THE BOOK OF FASTING SIYAM – Book Sample
Contents – THE BOOK OF FASTING SIYAM
- The Merit of Ramadan
- Congratulating others on the occasion of the advent of Ramadan
- Means of establishing the beginning of the month of Ramadan
- Fasting and related rulings
- The merits of fasting
- The degrees of fasters
- The conditions of the obligation of fasting
- The conditions of a valid fast
- The integrals of fasting
- Things that nullify the fast
- Excuses permitting breaking the fast and related rulings
- Disliked matters
- Things that are lawful during the fast
- Things that are desirable to do during the fast
- Related fatwas
· On the merits associated with Ramadan
- Rulings related to some desirable acts while fasting
- Zakat ul-Fitr
- Rulings related to ‘Eid ul-Fitr
- Recommended measures for the ‘Eid prayer
- When the ‘Eid prayer coincides with a Friday
- Social ties and exchanging visits
- The merit of fasting six days of Shawwal
The degrees of fasters
The three degrees of fasting
- The fast of the ordinary person: It consists of abstaining from food, drink, and sexual gratification.
- The fast of the select few: It consists of abstaining from food, drink, sexual gratification, as well as keeping the ears, eyes, tongue, hands, feet, and private parts free from sin. Sins committed during a fast diminish rewards and impede the many bounties present in this blessed month. A valid fast is devoid of sins and protects from hellfire.
The Prophet said, “Fasting is a shield provided it is not violated.”55 Ibn al- ‘Arabi said, “Fasting shields from hellfire; it involves abstaining from desires because hellfire is fraught with desires.” Ibn Hajar commented on this saying, “Abstaining from desires in this world, shields a faster from hell-fire in the Hereafter.”56
The select few from among the believers are those who seek to preserve the validity of their fast by refraining from committing sins and striving to keep their body organs free from sin. A person from among this group strives to:
- Restrain his ears from listening to what Allah has prohibited such
as eavesdropping, gossiping, tale bearing etc. unless he listens to them unintentionally or unwillingly. In such a case, he is to express his disapproval if possible.
- Restrain his eyes from looking at what is prohibited and at what occupies the heart and distracts it from remembrance of Allah. The eyes were created to guide man through the darkness, assisting him in his needs and in his contemplation and reflection
on the wonders of the heavens and earth. The Prophet told ‘Ali, “O ‘Ali! Do not follow a glance with a second for you will be forgiven the first but not the second.”57 It was reported that Prophet ‘Isa (peace be upon him) said, “Beware of looking [at what is prohibited] for this plants the seeds of desire in the heart.”58 Al-Junaid (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked about what helps a person lower his gaze and he replied, “By knowing that Allah’s gaze upon you precedes your gaze upon that which you gaze upon.”59
- Restrain his tongue by guarding it from trivial or idle talk, lying, backbiting, gossip, offensive speech, ridiculing others, perjury, and from breaking promises.
- Restrain his hands by abstaining from what is forbidden such as unlawful gains, obscenity, or encroaching upon the rights of others such as manipulating weights and measures, theft, bribery, gambling, writing what is prohibited to speak, and hitting, or harming others.
- Restrain his feet by refraining from seeking what a person has not been commanded or recommended to do. This includes informing against a fellow Muslim, going to unlawful places, and passing before a person who is praying without a barrier either deliberately or unnecessarily.
- Protect his private parts by abstaining from what is prohibited during the fasting hours such as engaging in sexual intercourse or from what is prohibited upon either a fasting person or another at other times such as fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, masturbation, and intercourse during menstruation.
The Prophet instructed us to control our tongues by refraining from offensive talk and to restrain the rest of our organs from offensive deeds in his comprehensive words, “Fasting is a shield. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid rafath and should not behave impudently or foolishly.
And if someone fights with a fasting person or insults him, he is to say, ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.’ “60 The word rafath here means obscene talk; it also refers to engaging in sexual intercourse and its preliminaries. 61
It is imperative to restrain the organs from committing sins both during a fast and at other times. However, we mention this in relation to fasting because the prohibition is greater at this time than at any other. Al- Qurtubi said, “It must not be understood that [these prohibitions] are permissible at times other than fasting; but it is more incumbent to avoid such things when fasting.”62 A fasting person must therefore control his organs against all that entails a prohibition.
A person who follows his whims and desires and insists on disobeying his Lord, must know that he will not earn the reward of fasting Ramadan
and that thirst and hunger will be his only rewards. The Prophet said, “Many are those whose fast does not profit them with anything save hunger and thirst and many are those whose night vigil does not bring them anything save wakefulness during the night,”63 and “He who does not abstain from lying and from practicing falsehood, Allah is in no need of his giving up his food and drink.”64
– The fast of the elite: It consists of all of the above as well as abstention of the heart from worldly concerns, lustful thoughts, and a total disregard for everything save Allah.65 The heart of such a person is occupied with nothing else but Allah and with fulfilling His purpose of administering the earth.
The conditions of the obligation of fasting
Fasting Ramadan is obligatory upon every person who:
- Is a Muslim.
- Has reached puberty. 3- Is sane.
4- Is capable of bearing the fast. The conditions for this are:
- Good health: Fasting is not obligatory upon a person for whom it entails intolerable hardship.
- Travel: A traveler is not obliged to fast.
- The existence of a preventive: A female in her menses or postnatal bleeding is not obliged to fast.
A person who needs to refrain from fasting due to an excuse is not obliged to fast though he must make up his unperformed fast-days after the excuse ends. But someone who cannot make up his unperformed fast-days, such as a chronically ill person who is not capable of bearing the fast is obliged to make fidya (compensation).
Scholars are unanimous on the obligation of fasting; it is a categorical requirement and one of the pillars of Islam. Someone who denies its obligation is considered a disbeliever unless he is ignorant of its ruling, lives in the desert far from scholars, or is a new convert to Islam. Allah the Almighty says, “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. (Fasting) for a fixed number of days” [Al-Baqarah, 183-4].
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