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The Spiritual Purpose of Fasting: Closeness to Allah

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful. May Allah’s blessings and peace be upon His Beloved Messenger, his folk, and companions

Ramadan isn’t the “Month of Fasting.” It is a month of seeking closeness to Allah. Fasting is a means. Prayer is a means. Zakat is a means. Reciting the Qur’an is a means. Taqwa is a means. Thankfulness is a means. Guidance and actions are means. The purpose is Allah, and Allah alone.

Allah Most High tells us of this powerfully, “All the actions of people are for them, except for fasting. Fasting is for Me and it is I who reward it.” [Bukhari 5927]

Spiritually, the purpose of fasting is closeness to Allah. After the verses dealing with fasting and the month of Ramadan, Allah Most High makes this purpose clear: “If My servants ask you about Me, then I am indeed near. I answer the call of those who call upon Me when they call. So let them heed My calls and let them truly believe in Me in order that they become rightly guided.” [Qur’an, 2:186]

Fasting and Spiritual Realization of Divine Oneness

In fasting, one experiences one’s neediness to Allah, which opens one’s heart to spiritual understanding. Allah tells us in the Qur’an: “O people, you are the ones absolutely in need of Allah; and Allah is the One free of all need, worthy of all praise.” [Qur’an, 35.15]

This neediness (faqr) that one realizes when fasting opens one’s heart to the absolute richness (ghina) of Allah—His being absolute, and absolutely free of the need for any other. Ibn Ata’illah said, “Become realized in your neediness, and He will assist you through His richness.”

This is at the very heart of true understanding of Divine Oneness, for the Qur’anic understanding of Allah, the one alone worthy of worship, is that He is the Rich (ghani), absolutely free of need of any other, and others are absolutely in poverty and indigence before Him. He is the Independent (samad) to whom all turn in need, and who is absolutely independent and beyond need. And He is the Sustainer (qayyum) who sustains all things at every moment, in every way, and who needs none to sustain Him.

In short, Allah is “the One free of any other, whom all are absolutely in need of.” [Sanusi, Umm al-Barahin]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) expressed this beautifully at a time of intense drought when he addressed them before performing the drought prayer:

الحمد لله رب العالمين ، الرحمن الرحيم ، مالك يوم الدين ،

لا إله إلا الله يفعل ما يريد ، اللهم أنت الله ، لا إله إلا أنت الغني ونحن الفقراء

“All praise is due to Allah; the Merciful, the Compassionate; Lord of the Day of Reckoning; there is no god but Him, He does what He wills. O Allah, You are Allah, there is no god but You. You are the One free of all need, and we are the ones in absolute need.”

Then he asked for rain and prayed two rakats. [Abu Dawud]

The scholars mention that this (or similar supplication, followed by two cycles of prayer, is both a powerful expression of neediness (faqr) and a powerful means of fulfilling one’s worldly or spiritual needs.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Ten Ways to Benefit for Menstruating Women in Ramadan

Dread your period during the blessed month of Ramadan? Feel like you’re missing out on all the worship? Nour Merza gives women ten practical ways to spiritually benefit from this blessed month.

Every Ramadan, most women will have about a week in which they are unable to join in the major religious practices of the holy month: fasting and praying. When their menstrual period begins many women find that their level of engagement with the high spiritual atmosphere of the month drops. The same goes for those whose postnatal bleeding coincides with Ramadan. For many of these women, frustration and a sense of lacking spirituality sets in. This, however, shouldn’t be the case.

Menstruation, postnatal bleeding, and other uniquely feminine concerns are all part of Allah’s creation, which He created in perfect wisdom. They are not a punishment for women wanting to draw near their Lord. They are just part of the special package of blessings, opportunities, and challenges that Allaj has given uniquely to women. To refrain from ritual prayer (the salat) and ritual fasting (the sawm) during this time is actually considered a form of worship, and, if done with the intention of obeying Allah, it earns women good deeds.

In order to take full advantage of the blessed month of Ramadan, however, menstruating women and those with postnatal bleeding can do more than refraining from ritual prayer and ritual fasting to draw near Allah. Below are ten ways that women unable to fast can boost their spirituality during this special month.

1. Increase the Remembrance of Allah

In the Hanafi school, it is recommended for menstruating women to make wudu, wear their prayer clothes, and sit on their prayer mat while doing dhikr during the time they would normally be praying. This would be especially good to do in Ramadan, a time of special focus on worship. In addition to the adhkar that are well-known sunnas – such as subhan Allah, alhamdulliLlah and Allahu akbar. If you have a litany from a shaykh and are allowed to repeat it more than once a day, try to do it twice or three times for increased blessings. Dhikr has a special way of touching the heart, and by invoking Allah’s names whenever you can during this unique month you create the space, insha Allah, for beautiful spiritual openings. See: The Effects of Various Dhikr – Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad

2. Increase Supplication 

Supplication (dua) is something we do very little of these days, but speaking directly to your Lord is one of the most intimate ways to connect with Him. The beauty of supplication is that you can make it in any place or time. Take this opportunity to ask your Lord for all that you need in your life, and to draw near Him through either repeating the beautiful supplications of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, or reaching out to Allah with your own unique words. See: Ten Powerful Duas That Will Change Your Life

3. Feed Others

Whether it be your family, neighbors, community members, or the poor, use the time you are not fasting to make meals that fill the stomachs and souls of those around you. Recite the peace and blessings  (salawat) on the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, while making the food, as this imbues the food with spiritual benefit as well. Consider sponsoring iftar at your local mosque one evening with some other women who are in your situation, or volunteering at a local soup kitchen. 

4. Gain Islamic Knowledge

Use the extra time and energy you have from not fasting and praying to increase your knowledge of the faith. Listen to scholars discussing timely issues on our SeekersGuidance podcasts, form a small circle of non-fasting women who can commit to reading a book on Islam and discuss it together, or take some time to read articles on the religion from trusted online sources, such as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s blog or Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad’s article collection at masud.co.uk. See also: Importance of Intention in Seeking Knowledge.

5. Increase your Charity

We are surrounded by countless blessings, so make sure to spread those blessings in the month of Ramadan. Give money to a good cause, such as supporting Syrian refugees, helping a local poor family with school fees, or supporting students of Islamic knowledge through SeekersGuidance. In a very busy world, we may have little opportunity to give our time to help others in charity – giving money takes minimal time, but brings great benefit. See: Eligible Zakat Recipients, Giving Locally vs. Abroad, Charity to a Mosque, and Proper Handling of Donations.

6. Make Your Responsibilities a Form of Worship

Sometimes, women are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the home and young children, and cannot make time to do things like study or sponsor an iftar. In these circumstances, renew your intention regarding your role as a mother and a wife. See these demanding and time-consuming roles for what they are: responsibilities that you are fulfilling to please Allah, which makes them a type of worship. Ask Allah to accept all your work as worship, and approach all that you do in this way. This will make even the most mundane of tasks, such as changing another diaper, cleaning up another spilled cup of apple juice, or making yet another dinner a way for you to gain the pleasure of your Lord. See: Balancing Worship and Caring for a New Child.

7. Listen to the Quran

Although the Hanafi school holds that women cannot touch the mushaf or recite the Qur’an while experiencing menses or postpartum bleeding, they are able to listen to the recitation of the Qur’an. Doing so offers much benefit in a month that has such a heavy emphasis on reciting the book. You can take special time out of your day to listen to it, such as while children are napping, or you can listen to it while in the midst of cooking or cleaning the house. See also: Listening to Qur’an While Occupied With Other Tasks

8. Increase Repentance

Ramadan is an excellent time to increase repentance to Allah. Use moments when others are praying or breaking their fast to ask Allah to forgive you and your loved ones and to keep you from returning to sin. All we have is a gift from Allah, so even forgetting that for a moment is a deed worth asking forgiveness from. Know that Allah is the Forgiving, and trust that, as our scholars have said, the moment you ask for forgiveness you are truly forgiven. See also: Damaged Inner State? Imam Ghazali on Repentance

9. Babysit to Help Mothers Worship

Mothers with young children often find it difficult to go to the mosque because they worry that their kids will disturb others who are praying. Since you don’t need to be at the mosque, volunteer a night or two (or more) to babysit the children of a young mother who would love to go pray tarawih. If you have young children of your own, you can tell the mother to bring her kids to your house before the prayer. By helping this woman worship, you will gain the same good deeds she gets from going to that prayer. See: I Love Being A Woman.

10. Spread Love and Light

Use the extra time and energy you have to share the joys of Ramadan and Eid with your non-Muslim friends, peers, and neighbors. Invite a work colleague for an iftar, make a special Ramadan dish and give it to a neighbor, or take time to make special cookies or gift bags for peers at the office or in school to hand out during Eid. By sharing these happy moments with friends and colleagues in the non-Muslim community, you counter the negative narratives about Islam in the media. More than that, however, you become someone who creates bonds in an increasingly isolated world, reflecting the beauty of the Prophetic light to all those around you. See: How Can Muslims Become More Effective Community Members?

 

Nine On Demand Courses for Ramadan

We are blessed to reach one more Ramadan. Allah grant that we make the best use of our time. Allah willing, these On-Demand courses will help us focus and benefit from this month of the Qur’an.

Each course contains a downloadable lesson set which you can listen to at your convenience.

1. Why Muslims Fast: The Higher Aims of Fasting Explained

The fast: mere hunger and thirst, or a means of growing spiritually and getting closer to Allah. How can we transform ourselves from being the former into the latter? In this course, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the great potential latent within one’s fasting, and gives clear, and practical advice to changing one’s fast from being passive hunger and thirst into an active spiritual refinement of one’s soul. Students will learn how to benefit from fasting in general, and more specifically from the month of Ramadan.

2. Renewal by the Book: Daily Qur’an Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya

In this series, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Qur’an. The series follows the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya so that we experience renewal by The Book.

3. Renewing Religion: Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya

This overview of Imam Ghazali’s great work, Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences) will serve as a blueprint for how the believer can bring their religion to life. It will aim to help the believer to not just practice the outer form of the religion properly, but to also to bring its spirit to life and practice it with excellence.

Lessons by: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Riad Saloojee, Shaykh Walead Mosaad, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

4. 30 Sacred Acts to Transform the Heart

Our scholars in residence explore 30 simple deeds that could have a far-reaching spiritual impact on our lives – and the lives of others. Whether it’s forgiving someone who’s wronged us or sharing a meal with a neighbor, these powerful lessons will remind us of the great gift the Prophet ﷺ‎ gave us: the best of character. The scholars also remind us to make the intention to put each teaching, each sacred act, into practice.

Lessons by: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes, Shaykh Walead Mosaad, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Imam Amin Muhammad, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, Dr. Ingrid Mattson

5. Giving Life to Sura al-Kahf – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

In this seminar, Shaykh Walead Mosaad explains this key Sura of the Qur’an – a Sura the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, urged us to recite every Friday. In eight videos Shaykh Walead explains the key lessons of Sura Kahf; the four great stories in it and the four great tests they represent – the tests of faith, wealth, knowledge, and power.

6. Ramadan Explained: Virtues and Fiqh of Fasting (Hanafi) – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This preparation course teaches the fiqh of Ramadan and fasting, according to the Hanafi school.

This essential four-part course is designed to

    1. Remind you that Ramadan is a true blessing from Allah Most High.
    2. Teach you the proper way to approach this blessing.
    3. Motivate you to make the most of this blessed month.
    4. Ensure that you understand and implement all key aspects of Ramadan, including the Prophetic sunnas according to the Hanafi school.

7. Ramadan Explained: Virtues and Fiqh of Fasting (Shafi‘i) – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

This preparation course teaches the fiqh of Ramadan and fasting according to the Shafi‘i school.

This essential four-part course is designed to:

    1. Remind you that Ramadan is a true blessing from Allah Most High.
    2. Teach you the proper way to approach this blessing.
    3. Motivate you to make the most of this blessed month.
    4. Ensure that you understand and implement all the key aspects of Ramadan, including the Prophetic sunnas according to the Shafi‘i school.

8. The Tafsir of Sura al-Hujurat with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Religion revolves around respect and reverence. Sura Hujurat summarizes the keys to true religion by outlining the right adab with Allah, His Messenger (peace be upon him), and with Allah’s creation. In just 18 verses, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives believers a clear roadmap on how to walk the Straight Path with excellence in conduct and attitude.

9. Keys to the Qur’an: Ghazali’s Manners of Qur’an Recital with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson set Shaykh Faraz Rabbani will guide students through Imam al Ghazali’s work on the adab of the Qur’an and aims to inspire the student to bring the book of Allah into their life fully.

 


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The Three Degrees of Fasting – Imam al Ghazali

This is a translation of the passage on the three degrees of fasting from the Ihya of Imam Abu Hamid Muhammad al Ghazali. Translation by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

It should be known that there are three degrees of fasting: ordinary, extraordinary, and perfect.

Ordinary fasting means abstaining from food, drink, and sexual satisfaction.

Extraordinary Fasting means keeping one’s ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet – and all other organs – free from sin.

Perfect Fasting means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He. This kind of Fast is broken by thinking of worldly matters, except for those conducive to religious ends, since these constitute provision for the Hereafter and are not of this lower world.

Those versed in the spiritual life of the heart have even said that a sin is recorded against one who concerns himself all day with arrangements for breaking his Fast. Such anxiety stems from lack of trust in the bounty of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and from lack of certain faith in His promised sustenance.

To this third degree belong the Prophets, the true saints, and the intimates of Allah. It does not lend itself to detailed examination in words, as its true nature is better revealed in action. It consists of utmost dedication to Allah, Great and Glorious is He, to the neglect of everything other than Allah, Exalted is He.

It is bound up with the significance of His words:

قُلِ اللَّـهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

Say: “Allah,” then leave them to their vain play. (Qur’an 6:91)

Inward Requirements

As for Special Fasting, this is the kind practiced by the righteous. It means keeping all one’s organs free from sin and six things are required for its accomplishment.

See Not What Displeases Allah

A chaste regard, restrained from viewing anything that is blameworthy or reprehensible, or that distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be Allah’s curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of Allah will receive from Him, Great and Glorious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart.”

Jabir relates from Anas that Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “Five things break a man’s Fast: lying, backbiting, gossiping, perjury and a lustful gaze.”

Speak Not What Displeases Allah

Guarding one’s tongue against idle chatter, lying, gossiping, obscenity, rudeness, arguing, and controversy; making it observe silence and occupying it with the remembrance of Allah, Great and Glorious is He, and with the recitation of Qur’an. This is the fasting of the tongue.

Said Sufyan: “Backbiting annuls the Fast.” Layth quotes Mujahid as saying: “Two habits annul Fasting: backbiting and telling lies.”

The Prophet, on him be peace, 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!’”

According to Tradition: “Two women were Fasting during the time of Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him. They were so fatigued towards the end of the day, from hunger and thirst, that they were on the verge of collapsing.

They, therefore, sent a message to Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, requesting permission to break their Fast. In response, the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, sent them a bowl and said: “Tell them to vomit into it what they have eaten.”

One of them vomited and half filled the bowl with fresh blood and tender meat, while the other brought up the same so that they filled it between them. The onlookers were astonished. Then the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “These two women have been Fasting from what God made lawful to them, and have broken their Fast on what God, Exalted is He, made unlawful to them. They sat together and indulged in backbiting, and here is the flesh of the people they maligned!”

Hear Not What Displeases Allah

Closing one’s ears to everything reprehensible, for everything unlawful to utter is likewise unlawful to listen to. That is why Allah, Great and Glorious is He, equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer. In His words, Exalted is He:

سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ أَكَّالُونَ لِلسُّحْتِ

Listeners to falsehood, consumers of illicit gain. (Qur’an 5:42)

Allah, Great and Glorious is He, also said:

لَوْلَا يَنْهَاهُمُ الرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ عَن قَوْلِهِمُ الْإِثْمَ وَأَكْلِهِمُ السُّحْتَ ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ

Why do their rabbis and priests not forbid them to utter sin and consume unlawful profit? (Qur’an 5:63)

Silence in the face of backbiting is therefore unlawful. God, Exalted is He, said:

إِنَّكُمْ إِذًا مِّثْلُهُمْ

You are then just like them. (Qur’an 4:140)

That is why the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “The backbiter and his listener are partners in sin.”

Guarding the Limbs

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.

A man who fasts like this may be compared to one who builds a castle but demolishes a city. Lawful food is injurious in quantity not in quality. Fasting is to reduce the former. A person might well give up excessive use of medicine, from fear of ill effects, but he would be a fool to switch to taking poison.

The unlawful is a poison deadly to religion, while the lawful is a medicine, beneficial in small doses but harmful in excess. The object of Fasting is to induce moderation.

Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “How many of those who Fast get nothing from it but hunger and thirst!” This has been taken to mean those who break their Fast on unlawful food. Some say it refers to those who abstain from lawful food, but break their Fast on human flesh through backbiting, which is unlawful. Others consider it an allusion to those who do not guard their organs from sin.

Avoid Overeating

Not to over-indulge in lawful food at the time of breaking Fast, to the point of stuffing one’s belly. There is no receptacle more odious to Allah, Great and Glorious is He, than a belly stuffed full with lawful food.

Of what use is the Fast as a means of conquering Allah’s enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking it one 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 its appetite is aroused and its 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.

The Secret Nature of Fasting

The spirit and secret nature of Fasting is to weaken the forces which are Satan’s means of leading us back to evil. It is therefore essential to cut down one’s intake to what one would consume on a normal night, when not Fasting.

No benefit is derived from the Fast if one consumes as much as one would usually take during the day and night combined. Moreover, one of the properties consists in taking little sleep during the daytime, so that one feels the hunger and thirst and becomes conscious of the weakening of one’s powers, with the consequent purification of the heart.

One should let a certain degree of weakness carry over into the night, making it easier to perform the (tahajjud) and to recite the praises (awrad). It may then be that Satan will not hover around one’s heart, and that one will behold the Kingdom of Heaven.

Layla al-Qadr

The Night of Destiny represents the night on which something of this Kingdom is revealed. This is what is meant by the words of God, Exalted is He:

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

We surely revealed it on the Night of Power. (Qur’an 97:1)

Anyone who puts a bag of food between his heart and his breast becomes blind to this revelation. Nor is keeping the stomach empty sufficient to remove the veil, unless one also empties the mind of everything but Allah, Great and Glorious is He.

That is the entire matter, and the starting point of it all is cutting down on food.

Look To God 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.

It is related of Al-Hasan ibn Abi al-Hasan al-Basri, that he once passed by a group of people who were laughing merrily. He said: “Allah, Great and Glorious is He, has made the month of Ramadan a racecourse, on which His creatures compete in His worship. Some have come in first and won, while others have lagged behind and lost. It is absolutely amazing to find anybody laughing and playing about on the day when success attends the victors, and failure the wasters. By Allah, if the veil were lifted off, the doer of good would surely be preoccupied with his good works and the evildoer with his evil deeds.”

Rather it is the one whose fast is accepted who should be too full of joy to indulge in idle sport, while one who has suffered rejection laughter should be precluded by remorse.

Of Al-Ahnaf ibn Qays it is reported that he was once told: “You are an aged elder. Fasting would enfeeble you.” But he replied: “By this I am making ready for a long journey. Obedience to Allah, Glorified is He, is easier to endure than His punishment.”


The Fiqh of Fasting According to Shafi‘i School

Dear Seeker, making the most of Ramadan depends on getting things right and removing doubts about acts of worship. We have compiled this ebook on The Fiqh of Fasting According to Shafi‘i School for your use and benefit.

Allah, Exalted is He, tells us, “Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, and clear signs for guidance and judgment. So every one of you who witnesses this month should spend it in fasting.” [2:185] The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him), informed us: “Allah the Exalted has said: ‘All good deeds of the son of Adam are multiplied ten to seven hundredfold, except fasting, for it is Mine, and I shall reward a man for it, for he has left his appetite, his food, and drink for My sake.’” [Bukhari and Muslim] Fasting, in a general fashion, has been prescribed in every revealed scripture.

However, this particular manner of observing the fast during Ramadan is specific to the community of Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him). A weaker opinion states that fasting during Ramadan had been prescribed for every past community except that they strayed from it. Ramadan was legislated in the month of Sha’ban in the second year after the Hijra. The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) fasted nine months of Ramadan in total; one of which was 30 days, and the remaining eight as 29 days. It is said that perhaps the wisdom behind this is to put the believer’s heart at rest when Ramadan ends at 29 days, as he may feel in his heart that his Ramadan was not complete or as a way of letting the umma know that a 29 day month of Ramadan is equal in reward to a complete month of 30 days.

Imam al Haddad reminds us, “Increase your good works, specifically in Ramadan, for the reward of a supererogatory act performed during it equals that of an obligatory act performed at any other time. Ramadan is also a time when good works are rendered easy and one has much more energy for them than during any other month. This is because the soul, lazy when it comes to good works, is then imprisoned by hunger and thirst, the devils who hinder it are shackled, the gates of the Fire are shut, the gates of the Garden are open, and the herald calls every night at Allah’s command: “O you who wish for goodness, hasten! And O you who wish for evil, halt! You should work only for the hereafter in this noble month, and embark on something worldly only when absolutely necessary. Arrange your life before Ramadan in a manner which will render you free for worship when it arrives.”

 

The Fiqh of Fasting According to the Hanafi School

Dear Seeker, making the most of Ramadan depends on getting things right and removing doubts about acts of worship. We have compiled this ebook on The Fiqh of Fasting According to the Hanafi School for your use and benefit.

Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. The Companion Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) say: ‘The religion of Islam is based upon five (pillars): testifying that there is no deity except God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God; establishing the prayer; giving zakat; making pilgrimage; and fasting (the month) of Ramadan.’” [Bukhari; Muslim]

In truth, fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the greatest acts of worship a believer can perform. It is an act that cleanses one’s mind, body, and soul from the spiritual and physical impurities of this world. It is an act that brings the hearts of Muslims together on a world- wide level as they endeavor to practice the virtue of self-discipline in unison. And it is an act that satiates the hungry soul for its eagerness to please the Lord of the Worlds.

The act of fasting was also practiced by previous religious communities. Likewise, it has been ordained for the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). Allah All- Mighty says in the Quran, “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed onto you as it was prescribed onto those before you, that perhaps ye may (learn) self-restraint.” [Qur’an 2:183]

Making the Most of Ramadan: A Comprehensive Answers Guide

Making the Most of Ramadan

The Complete Guide to Fasting

Imam Tahir’s 5 Simple Steps to Prepare for Ramadan

Preparing For Ramadan Advice from Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Ramadan Detox for a Healthy Ramadan

40 Hadiths on Ramadan

Tarawih

Can I Pray 8 Rakats for Tarawih?

Should We Stop Praying Tarawih Once the Qur’an is Completed?

Is it Necessary to Perform Tarawih Prayers in the Mosque?

Is it Obligatory to Complete the Entire Qur’an During Tarawih Prayers?

Performing Tarawih Prayers Again as an Imam

Is It Valid for a Child to Lead Tarawih?

The Ruling of the Tarawih Prayer: A Confirmed Sunna

Reciting From a Copy of the Qur’an (Mushaf) in Tarawih and Other Prayers

Expiatory Payment (Fidya) for Missed Fasts

Brief Overview of Expiatory Payments (fidya) for Missed Ramadan Fasts

Feeding People to Expiate For a Corrupted Fast

Is Expiation (kaffara) Necessary For Not Fasting in Ramadan?

When Is Expiation Required For A Fast?

How Many Expiations Are Required For Multiple Broken Fasts?

Can My Sister Pay Expiatory Payments (fidya) For Missed Fasts Due To Her Diabetes?

Can I Pay Fidya for Missed Days of Fasting Due to Menses?

Can a Healthy Person Skip Prayer and Fasting and Pay Expiation?

The Expiation (Kaffara) for Having Sex While Fasting

Must I Fast 180 Days as Expiation for 3 Broken Fasts?

Things that Break the Fast

Principles on what invalidates the fast

Does Watching Pornography While Fasting Break One’s Fast

Using Creams, Powders, or Topical Medications While Fasting

Does Swallowing Phlegm Break Your Fast?

Vaseline On Lips While Fasting, and Hitting Kids

Applying Medicine to One’s Teeth: Does it Invalidate the Fast?

Ramadan: Injections, Eye Drops, And Doubts

Using Chapstick While Fasting

Accidental & Forgetful Breaking of the Fast: What Is the Difference?

What Corrupts a Fast: Questions About Water Entering the Body

Bleeding Gums While Fasting

The Effect of Smoking on Fasting, and the Effect of Sins on Faith

Using Asthma Medication: Is My Fast Invalidated?

Accidentally Inhaling Perfume While Fasting

Does breathing in Air break one’s Fast?

Passionate Kissing While Fasting

Fasting and Illness

Too Sick to Fast in Ramadan, Too Poor to Pay the Expiatory Payment (Fidya)

Long-Term Illness that Prevents Fasting

How Can I Benefit From Ramadan When I Can’t Fast Due to Being Ill?

Laylat al-Qadr

When is Laylat al-Qadr?

Worship & Prayer on Laylat al-Qadr

Making Up Missed Fasts

Making Up Missed Fasts and Illness

Can I Combine My Intentions for a Missed Ramadan Fast and An Optional Sunnah Fast?

Do I Have To Make Up Missed Fasts Within A Year?

Making up Obligatory Fasts and Prayers

Making of Missed Fast

Years of Missed Fasts and Expiation (kaffara)

Not Fasting Due to Hardship or Breaking One’s Fast

Breaking One’s Fast Due to Weakness & Migraines

Can I Break My Fast If My Job Makes Fasting Too Difficult?

Fasting in Extreme Latitudes

Attending Juma, Praying and Fasting While Training to be a Firefighter

Can I Break My Fast If My Job Makes Fasting Too Difficult?

Fasting and Pregnancy

Pregnant Women & Fasting

Pregnancy & Making Up Fasts: Does She Really Have To?

The Spiritual Retreat (I’tikaf)

The Spiritual Retreat (i’tikaf)

The Three Types of I’tikaf (Spiritual Retreat)

Ramadan Advice, Benefits, and Inspiration

Worship in Ramadan For a Menstruating Woman

How Do I Make The Most Of Ramadan?

Fasting Its Principles and Virtues-Imam Ghazali from al-Arab’in

Inner Dimensions of Fasting-Imam Ghazali

The Spiritual Purpose of Fasting – Closeness to Allah

Practical Tips for Fasting During Ramadan

Work Ethics for Muslims Fasting During Ramadan

Prophetic Supplications for Fasting

Virtues of Fasting in the Summer

Health Benefits of Fasting, and the Maximum Recommended Fast

Answers to General Questions

When and Where Do I Break My Fast on a 20 Hour Airline Flight?

Should I Feel Bad for Not Fasting When I Had to Travel?

At What Age Must One Start Fasting?

Eating After Dawn & Breaking The Fast For An Invitation

The Chaining of Shayateen (Devils) During Ramadan

Does Each Makeup Prayer During Ramadan Count as 70 Makeup Prayers?

Intercourse during the month of Ramadan

Is Your Ramadan Fast Still Valid If You Stop Eating and Make Your Intention to Fast Between Fajr and Islamic Midday?

Should I Feel Bad for Not Fasting When I Had to Travel?

Brief Miscellaneous Q & A Relating to Fasting

Newlyweds Having Intercourse While Fasting During Ramadan

Fasting, Prayer, Qur’an, Ihsan: A Ramadan Reader

In the Name of Allah, the Benevolent, the Merciful. The Seekers’ theme for this Ramadan is Hope and Closeness. This Ramadan Reader has been compiled for your benefit and in the hope that it may strengthen your hope, your closeness to Allah, and help make the blessings of this Ramadan sweet and lasting.

 

Fasting:

A Complete Guide To Fasting (Hanafi)

A Complete Guide To Fasting (Shafii)

Breaking One’s Fast Due to Weakness

Does Watching Pornography While Fasting Break One’s Fast

Worship in Ramadan For a Menstruating Woman

Overview of the Fidya Payment

Applying Medicine to Teeth While Fasting

Types of I’tikaf

Can I Pray Eight Rakats for Tarawih

When is Laylat al-Qadr

Worship During Laylat al-Qadr

Preparing for Ramadan

40 Hadiths on Ramadan

Fasting Its Principles and Virtues: Imam Ghazali from al-Arba‘in

Inner Dimensions of Fasting: Imam Ghazali

Practical Tips to Fasting

Prayer

Illuminating the Heart in Prayer

The Prayer of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him

Nine Keys to Prayer

The Power of Prayer

Transformative Effects of Prayer

Virtues of the Prayer

Qur’an

Our Relationship with the Qur’an

Can I Touch my Iphone Without Ablution

Touching the Qur’an and Menstruation

Placing the Qur’an on the Floor: Not Permissible

Rights of the Qur’an and Completing It in 40 Days

Beautifying One’s Voice When Reciting the Qur’an

Ihsan or Works of the Heart

Marvels of the Heart

What Does it Mean to be Sidq (True)

The Path of Taqwa

Good-Character is not Becoming Angry

Thankfulness

The Sound Heart

 

 

Ten Steps to Allah. Step 7: Remembrance

As we get closer to Ramadan, focusing on what we are seeking through our devotions is ever more crucial. The ultimate aim of any Muslim is to gain the closeness of Allah Most High. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives us clear guidelines with 10 key steps on the path to Allah Most High elucidating for us how to get closer to Allah.

The seventh step is the remembrance of Allah. In this episode, Shaykh Faraz discusses how we can make our lives, lives of remembrance.

Step 7: Remembrance

Our beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) tells us, “Should I not tell you about the best of your actions? And the most beloved of them to your Lord? More precious for you than to spend gold and silver, more rewarding for you than to meet your enemy and to smite their necks and for them to smite yours?” The Companions said, “Do tell us O Messenger of Allah.” He (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The remembrance of Allah, Mighty and Majestic.”

It is enough to know about the greatness of remembrance that Allah Most High said, “Remember Me, and I will remember you.” [Qur’an 2:152]

And Allah Most High says, “Indeed, the remembrance of Allah is greater.” [Qur’an 29:45] Greater than what? Greater than anything else whatsoever because anything done with the remembrance of Allah is incomparably greater than the same thing done without the remembrance of Allah. 

It is the remembrance of Allah that is the purpose of life. Humans and Jinns were created only so they may be devoted to Allah. Ibada arises from recognition, devotion begins with recognition of the One worthy of devotion. That recognition is remembrance. The expressions of devotion are all acts of remembrance. Faith itself is an act of remembrance. Prayer is an act of remembrance. Fasting, charity, dhikr itself are acts of remembrance.

This is why the counsel of our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when people came to him for advice was: “Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah.”

If you want to change your life, uphold the counsel of Ibn Ata’illah. Do not leave the remembrance of Allah even if you have a lack of consciousness of Allah in your remembrance because your heedlessness of remembering Allah is worse for you than your heedlessness during the remembrance of Allah. You are saying  Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaha illa Allah, Allahu Akbar. You’re engaged in remembrance but your mind is drifting. Through remembrance your mind may wake up at some point and start reflecting and then the meanings may start creeping into your consciousness, permeate your heart, wake your soul, and make you go from heedlessness to consciousness, from consciousness to presence, and from presence to absence from other than Allah Most High.

Dhikr is the purpose of existence because by remembrance you can be with the one Remembered. “Truly it is by the remembrance of Allah that hearts find rest. ” [Qur’an 13:28]

It begins with an act of remembrance of Allah, then to be in a state of consciousness of Allah, but the goal of remembrance is to be with the One remembered. So let’s move our tongues, let’s move our hearts, and let’s strive for that presence. He is with you wherever you may be.

How can we do that practically? Say Subhan Allah: Glory is to Allah. Try to move your heart with it. Mean it then say it. Alhamdulillah: All praise is for Allah. Mean it then say it. La ilaha illa Allah: There is no God but Allah. There is none free of need of any other whom all are in need of but Allah. Allahu Akbar: Allah is absolutely great and there’s no one great besides Him. Repeat these and say, Astaghfirullah: I seek Allah’s forgiveness. This is asking Allah to cover your shortcomings and manifest all that is pleasing to Allah. Istighfar has a meaning of covering over the unbecoming and manifesting what is pleasing to Allah. This is between fear and hope, between the admission of shortcomings and recognition of Divine generosity. 

Go from remembrance of the tongue to waking your heart up to that remembrance. Seek the presence of Allah, the closeness of Allah, seek to see Allah, and to worship Allah as though you see Him.

May Allah make us go from the stages of remembrance to Him. May He grant us that by His grace and grant that we remain in remembrance. 

The episode can be found on this link Ramadan 2020 Reminders | Episode 26: Ten Steps to Allah – 07 – Remembrance | Shaykh Faraz Rabbani – YouTube

About the Author

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.

 

Does Taking the Morning After Pill During the Day in Ramadan Require Expiation If One Did not Intend To Fast?

Question:

If someone took the emergency pill (also known as the “morning-after pill”) in Ramadan when she would have otherwise fasted, is she liable to making the fast up or is kaffara instead due?

Answer:

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

I hope you are doing well, insha’Allah.

In the case, as described, you would need to (a) make up the missed fast, but (b) no expiation (kaffara) would be due—because the fast was not intended on that day and there was the semblance of an excuse for not fasting. [Tahtawi/Shurunbulali, Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Thattawi, Madhhar al-Anwar]

However, in the future, it is more sound to take medication or medical treatment before or after the day when possible during Ramadan.

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

Wassalam,

[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.