The least form of fasting is leaving off food and drink

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Know that there are certain manners to fasting that must be abided by and adhered to so that the fast could proceed in the way it was prescribed so that one could achieve its benefits, fulfill its objective and not find it discomforting and without benefit.

This is as the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: ”Perhaps all a person fasting derives from his fast is hunger and thirst.” So fasting is not just the abandonment of food and drink only. Rather, it also entails abandoning improper statements and actions that are forbidden or disliked. One of the Salaf once said: “The least form of fasting is leaving off food and drink.” This is since drawing near to Allaah by abandoning allowable things cannot be complete unless after drawing nearer to Him by abandoning what Allaah has prohibited under every circumstance.

Even though a Muslim is obligated to abandon the unlawful at all times, it is even more binding upon him while he is fasting. If one commits the unlawful in times other than when he is fasting, he is sinning and worthy of being punished. But if he commits it while fasting, then on top of being sinful and deserving of punishment, this affects his fast by it being either deficient or nullified. So the person who truly observes the fast is he who withholds his stomach from food and drink, refrains his limbs from sins, restricts his tongue from vile and evil speech, restrains his ears from listening to songs, musical instruments, backbiting and gossip, and holds back his eyes from looking at the forbidden. The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever does not abandon false speech and acting upon it, then Allaah is not in need of him abandoning his food and drink.” [Reported by Al-Bukhaaree] The person who is fasting must avoid backbiting, gossip and insulting others, based on what the two Shaikhs (Al-Bulkhaaree and Muslim) reported from Abu Hurairah (radyAllaahu ‘anhu) that he day in which one of you is fasting, then he should not be vile in speechnor should he be sinful nor should he be ignorant. And if someone reviles him, then he should say: ‘I am a person that is fasting.’” The word junnah (armor) is that which protects the one who wears it from the weapon of his opponent causing harm to him. So fasting protects a person from falling into sins whose consequences are punishment in this world and the next. The word rafath in the hadeeth refers to lewd and immoral speech.

Imaam Ahmad reported in marfoo’ form that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily, fasting is armor so long as it is not pierced.” It was said: “What causes it to be pierced?” He (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Lying and Backbiting.” This is proof that backbiting pierces the fast or makes a dent in it. When armor is pierced it is of no more use to the one wearing it. So in the same manner, when one’s fast is pierced, it is no longer any benefit to the one performing it. Backbiting is as the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) explained it, and that is mentioning about your brother what he hates. It has been reported in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad that this breaks the fast: “Two women were once fasting during the lifetime of Allaah’s Messenger and they almost died of thirst. This was mentioned to the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) but he turned away from (allowing) them (to break the fast). Then they were mentioned to him again, so he called for them and ordered them to vomit, i.e. throw up, what was in their stomachs. So they both vomited and filled up a bowl with puss, blood and pieces of flesh. Then the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

‘These two fasted by refraining from what Allaah made lawful for them. But they broke their fast by doing what Allaah made unlawful for them. One of them sat with the other and they began to eat from the flesh of people.’” What transpired with these two women in the presence of the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) from their vomiting vile and disgusting things – this was from the miracles that Allaah allowed to occur at the hand of His Messenger so that he could show the evil effects of backbiting to the people. Allaah says: “And do not backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother?” [Surah Al- Hujuraat: 12] This hadeeth shows that backbiting breaks the fast. This is in the figurative sense, meaning it nullifies the reward of fasting. May Allaah send His peace and blessings on our prophet, Muhammad, his family and Companions.

Source: What is Prohibited and Disliked for the one Fasting – by Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan [Ittihaaf Ahlil-Eemaan bi-Duroos Shahri Ramadaan, Al-Ibaanah.com]

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Striving Hard, Competing for Good Deeds in Ramadaan

by Shaykh ‘Abdul-’Azeez bin Baaz All Praise is due to Allaah, and may the peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad. It is legislated for all the Muslims to strive hard in the various types of worship during this noble month. They should strive to pray voluntary prayers and recite the Qur‘an with reflection and thinking. They should increase the glorification of Allaah [saying ”SubhanAllaah”], declaring Allaah’s right to be worshiped alone [saying ”La illaaha il Allaah”], praising Him [saying ”Al-Hamdulillaah”], declaring His greatness [saying ”Allaahu Akbar”] and seeking His forgiveness. They should say legislated supplications, command the good, forbid the evil, invite to Allaah, be generous to the poor and needy, strive to be kind to parents, keep good family ties, honor the neighbor, visit the sick, and other types of good deeds. This is due to the Prophet’s (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) statement: quote: • ”Allaah looks at your competing for good works during it and He proudly tells the angels about you all. Therefore, show Allaah goodness from yourselves. For verily, the wretched person is the one who is deprived of Allaah’s Mercy during it (Ramadaan).” – Majma ‘uz-Zawa’id 3:142; Kanzul-’Ummal no. 23692. This is also due to what is reported from him (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) that he said: ”Whoever draws near to Allaah during it (Ramadaan) with a single characteristic from the characteristics of (voluntary) goodness, he is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.” – Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1887. This is also due to his (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) statement in the authentic hadith: ”An ‘Umrah performed during Ramadaan is equal to a performance of Hajj – or he said – a Hajj with me.” – Al-Bukhari (no. 1863) and Muslim (no. 1256). The ahadith and narrations that prove the sanctioning of competing, and being aggressive in performing the various acts of goodness in this noble month are numerous. Allaah is the one Who is asked to help us and the rest of the Muslims to do all that contains His Pleasure and to accept our fast and standing for night prayer. We ask Him to correct our situations and protect us all from the deviations of trials and temptations. Likewise, we ask Him to make the leaders of the Muslims righteous, and unite their word upon the truth. Verily, Allaah is the Guardian of that, and He is capable of doing it. Source: Fataawa Islamiya, pp. 220-221

This article was culled from AbdurRahman.org

RAMADAN MESSAGE

Ramadan is here again providing us the
opportunity to reach out to Allah more than ever and ask for His forgiveness and blessings. As Allah has singled out this month more so than others for showering His blessings and mercy, it is only prudent that we also use the opportunity to reassess our conditions, our purpose and direction in life, and accordingly make appropriate changes in line with His commands.
This Ramadan, as we look at the state of Muslims around the world in general, we see that Muslim suffering has reached levels it has never reached in living memory. In many affected communities and countries, Muslims are being subjected to torture, killings, persecution, and all forms of unimaginable
suffering. With every passing day, their plight does not seem to be getting any better. Images of families with shattered homes, dead children, and faces traumatized from the horrors of rape, hunger, and persecution are plastered throughout the media channels. As Muslims, one cannot stop but wonder whether we are being punished for our doings or if it is a test of our faiths. We also ask if something
can be done not only to alleviate the current
sufferings but also to ensure that it does not spread to engulf other Muslim communities.

This Ramadan we ought to pause and reflect upon this condition of the people that share our faith. We know both from Quran and Hadith that in times of hardship we should persevere with patience, prayers, and Dua. But it is also prudent that we inquire whether our miserable situations are also due to our conduct unbecoming of a Muslim. Such a conduct obviously tends to keep us preoccupied with the attractions of this world
distracting us in turn from Allah’s remembrance and subservience. It then should come as no surprise to us that when we turn a blind eye to the divine truths and warnings, we forfeit his blessings and mercy and pay a price both in this world and the hereafter.

Relearn the Message of Quran

Let us then refocus at this Ramadan and read and listen a bit more attentively to those divine truths that Allah tells us in the Quran. With added devotion and dedication, we will be able to hear and understand the Quran’s verses and Allah’s wisdom in those direct messages to us. That will surely pave the way toward our transformation and open up Allah’s gates for His mercy, forgiveness,
and kindness, which we need so desperately to be successful in this life and the hereafter. As we ponder over those messages, we will also relearn what is really good for us and that will enable us to reprioritize accordingly. Those messages will also remind us that a soul that is forgiven and less burdened with sins can bring more benefit to us than the one burdened with materialistic gains of this life. As Allah tells us in the Quran,

‘Say: “In the bounty of Allah, and in His
mercy; therein let them rejoice.” That is
better than what (the wealth) they
amass.’ ( Surah Younus, 58.)

Relearning and internalizing what’s good for us will also provide us with the spiritual fuel that we need to motivate ourselves to do more good and to bring the Quran into our lives rather than merely paying lip service to its messages and referring to them as if they were superficial maxims. After all, unless we truly understand what is good for us and how that
relates to the truth, our purpose in life, and our lives in general, how else can we get spiritually motivated? Our salaf (righteous followers of the prophet) clearly understood and internalized those divine truths and their behaviors clearly reflected that understanding. Imam Ahmad records Abu Dardaa as saying: “If only you knew what you will certainly see upon your death, you would never eat again a single bite out of a craving appetite, and you would never again drink an extra sip of water for the pleasure of unquenchable and insatiable thirst.”

Cleanse Our Lives of Sinful Behaviors

This Ramadan also provides us the opportunity to pause and pay heed to those hidden sinful behaviors that may have crept into our lifestyles. For many of us, despite our indulgence in those sins, Allah has given us the respite to wake up and change course. Let us not forget that Allah has told us in the Quran the following:

“And if Allah were to seize mankind for their wrong-doing, He would not leave on it (the earth) a single moving (living) creature, but He postpones them for an appointed term and when their term comes, neither can they delay nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment).” Surah An-Nahl (16:128).

So, let not the comforts of our lives fool us into assuming Allah’s acceptance of our sinful conduct. Instead, we should utilize our peaceful times and act with a sense of urgency by reforming our behaviors and turning to Him in sincere repentance lest the time comes unexpectedly and we are held accountable for our actions both in this life and the hereafter by getting burdened with hardships.
Let us also remind ourselves that Allah has warned us that Satan who lurks in the shadows is our worst enemy and is committed to detract us from Allah and His message by making this life appear as an end all for our pursuits. Let us reflect, ponder and become more aware of how Satan tricks us into rationalizing our actions of bringing haram into our lives and by pushing us to compromise our values and ideals.

Worship Allah the Way He wants to be
Worshipped

Let us use this month to manifest our faith by
worshipping Allah the way He wants us to worship Him. We know from the Quran as well as prophet (s.a.w.)’s traditions about the need to exert ourselves more – both physically and spiritually – to manifest that faith. We know that in this month the prophet (s.a.w) besides fasting during the day, prayed for longer hours at night, exerted more in Allah’s dhikr and remembrance, humbled himself in front of His Creator, and performed in a way
that showed His love and fear of Allah and special reverence for this month. This Ramadan we, too, need to take the minutes and the hours from our schedules to exert more in that worship so it can also help train us to do so during other months.

Correct the Lies About Islam

This Ramadan let us also remind ourselves of the harsh reality that we live in a world infested with misinterpreted truths about Islam that are essentially just lies. Some of these lies have come about by the evil intentions of some and others have taken hold due to our inability to show the truth to others. Whether we have not taken the initiative to correct those misconceptions because we lack enough knowledge or because we choose to keep hiding in the shadows so as not to be “controversial”, we must realize that as Muslims we have a duty to correct those misconceptions. We can blame the evil mongers for spreading the lies but we are to be blamed for letting those lies lurk unchallenged. Once we strive to correct those
misconceptions by educating ourselves more and by being bold, we will also learn the shortcomings in our behaviors, providing us with the opportunity to correct and improve ourselves.

Make Dua for Others’ Suffering

Going back to the suffering of the millions, let us do what we can this Ramadan to provide them whatever help we can to alleviate their suffering. At a minimum, we should make sincere Duas for the souls that are undergoing such trials. The prophet (s.a.w) had told us in a hadith that
“The supplication that gets the quickest answer is the one made by one Muslim for another in his absence.” (Reported by Abu Daw’ud and Tirmidhi.)

Finally, let us ensure that we do not let this month go by without asking profusely for His mercy and forgiveness because if we received even a portion of that, it would be better than all that we accumulate in this world. To review the verse again, Allah says:

‘Say: “In the bounty of Allah, and in His
mercy; therein let them rejoice.” That is
better than what (the wealth) they
amass.” (Surah Younus, 58.)

Let us pray that Allah gives us the ability to do what He pleases and may He accept our
worship and good deeds in Ramadan!

Source: IqraSense.com

We need a Ramadan

In a couple of days time, we will be, with the grace of Allah, blessed with the holy and noble month of Ramadan. And, unfortunately to a lot of the Muslims, this beautiful month is perceived as a month of thirst and hunger, and is also perceived as a month where people get tired and they become lazy and they sleep most of the day and play most of the night. Ramadan is unlike this.

Ramadan is a season where Muslims should prepare themselves before entering this season. This is what the prophet (salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam) used to do. He used to fast most of the month that comes before Ramadan, which is the month of Sha’ban, and when he was asked, ‘Oh Prophet of Allah, why do you fast this month?’ He said that it is a month between the month of Rajab and the month of Ramadan.

A lot of the Muslims seem to ignore or neglect it and that is why I would love to remember Allah, and be grateful to Him by fasting these last few days of Sha’ban. So this is one means of preparation for the month of Ramadan, which is by fasting the month that precedes it, so that it would be like a training session for you.

Most of us have debts, have problems, have illnesses, have needs, and we don’t seem to get the answers to our problems because we are not asking the right questions, and we are not asking the people, or we are not asking those who can answer our problems. In Ramadan, it is a gift from Allah, where you can find all the solutions for your problems and all the answers for your questions. If you knock on Allah’s door, eventually it will be opened and your request will be answered, only in the month of Ramadan. Write a list of what you want. Try to gain your thoughts and gather them so you that know what to seek from your Lord. Because in Ramadan you have to be certain that this is the time for your wishes and hopes and prayers to be answered.

The prophet said (salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam) that among those whom Allah answers their prayers and supplications, among them is a person who is fasting when he breaks his fast. So imagine yourself, a few minutes before sunset, before breaking your fasting, few minutes before your iftar, imagine yourself with all the burdens and troubles you carry on your shoulder, when you sit there, in humility, when you sit there in poverty to Allah’s generosity, raising your hands, praising Allah, giving salutations to the prophet (salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and asking Allah for whatever you want, knowing that Allah will answer your call. Knowing that Allah will give you what you have asked for. If you do this every single day until the month of Ramadan is over, by the grace of Allah your call will be answered, your problems will be solved, and your questions, in sha’Allah, with the grace of Allah, would find an answer to them.

This month of Ramadan is a month of worship, of giving charity, of night prayer. Not only that, it is a month of forgiveness, it is a month of pardoning others. It is a month of excelling and doing your best at your work and in your studies so that non-Muslims would look and say ‘SubhanAllah, he is hungry and thirsty and he did not have a bite for twelve or fourteen hours and look at him, ma sha’Allah he is doing his level best to improve and to excel in his job. This is a wonderful religion.’ Compare this man to that who comes to work late and leaves from work early, and whenever he is assigned to do something, he complains that he is fasting and you people do not have any mercy.

What kind of an impression he would leave about Islam in their sight? So, this is an opportunity for us to take, I know that we are a month ahead but you cannot go in the field and expect to do good results in the match if you did not have the proper training. The month of Sha’ban is a suitable month for you to train by fasting as many days as you can, by dedicating more minutes and hours to your night prayer at night, so that when Ramadan comes you are feeling at home and you will utilise it to the very best.

I pray to Allah that we reach Ramadan in piety, in righteousness and in fear of Allah and that Allah will grant us the full utilisation of our time to recite the Qur’an, to make dhikr, to fast as Allah loves us to do, and to give charity and to pray night prayer in taraweeh and in tahajjud and with the grace of Allah we will be able to attain night prayer in the night of decree, Laylat al Qadr, which is better than a thousand months of worship, and whoever does this, Allah will forgive their sins. And I pray to Allah that we will be among those who their sins will be forgiven. And Allah knows best.