Looking Deeper Into The Inner Secrets Of Fasting
Know, that in the fast (Sawm) is a special quality that is not found in anything else. And that is its close connection to Allah, such that He says: “The fast is for Me and I will reward it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
This connection is enough to show the high status of fasting. Similarly, the Ka’bah is highly dignified due to its close connection to Him, as occurs in His statement:
“And sanctify My House.” (Qur’an, 22:26)
Indeed, the fast is only virtuous due to two significant concepts:
The first: It is a secret and hidden action thus, no one from the creation is able to see it. Therefore Riya (showing off) cannot enter into it.
The second: It is a means of subjugating the enemies of Allah. This is because the road that the enemies (of Allah) embark upon (in order to misguide the Son of Adam) is that of desires. And eating and drinking strengthens the desires.
There are many reports that indicate the merits of fasting, and they are all well-known.
Recommended acts of fasting
The pre-dawn meal (Suhoor) and delaying in taking it are preferable, as well as hastening to break the fast and doing so with dates. Generosity in giving is also recommended during Ramadan, as well as doing good deeds and increasing in charity. This is in accordance with the way of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).
It is also recommended to study the Qur’an and perform I’tikaaf during Ramadan, especially in the last 10 days, as well as increasing upon the exertion (towards doing good deeds) in it.
In the two Saheehs, Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “When the (last) 10 days (of Ramadan) would come, the Prophet would tighten his waist-wrapper (Izaar), spend the night in worship, and wake his family up (for prayer).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The scholars have mentioned two views concerning the meaning of “tighten his waist-wrapper (Izaar)”:
First: It means the turning away from women. Second: It is an expression denoting his (peace be upon him) eagerness and diligence in doing good deeds. They also say that the reason for his (peace be upon him) exertion in the last 10 days of Ramadan was due to his seeking of the Night of Al-Qadr (Laylat-ul-Qadr).
Levels of fasting
There are three levels of fasting: The general fast, the specific fast, and the more specific fast.
As for the general fast, then it is the refraining of the stomach and the private parts from fulfilling their desires.
The specific fast is the refraining of ones gaze, tongue, hands, feet, hearing and eyes, as well as the rest of his body parts from committing sinful acts.
As for the more specific fast, then it is the heart’s abstention from its yearning after the worldly affairs and the thoughts which distance one away from Allah, as well as its (the heart’s) abstention from all the things that Allah has placed on the same level.
From the characteristics of the specific fast is that one lowers his gaze and safeguards his tongue from the repulsive speech that is forbidden, disliked, or which has no benefit, as well as controlling the rest of his body parts.
In a Hadith reported by Al-Bukhari: “Whosoever does not abandon false speech and the acting upon it, Allah is not in need of him leaving off his food and drink.” (Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
Another characteristic of the specific fast is that one does not overfill himself with food during the night. Instead, he eats in due measure, for indeed, the son of Adam does not fill a vessel more evil than his stomach. If he were to eat his fill during the first part of the night, he would not make good use of himself for the remainder of the night. In the same way, if he eats to his fill for Suhoor, he does not make good use of himself until the afternoon. This is because excessive eating breeds laziness and lethargy.
Therefore, the objective of fasting disappears due to one’s excessiveness in eating, for what is intended by the fast, is that one savors the taste of hunger and becomes an abandoner of desires.
-By Imam Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisee
– Mukhtasar Minhaj-ul-Qasideen (pp. 38-41)