Age of Jahiliyah

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Archive for the tag “Fasting”

Increasing Spiritual Nourishment in Ramadan: Remembrance and Contemplation by Khalil Abdur-Rashid

There are two main duties that we have to perform inside of Ramadan: dhikr and fikr. During these 16-17 hour days when we’re fasting, we have to busy ourselves. Everyone talks about how difficult it is going to be to not eat and drink for so long, for so many days, during the heat of July, but Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has not given us a burden we cannot bear. While we fast and decrease our intake of food and drink, our material manifestations of nourishment, we must increase our spiritual nourishment to replace it.

Dhikr

The way this is done is through dhikr, the remembrance of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). While food and drink is the nourishment andrizq (sustenance) of the body, dhikr, the remembrance of Allah is the nourishment, and the rizq, of the ruh and the soul. If the soul is full, the body will be full even if it has no food in it. This is something I can attest to from personal experience, and many others can testify to that as well. If you begin a regimen where every day you are constantly remembering Allah, you will feel full despite the fact that you are going 16 hours and fasting. You have to combine this with Qur’an, and with the dhikr from the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  that are known and accepted in our collections of hadith.

These recitations must be done with the tongue, and in the mind itself. For example, reading the Qur’an  as much as possible every single day should be the habit of every single Muslim. It is the habit of the Muslims to complete a juz every day. We are not supposed to be completing the juz of the Qur’an for the sake of completing the juz of the Qur’an. That’s not the purpose, to just check every day off that you’ve done it. The purpose of reading Qur’an every day is to feed your ruh, to feed your soul, while your body is fasting from food. Why? So that we can develop the habit of nurturing ourselves spiritually, and so that we don’t rely so much on material forms of rizq and nourishment.  So in the morning when you wake up to go to work, there should be dhikr on your tongue and in your mind. If all you know is “La ilaha illallah”, then there should never ever be five minutes of the day when you’re fasting where you don’t say “La ilaha illallah”, either with your tongue or your heart.

Constant dhikr of Allah is what is required during long fasts, and also during short fasts. The blessed opportunity  here is that the more that you remember Allah in your mind and in your tongue, the more your mind is taken off of the hunger.

Fikr

Related to dhikr is fikr. Fikr means contemplation, deep thought and reflection. It’s not enough for us to constantly read the Qur’an, and not ponder and reflect on what the Qur’an is saying. What’s the purpose of reading a juz of Quran, and you have no idea what is being said? What’s the purpose of reading the Qur’an, and you’re thinking about what kind of food you’re going to eat for dinner? What’s the purpose of reading Qur’an, and you’re thinking about what movie you’re going to see after iftar with your friends?

The purpose of the Qur’an is to concentrate and contemplate on the Quran, to really digest that. Subhanallah, the Prophetic adab (manners) of eating food, as we were taught by our Shaykh Muhammad Emin, is that you ponder and do fikr of the food that you are eating. If you are eating chicken, then you ponder where the chicken came from, which farm the chicken was raised on, how it was cared for, and how it got from that farm to the grocery store, and how it got to your plate. If you’re eating lettuce, think about where in the world did that lettuce grow, how was it harvested, and put on a truck and shipped to a grocery store.  You purchased that piece of lettuce that came from somebody’s farm and it’s now on your plate, and you gain nourishment from it.

If the adab of eating material food is that you contemplate and do fikr about the food, then what do you think the adab of reciting the Qur’an and taking in spiritual food is? Of course it is tadabbur, fikr and contemplation of the Quran. Whatever dhikr that comes out of your mouth, whatever form of remembrance that you choose to adopt during the month of Ramadan, you must accompany that with contemplation. What comes off of the tongue must be realized, understood and contemplated in the mind and in the heart. In that way, spiritual change is slowly produced.

Fikr is very important. This fikr should be contemplated in moments of ease and hardship throughout the fasting day. We all have times in the day when the fast is easy for us and we have moments where it is hard. During the hard times the recitation of the Qur’an should increase, and the dhikr should increase. With that, the reflection should increase, and should be deeper. We should give more attention to the deeper meanings of what we are saying. In the times of hardship, if we put more energy into recitation and contemplation we find that the pains of hunger and thirst disappear. All those physical sensations are drawn back and become less of a priority. They literally disappear into oblivion and are eviscerated while you are doing dhikr and remembering Allah. Because our hunger and thirst come from Him, He can remove it. He removes it traditionally through the remembrance of His Attributes, His Book and all the adhkaar that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ narrated in the authentic collections of hadith.

Dhikr and fikr. May we increase our spiritual nourishment and find deeper meaning in our life in this month.

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Fasting in Ramadan with Food That’s Best for You | TheDeenShowTV

Fasting Outside of Ramadan | Saad Tasleem

What Breaks the Fast | Saad Tasleem

Making Up Missed Fasts | Saad Tasleem

A Ramadan Reader: Comprehensive Answers Guide to Getting the Most Out of Ramadan

Ramadan Reader: Comprehensive Answers Guide to Getting the Most Out of Ramadan

Fasting – It’s Principles and Virtues | Imam Ghazali

 

Excerpt from Imam al-Ghazali’s (d. 1111 CE / 505 AH) Book of Forty Principles from the Foundations of Religion:

Translated by: Khalil Abu Asmaa (Christopher Moore)

[ After discussing the Prayer and Zakah, Imam al-Ghazali goes on to say: ]

The Third Principle: Fasting

The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) said that God said:

Every good deed is ten times its likeness, up to seven hundred times, except for fasting, for verily it is for Me, and I will reward it. [al-Bukhari and Muslim]

He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said:

For everything there is a door, and the door of worship is fasting. [Ibn al-Mubarak]

Fasting has been singled out with these amazing qualities for two main reasons:

1. Its essence is that it is a personal abstinence, and such is a hidden action that no one but God can see, unlike the prayer, the zakah, or other (acts of worship).

2. It is a grief for, and subdual of, the enemy of God. Shaytan is the enemy, and the enemy cannot gain strength except through the medium of the passions. Hunger breaks all the passions that are the tool of Shaytan. For this reason, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

Verily Shaytan runs in the Son of Adam like blood. Therefore, constrain the passageways of Shaytan with hunger. [al-Bukhari and Muslim, except after “Therefore”]

Such is the secret of his statement (peace be upon him):

When Ramadan comes the doors of Paradise are opened, the doors of the Fire are shut, the shaytans are restrained, and a caller calls: ‘Oh seeker of good, come forward! Oh seeker of evil, back off!’ [al-Tirmidhi, and al-Hakim said it was sound]

Know that fasting, in addition to its rank, has three levels, and in addition to its secrets, has three levels as well.

As for the levels of its rank:

The least of them is to only fast the month of Ramadan. The highest of them is the fast of David (peace be upon him), which entails fasting every other day. It is mentioned in an authentic narration (in both al-Bukhari and Muslim) that such is “the fast of all time” and that it is the best of all fasts. The wisdom behind this type of fast lies in the fact that whoever fasts daily, fasting will become completely habitual and he will not feel brokenness in his soul, purity in his heart, or weakness in his desires. For indeed, the soul is only impacted by what comes to it (occasionally), not by what it has become used to. This shouldn’t be hard to imagine, for medical doctors also discourage their patients from developing a dependence for medicine, and they say, “Whoever becomes accustomed to that he will not benefit from it when he is sick, for his temperament will becomes used to it and it will henceforth not affect him.”

Know that the doctoring of the hearts is akin to that of the doctoring of the bodies. This is the wisdom of the statement of the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) to ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘Aas (may be pleased with them both) when he asked him about fasting: “Fast one day, break your fast the next.” He replied, “I want something better than that.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) responded, “There is nothing better than that.”

It is for this reason that when it was said to the Messenger of God (peace be upon him), “So-and-so fasts all the time,” he said, “He neither fasted, nor broke his fast.” This is just like when Aisha (may God be pleased with her) said to a man that was reciting the Quran in a rapid fashion: “This one here has neither recited the Quran nor kept silent.”

As for the middle level, it is to fast one third of the time. Whenever you fast every Monday and Thursday, adding to it Ramadan, then you have fasted four months and four days out of the year, which is slightly over a third. With that said, it is necessary that one day will be broken during the days of tashriq (during Hajj), so the total left is now three days. It is also imagined that the days of Eid will be lost as well, so this makes three days missed altogether, leaving us with one day. So think about the arithmetic and you will figure it out.

Therefore, it is inappropriate for your fast to be less than this, for it is light on the nafs (self) and its reward is immense.

As for the levels of its secrets, they are three:

1. The least of them is that one abstains from those things that break the fast, all the while not preventing his limbs from that which is disliked. This is the fast of the masses and it is indicative of their being pleased with the name (of “fasting”).

2. The second level is when you add to it prevention of the limbs. Hence, you guard the tongue from backbiting and the eye from looking at doubtful things, as well as guarding the rest of the body parts.

3. The third level is when you add to it the maintenance of the heart from (bad) thoughts and whisperings, and when you restrict it to the remembrance of God (Mighty and Majestic). This is the fast of the elect of the elite and it is the perfection of the fast.

Finally, fasting has a last matter by which it is completed: to break the fast with that which is permissible, not that which is doubtful. In addition, not to be excessive in the eating of the permissible, in an attempt to make up for what was lost in the morning. In this case one would be merging two meals into one thereby weighing down the stomach and increasing the desires. This will invalidate the wisdom of the fast and its benefit, and will lead one to be too lazy to get up for tahajjud (night vigil prayer) and possibly cause one to not even get up before Fajr (to have suhur and prepare for prayer). All of this is a complete loss and it may be that such a one will not even benefit from the fast at all.

ReflectOnThis: Fasting – Imam al-Ghazali

SeekersHub Answers | Missing Fasts Because of Exams

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Asalam ‘alaykum

I am studying at university . My exams will be occurring during the month of Ramadan.I am concerned that fasting will affect my exam performance because of the difficulty to fast in summer and was wondering is there any way I could miss those fasts and make them up later. 

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

No, you cannot miss your fasts.

Fasting is a duty for the believers. Whoever misses it without genuine excuse doesn’t understand what that means nor what is going on. Mercy and blessings flow down upon the obedient, worshipful servant, and such are the believers whom Allah loves.

Allah Most High says, “And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will grant them a way out, and will provide for them in ways unimagined. And whoever places their trust in Allah, then Allah is their sufficiency. Allah’s affair will surely come to pass–and Allah has made a clear decree for everything.” [65.2-3]

If there is taqwa, there is assistance. If there is taqwa, there is an opening, there is light, there is success. Missing fasts and disobeying Allah in the hope of succeeding in this world is folly. Whoever makes Allah their priority, He suffices them from their other concerns.

Focus, work hard, eat and drink well, get enough rest, and pray at night when others are asleep, asking Allah for success and facilitation, and pray the Prayer of Need [see: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?] before each exam. This is the way of the strong believers.

May Allah bless your efforts and facilitate success for you in this life and the next.

And Allah alone gives success.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

 

SeekersHub Answers | Do Insulin Injections Nullify the Fast?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam Alaikum ,

Although Glucose drips are injected through the arm or bloodstream it still provides nourishment. Would insulin injections nullify the fast?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

Injections do not invalidate the fast, irrespective of the substance they contain.

A drip takes the same ruling. The entrance of something through a recognized entry point invalidates the fast.

Please see: The Complete Guide to Fasting and: “Principles on What Invalidates the Fast”

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

SeekersHub Answers | What Should I Do If I Was Taking Medication During Ramadan?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam aleykum

I have been in a lot pain recently and had to miss some days of Ramadan because of pain medication. On some days, I would take pain medicine once after sunrise but before noon and then continue with my fast. Should I make up these days?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

You must make up all the fasts you invalidated. This includes those invalidated by taking medication during the fasting hours.

Make the intention to make up a fast before Fajr on the day you wish to fast, and then do so.

In future, you should consult with an expert doctor to see if it is possible to take an alternative medicine, or at least to be able to take the medicine outside the fasting hours.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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