Is Fasting of Level 2/3 in the Book of Imam Ghazali Both Levels of Awliya?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question

Is fasting of levels 2 and 3 in the book of Imam al-Ghazali both levels of awliya

Answer

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

Yes, both types of fasting are from the fasting of the elect servants (awliya’) of Allah.

Imam Ghazali describes three levels of fasting:

Level One is the general fast. It is fasting from the things that invalidate the fast. This is the fasting of the general believers.

Level Two is fasting from sin and all disliked matters, inward and outward. This would include fasting from the sins of the tongue–such as backbiting, slander, gossip, and lying; and from the sins of the heart–such as pride, envy, insincerity, and fear of other than Allah. This fasting is from the fasting of the righteous (salihin) servants of Allah Most High.

The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever doesn’t leave false speech and acting on it, then Allah has no need for them to leave their food and drink.” [Bukhari]

Imam Tibi (Allah have mercy upon him) explains that this means that Allah doesn’t care for their actions, and will not reward them (fully or partially). [Tibi, Sharh al-Mishkat] The fast itself is, of course, valid; but it lacks reward and Divine Favour to the extent of the sins.

Level Two is fasting from everything that distracts you from Allah Most High–such as busying yourself with worldly matters in states of heedlessness (ghafla). This fasting is from the fasting of the foremost (muqarrabin) servants of Allah Most High. [Based on Ghazali, Ihya’; Dahlawi, Hujjat Allah al-Baligha; Ibn Ajiba, Tafsir al-Fatiha al-Kabir]

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.