Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Three grades of fasting


Excerpts from Ghazali's Inner Dimention of Islamic Worship


Three grades of fasting
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 Allah.
See not what displeases Allah
A chaste regard, restrained from viewing anything that is blameworthy or reprehensible, or which distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of God. The Prophet, said: 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 gracious 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, scandalmongering, perjury and a lustful gaze.'
Speak no evil
Guarding one's tongue from twaddle, lying, backbiting, scandalmongering, obscenity, rudeness, wrangling and controversy; making it observe silence and occupying it with remembrance of Allah and with recitation of the Quran.
This is the fasting of the tongue. Sufyan said: "backbiting vitiates the fast." Layth quotes Mujahid as saying : "Two habits vitiate fasting: backbiting and telling lies.'
The Prophet 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!"
Hear no evil
Closing one's ears to everything reprehensible; for everything unlawful
to utter is likewise unlawful to listen to. That is why Allah equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer " (They like to) listen to falsehood, to devour anything forbidden" (part of Quran 5: 42).
Do no evil
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.
The object of Fasting is to induce moderation. The Prophet said 'How many of those who Fast, get nothing from it but hunger and thirst!'
Avoid overeating
Of what use is the fast as a means of conquering God's enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking it 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 it's appetite is aroused and it's 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.
It is therefore essential to cut down one's intake of what one would consume on a normal night, when not Fasting. No benefit is derived from the fast if one consumes as much as he or she would usually take during the day and night combined.
Look to Allah with fear and hope
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.


Taken from: http://soundvision.com/Info/ramadan/innerf.asp

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

THE QURAN ON FASTING

THE QURAN ON FASTING

"O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious).
(Fasting) for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (i.e. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a poor person (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know." (2:183-84)
"The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan), he must fast that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number (of days which one did not fast must be made up) from other days.
Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him" (2: 185).
"It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of the fasts. They are garments for you and you are the same for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He turned to you and forgave you. So now have sexual relations with them and seek that which Allah has ordained for you, and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night), then complete your fast till the nightfall.
And do not have sexual relations with them (your wives) while you are in Itikaf in the mosques. These are the limits (set) by Allah, so approach them not. Thus does Allah make clear His signs to mankind that they may become Al Muttaqun (the pious)" (2:187).
"Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr.
And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr is?
The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months
Therein descend the angels and the Ruh (Gabriel) by Allah's Permission with all Decrees,
Peace! until the appearance of dawn (97:1-5)
THE HADITH ON FASTING
Abu Huraira related that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: Whoever fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. Whoever prays during the nights in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven. And he who passes Lailat al-Qadr in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from Allah will have his past sins forgiven (Bukhari, Muslim).
Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: If anyone omits his fast even for one day in Ramadan without a concession or without being ill, then if he were to fast for the rest of his life he could not make up for it (Bukhari).
Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: Allah the Majestic and Exalted said: "Every deed of man will receive ten to 700 times reward, except Siyam (fasting), for it is for Me and I shall reward it (as I like). There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts: one when he breaks the fast and the other when he will meet his Lord" (Muslim).
Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst, and many people who pray at night get nothing from it except wakefulness (Darimi).
When to start fasting
Ibn Umar related that the Prophet said: Do not start fasting unless you see the new moon, and do not end fasting until you see it. If the weather is cloudy then calculate when it should appear (Bukhari, Muslim).
The Suhoor meal (which is eaten before dawn)
Anas related that Rasulullah said: Take the Suhoor meal, for there is blessing in it (Bukhari, Muslim).
Breaking your fast
Salman ibn Amir Dhabi related that the Prophet said: Break your fast with dates, or else with water, for it is pure (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).
Fasting during a journey
Aisha related that Rasulullah was asked whether one should fast when on a journey, and he replied: Fast if you like, or postpone it if you like (Bukhari, Muslim).
Behavior while fasting
Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: If a person does not avoid false talk and false conduct during Siyam, then Allah does not care if he abstains from food and drink (Bukhari, Muslim).
Forgetfully eating or drinking while fasting
Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: If anyone forgets that he is fasting and eats or drinks he should complete his Siyam, for it is Allah who has fed him and given him drink (Bukhari, Muslim).
Providing for those who are breaking the fast
Zaid ibn Khalid Juhni related that the Prophet said: He who provides for the breaking of the Siyam of another person earns the same merit as the one who was observing Siyam diminishing in any way the reward of the latter (Tirmidhi).
Lailat al-Qadr
Aisha related that the Prophet said: Look for Lailat al-Qadr on an odd-numbered night during the last ten nights of Ramadan (Bukhari).
Anas ibn Malik related that Rasulullah said: When Lailat al-Qadr comes Gabriel descends with a company of angels who ask for blessings on everyone who is remembering Allah, whether they are sitting or standing (Baihaqi).


Taken from: http://soundvision.com/Info/ramadan/qhfast.asp