August 27, 2009
Mishkaat al-Anwaar or Lanterns of Light
“Fasting is for Me, and I reward for it.”
Shaykh Muhammad Hassan
Asalamualaikum wrt wb,
Oh Allah Most High, all praise be to You, You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and whatever is in them, and praise be to You, for You cause all things to exist, and You are the King of the Universe and whatever is in it, and You are Truth, and Paradise is True, and Hellfire is True, and the Prophet is True.
Oh Allah Most High, I have submitted to you, I believe in You, and trust in You, and seek Your guidance, and I seek Your rulings, please forgive me for what has gone by in my life, and what I will do in the future, for there is no god but You.
I bear witness that there is no God but Allah Most High, Who is Know by all perfect qualities and characteristics, Who is beyond all examples, the Living that does not die, the Cause of all events, and the actions of the Day reach Him before the Night, and the actions of the night reach Him before the Day, and the One who does not sleep.
His veil is Light, and if it were lifted the face of the onlooker would be set ablaze (by its Glory).
His words are truth and just, and His essence is beyond comparison. His mercy encompasses all of creation with beauty, and to Him is all praise and dominion.
He did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them in falsehood, nor did he leave mankind in chaos (wandering about without purpose). But rather, He commanded them to worship Him, and affirm His Oneness, and He showed them His signs in order that they might know him, and to love Him, and those who accept He is pleased with them, and those who turn away He calls out to them.
Allah Most High says:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ [الزمر/53]
53. Say: "O 'Ibâdî (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allâh, verily Allâh forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner, the Shining Bright Lantern (of guidance), the one who raised hardships from the people, and the one whom Allah Most High sent with guidance before the Hour with good news and a warning. He sealed the line of Prophethood with him, and taught the ignorant, and guided the lost, and opened blind eyes, and deaf ears, and sealed hearts, and who left us on a clear manifest guidance, its night like its day, and none deviates from it save finds himself in perdition.
Oh Allah Most High, send peace be upon him, his family, and companions, and those who follow in his footsteps until the Day of Judgment.
Welcome to you all, brothers and sisters, you have done well, you pure and noble people, and your efforts have been blessed. I ask Allah Most High who joined us during this blessed hour, in His obedience, to join us in the Afterlife with the best of Messengers, in the Gardens of Paradise.
My beloved, “Mishkaat al Anwaar”, or “Lanterns of Light”: a series in Imaan and Hope, about Hadith Qudsi, narrations that the best of creation our beloved Prophet pbuh relates on the authority of Allah Most High, to purify our character, and renew our Iman, and take our hearts into the Shade of His Majestic Throne, and to raise our aspirations and hopes, and fill our spirits with the light of taqwa, and cure the sickness of heedlessness by smelling the musk of divine guidance, in the hope that we may attain proximity with Allah Most High, and what is more happy than a life with Allah Most High, and the taste of Divine intimacy, for one who experiences is not like one who only hears, and no one knows the pain of a thorn save one who touches is it.
Oh my Lord, the Kings have shut their doors, but Your Door is open to every supplicant, beggar, and sinner, it is open to those who have shortcomings, my Lord, my Master, the celestial bodies have gone, and the eyes of closed (in sleep) yet you are the Ever Living, the Eternal, who never sleeps.
Oh Allah Most High, others have gone to bed, to be with their beloved, but we have come to you, we are here raising our hands in the air calling on You, we place our foreheads on the ground in humble submission to You, we are the people of Your worship, of Your love, and yes, we are people of sin, oh Allah Most High, we have committed mistakes, but we do not despair of Your Mercy, but we flee to You. We need you. What has deluded the others from Your Countenance?
But You do not need us, yet if I seek Your forgiveness, You forgive, and if I make mistakes, You accept me, and if I turn away, You call me, and if I come towards you, You come close to me, and if I love You, You make me your Wali, Your close friend, and if I do good You reward me, and if I am sincere, You have intimate speech with me, oh Allah Most High, You are the most Merciful, so forgive me.
Oh the One whom the fearful flee too, and the One Whom those who trust place their trust in, and those who ask You, You give them, my Lord, My Master, My Owner:
I cried out to You, while I wore a robe of poverty,
Raising my hands towards You, shaking humbly,
So please do not let them return to me empty,
For boundless indeed is Your bounty and Your generosity.
Come my beloved to a glimmer from the Lanterns of Light, let us live the night in the company of a hadith Qudsi, narrated from the beloved Prophet, on Allah Most High, through a reliable chain of narrators.
Let us begin, after this introduction, with this hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim,
The Prophet pbuh said that Allah Most High said:
قَالَ اللَّهُ كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ لَهُ إِلَّا الصِّيَامَ فَإِنَّهُ لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ وَالصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ وَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ صَوْمِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَلَا يَرْفُثْ وَلَا يَصْخَبْ فَإِنْ سَابَّهُ أَحَدٌ أَوْ قَاتَلَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي امْرُؤٌ صَائِمٌ وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لَخُلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ لِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ يَفْرَحُهُمَا إِذَا أَفْطَرَ فَرِحَ وَإِذَا لَقِيَ رَبَّهُ فَرِحَ بِصَوْمِهِ
“All the actions of the child of Adam are for himself, except for fasting, for it is for Me, and I reward for it. Fasting is a shield, and if you are fasting then do not curse or argue, and if anyone curses you say: “I am fasting.” By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad pbuh, the scent of a fasting person’s mouth is more fragrant with Allah than the scent of musk. The fasting person will have two joys, when he breaks his fast he is delighted, and when he meets his Lord, he will be joyous because of his fasting.”
This is our glimmer of light from the Lanterns of Light today.
I thought it was from wisdom to being with fasting, for we are now in the month of fasting, and I will try to bring out from this spark much light, for you all know this hadith, and you have heard it before, but I hope that you will give me your attention so that I can answer many questions that one may ask about this hadith:
Allah says, “Fasting is for Me, and I reward for it,” but aren’t all actions for Allah Most High?
The answer is yes, all good actions are for Allah Most High, and He rewards for them. Tawheed is for Allah Most High, and Prayer, and Hajj, and Charity, and building Masjids, and Trust, and Love and Hate, and Sincerity, these are all for Allah Most High.
Then why did Allah Most High single out Fasting in this Hadith “Every action is for the Child of Adam except for Fasting”?
Ibn Hajr narrated 10 answers to this question in his chapter on the Hajj. We cannot narrate all of them, but I will focus on the most important points.
The first reason why Allah Most High chose Fasting and attributed it purely to Himself is because in Fasting there is no showing off. In the Sunan of Bayhaqi there is a weak hadith, that the Prophet pbuh said, “There is no showing off in fasting.” Had the scholars agreed on the authenticity of this hadith, there would be difference regarding the interpretation of this hadith.
Fasting is holding back from eating, drinking, and sexual relations with Niyaa (intention.) Niyaa has two meanings: the first is differentiating between different acts of worship, like Fard, Sunnah, and Nafl, and that this is an act of worship, and not just a habit.
Niyaa has a second meaning, which is to desire or seek something. When you do an action, what do you want out of it? Do you want the face of Allah Most High, or to please the people, or both? Niyaa, in these two senses, is the foundation of all acts of worship.
The proof of this is what Allah Most High said, “And they were not commanded except to worship Allah with sincere intention.”
And what the Prophet pbuh said in the Saheehain, “Actions are according to intentions.”
Yes, my beloved, Fasting is holding back from all things that break one’s fast, with a pure Niyaa. If a person does this, he can only be doing it for Allah Most High. If a person said he was fasting, but he ate in the privacy of his house, then he is not really fasting, he is just a liar.
Thus the scholars say, a person can only truly fast for Allah Most High. This action can only be for Allah Most High, and not for others, if it fulfills the true definition of fasting as we have just explained. An insincere person can simply eat in the privacy of his home, and thus true fasting can only be for Allah.
Yet, in terms of speaking and boasting, yes a person can show off by his fasting, but not by the action itself.
Reflect on this, Imam Ibn Arabi said those who fast fall into four categories:
1.) Al Awaam, the common people: They refrain from eating or drinking or having sexual relations.
2.) The Special people of the common type: They refrain from eating, drinking, sexual relations, and focus on controlling the tongue, and not saying bad things, and doing haram actions.
3.) The Special people: They refrain from eating, drinking, sex, and anything haram, and leaving anything that does not lead to the remembrance of Allah Most High. You see such a person always remembering Allah Most High, on his tongue, by his actions, and by his heart. Dhikr is much more vast than simply moving one’s tongue. Dhikr is reading the Quran, seeking repentance, making dua, reflecting on Allah’s signs, and much more.
4.) The Cream of the special people: They leave aside everything other than Allah Most High. This is their nature, they are completely focused on Allah, and their only goal is to see Allah on the Day of Judgment. Ibn Hajr comments on this fourth group, saying: “This is the station of the scholar.” May Allah Most High make us from amongst them. What a beautiful life it is for these people! They don’t feel happiness, and intimacy, except with Allah Most High. How poor are those who have left life and never tasted the most wonderful thing in it, the sweetness of Divine intimacy with Allah Most High.
Another reason some scholars say that Allah Most High singled out Fasting for Himself is because Fasting is the most beloved action to Allah Most High. However, this reason is rejected, because the most beloved action to Allah Most High is the Prayer. The Prophet pbuh said, as narrated by Ahmed:
اسْتَقِيمُوا وَلَنْ تُحْصُوا وَاعْمَلُوا وَخَيْرُ أَعْمَالِكُمْ الصَّلَاةُ وَلَا يُحَافِظُ عَلَى الْوُضُوءِ إِلَّا مُؤْمِنٌ
Be upright and you will not be surrounded, and work and know that the best of your actions is the Prayer, and only a true believer protects his Wudu (state of purity).
So it is best to say, fasting is the most beloved action to Allah Most High after prayer. In Nisaai, the Prophet pbuh said, “You should fast for there is no replacement for it.”
Other scholars said the reason why Allah singled fasting for himself is that no one knows the reward for the action of fasting except Allah Most High, whereas the reward for other actions are known.
The Prophet said that Allah said, “…except for Fasting, for it is for Me, and I reward for it.” i.e., it is Allah Most High who gives the reward for it. And only Allah Most High knows how much it is multiplied.
If a king from the worldly kings rewards for a thing, than the reward will be multiplied in accordance to his generosity and magnanimity, so imagine the bounty of Allah Most High, the Controller of the Heavens and the Earth! His giving never ends.
And from the scholars there are those who say that Fasting is for Allah Most High in the sense of honor, like saying, the House of Allah Most High, while all houses belong to Allah Most High. The scholars say, when a thing is referred to specifically when a general meaning is intended, this indicates honor and a special status. In the heat, a person leaves drinking water, or having relationship with his wife, for the face of Allah Most High, this person is certainly honored.
And from the scholars, there are those who say about (Every action of the child of Adam is for him, except for Fasting, for it is for me.) is that fasting will not be taken away on the Day of Judgment, for on the Day of Judgment people will take on the sins of those whom they wronged.
If your wronged someone, they will take away your good deeds on the Day of Judgment. But what if your good deeds run out? Then the sins of those whom you wronged will be placed on your scale.
This is an interesting interpretation, but unfortunately, this opinion contradicts the authentic hadith narrated by Bayhaqi in which the Prophet pbuh said to his companions:
« أتدرون من المفلس ؟ » ، قالوا : المفلس فينا من لا درهم له ولا متاع ، فقال : « إن المفلس من أمتي من يأتي يوم القيامة بصلاة وصيام وزكاة ، ويأتي قد شتم هذا ، وقذف هذا ، وأكل مال هذا ، وسفك دم هذا ، وضرب هذا ، فيقضى هذا من حسناته ، وهذا من حسناته ، فإن فنيت حسناته قبل أن يقضى ما عليه ، أخذت من خطاياهم فطرحت عليه ثم طرح في النار
“Do you know who the bankrupt is?” They said, “It is one without wealth.” The Prophet said, “The bankrupt from my nation is one who comes on the Day of Judgment with Prayer, Fasting, and Charity, but he cursed this one, and falsely accused another, and usurped the wealth of another, and spilled the blood of another, and hit this one, so they will come and take from his good deeds. If his good deeds run out before finishing the accounting, he will begin to take on the bad deeds of the others, and then he will be thrown into the Fire.”
Since this hadith specifically mentions that fasting will be taken way from a person, it is sufficient proof that the opinion that fasting cannot be taken away is invalid.
This is sufficient in terms of explaining this part of the hadith.
Now, what we can conclude is that fasting is noble since Allah Most High attributed it to Himself, and if we know the greatness of Allah Most High, we understand the greatness of Fasting.
It is indeed a great blessing and a mercy that He made Fasting required in Ramadan, for if it wasn’t required, how many would have missed out on its blessings?
And reflect on this: there is a noble door, from the eight doors of Paradise, that none will enter except those who fasted, called Rayyan. What an honor!
Like me give you an example: In high school, the youth take entrance exams for college, and they might post the results on the wall for those who did exceptionally well, and this wall is only for those who received top scores.
Or imagine in the airport a special line for VIPs, or a special door for the President and his entourage. This is a similar example.
In Paradise, there is a special door for those who were Fasting.
The Prophet pbuh said in a hadith narrated by Tabarani:
في الجنة باب يقال له الريان ، لا يدخله يوم القيامة إلا الصائمون
In Paradise there is a door called Rayyan, none shall enter by it save the Fasting.
No one else will enter from this door. It is a special door, and no one else will be allowed to enter from it, not believers, not those who prayed, only for those who Fasted. It will be said, enter, and after they enter, it will be said, “Close.” And then no one else will be allowed to enter from that door.
Imagine, those who struggled, who prayed, who gave charity, they will have their own doors. But Abu Bakr will be from those who did all of these things, and he will enter from any door he wishes.
This is the greatness of fasting.
“Fasting is a shield,” that is a protection, and in the Saheehain the Prophet pbuh said, “Oh Youth, those of you who can afford to marry, then let him do so, and if you cannot, then Fast.”
Fasting protects you from falling into fornication (Zinaa), into your vain desires, and when Ramadan starts, the doors of Paradise are opened, and the doors of the Fire are closed.
But Shaikh, there are still sins in Ramadan?! Yes, this is because of the evil of the nafs, the vain self. But the devils are chained, and the doors of the Fire are closed.
Oh my beloved sister, my brother, come, seek Allah Most High’s bounty in Ramadan. Yes, every night, Allah Most High saves people from the Fire. Thus, Fasting is a Shield.
“And if someone argues with him, you should say, ‘I am fasting.’”
But a person should not use dirty language. Your behavior should not be the same when you are fasting, like it is during other days.
Thus a person should not take part in actions that are inappropriate, and if someone argues with you, you should say, “I am fasting.” You should say this to remind yourself that you are fasting, and then to remind others.
It is not right to have a bad attitude with the excuse that you are fasting. Rather Fasting teaches Adab, manners, kindness, and consciousness of Allah Most High, indeed Fasting is a school.
Every Ramadan, I renew my hope in the Ummah, that the Ummah is in good health, for Fasting brings out the beautiful traits of the Ummah, the hidden jewel that yes, may have been covered in dust, but it remains a beautiful jewel.
Look at the Ummah! Look at those who are performing Umrah, giving in Charity, feeding others, praying, this is the true beauty of this Ummah.
“And the breath of a fasting person is more beautiful to Allah Most High then the scent of musk.”
Imagine, the scent that others do not like, it is beautiful.
What a minute Shaikh, are you saying that Allah Most High, Lord of the Universe, can smell the scent of a fasting person’s breath? Shouldn’t we understand this metaphorically?
No, what we say is that the way that Allah Most High detects its scent is not like our way of detecting. We don’t cancel out this quality or action, rather we accept it. It is a way of detecting that is befitting His Might and Majesty. Just like He is Pleased, or Angered, we accept it, yet it is unlike anything we Know, for He is perfect, and His qualities are exalted beyond our intellects.
They scholars say, “Anything you can imagine, Allah Most High is other than it.”
Yes, on the Day of Judgment the scent will be Musk. And Fasting will speak. Imagine, actions on the Day of Judgment will become embodied, and they will be weighed on scales, for Allah Most High is surely capable of that.
The Prophet pbuh taught, “Fasting and Standing for Prayer will intercede on behalf of a person on the Day of Judgment.”
What a mercy from Allah!
“And the fasting person has two joyful moments, when he breaks his fast, and when he meets Allah Most High.”
I ask Allah Most High to fill us with joy through His obedience, and we will continue in the next chapter with a new Lantern of Light, another Hadith Qudsi.
I place you in Allah Most High’s protection, Who never neglects those in His care.
Asalamualaikum wrt wb.