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Fasting By Imam al-Haddad

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By Imam al-Haddad

(a translation of a section of his Nasâih al-Dîniyâh)

Imam al-Haddad, may Allah shower him with mercy, said:

Know! O gathering of brothers, may Allah ease us and you towards ease and

distance us from difficulty and forgive us in the next world and the first one,

that Ramadân is a month of mighty status and rank with Allah and His

Messenger. It is the master of all months. Allah made fasting compulsory for

the Muslims and prescribed it for them. The Exalted said:

O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those

before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint,-

(al-Baqara 2:183)

Allah sent His Book down in it and made the Night of Power, which is better

than a thousand months, among its nights. A thousand months is more

than eighty years. Count and contemplate what this Night of Power is – a

night that Allah has made greater than this long period. And Allah, The

Exalted has said:

Ramadhân is the (month) in which the Qurân was sent down, as a guide to

mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and


(al-Baqara 2:185)

And He also said:

We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:

And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is?

The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.

Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every


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Peace! This until the rise of morn!

(al-Qadr, 97:1-5)

He, the Transcendent, made us aware that the Qurân was descended in the

month of Ramadhân and then that He specifically sent it down on the Night

of Power. The ‘descending’ was in one go from the Sacred Tablet (al-Lahw al-

Mahfûz) to The House of Power ( bayt al-‘Izza ) which is in the lowest sky and

then it was revealed in portions by Jibrîl (Gabriel) by Allah’s command to His

messenger, upon both of them be peace, over a period of twenty-three years.

That is the period of Allah’s revelation to His Messenger, upon him be peace,

as Allah revealed the Qurân when he was forty years old and he, upon him

be peace and salutations, passed away when he was sixty-three years old.

That is what the critical scholars from the early and later generations have


The blessings of Ramdhân

The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace, said regarding Ramadhân:

‘Ramadhân to Ramadhân, Friday prayer to Friday prayer and compulsory

prayer to compulsory prayer cover up what is between them if one avoids the

major sins.’

And he, upon him be peace and salutations, said, ‘it is the month of

steadfastness (sabr) and the reward of steadfastness is the Garden.’ And he

said of it, ‘its beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness and its ending is

freedom from the Fire.’

Allah, the Exalted, looks to the Muslims on its first night and He will not

punish the one He has looked to and He forgives them on its last night.

Jibril (Gabriel) said to the Messenger of Allah, upon both of them be peace,

‘whoever reaches Ramadhân and is not forgiven in it, may Allah distant him,

say “amin”.’ The messenger said, ‘amin’. This is because the means of

forgiveness in Ramadhân are greater than in other months. Therefore the

only one who is prevented from forgiveness has been prevented through the

iniquity of his rebellion against Allah and the enormity of his insolence

towards Allah and he by this he causes distance and rejection from Allah’s

door. We ask Allah for safety from His anger, His punishment and all His


It has been related that the doors of the skies and all the doors of the

Garden are opened during Ramadhân. The doors of the fire are locked and

the minions of Shaytân are banished to the seas so that they cannot spoil

the fast and the standing in prayer of the Muslims. A caller calls on each

night of Ramadhân ‘O desirer of good, come forward! O desirer of evil, go


It has also been related that ‘whoever seeks proximity to Allah through a

compulsory act will have the reward of seventy compulsory acts. Whoever

seeks proximity to Allah through a superogotory act will have the reward of a

compulsory act.’ The superogotory acts in Ramadhân are of the status of

compulsory acts in other months in terms of reward. The compulsory reward

are increased seventy times above those of other months.

And He upon whom be peace and blessings said, ‘whoever fasts the month of

Ramadhân and prays the voluntary night prayer (al-qiyâm) with faith and

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sincerity will have his prior sins forgiven. Imân here means believing and

ihtisâb means ‘with sincerity’. And Allah knows best.

The fast has etiquettes without which it will not be perfected.

The etiquettes of fasting

Among the most important is to protect one’s tongue from lies, backbiting

and falling into that which does not concern you and protecting your eyes

and ears from looking at or listening to that which is not permitted and that

which is superfluous.

Likewise, one should protect one’s stomach from consuming anything

prohibited or doubtful, especially when breaking one’s fast. One should

make special effort to only break one’s fast with the permitted. Some of the

righteous predecessors have said, ‘if you fast, take care about what you

break your fast with and with whom you break your fast.’ This indicates the

importance of assiduousness and scrupulousness about one what breaks

one’s fast with.

Likewise, the fasting person should preserve his limbs from situations

associated with sin and from excess. By this, the fast will be perfected and

purified. How many people fast, tiring themselves with hunger and thirst yet

allow their limbs to transgress and thereby spoil their fast and waste that

effort? As has been mentioned by he upon whom be peace, ‘how many fast

and attain nothing from the fast but hunger and thirst?’

Avoidance of disobedience is compulsory upon the one who is fasting and

also on the one who is not, but it is even more important for the fasting

person to take care. Its obligation is of even great magnitude, so understand!

The Messenger, upon him be salutations and peace, said, ‘fasting is a shield

and so if one of you is fasting one should not swear or abuse or do any of the

acts of ignorance. If someone comes to abuse or fight you say ‘I am fasting’.

From the etiquettes of fasting is not to sleep much during the day or eat

much at night but to be balanced so that one feels the hunger and thirst and

trains one’s self (nafs), weakens one’s desires and enlightens one’s heart for

that is the secret and purpose of one’s fast. The fasting person should avoid

lavishness1 in following one’s desires and tastes as previously mentioned.

The minimum level should be to have the same level of luxury as one is used

to outside of Ramadân, but self discipline and avoidance of the desires of the

self (nafs) will have a great impact on the enlightenment of the heart. This is

what is required in Ramadân. Those who accustom themselves to greater

luxury during Ramadân than at other times are in a state of deception

inspired by the devil’s jealousy as he wishes to bar them from the blessings

of the fast. He does not want them to be manifest the effects of the fast

which include lights and unveilings, humility and meekness before Him,

tasting the pleasure of His intimate discourse and the reading of His Book

and remembrance.

The norm of our righteous predecessors, may Allah show them mercy, was to

reduce their customs and passions and increase their good actions and

righteous actions in Ramadân. These characteristics are well known about

them throughout their lives but even more so in Ramadân.

1 For example, eating ‘special’ foods or bigger meals during Ramadan (translator’s note).

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Among the etiquettes of fasting is to not busy oneself with worldly affairs

during the month of Ramadân. One should free oneself from them and

concentrate on worshipping Allah and his remembrance as much as

possible. One should not enter into worldly preoccupations except what is

absolutely necessary to fulfil one’s duties or the rights of one’s family and

dependents and such like. This is because the month of Ramadân has the

same status among the calendar months as Friday has among the days of

the week. One should make one’s Friday and Ramadân specifically for one’s


It is from the tradition of the Prophet, upon him be peace, to break one’s fast

with dates and if you are unable to, then with water. He, upon him be peace,

used to break his fast before praying the Maghrib prayer. He used to say,

‘my nation will always be in a good state as long as they hasten with the

breaking of the fast and delay the pre-dawn meal. Delaying the pre-dawn

meal is also from his tradition.

It is appropriate for the fasting person not to eat much. This is so that the

effects of the fast can manifest themselves and that he may take a portion of

the secret and purpose of the fast, which is the training of one’s self (nafs)

and the weakening of desire. For surely fasting and emptiness of the

stomach has a great effect in illumination of the heart and the energising of

the limbs for worship. Satiety is the origin of hardness of the heart,

negligence and laziness in worship. The Messenger, upon him be peace,

said, ‘the son of Adam has not filled a vessel worse than his stomach. A few

morsels would suffice for him to be able to stand straight but if he is unable

to make do with that, then a third for his food, a third for his drink and a

third for air. Some have said, ‘if the stomach is satiated, the other limbs go

hungry, if the stomach is hungry the limbs will be satiated’.

I say that the hunger of the limbs suggests their seeking of and concern for

passion. The tongue desires speech, the eye wishes to gaze, the ear to hear

and likewise the rest of the ‘limbs’. The seeking of excess is a result of

fullness of the stomach. One finds tranquillity in its emptiness. Its calmness

is what is implied by ‘satiety of the limbs’. This has been witnessed and

Allah knows best.

From the highly recommended acts is the feeding of fasting people at the

time of their breaking of fast even if it is only by providing dates or a drink of

water. He, upon whom be peace, said, ‘who ever provides for a fasting person

to break his fast will receive the reward of the fasting person without

diminishing anything from the reward of the fasting person.’ This reward is

only achieved by providing the actual food he breaks his fast with even if it is

only a date or a drink of water. As for one provides him with a full meal later

in his home or somewhere else, he will not receive this reward, however, he

will receive the reward of feeding someone, which is itself a mighty reward.

(Translated from al-Nasaih al-Diniyyah by Abdul Aziz Ahmed Sha’bân 1527)




About seekerofsacredilm

The people of knowledge are the heirs of the Prophets and and they inherit knowledge. The one who takes knowledge is taking an ample share. And if someone travels a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will make his path to the Garden

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