Ramadan is a month of khair (blessings) and Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) chose it to be the month of the Qur’an, and He chose for it a special form of ibadah, fasting, which is one of the pillars of Islam. As Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said in Surah Al-Baqarah (183):
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may attain piety.”
In prescribing fasting, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is not only telling us the history of fasting, rather, He is giving us direction; He is telling us that the means by which we may attain a connection with Him is fasting.
Fasting is patience. It is the avoidance of that which we want and enjoy. Fasting is controlling your desires rather than being controlled by them.
Fasting is freedom; absolute freedom from being under the power of your desires, your nafs, and this is the freedom that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) created you with.
Fasting is a means of escape from everything other than Him to Him! Firr-uLLAH! Escape towards Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!
Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) described the exalted nature of fasting in a Hadith Qudsi, narrated by Abu Hurrairah (radiallah anhu), Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said:
Allah (azza wa’jal) said every deed from the sons and daughters of Adam is for them, except fasting, which verily is for Me, and only I reward for this ibadah. Fasting is a protection. If anyone is fasting, they should show restraint and control what they say, and if anyone disturbs or perturbs them, they should say ‘Verily I am fasting.’ I swear by the soul of Muhammad, the bad smell that comes from the mouth of the one who is fasting is better than the smell of musk, and there are two moments of joy and happiness for those that fast, the first is when they break their fast, and the second is when they meet their Lord, pleased in their fasting. [Bukhari and Muslim]
We can learn a lot from this Hadith. Firstly, the Hadith is “Qudsi”, which means that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) narrated these words from Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). Also, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) mentioned that we should share what we do, with regards to praying and other forms ofibadah, except fasting. Only He knows!
The Quraysh used to worship their idols using forms of ibadah that resemble those of Islam, except for fasting! They never worshipped their idols through fasting.
Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) also made it clear that it is not only the stomach that fasts, but rather, it is all of our organs. In the Hadith Qudsi, we see that excessive eating and drinking can provoke our desires, therefore Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) tells us to exercise restraint and control in dealing with others, while fasting. In case the environment around us, or any other trigger, pulls us towards our desires and our nafs, we should declare that we are fasting. Therefore we see that fasting is more than just not eating and drinking; fasting encompasses all things from this dunya.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) swore by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) that what we see is not necessarily the absolute reality, and that which we smell may not be connected with the reality of the purpose of what we are doing and its connection, or result, in the sight of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).There are many people that we see, in the dahir (physical), that are undergoing trials and test, and we may even feel sorry for them, but it might be that by the means of those trials and tests they will achieve proximity (qurb) to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). Similar to the smell of the mouth of the one who is fasting, the test is increasing theirmaqam (station) to that which is even closer to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!
So what matters is not what we see; what matters is what Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) sees!
We have to leave our obsession of thinking about how others see and, instead, focus on the absolute meaning and pleasure of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) and how He see things!
In the Hadith Qudsi, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) also says fasting is for Me. What about the rest of the forms of ibadah? They are all for Him as well, but Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has honoured fasting, in particular, by relating it to Him directly!
Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has told and described for us the reward for the various acts of ibadah, except for fasting, for which only He knows the reward! He loves our fasting so much that He did not relate or tell anyone about our fasting other than Himself!
Also, we know that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is Self-Sufficient, so in effect those who are fasting are getting closer to Him by way of His own attributes! Imam al Qurtubi (rehmatullah alaih) says that all forms of ibadah compliment the nature of human creation, except for fasting, as fasting is self-sufficiency and is from the attributes of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!
Thus, those who fast are getting closer to Him by way of His own attributes
Even the Malaika (angels) are unable to record our fasting as they do with other actions! As only He knows!
We are very fortunate to be in the month of Ramadan, and even more fortunate to be from the Ummah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) !
But who are the fortunate ones who find success in the month of Ramadan?
One: Those who Know the Reality of this Dunya
The Fortunate Ones are those who know the reality of this life and dunya, that it is not a permanent abode, and therefore they make the most of it by using every moment as an opportunity to get closer to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). As Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said to Abdullah ibn Omar (radiallah anhu), “Live in this dunya as a stranger or wayfarer.” In another Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said in the evening do not wait for the morning, and in the morning do not wait for the evening, do in health before sickness, and in life before death (speaking of making the most of every moment).
Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) described the life of this dunya in Surah Aal-Imran (185), when He said: “…And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.”
Two: Those who Choose Wisely
The Fortunate Ones are those who do not say or hear except for that which is wisdom and khair; they choose their words and their company as others choose what they eat and drink.
Syedina Omar (radiallah anhu) used to say if it were not for two things he would not wish to live in this dunya: the first was salah; the second was to be in the company of people who choose their words as others choose the best of food! Syedina Omar (radiallah anhu) used to say this speaking to the Sahaba! So what about us! What do you think he might say if he saw us!
In our history there have been great personalities that were described as deaf, while in actuality they were not, but it was as if they had a filter through which nothing could go through unless it was pleasing to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). That is taqwa (constant awareness and consciousness of Allah)!
Three: Those who Remember
The Fortunate Ones are those who remember Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) while they are standing, sitting and laying down, and they ask forgiveness for all their sins and shortcomings; they are the Ones that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) describes in Surah Ahli-Imran (191):
“Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”
The Fortunate Ones are those that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) remembers, as He said in Surah Al-Baqarah (152): “So remember Me; I will remember you.”
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) also told us who the Fortunate Ones are when he mentioned to the Sahaba,“Should I tell you the best of deeds,” To which the Sahaba eagerly answered in the affirmative. “Remembering Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!”
May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) make us from among them!
Four: Those who Account Themselves
The Fortunate Ones are those who remain busy their own introspection, and work hard in order to correct themselves, purify their hearts, and they look at their shortcomings and shameful acts with disdain, continually accounting themselves.
The Fortunate Ones constantly look at themselves, as if they were a mirror that requires perpetual cleaning. They look at every particle of dust on the mirror, and, therefore, do not have time to look at others.
The constant worry, of the Fortunate Ones, is to make themselves presentable to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) confirmed the approach of the Fortunate Ones when he said in a Hadith that from the greatest forms of Islam is when someone leaves that which does not concern them! [Tirmidhi, ibn Majah]
In the end, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) will never ask anyone about anything except for themselves. Not the kufr(disbelief) of the kafr (disbeliever) or the iman (belief) of the mu’min(believer)! They will only be asked about themselves.
As Allah (swt) said in the Qur’an, in Surah Mariam (95): “And all of them are coming to Him on the Day of Resurrection alone,” and He said in Surah Al-Muddathir (38): “Every soul will be accounted for what it has done.”
So the Fortunate Ones look at themselves and abandon everything besides looking at themselves; they stop looking at the faults of others, and thereby distance themselves from the attributes of the munafiqeen(hypocrites) who, as Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) mentioned, look at their own faults as minor and those of others as mountains!
Five: Those who Follow
The Fortunate Ones are those who follow Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam), as Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said in Surah Ahli-Imran (31): “Say, if you really love Allah, follow me and Allah will love you!”
Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is making it clear to us that source of His love is Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam), and if you want Him to be pleased with you, than follow him!
If you want to achieve more than your love for Him, which is His love for you, than follow Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam)!
Most of our saliheen (righteous ones) use to say that what matters is not your love for Him, but rather, His love for you!
Imam Hasan al Basri (rad) used to say some people claim they love Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) so He tested their love by this ayah, and made following Rasulullah (saw) the measurement and standard of His love!
In this ayah it does not say to obey him, or learn from him, but He said follow him! You can obey someone wherever you are, but following is more than that, it is physical, mental, and spiritual; it is to connect and bind yourself to him.
Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is making it clear that following him is the manifestation of His love! This is how the Sahaba and Saliheen were. Syedina Uthman (radiallah anhu), when he was sent to Makkah, the Quraysh saw that he was using miswak, so they asked him why he was doing so. Syedina Usman (radiallah anhu) responded that he was doing so because he saw Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) doing so. He did not give any explanation; he was just following!
You follow Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) as he is and as he did! Syedina Ali (alaih salam) said: “If I were to use my logic, I would wipe the bottom of my sock (when making purifying and preparing oneself), but I saw Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) wiping the top, so I follow!”
Imam Abu Hanifah (rehmatullah alaih) had many followers, but yet he wanted to visit and learn from the grandson of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam), and hence he went and to visit Syedina Muhammad Al Baqir (alaih salam). After they had exchanged salams(greetings), Syedina Muhammad Al Baqir (alaih salam) asked who he was, to which he replied Abu Hanifah. Syedina Muhammad Al Baqir (alaih salam) had heard things regarding Imam Abu Hanifah (rehmatullah alaih) so he asked him: “Are you the one who has corrupted the religion of my Grandfather using ra’ee (opinion) and qiyas (analogy)?”
Imam Abu Hanifah (rehmatullah alaih) replied: “I love your Grandfather, but please hear what I have to say. Your Grandfather’s religion says I have to give women half the mirath (inheritance) of men, but women are weaker (in society), so my logic would say to give them half, but I follow and say women take half of that of men. The religion of your Grandfather says if you urinate than you have to make wudu, but if you release seminal fluid, than you have to make ghusl (washing of the entire body). If I were to use my logic, urine is najis (impure), and semen is not, so I was to do the opposite, but I follow your Grandfather. The religion of your Grandfather says when women are in menstruation they repeat their fast, but are not required to repeat their salah, whereas my logic would say that salah would be easier to make up, rather than the fast, but I follow your Grandfather!”
After hearing this, Syedina Muhammad al Baqir (alaih salam) came down and kissed the forehead of Imam Abu Hanifah (rehmatullah alaih).
Following is knowing Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) knows more than you, even if it seems that your logic or opinion make sense, seek refuge by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) and follow him, for all the khair is in doing so!
That is why Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said in Surah An-Nisa (65):
“But know, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.”
The submission that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is speaking of comes in stages: first, you turn to him for not only your major issues, but even your minor ones; then you do not keep anything in your heart; and thereafter you submit fully!
Those who submit are the Fortunate Ones and thereby revel in joy in happiness.
Six: Those who are Optimistic
The Fortunate Ones are those who are always optimistic, because they believe that whatever has happened to them comes from Him; everything that is achieved is from Him; and everything they have not achieved, they know there is khair in not achieving it.
It was narrated that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) taught Abdullah ibn Abbas (radiallah anhu) to be certain that if the entire ummah (not individuals, not groups, tribes nor families) were to gather and try and benefit you, they would not be able to benefit you unless Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) wrote that benefit for you, and they would never be able to harm you except in something that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) wrote for you – all the pens have been raised and the book is dry!
In this authenticated Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) is teaching us that everything that happens to us happens from Him! As Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) said in Surah At-Tawbah (51):
“Say, “Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector.” And upon Allah let the believers rely.”
This is the core of our religion and ouriman.
It was narrated by Walid, the son of Syedina Ubadah ibn as-Samit (radiallah anhu) , the great Sahabi, that he went to his father when he was on his death bed and said to him:
“Oh my father, please give me wasiyah (will), and please give everything by way of effort in telling me the best of wasiyahs.”
His father than asked to helped to sit up, to which Walid obliged. Ubadah (radiallah anhu) then said:
“Oh son, you will never taste the sweetness of iman and you will never achieve, understand, or get Haqqiqutul-ilm (absolute real knowledge) by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) until you believe in qadr (decree of Allah), whether it be good or bad.”
Walid replied: “Oh my father, how can I know what is good and bad from qadr?”
His father then gave him the example of an arrow being thrown; if that arrow was meant for you, it will never miss you, and if it was not meant to hit you, by the qadr of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), it will never hit you, not matter how great the archer, or the perfection of the aim!
And Ubadah (radiallah anhu) continued and said: “I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) say that the first thing created was the pen, and He said ‘write’, and it wrote everything that will happen till Yaum ul Qiyamah; and if I die without believing this, I will never enter jannah”
We know that whatever happens is from Him, and this causes us to be optimistic because we believe He is the source of khair and absolute Rahma.
The Saliheen used to say, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) does not write except that which is khair for us, and even the things that make us upset and sad, there is a lot of khair behind them.
Optimism because you trust your Lord, optimism because you know that it will be khair, optimism because you know that even when the trials are extremely difficult, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is rewarding you for that.
May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) make us from the patient ones, grant us rida(contentment) and make us from the grateful.
Seven: Those who find Peace and Tranquillity in His Remembrance
The Fortunate Ones are those that find tranquillity and peace of the heart in remembering Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). Their joy is His company and closeness! When any difficulty arises, just by calling His name, their situation changes to joy and happiness, and these are the very people that Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) clearly pointed out in the Qur’an when He said in Surah Ar-Raad (28):
“Unquestionably, only by the remembrance of Allah do hearts attain peace and tranquillity.”
In a Hadith, narrated by Abu Hurrairah (radiallah anhu), he said that they were walking with Rasulullah (saw) in the way of Makkah near the mountain of Jamadan, and as they were approaching Rasulullah (saw) said“Keep walking, this is Jamadan, and the mufarridun have reached their before you!” The Sahaba asked Rasulullah (saw) who the mufarridun were, to which he responded “Those who remember Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) abundantly, whether they be male or female.
Imam al Manawi (rehmatullah alaih) said in Fayd ul-Qadir, the mufarridunare those who abandon everyone, and give everything they have for ibadah, and thereby attain the closest and highest of degrees with Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)!
When the Fortunate Ones in the company of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), not only do they get the baraka of peace and tranquillity of the heart, but they also receive the baraka of Him remembering them, as He said in Surah Al-Baqarah (152): “So remember Me; I will remember you.”
When Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) is remembered, our existence is one and continuous, our mind, soul and heart, but when we forget to remember Him, we are in actually forgetting ourselves!
We should not be like the ones Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) mentioned in Surah Al-Hashr (19): “And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.”
It was narrated in Tirmidhi, Imam Ahmad and by Imam Hakim (rehmatullah alaihum), that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) said to the Sahaba: Should I tell you by the best of your deeds and that which is most beloved to your Lord and the one that will raise your maqam and that is better than spending gold and silver, better than facing your enemies, whether you kill them or they kill you? Please tell us! Dhikr-ULLAH! Remembering Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).
So the Fortunate Ones are those upon whom Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has bestowed the sweetness of His remembrance and the joy in His company!
Ya Allah! Make us from them!
In this very blessed month, we beg Him to make us from the Fortunate Ones, to change our haal and state to a better one, and to open the doors of Marifah!
Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said was born in Asmara, Eritrea, where he studied the holy Qur’an and its sciences, Arabic grammar and fiqh under the guidance of the Grand Judge of the Islamic Court in Asmara, Shaykh Abdul Kader Hamid and also under the Grand Mufti of Eritrea. He later went to study at Madinah University, from which he graduated with a first class honours degree. In Madinah, his teachers included Shaykh Atia Salem, Shaykh Mohamed Ayub (ex-imam of the Prophet’s Mosque, peace be upon him), Professor AbdulRaheem, Professor Yaqub Turkestani, Shaykh Dr Awad Sahli, Dr Aa’edh Al Harthy and many other great scholars. Shaykh Faid has ijaza in a number of disciplines including hadith, and a British higher education teaching qualification. He is currently the scholar in residence and head of education at Harrow Central Mosque, United Kingdom.
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