Directives for the Fasters
Sheikh Saalih aal Taalib
October 31, 2003 ~ Ramadan 6, 1424
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All praise be to Allah. He returns to His servants the seasons of goodness. And He prepares for them that which cleanses the souls and raises the ranks. And He eases for them that which nears them to the Lord of mankind. So from them are those who draw near to their Lord and are therefore elevated. And from them are those who are disgraced and deviated, and others whose desires degrade them to the lowest of positions. I praise my lord – Exalted is He – and I thank Him, and I praise Him and seek His forgiveness. And I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone. He has no partner. He recompenses greatly for a little and He forgives great sins. He removes grief from believers, and He covers the ugly (sins) and He portrays the beautiful (deeds). He is Far above a similarity, partner and an equal. “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” [Surah Shoora:11]. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave, messenger, a continuous bounty from his Lord and a guiding mercy to the creation. Successful is the one who is guided with his guidance and misguided is the one whose desires cause him to dislike him. May Allah send salutations on him (Muhammad) and on the family, companions and those who follow them in goodness until the Day of Judgement and may much peace be upon them.
Thereafter: So fear Allah – the Exalted – as He ought to be feared, “O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Surah Ahzaab: 70 – 71]
O Muslims: Verily the seasons of goodness are auspicious opportunities. Although the coming season (requires) activeness (but) verily the gains in it and from it are patience for an hour, then the Muslim will be, after the acceptance of his deeds, from the successful, and to his creator from the close ones.
O – by Allah! How much of rewards are deposited in this season, and how many apparent sins are decreased in it. So make us – O Allah – exposed to Your fragrances (of mercy), and hasteners towards Your forgiveness, and possessors of Your pleasure, and grant us the ability to (perform) good deeds, and accept us – O Allah – among the accepted , and complete for us with goodness when the appointed time (death) arrives.
Servants of Allah: Thank your Lord for delivering you to Ramadhaan, and praise Him for abling you to fast and stand in prayer. “Say: “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate.” [Surah Yoonus: 58]
Ramadhaan is a month of mercy and goodness, the doors of Paradise are opened in it, and the doors of Hell are closed. In it is the Night of Power which is better than a thousand months. Whoever fasts it and stands in prayer in it, his past sins are forgiven. And for Allah – the Exalted – are those He frees from Hellfire. It is an old law: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you” [Surah Baqarah: 183]
Ramadhaan is the month of the Quraan, “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).” [Surah Baqarah: 185]. Jibra’eel (Alayhi Salaam) used to teach the prophet – peace be upon him – the Quraan in it. And the predecessors – may Allah have mercy on them – when Ramadhaan came, they would leave out Hadeeth and busy (themselves) with the recitation of the Quraan. It is the month of taraweeh prayers and standing, and lining up in the niches of tahajjud; a month of shedding tears and abrogation of sins.
Ramadhaan is the month of memories and victories. The battle of Badr, which Allah called the Day of the criterion, was in it. And in it was the conquest of Makkah, when monotheism was announced, polytheism was destroyed, the idols were removed and the slogans of arrogance were thrown in the dumps. And the sermon of the prophet – peace be upon him – was an announcement of the monotheism of Allah when he said: “There is no god but Allah alone. He assisted His slave, honoured His army and destroyed the confederates alone,” then he raised the banner of justice, pardon and forgiveness and he anchored the brilliant principles of the religion. There were conquests, victories and expeditions throughout the flourishing Islamic era in Ramadhaan, so do the Muslims realise the secrets of the month of Ramadhaan?! Worship and striving, courage and diligence, for it is a month of earnestness and putting the shoulder to the wheel, and it is a reminder to the Ummah to review its accounts and its connection to its religion, and to reform the defective stances, for every Ramadhaan is lessons and examples, in absoluteness, monotheism, facing and fleeing to the Glorious Creator; descending of assistance from the sky; lessons in the unison of the Ummah and discarding of separation and differences; in equality and the feeling of one body.
This is Ramadhaan. The smell of the mouth of the fasting person is sweeter to Allah than the scent of musk. And the fast and the Quraan will intercede for their companion on the Day of Judgement. And for the fasting person, there are two joys: when he breaks his fast, he is happy with his fast-breaking, and when he meets his Lord, he is happy with his fasting. And in the two authentics (Bukhari and Muslim) that the prophet (Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) said: “No servant fasts one day in the path of Allah, except that Allah distances his face, due to that day, from the Fire, (the distance of travelling) seventy years.”, and fasting bequeaths piety, just as reciting the Quraan nurtures the light of guidance in the hearts. And in fasting there is training on breaking desires and cutting off the means of worship of whims and desires. For the fasting person is a supplication that is not rejected. “And when My slaves ask you concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” [Surah Baqarah: 186]
In Ramadhaan the souls are purified, and character is refined. In Ramadhaan the poor and suffering are supported, for it is a month of charity and equality, especially in this time in which Islamic works are being banned just as its assistants are being banned, and this does not deprive the true Muslim of sending his charity to the needy by himself through trusted charitable organizations and foundations, and they are, by the praise of Allah, many in the Muslims lands.
O Muslims: When a Muslim welcomes a season from which he hopes for its gains, then he should first inspect himself and review his deeds so that he is not involved in obstacles and impediments that obstruct him from the acceptance of deeds or that add deficiency in them, because what is the benefit of striving with wasted reward, and of deeds hopeful of reward, but that are added to sins?! And Allah has warned us of a nation whose faces are humbled, working (hard) and exhausted, they will burn in an intensely hot Fire. So a Muslim should be ardent on realising sincerity and continuity in all his acts of worship; rejecting polytheism which is the greatest prevention of the acceptance of deeds, in fact it nullifies them; distant from every innovation in religion, for Allah does not accept acts that are not legislated. And no innovation is enlivened, except that a Sunnah dies.
Make sincere your religion for Allah, and dispose the dirt of sins and disobedience, and wash them away with repentance and forgiveness, for verily sins are a restraint to obedience (of Allah) and an obstacle to good deeds.
And surely what makes the fast deficient, is bad character, complaining about fasting, and portraying the effect of that on the behaviour, as if a calamity has been placed on him, and so too backbiting, lying and evil against the Muslims by speech or action especially if that is tarnished with jealousy.
Abu Hurairah (Radiallahu Anhu) narrated that the messenger of Allah (Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Whoever does not give up false statements, and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink.” [Narrated by Bukhari]
And in the two authentics (Bukhari and Muslim) that the prophet (Salallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) said: “If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarrelling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say ‘I am fasting.”
O you fasting ones: Verily the objective of fasting: is the training of the self towards the obedience of Allah and purifying it with patience, and elevating it of base desires. Just as the body is prevented from permissible things during the condition of fasting, so it is more deserving that the body is prevented from the impermissible. Verily the time of Ramadhaan is too valuable to be wasted in front of lowly viewing (of television programmes), even if the only thing (about viewing them) was wasting valuable time, it would be enough to shun it. How then when its channels are in a frantic race with the devil in promoting corruption and sedition, and a prevention to the remembrance of Allah and to prayer. So, will you not then abstain?!
O Muslim, O servant of Allah! Take the call of the Irresistible to you towards repentance, and answer the call: “And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” [Noor; Verse 31]. Hurry to repentance – may Allah forgive me and you – and beware of placing in your book of deeds today that which you will be ashamed of being mentioned tomorrow, and verily the greatest relaxation is not attained except on a bridge of hard work.
O you fasting ones: And at pre-dawn, there are secrets, breezes and mercy with the divine descent, so supplicate and seek forgiveness, and perhaps a supplication may cause everlasting success to be written for you, and at the time of breaking the fast also, there is a supplication that is not rejected.
So be happy with this month – O Muslims -, and deposit as much good deeds in it as you can, and draw near in it to your Protector, for surely Paradise is calling you: “Allah calls to the home of peace (i.e. Paradise) and guides whom He wills to a Straight Path.” [Yoonus; Verse 25].
May Allah bless me and you in the Book and the Sunnah, and benefit us with what is in them of verses and wisdom. I say these words of mine, and I seek forgiveness from Allah – the Exalted – for me and you and the rest of the Muslims, so seek Allah’s forgiveness. Verily He is Oft-Forgiving.
All praise be to Allah, Who has made fasting a shield, and a means of attaining Paradise. I praise Him – Glorified is He – and I thank Him. He guides and eases (as a) grace from Him and a bounty. And I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone. He has no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. He guided us to the clear path and upright method. May Allah’s salutations and blessings be on him, and on his family, companions and those who follow them in goodness until the Day of Judgement, and may He send much peace upon them.
Thereafter, O Muslims: A Muslim should learn the affairs of his religion and how to worship his Lord and he should be desirous of knowing the laws before the actions, so that he worships Allah with clear proof.
And there are laws of fasting. Among them is that it (fasting) is incumbent upon every mature, sane Muslim. So it is not obligatory on the children, but if he is able to bear it, he may be commanded with it so that he gets used to it. And early maturity should be looked out for especially among the young girls. As for the insane and demented, the pens are lifted from them, so there is no fasting or recompensing for them. Likewise, the insane one who has reached senility, and does not know anything due to his old age, there is no obligation on him or his guardian. Just as fasting is not obligatory on those incapable of it, like the elderly or the terminally ill, so they should not fast and they should feed a poor person for each day (of fasting). As for the sick whose cure is expected, he should not fast, then he should recompense fasting when Allah cures him. Likewise, a pregnant woman, if fasting is difficult for her or if she fears for herself or her foetus, and like that the breastfeeding woman, they should not fast then they should recompense fasting thereafter. Likewise, a traveller is permitted to leave out fasting and then recompense fasting after that.
And fasting is not obligatory on the menstruating and post-partum women and it is not permitted of them, so they should leave out fasting and recompense fasting after Ramadhaan. And if she becomes pure even a minute before Fajr, her fasting will be correct if she has intended, even though she did not bath except after the entrance of Fajr (time).
Likewise, a fasting person should avoid the fast-breakers which nullify his fast from the entrance of Fajr (time) until sunset, and these are eating and drinking and the like, like intravenous nourishment. As for that which does not include food and drink does not nullify fasting, like eye, nose and ear drops. And whoever eats or drinks forgetfully, he should complete his fast, and there is no due on him.
And among the fast-breakers is sexual relations during the day of Ramadhaan, for it nullifies the fast, and requires binding recompense with repentance. And it is permissible at night. Likewise the voluntary secretion of semen during the day of Ramadhaan due to any reason is prohibited, for it nullifies the fast, and obligates recompense fasting. As for a kiss without desire there is no harm in it. And as for a wet-dream from the sleeping one, it does not nullify fasting, but he should bath and complete his fast.
And among the fast-breakers, is cupping with difference of opinion, but a Muslim should be cautious over his fast, so he should not take any of his blood while fasting. As for if a person is injured or his blood comes out due to a nose-bleed and the like then nothing is due on him, and his fast is correct.
And among the fast-breakers also is intentionally vomiting. As for if it was involuntary then there is nothing due on him, and his fast is correct.
And all these fast-breakers do not nullify the fast except if it was done knowingly, remembered and voluntarily.
And it is permissible for the fasting person to colour the eyes, treat wounds, cool (himself) and (apply) perfume.
And a Muslim should follow the Sunnah in hastening the opening of the fast, delaying the pre-dawn meal, supplicating at fast-opening, seeking forgiveness at pre-dawn, abundance of Quraan recitation, remembrance and supplications, charity, helping the needy, joining family ties, purifying the self of dirt, preserving the congregational prayer in the mosques and standing with the Imam in taraweeh prayer, for it is limited days. Soon it will pass and the workers will praise their outcomes with the saying of Allah to them: “Eat and drink in satisfaction for what you put forth in the days past.” [Haaqqah; Verse 24]
Then send salutations and peace on the best creation and purest human, Muhammad bin Abdullah, al Haashimiyy, al Qurashiyy.
O Allah send salutations, peace, increase and blessings on Your servant and messenger Muhammad and on all his family and companions. And be pleased, O Allah, with all the companions of Your prophet.
O Allah grant honour to Islam and the Muslims…