Sayings of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)

Virtues of Fasting

Abu Hurairah reported the Messenger of God (pbuh), saying:

"Allah said 'Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for that is solely for Me. I give the reward for it. The fast is a shield."

"If one is fasting, he should not use foul language, raise his voice, or behave foolishly. If someone reviles him or fights with him, he should say, 'I am fasting,' twice."

"By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the [bad] breath of the one who is fasting is better in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection than the smell of musk."

"The one who is fasting is happy at two times: when he breaks his fast he is happy with it, and when he meets his Lord he will be happy that he has fasted."

This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and an-Nasa'i.

A similar version was recorded by al-Bukhari and Abu Dawud, but with the following addition:

"He leaves his food, drink, and desires for My sake. His fasting is for Me ...I will give the reward for it, and for every good deed, he will receive ten similar to it."

Abdullah ibn Amr reported that the Messenger of God (pbuh) said:
"The fast and the Qur'an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: 'O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.' The Qur'an will say: 'I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted." Ahmad related this hadith with a sahih chain.

Abu Umamah reported: "I came to the Messenger of God and said: 'Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.' He said: 'Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it.' Then I came to him again and he said: 'Stick to fasting'."

Abu Said al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of God said: "No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years further away from his face."

Sahl ibn Sa'd reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: 'Where are those who fasted?' When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked." This is related by al- Bukhari and Muslim.

Types of Fasting

There are two types of fasting: obligatory and voluntary. Obligatory can be further subdivided into the fast of Ramadan, the fast of expiation and the fast of fulfilling a vow. In this issue we shall only discuss the Fast of Ramadan.

The fast of Ramadan according to the Qur'an and Sunnah is obligatory. The evidence from the Qur'an consists of the following two verses:

'O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for the people before you in order for you to gain God-consciousness..."

"...The month of Ramadan, during which the Qur'an was revealed, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance and the criterion; and whoever of you is resident, let him fast the month." (Qur'an 2:185)

From the Sunnah we have the following statements of the Holy Prophet (pbuh): "Islam is built upon [the following] five pillars: testifying that there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, the establishment of the prayer, the giving of zakah, the fast of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Makkah."

Talhah ibn 'Ubaidullah reported that a man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said: "O Messenger of Allah, tell me what Allah requires of me as regards fasting." He answered, 'The month of Ramadan.' The man asked: "Is there any other [fast]?" The Prophet answered: "No, unless you do so voluntarily."

The Virtues of Ramadan

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "The blessed month has come to you. Allah has opened the gates of paradise and closed the gates of hellfire, and the devils are chained. There is a night [during this month] which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived [of something great]."

Abu Sa'id al Khudri reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan, obeying all of its limitations and guarding himself against what is forbidden, has in fact atoned for any sins he committed before it."

The Arrival of Ramadan

This event is confirmed by sighting the new moon, even if it is seen by only one just person, or by the passage of thirty days in the immediately preceding month of Shaban. Ibn 'Umar said: "The people were looking for the new moon and when I reported to the Messenger of Allah that I had seen it, he fasted and ordered the people to fast."

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (pbuh) instructed: "Fast after you have seen it [the new crescent] and end the fast [at the end of the month] when you see it. If it is hidden from you, then wait until the thirty days of Sha'ban have passed." This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.


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March / April 1993
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