue

 

 

 



1) Translator?s Introduction

In the name of Allah the Most Merciful, and Compassionate

All praise is due unto Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and Sustainer of each and every atom in existence. Exalted is He, above all that is associated with Him. There is none like unto Him, and He is the All Hearing, All Seeing. He is the Knower of the Innermost Secrets, and the most hidden thoughts of men. He is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth. And I bear witness that our master, the Beloved of Allah ? Muhammad , is His servant and messenger. He was sent with the Religion of Truth to make it manifest over all other religions. He was sent as a witness, a bringer of glad tidings, a warner, a caller to Allah by His leave and as a luminous lamp. May the peace and blessings of Allah Most High be showered upon him, and upon his family, and upon his wives, and his companions one and all. And may the mercy of Allah be upon those who followed him of the Tabi?in and their students, and those who follow in their footsteps, biting onto their way with their molars.

To continue, this is a brief outline of the matters pertaining to the blessed month of Ramadan, its virtues and the rulings which Allah Most High has commanded us with. The rulings of Islamic Sacred Law (Fiqh) in this work are taken from the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence (Madhhab). This work has been compiled from Bada?i? al-Sana?i? by Imam al-Kasani and al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah ? two major works of Hanafi fiqh. The Hanafi school, established by Imam Nu?man bin Thabit, more commonly known as Abu Hanifah (May Allah be well pleased with him) (d. A.H. 150), is one of the four schools of Islamic Orthodoxy (Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama?ah) the other schools being the schools of Imam al-Shafi?i (d. A.H. 204), Imam Malik (d. A.H. 179) and Imam Ahmad (d. A.H. 241).

The rulings of a particular madhhab are changed and altered over time, as new evidence and understandings emerge, each time referring to the original principles (usul) by which the madhhab was laid down. Allah Most High commands us in the Quran:

Ask those who recall if you know not.
(Surat al-Nahl, Ayah 43)

It is this Divine Command that we follow when learning the shari?ah and passing its knowledge on to others, meaning that we return to what the classical scholars have adhered to, ultimately returning to the primary sources of shari?ah ? the Quran and sunnah. May Allah reward all those who spent their time and resources on the translating and checking of this work.

May Allah increase them in Love for Allah and His Messenger , and grant them tawfiq seeking Allah alone. We pray that Allah Most High accepts our efforts, and that He grants us tawfiq to worship Him with sincerity and Ikhlas. And Allah Most High alone grants success.

And all praise is due unto Allah. Peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad , and upon his family and companions, one and all.

Basharat Janjua
Sha?ban A.H. 1421

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2) The Blessed Month of Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is a month of grace and blessing. Upon arrival of this blessed month, Allah Most High causes His blessings and forgiveness to descend upon the one who gives this month its rights. Ramadan is the month in which Allah Most High showers His blessings upon our homes, and upon those who enter the mosques, especially the House of Allah ? the Ka?bah. During Ramadan, the Mercy of Allah Most High falls upon us, like rain falling from the clouds.

One can liken the virtue of Ramadan with charity, which is of two kinds. The first kind is where one gives charity to someone whom one meets along the street or on the path. The second kind is likened to one who visits another with the intention of giving charity. Ramadan is likened to the latter; where Allah Most High causes His blessings to descend upon the ummah of the Blessed Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). It is during this time, that little effort has the ability to earn high rewards, no matter where one is, be it in the Sacred Precinct in Makkah or in one?s home.

Allah Most High is the creator of all things. He created each year, month, day and hour. In the same way that Allah Most High has elevated the status of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) over the whole of creation; and the status of the Ka?bah over other places of worship, He has elevated and raised the month of Ramadan over all other months. This is entirely the will of Allah Most High, and a manifestation of His Omnipotent Power and Divine Will.

Allah Most High chose to reveal His Uncreated Speech ? the Quran, in this blessed month, to His final and Most Beloved Prophet ? Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). Allah Most High says in the Quran:

"The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and a criterion."
(Surat al-Baqarah, ayah 185)

Imam al-Tabari writes that Wathilah (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

The Scrolls of Abraham were revealed on the first night of the month of Ramadan, the Torah was revealed on the sixth of Ramadan, the Bible on the thirteenth, and the Quran was revealed on the twenty-fourth of Ramadan.

He also writes that Ibn ?Abbas (Allah be well pleased with him) said:

Allah caused the Quran to descend to the heaven of this world, on Laylat al-Qadr, and then when Allah wished to reveal anything from it, He revealed it. And that is what is meant by His Words, ?Verily We have revealed the Quran in Laylat al-Qadr?.

(Tafsir al-Tabari, by Imam al-Tabari, surat al-Qadr)

Allah Most High says in the Quran:

O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain unto piety.
(Surat al-Baqarah, Ayah 183)

Imam al-Tabari writes that Qatadah (Allah be well pleased with him) said, in reference to this ayah:

The month of Ramadan has been prescribed for the people as it was prescribed for those before them. Allah has prescribed the fast of three days of each month, before revealing the fast of Ramadan.

(Tafsir al-Tabari, by Imam al-Tabari, surat al-Qadr)

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is obligatory and is done solely for Allah Most High. In a hadith qudsi Allah Most High says:

Every action of the son of Adam belongs to him except the fast. It is Mine, and I repay him for it.

(Muslim)

There can be neither false pretension nor showing off on the part of the one who is fasting. If one is offering prayers, giving zakah, making pilgrimage or any other form of worship, others can see one?s worship but fasting is distinguished by the fact that only Allah Most High can see who is fasting and who is not.

The polytheists may perform various acts of worship for their false gods to please them. They may make vows to them, make tawaf around them, travel for them and fight in their names. However, they do not fast for them nor has it ever been recorded that they fasted for them. Indeed it is clear that the fast of Islam is the fast of the Truth.

Hafiz al-?Asqalani, quoting from Imam al-Qurtubi, mentions the following hadith:

The bankrupt person is he who shall come on the Day of Judgment with prayer, charity and fast, but he had also swore at another person, beat another, and consumed the wealth of another. His good deeds will be taken from him, and the other person will take his good deeds. And when his good deeds are no more, before what is due upon him has been paid, he takes from their bad deeds. They will be thrown at him. Then he will be flung into the Fire.

He continues to says that there is a narration from by Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him), in which Allah Most High says:

All actions are atonement, except for fasting. Fasting is for Me and I reward it.

(Fath al-Bari, by Hafiz al-?Asqalani, Book of Fasting)

It can be concluded that Allah Most High loves the fast of a Muslim, as it is a means for him to become more aware and fearful of Allah Most High.

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3) Fasting During Ramadan

Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

He (Allah be well pleased with him) also narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Whomsoever fasts the month of Ramadan, with faith, seeking reward from Allah, his past sins will be forgiven.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

It has also been narrated by Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Allah Mighty and Majestic says, ?Every action of the son of Adam belongs to him except the fast. It is Mine, and I repay him for it.? Fasting is a protection. When one of you has a day of fasting, he should then speak neither obscenely nor too loudly; and if someone seeks to curse him or fight with him, let him say, ?I am fasting.? By Him in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad , the smell of the mouth of the one who fasts is more delectable to Allah than the scent of musk. The one who fasts has two joys in which to delight: when he breaks his fast, he rejoices; and when he meets his Lord, he rejoices in his fast.

(Muslim)

Sahl bin Sa?d (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Verily there is a gate in Paradise which is called ?al-Rayyan?. Those who fasted will enter it on the Day of Judgement, and none shall enter it except them. It will be said, ?Where are those who fasted?? They will come forward and none shall enter it except them. When they have entered, the gate will be closed and none shall enter it except them.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

***

Fasting is to refrain from things that break the fast with the intention of worshiping Allah Most High. The levels of the fast are three:

1) to simply refraining from food and drink, and other things which invalidate the fast;
2) in addition to (1) above, to protect one?s eyes, ears, tongue and all other parts of the body from disobedience to Allah Most High;
3) and in addition to (1) and (2) above, to devote oneself entirely to Allah Most High, through repentance, worship and abstinence from all that distracts one from Allah Most High.

Allah Most High rewards each level of fasting, accordingly.

Fasting during Ramadan is obligatory for every one who:

a) is Muslim;
b) has reached puberty;
c) is sane;
d) is capable of bearing the fast;
e) and if female, is not in the period of menstruation or postnatal bleeding (nifas).

One must make the intention to fast for each day one fasts.

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4) Types of Fast

?A?ishah (Allah be well pleased with her) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to fast on Mondays and Thursdays.

(Tirmidhi and Nisa?i)

Abu Qatadah (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: The fast of three days of each month and that of one Ramadan to another, is a perpetual fast. I seek from Allah that the fast of the day of ?Arafah may atone for the year before it and the year after it. I seek from Allah that the fast of the day of ?Ashura may atone for the year before it.

(Muslim)

~~~~~~~

The obligatory (fard) fasts are:

1) the fasts of Ramadan;
2) the fasts which one is obliged to makeup (qada?).

The intention must be made during the night prior to dawn.

The required (wajib) fasts are those which one has vowed to perform. If one has set conditions at the time of making the vow, they must be fulfilled, for example, making a vow to perform ten fasts in Muharram. This means that one can fast any ten days in Muharram as this was not specified when making the vow.

The recommended (mustahabb) fasts are:

1) the day of ?Ashura (10th Muharram), combining it with a day before, or after it;
2) the 13th, 14th, and 15th of each lunar month;
3) Mondays and Thursdays;
4) the day of ?Arafah (9th Dhul Hijjah);
5) and the first six days of Shawwal.

The intention for the above can be made before noon, of the day of fasting.

The slightly disliked (makruh tanzihi) fasts are:

1) fasting the day ?Ashura (10th Muharram) alone, without combining it with fasting a day before, or after it;
2) the days held special by those of other religions, if they do not coincide with days which one habitually fasts;
3) and the day of ?Arafah (9th Dhul Hijjah) for a pilgrim at ?Arafah.

The severely disliked (makruh tahrimi) fasts are the two ?Eids.

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5) The Sighting of the New Moon (Hilal)

?Abdullah Ibn ?Umar (Allah be well pleased with them both) narrated that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Do not fast until you see the new moon, and do not break fast until you see it. But if there is cloud over you, count in full.

In another version he (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

The month consists of twenty-nine nights, but do not fast until you see it [tr: the new moon], and if the weather is cloudy then complete thirty nights.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

~~~~~~~

In the United Kingdom, it has been observed many times that communities are split over the matter of which day Ramadan falls and also the days of ?Eid which are days of rejoicing for us, not disagreement and conflict. The author intends, in sha Allah, to shed some light on this matter as it affects each one of us and is a cause of tribulation (fitnah). And Allah alone grants success.

The hadiths state that we should judge the approach of the lunar months by ?seeing? the new moon. In the United Kingdom, the new moon is extremely difficult to see due to the street lighting and the country?s high latitude. As it is not possible to see the moon from the United Kingdom, one must follow another city in their ruling, regarding the Hilal. There seems to be two parties who make the decision of the Hilal for the United Kingdom: Regents Park Masjid (London) and the Sunni Ru?yat Hilal Committee (Birmingham). Regents Park Masjid follows Umm al-Qura in al-Hijaz (What is presently called ?Saudi Arabia?) in its decision on Hilal. The Sunni Ru?yat Hilal Committee does not follow Umm al-Qura. The difference between these two councils is the reason why there is more than one start date of Ramadan and consequently more than one ?Eid day.

Kurayb (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported that Umm Fadl, daughter of Harith, sent Fadl to Mu?awiyah (Allah be well pleased with him), who was in Syria. Fadl said:

I arrived in Syria, and did what she needed of me. It was there, in Syria that the month of Ramadan commenced. I saw the new moon on Friday. I then came back to Madinah at the end of the month. Abdullah bin ?Abbas (Allah be well pleased with him) asked me, saying, ?When did you see it?? I said, ?We saw it on the night of Friday.? He said, ?Did you see it yourself?? I said, ?Yes, and the people also saw it and they observed fast and Mu?awiyah also observed the fast.? Abdullah bin ?Abbas (Allah be well pleased with him) said, ?But we saw it on Saturday night, so we shall continue to observe fast until we complete thirty fasts or we see it [tr: the new moon].? I said, ?Is the sighting of the moon by Mu?awiyah not valid for you?? He said, ?No, this is how the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) has commanded us.?

(Sahih al-Muslim, by Imam Muslim, Book of Fasting)

The above hadith is used as evidence to prove that it is possible for the moon to be sighted at two different places at differing times. This means that the start of Ramadan, and the dates of the two ?Eids can vary across the world, which gives rise to the possibility of more than one Hilal, each one being correct.

Imam al-Nawawi al-Shafi?i has noted that the scholars have said that if the distance between two cities is small like that of Baghdad and Basrah, and the moon is sighted in either one of them, the Hilal will be one. If the distance is far, like that of Baghdad and Makkah, and the climate of both cities is similar, the same ruling applies as for two cities which are close together. But if the climate is different, the Hilal of one city will be independent of the other.

The United Kingdom and al-Hijaz are far apart and the climate is totally different, therefore the Hilal of al-Hijaz is independent of the Hilal of the United Kingdom. For this reason, the Sunni Ru?yat Hilal Committee has chosen to follow the Hilal of Morocco, as it is the closest Muslim land, to the United Kingdom.

According to the Hanafi school, if the sky is clear, the Hilal must be witnessed by a group of Muslims, so the testimony of a single witness is not acceptable. If the sky is cloudy, then a single, upright, Muslim witness suffices. The reasoning being that if only a single person witnessed the new moon, on a clear night, he must have been mistaken, because in such a situation others would have seen it too.

When the decision of Hilal is given by Umm al-Qura, and there is only a single witness, it is not accepted by the Sunni Ru?yat Hilal Committee, as it does not meet the requirements according to the Hanafi school.

Another reason for the Sunni Ruy?at Hilal Committee rejecting the decision of Umm al-Qura is that there have been some cases when the ruling of Umm al-Qura has contradicted the observatory findings on the basis of the impossibility of having sighted the moon.

The situation is complicated and can be resolved with the help of Allah Most High. We must strive for the solution to this, to bring unity to the Muslims of the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. What is called for, is for heads of various Muslim communities to gather and decide on this issue in the light of the hadith of Kurayb (Allah be well pleased with him) and what the classical scholars have stated. May Allah grant us success in this, and to return unity to the Muslims under the banner of the sunnah of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

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6) Things Disliked and Those Not Disliked Whilst Fasting

Anas (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Take the pre-dawn meal, for verily in the pre-dawn meal there is a blessing.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

Sahl (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

The people will remain on the correct path as long as they hasten to break the fast.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

The one who does not refrain from falsehood and acting in accordance with it, Allah has no need for him leaving his food and drink.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

He (Allah be well pleased with him) also narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Many a fasting person gets nothing from his fasting but thirst. Many a man standing for worship gets nothing from his standing but sleeplessness.

(Darimi)

***

It is disliked whilst fasting:

1) to taste or chew anything;
2) to exaggerate in rinsing the mouth and in drawing the water into the nostrils;
3) to rinse the mouth unnecessarily;
4) to keep saliva together in the mouth, then to swallow it;
5) not to eat or drink anything between fast-days (wisal);
6) to keep silent all day until night, when there is no need to;
7) to make useless talk;
8) to delay the pre-dawn meal (suhur) to such an extent that one fears that the fast has already begun;
9) and to merely taste toothpaste and the like.

It is not disliked during the fast:

1) to chew something for a small child in order to help the child eat;
2) for a woman to taste food if she fears her husband;
3) to use a tooth-stick (miswak) or a toothbrush, without toothpaste;
4) and to line the eyes with kohl, even if its taste is felt in the throat.

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7) Things Which Invalidate The Fast But Do Not Require Atonement (Kaffarah)

Each of the following invalidates the day?s fast but do not require Kaffarah:

1) to be forced to eat or drink;
2) to swallow a morsel stuck in one?s teeth, if more than the size of a chickpea;
3) to use so much water in rinsing out the nose and mouth in ablution or the purificatory bath (ghusl) that some reaches the stomach, provided that one remembers that one is fasting;
4) to open one?s mouth and for something to enter into the throat;
5) to eat something which is not described as ?food? for example eggshells, provided that it is not one?s habit to eat these things;
6) to swallow rain accidentally;
7) to swallow one?s tears after allowing them to drip into one?s mouth;
8) to allow anything, for example, oil or water, to enter the body through natural openings, for example the nose, ear, eyes or private parts.
9) the appearance of menstrual or postnatal flow;
10) to eat or drink while sleeping, for a person who habitually walks in their sleep;
11) to intentionally vomit at least a mouthful or to unintentionally vomit and then to swallow it back, even though a little;
12) and to take intravenous injections or drips. The fast remains valid if one eats or drinks absentmindedly.

The fast is not invalidated if one inhales flour or dust suspended in the air or has a wet dream. If a fly or similar insect enters into the throat, the fast is not invalidated. If an elderly person breaks their fast, one should not remind them.

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8) Things Which Invalidate the Fast and Require Kaffarah

Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated:

We were sitting with the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) when a man came to him and said, ?O Messenger of Allah, I am undone.? He asked, ?What is the matter with you?? He replied, ?I slept with my wife while I was fasting.? The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) asked, ?Can you find a slave to free?? He replied, ?No.? He asked, ?Can you fast two consecutive months?? He replied, ?No.? He asked, ?Can you feed sixty poor people?? He replied, ?No.? The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ?Sit down,? and waited for a while. As we were there, a large basket (arak) containing dates, was brought to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He asked, ?Where is the questioner?? He replied, ?I.? He said, ?Take this and give it in charity.? The man said, ?To the one more needy than me, O Messenger of Allah? By Allah, there are no inhabitants of a house, between the two lava-plains of Madinah, which are more needy that the inhabitants of my house. Then the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) laughed till his canine teeth were visible and said, ?Feed your family.?

(Bukhari and Muslim)

***

Kaffarah is only required if one eats, drinks or sleeps with one?s wife, intentionally during a fast of Ramadan. The Kaffarah consists of freeing a Muslim slave, or if not possible, then to fast the days of two consecutive months. If this is not possible, then the Kaffarah is to feed sixty needy people.

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9) Those Not Obliged to Fast

The following are not required to fast:

1) those who are ill such that fasting would worsen, delay recovery from, or cause considerable harm. One must be advised by a qualified Muslim doctor, or know from personal experience;
2) those who are travelling more than 48 miles. If a traveller takes it upon himself to fast, it is valid, but he should not endanger himself by it, unnecessarily;
3) someone who is forced to break the fast by an enemy;
4) a woman who is breast feeding a baby or is pregnant and apprehends harm to herself or her child;
5) someone who has excessive hunger or thirst, meaning likely to cause death or illness;
6) and someone whom fasting exhausts because of advanced years or having an illness from which he is unlikely to recover. Such a person must give the amount equal to the zakat of ?Eid al-Fitr, in charity, for each day missed.

Although the above are not obliged to fast, they must makeup each day missed, (6) being an exception.

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10) The Recitation of the Quran and its Etiquettes (Adab)

?Uthman (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

The best amongst you is the one who learns the Quran and teaches it.

(Bukhari)

?Abdullah bin Mas?ud (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Whomsoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, has a reward. And the reward is like ten rewards. I do not say, ?Alif Lam Mim, is a letter.? But, ?Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.?

(Tirmidhi)

?Abdullah bin ?Amr (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

It will be said to the one who is devoted to the Quran, ?Recite and ascend, and recite slowly as you used to recite slowly in the world. For verily your abode is at the last ayah which you recite.?

(Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi)

?A?ishah (Allah be well pleased with her) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

The one who recites the Quran fluently, will be in the company of the obedient and noble angels. And the one who recites the Quran, haltingly and with difficulty, for him there is a double reward.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

***

One should not touch the Quran except in a state of ritual purity. When beginning to recite, one should seek refuge in Allah Most High from the accursed Devil and say the Basmalah. One should give one?s eyes their share of looking at it, by reading from a copy of the Quran as opposed to reciting from memory alone. One should not carry a copy of the Quran in a place where it may become damaged or into the lavatory. One should not recite it aloud over another?s recitation of it, so as to spoil it for him and make him resent what he hears, making it as if it were some kind of competition. One should not interrupt another?s recitation of the Quran, his making Remembrance of Allah (dhikr), or learning or teaching religious knowledge, even with Salams. One is permitted to recite the Quran whilst walking or on a journey. To memorise any part of the Quran and then to forget it is severely disliked, to such an extent that it is almost forbidden (haram). One should not place anything on top of the Quran, nor should one place it on the floor, but rather, one should place it on an elevated place in front of oneself. One should maintain the order of the various surahs when reciting it. If the pages of the Quran become worn or torn, they should be buried in a clean place, for example a graveyard, or put into clean, flowing water.

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11) Tarawih

It is recommended to perform tarawih, which consists of twenty rak?ahs (see discussion below) of group prayer on each night of Ramadan. One finishes each pair of rak?ahs with Salams. If one has missed the tarawih with the group, one should perform it alone. It is an emphasised sunnah (sunnah mu?akkadah) to recite the Quran much, preferably completing its recitation twice: once alone and once with the group during tarawih. The Quran should be recited slowly and clearly so that each word is pronounced correctly.

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12) The Number of Rak?ahs for Tarawih

Imam al-Tirmidhi writes:

The majority of the scholars narrate from ?Umar and others that the tarawih prayer consists of twenty rak?ahs.

(Jami? al-Tirmidhi by Imam al-Tirmidhi, Book of Salah)

Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah writes:

It has been proved that Ubay bin Ka?b used to offer twenty rak?ahs with the people in the Qiyam of Ramadan. Adding to them, three more. Many of the scholars have said that this is the sunnah, as the emigrants and the Madinan helpers used to stand with him, and they did not object to it.

(Majmu? al-Fatawa by Hafiz Ibn Taymiyyah, under Naza? al-Ulama? fi miqdar qiyam Ramadan)

Qadi al-Shawkani writes that Imam Malik narrated:

?Umar (Allah be well pleased with him) ordered ?Abd al-Rahman Ibn al-Qari to lead the prayer with twenty rak?ahs.

(Nayl al-Awtar by Qadi al-Shawkani, chapter of Tarawih)

Imam ?Abd al-Raqqaz bin Humam, Hafiz Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Shaybah and Imam al-Bayhaqi, have all written concerning the matter of the tarawih. They have all said that during the caliphate of ?Umar and ?Ali (Allah be well pleased with them both) the Imams were ordered to pray twenty rak?ahs of tarawih.

(Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Musannaf ?Abd al-Razzaq and al-Sunan al-Kubra by Hafiz Abu Bakr Ibn Abi Shaybah, Imam ?Abd al-Raqqaz bin Humam and Imam al-Bayhaqi respectively, under Qiyam Ramadan)

Offering twenty rak?ahs of tarawih has been the practice of the Imams of the two sacred precincts of Makkah and Madinah.

The evidence for the tarawih consisting of eight rak?ahs is given by the hadith of ?A?ishah (Allah be well pleased with her) where she says that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to offer thirteen rak?ahs of prayer at night, both during Ramadan and outside of it. This hadith and similar ones have reached us via approximately four chains, with small variances.

The scholars of Ahl al-sunnah wal-Jama?ah have stated that these hadiths refer to the night vigil (Tahajjud). One reason for this is that ?A?ishah (Allah be well pleased with her) was asked concerning the night prayer of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). The only mention of the word ?Ramadan?, in this hadith, comes from a narrator called Sa?id bin Abi Sa?id al-Makburi. Also, when these hadiths were recorded, they appeared in the chapters regarding Tahajjud. Another point which is worth mentioning is that, if this hadith refers to the tarawih, it must also mean that tarawih should be offered both in Ramadan and outside of it, as the hadith states.

From this, one can conclude that this hadith, and similar ones can only refer to Tahajjud, and not to the tarawih.

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13) Spiritual Retreat (I?tikaf)

Abu Hurayrah (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated:

The Quran was presented to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once each year. But it was presented twice in the year in which he passed away. And he used to make spiritual retreat for ten nights, and twenty in the year in which he passed away.

(Bukhari)

?A?ishah (Allah be well pleased with her) narrated:

The sunnah for one who is in I?tikaf is not to visit the sick, nor attend a funeral prayer, nor touch one?s wife, nor go out for any need except when there is no alternative to it. There is no spiritual retreat except with fasting, and there is no spiritual retreat except in a congregational Mosque.

(Abu Dawud)

?Abdullah Ibn ?Umar (Allah be well pleased with them both) narrated that when the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made I?tikaf, his bedding (or bed) was spread for him, behind the Pillar of Repentance [tr: a pillar in the Mosque of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)].

(Abu Dawud)

***

Spiritual retreat (I?tikaf) means to remain in the mosque with the intention of devoting oneself to Allah Most High. It is a means by which one can draw nearer to Allah Most High. The one who makes the intention for I?tikaf turns away from the life of this world and seeks the Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah Most High. Imam ?Ata? al-Khurasani has said that the one whom performs I?tikaf is like the one who humbles himself in prostration before Allah Most High and vows not to lift his head until he is forgiven.

The I?tikaf is a communal sunnah, that is, if a single person from a community performs it, the sunnah has been fulfilled, but if not a single person has performed it, the sunnah remains unfulfilled. For men, it must be performed in the mosque, but for women this is disliked. Rather, they should perform it in an area of the house which has been set-aside for prayer (musalla). The mosque in which I?tikaf is valid is that in which the five daily obligatory prayers are offered in a group. The I?tikaf of a woman becomes invalid if the signs of menstruation appear.

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14) Types of I?tikaf

?A?ishah (Allah be well pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to make I?tikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan, until Allah Most High took his soul. Then his wives continued to make I?tikaf after he passed away.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

***

There are three types of I?tikaf or spiritual retreat:

1) the wajib I?tikaf, which one has vowed to observe;
2) the emphasised sunnah (sunnah mu?akkadah) I?tikaf, which is observed during the last ten days of Ramadan;
3) and the recommended (mustahabb) I?tikaf, which is observed when one enters a mosque with the intention of devoting oneself to Allah Most High alone, even for a short period.

Someone who makes I?tikaf (Mu?takif) continues to receive reward until he leaves the mosque. When observing the wajib I?tikaf, one must fast and make I?tikaf for as much as one originally intended to perform when making the vow. For the sunnah mu?akkadah I?tikaf, one must start the I?tikaf before the sunset prayer (maghrib) of the 20th day of Ramadan, and must complete it on seeing the new moon of ?Eid al-Fitr.

The Mu?takif is not permitted to leave the mosque for any reason except answering the call of nature, making wudu?, ghusl and the like. Leaving the mosque for a worldly need invalidates I?tikaf. There is no harm in eating or drinking in the mosque. A woman who observes I?tikaf in her home is not permitted to leave the place which has been fixed for I?tikaf, in the same way that a man is not permitted to leave the mosque.

I?tikaf is a spiritual retreat, so one should busy oneself with spiritual works, for example, reciting the Quran, performing prayers, especially those which one must makeup and learning Islamic Sacred Law (shari?ah). One should also keep oneself far away from vulgarity, and useless speech.

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15) The Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr)

?A?ishah (Allah be well pleased with her) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

Seek Laylat al-Qadr in the odd numbered nights, among the last ten of Ramadan.

(Bukhari)

?Abdullah Ibn ?Umar (Allah be well pleased with both of them) narrated:

Men from amongst the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) were shown in a dream that Laylat al-Qadr was in the last seven nights. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ?I see that your visions regarding the last seven, agree. So whomsoever searches for it, let him search for it in the last seven.?

(Bukhari and Muslim)

?A?ishah (Allah be well pleased with her) narrated:

I once asked, ?O Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), what should I say if I have knowledge of which night is Laylat al-Qadr?? He replied, ?Say these words: O Allah, thou art forgiving, loving forgiveness. So forgive me.?

(Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi)

?Ubada Ibn al-Samit (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) went out to inform the people about Laylat al-Qadr [tr: its date], but there was a dispute between two Muslims. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ?I came out to inform you about Laylat al-Qadr, its knowledge has been taken away and maybe it was better for you. Now look for it in the 27th 29th and 25th.?

(Bukhari)

Anas (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

When Laylat al-Qadr appears, Gabriel descends with a company of angels who pray for everyone who is making the Remembrance of Allah Mighty and Majestic, whether standing or sitting.

(Bayhaqi)

***

It is a great blessing that the Quran was first revealed on this night. This is the night on which all decisions are made, meaning that everything for the year is copied from the preserved tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfuz) and then distributed among various angels.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once mentioned some devotees from the children of Israel. Among them, there was one who spent a thousand months in continuous struggle in the path of Allah Most High (jihad). Also, among them were four devotees who spent eighty years in the worship of Allah Most High, such that not even a single moment was wasted in disobedience. The Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), on hearing this, were amazed. The angel Gabriel then came with the chapter of the Quran called, ?The Night of Power? (surat al-Qadr) which contained the promise that, whomsoever spends the whole night of Laylat al-Qadr in worship, will be rewarded as if he spent more than a thousand months in the worship of Allah Most High.

It has been mentioned that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) saw that the lifetimes of the previous nations were very long, and he became sad at the fact that his ummah would not be able to undertake as much worship as the other nations. On this, angel Gabriel descended and revealed surat al-Qadr, and gave the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) the good news that the ummah of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has been honoured with a blessed night in which one night?s worship will be worth more than the worship of a thousand months.

(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qurtubi and Ruh al-Mani, by Hafiz Ibn Kathir, Imam al-Qurtubi and Imam al-Allusi al-Hanafi respectively, under surat al-Qadr)

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16) The Descending of the Angels Knowledge of Laylat al-Qadr

Hafiz Ibn Kathir mentions this athar (narration). Various forms of this have also been mentioned by Ibn Abi Hatim and Imam al-Qurtubi. Ka?b (May Allah be well pleased with him) narrated:

Verily the Lote Tree (sidrat al-Muntaha) is on the border of the seventh heaven, where it adjoins Paradise, on the border of the breezes of this world and the next. Its height is in Paradise, and its shoots and branches are below the Throne. Upon its branches, there are angels worshipping Allah Mighty and Majestic, no one knows their number except Allah Mighty and Majestic. There is an angel in even the smallest of places. The place of Gabriel (Upon whom be peace) is in the middle of it [tr: the tree]. Gabriel is called upon by Allah to descend each Laylat al-Qadr, with the angels who inhabit the Lote Tree. Each angel is given mercy and compassion to pass on to the believers. The angels descend with Gabriel on Laylat al-Qadr when the sun sets. On Laylat al-Qadr, the angels are found everywhere either prostrating or standing, making supplication for the believing men and believing women. But they do not go where there is a church, a synagogue, places of fire-worship, an idol, a village rubbish dump, a house in which there is a drunkard, a place in which there is an intoxicant, a house in which an idol has been set up, a house in which there is a hanging bell, a lavatory or a place in which there is household rubbish. They spend their night there, making supplication for the believing men and the believing women and Gabriel shakes the hand of each and every believer. The mark of this is that the believer?s skin shivers; his heart becomes tender and his eyes water. For verily this is from the handshake of Gabriel.

Whomsoever says on Laylat al-Qadr, ?There is no god but Allah,? three times, Allah will forgive him with one [tr: utterance], and He will save him from the Fire with another, and admit him into Paradise with another.

Those listening to him asked, ?O Abu Ishaq, when it is said in truth?? Ka?b al-Ahbar said:

?Is he who says, ?There is no god but Allah,? on Laylat al-Qadr, other than truthful? By Him in whose Hand my soul is, indeed Laylat al-Qadr is upon the disbeliever and the hypocrite as if it were a mountain on his back.

The angels continue in this way, until daybreak. The first to ascend is Gabriel, who ascends until he is in front of the uppermost horizon. He then spreads out his wings. He has two green wings which he does not spread out except in that hour; the rays of the sun diminish. Gabriel then calls angel upon angel and ascends. The light of the angels and the light of the two wings of Gabriel combine together; the sun remains bewildered that day. Gabriel and those with him are made to stand between the earth and the heavens of this world in supplication, seeking mercy and forgiveness for the believing men and the believing women and for the one who fasted Ramadan with belief, seeking reward. And Gabriel makes supplication for the one who tells himself that if he lives until the next Ramadan, he will fast Ramadan for Allah.

When the evening comes, the angels enter into the heaven of this world and sit in circle upon circle, gathering with the angels of the heaven of this world. They ask them concerning man after man and woman after woman. They talk about them until they say, ?What has so-and-so done and how have you found him this year?? They say, ?We found so-and-so last year, in this night devoting himself in worship, but we find him this year, in innovation. We found so-and-so in innovation, but we find him now in worship.? They stop seeking forgiveness for the former and continue to seek forgiveness for the latter. They say, ?We found so-and-so and so-and-so making the Remembrance of Allah, and we found so-and-so bowing, and so-and-so in prostration, and we found so-and-so reciting the Book of Allah.?

Their day and night continue in this manner until they ascend to the second heaven. In each heaven they spend a day and a night, until they stop at their place at the Lote Tree. The Lote Tree says to them, ?O my inhabitants, tell me about the people and name them to me, for verily I have upon you a right, and I love him who loves Allah.? They enumerate and give accounts of men and women by their names and the names of their fathers. Paradise draws near to the Lote Tree saying, ?Inform me of what your inhabitants from amongst the angels, have informed you of.? Paradise then says, ?May the Mercy of Allah be upon so-and-so man and so-and-so woman. O Allah, hasten them unto me.? Gabriel, who reaches his place [tr: at the Lote Tree] before the rest of the angels, is inspired by Allah to say, ?I found so-and-so in prostration so forgive him.? And he will be forgiven. Gabriel hears the carriers of the Throne saying, ?May the Mercy of Allah be upon so-and-so man and upon so-and-so woman, and may His forgiveness be upon so-and-so.? Gabriel says, ?O Lord, I found Your servant named so-and-so, which I found last year upon the sunnah and in worship, but I found him this year, innovating a new act, and he has turned back on that which You have commanded him with.? Then Allah says, ?O Gabriel, if he makes repentance three hours before death, I will forgive him.? Then Gabriel says, ?Praise be to You, my god. You are more merciful than all of Your creation and You are more merciful with Your servants than Your servants are with themselves.? Then the Throne, that which is around it and the veils, tremble. The heavens and that which is in them say, ?Praise be unto Allah, the Most Merciful.?

Whomsoever fasts the month of Ramadan, telling himself that when he breaks fast after Ramadan, he will not disobey Allah, will enter Paradise with neither questioning nor account.

(Tafsir Ibn Kathir, by Hafiz Ibn Kathir, surat al-Qadr)

Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi writes concerning the word of Allah Most High, ?Therein, angels and the Spirit descend by the leave of their Lord,? that from this, it is known that the angels, including Gabriel, seek the permission of Allah Most High, to descend to the Earth. On being granted permission, they descend from the heavens. From this, it is proved that the angels long to meet the ummah of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). When they are granted permission they descend in large numbers. A question is raised, as to why they would long to meet the likes of us, sinful people. When the angels read the Preserved Tablet, they read about the good deeds of the Muslims, but our bad deeds are hidden from them.

(al-Tafsir al-Kabir by Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, under surat al-Qadr)

At this time, the angels uncontrollably sing praises of Him who has made the good deeds apparent, and has hidden the bad deeds. At this, the angels know of the greatness of this ummah and they long to meet the servants from amongst them.

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17) Knowledge of Laylat al-Qadr

Allah Most High has hidden the true knowledge of Laylat al-Qadr so that people would go in search of this blessed night and spend as much time as possible in His worship. If precise knowledge of this night were disclosed, people would strive for more worship on a single night alone. Another reason could be that if this night were to be disclosed, the one disobedient to Allah Most High would receive a greater punishment for persisting in the act of disobedience even on Laylat al-Qadr.

Hafiz al-?Asqalani mentioned forty-five reports concerning the date of Laylat al-Qadr, with evidences, from amongst the Companions (Allah be well pleased with them all), those who studied under the Companions (tabi?in), those who studied under the tabi?in (tabi? al-Tabi?in), and the scholars of the biography (sirah) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). May Allah be well pleased with one and all of them. Due to the length of these accounts, they cannot be mentioned here.

There is some disagreement, both amongst the companions and the scholars of the ummah concerning the exact night of Laylat al-Qadr. It is believed by some that this night is on the twenty-seventh of Ramadan, and this is the most common view. Imam Abu Hanifah has said that the night changes each Ramadan. Qadi Abu Yusuf has said that Laylat al-Qadr can be in any one of the nights of the year. Imam al-Shafi?i has said that this night is found in the first night of the last ten days of Ramadan. Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad have said that this night is in the last ten days of Ramadan. And so on and so forth.

(Fath al-Bari by Hafiz al-?Asqalani, chapter on Laylat al-Qadr)

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was given knowledge of exact night of Laylat al-Qadr as illustrated in the hadith narrated by ?Ubada Ibn al-Samit and recorded by Imam al-Bukhari (see above).

Imam al-Bukhari records a narration of Abu Salamah where he mentions that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said that he had been shown Laylat al-Qadr, but he had been made to forget its date. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) then said that it is in the odd nights of the last ten.

(Sahih al-Bukhari by Imam al-Bukhari, chapter on Fada?il laylat al-Qadr)

Hafiz al-?Asqalani mentions that Ibn ?Uyaynah said that the knowledge of Laylat al-Qadr was known by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and that its knowledge was only removed for that year alone.

(Fath al-Bari by Hafiz al-?Asqalani, chapter on Fada?il laylat al-Qadr)

One can conclude that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had knowledge of Laylat al-Qadr, but it was removed for a single year alone, and then returned the following year. And Allah knows best.

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18) Witnessing Laylat al-Qadr

Hafiz al-?Asqalani writes concerning Laylat al-Qadr:

It is said that one sees all things in prostration, that there is radiant light in every place even in dark areas and that one hears the Salams or speech of the angels. It is also said that its mark is that the supplication of the one who has witnessed it, is accepted. Imam al-Tabari has noted that all of the above are not necessary, and that it is not a condition that one sees or hears anything, for it to have taken place.

(Fath al-Bari by Hafiz al-?Asqalani, chapter on Fada?il laylat al-Qadr. See also Nayl al-Awtar by Qadi al-Shawkani, chapter on Fada?il laylat al-Qadr)

Imam Badr al-Din al-?Ayni has mentioned that Imam al-Tabari has heard this from a whole community of people.

Even today we hear of such accounts displaying the Omnipotent Power of Allah Most High. The author has personally heard an account from a brother in Ealing, London. During Ramadan, the family were busy in the worship of Allah Most High, and one from amongst them went to get a drink from the kitchen. Upon opening the tap, milk began to flow. Others were called to witness this great event, and they drank from the sweet milk. They thanked and praised Allah Most High for the blessing they had received. This demonstrates that Allah Most High chooses whom He wills from His servants, to display Laylat al-Qadr.

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19) The Zakat of ?Eid al-Fitr

Abdullah bin ?Umar (Allah be well pleased with them both) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) made the zakat al-Fitr as a sa? [tr: a unit of measure] of dates or a sa? of barley, obligatory upon the slave and freeman, male and female, young and old from among the Muslims. And he (Allah bless him and give him peace) commanded for it to be given before leaving for the prayer.

(Bukhari and Muslim)

Ibn ?Abbas (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) made the zakat al-Fitr obligatory as a purification of the fast from empty and obscene talk and as food for the poor.

(Abu Dawud)

***

The zakat of ?Eid al-Fitr is required (wajib) from everyone upon whom the zakat is obligatory. Someone obligated to pay the zakat of ?Eid al-Fitr must also pay it for every person he is obliged to support, such as his wife and family. Those who are not obliged to fast must still give the zakat of ?Eid al-Fitr, even if they have not fasted. It is recommended to give the zakat of ?Eid al-Fitr before performing the ?Eid prayer.

For Muslims living in the west, it is best to give the zakat of ?Eid al-Fitr at the beginning of Ramadan. The reason being, that charitable organisations must be given time to make arrangements for the funds to be distributed to the needy, in time for the ?Eid celebrations.

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20) The Day of ?Eid al-Fitr

Anas (Allah be well pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

When the day of their ?Eid appears, meaning the day of their breaking fast, Allah is proud of them, before His angels and says, ?O My angels, what is the reward of the servant who has fully accomplished his work?? They say, ?O our Lord, his reward is that he is paid his wage in full.? He says, ?My angels, My male servants and My female servants have done what I have made obligatory upon them, then they came out hastening to supplication. By My Honour, Greatness, Generosity, Exalted Position and Sublime Nature of My Rank, I will surely respond to them.? Then He says, ?Return. I have forgiven you and changed your sins into virtues.? Then they return forgiven.

(Bayhaqi)

***

The performance of the ?Eid prayer is required (wajib) from those whom the Jum?ah prayer is required.

The following are recommended before offering the ?Eid prayer:

1) trimming one?s hair;
2) cutting one?s nails;
3) performing the purificatory bath (ghusl);
4) wearing perfume;
5) dressing in one?s best clothes;
6) giving the zakat of ?Eid al-Fitr;
7) eating something sweet, for example an odd number of dates;
8) coming early after the dawn prayer on foot;
9) returning home by a different route than one came;
10) and being joyful and showing happiness with one another.

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21) Description of The Prayer on ?Eid al-Fitr

Before the actual ?Eid prayer, it is customary for the imam to make a translation of that which will be included in the two sermons following the ?Eid prayer. The ?Eid prayer consists of two rak?ahs. One starts by making the intention to offer the prayer as a wajib prayer, then one must make the opening takbir, raising one?s hands to the level of the ears. The thana? should then be read with the hands below the navel. Then three takbirs will be made. One must raise one?s hands to the level of the ears each time. After each of these takbirs, one?s arms should be placed at one?s sides, except the third, after which one places them below the navel. The Fatihah is then recited followed by another surah. The prayer continues like an ordinary two rak?ah prayer, until the surah following al-Fatihah is recited in the second rak?ah. After this surah, one must make three more takbirs, each time raising one?s hands to the level of the ears, then leaving one?s hands at one?s sides. Then after another takbir, one should move into the ruku? position. The prayer continues until the final Salams like an ordinary two rak?ah prayer. After the two rak?ahs are completed, the imam gives two sermons (khutbah) like those of Friday prayer. One must listen to the sermons attentively.

One should not offer any non-obligatory prayers between the dawn prayer (fajr) and the ?Eid prayer. If one cannot join the ?Eid prayer, but wishes to offer salat al-Duha, one should do so after the ?Eid prayer has been offered. If one has missed the ?Eid prayer, one should offer four rak?ahs for salat al-Duha. If one has missed any of the takbirs of the first rak?ah, one should join the prayer, make them up by oneself, then continues the prayer with the imam. If one has missed any rak?ahs, but still joined the prayer, one must make them up after, making the takbirs in the correct places.

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22) The Mysteries of Fasting

A Muslim who keeps the fast intends to please Allah Most High and approach Him by its means. Also, one seeks the Forgiveness of Allah Most High. Fasting has many benefits, some of which can be seen clearly, others are hidden. One can receive benefit, both in this world and the next, from one?s fasting.

The following summary, contains some points which Imam al-Ghazali (Allah be well pleased with him) mentions in his book al-Ihya?:

1) When one fasts; eating, drinking and sleeping with one?s wife is not permitted, resulting in an increase in one?s spiritual strength, as the physical strength is diminished.
2) When one refrains from eating, drinking, sleeping with one?s wife and from committing acts of disobedience to Allah Most High, one purifies one?s worship making it like that of the angels. Refraining from the desires of this world in this way, is not found in any other form of worship, making fasting unique.
3) When one is hungry or thirsty and faces difficulty, one is trained to have patience with what Allah Most High has ordained for one (rida? bi qada? Allah).
4) When one is hungry or thirsty one can feel empathy for those who constantly suffer the pangs of hunger and thirst, due to their poverty and the like.
5) Hunger and thirst prevents one from committing acts of disobedience to Allah Most High.
6) Hunger and thirst kills pride and arrogance as one is reminded of how much one can eat, so as to be considerate of others.
7) Fasting increases one?s understanding and intelligence.
8) The equality of all Muslims before Allah Most high is shown to us, as each and every Muslim must fast, irrespective of whether one is rich or poor.
9) Waking early, before dawn for the pre-dawn meal, and breaking one?s fast promptly after sunset makes one more punctual.

(Ihya? ?Ulum al-Din, by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, chapter on ?The Mysteries of Fasting)

The reason as to why one must fast is not due to the aforementioned benefits, but rather the only true and real reason is because fasting is the Divine Command of Allah Most High. One obeys the Command of Allah Most High to seek His Divine Pleasure (rida?). The sincere Muslim intends fasting as a form of worship and as a means of drawing nearer to Allah Most High. Whether or not the wisdom of a Divine Command, can be seen, has no effect on his willingness to worship his Lord with sincerity and Ikhlas.

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23) Epilogue

This is the end of the work entitled, ?The Rulings of Ramadan?. I pray that this work is of benefit to the reader, giving an increase in taqwa and knowledge to act upon and worship Allah Mighty and Majestic, correctly. I ask you to pray for this needy slave of Allah Mighty and Majestic and servant of the ummah of the Best of Creation. May Allah shower His blessings upon His Chosen One, his family and companions. The good of all that has been stated is from Allah Most High alone, and the errors are from myself, the author. I ask you to pray for my forgiveness and steadfastness in the Din. May Allah Most High grant us success in learning knowledge for His sake, and practising it for His sake. May Allah Most High grant us the perfections of faith, and the ability to stay in the company of His righteous servants. And all praise is due unto Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and He alone grants success.

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