Sunday, August 12, 2007

Etiquettes of Fasting

Every fasting person should abide to its etiquettes, as the fast is not whole without them.

Among the etiquettes, the one with utmost importance, is to safeguard the tongue from lying, cursing and swearing people, interfere with the personal lives of others, safeguard the eyes and ears from seeing and hearing things of unlawful nature, and that of which has nothing to do with himself.

Following that, it is necessary to protect the stomach from eating forbidden food, or those of syubhat nature, especially during the breaking of fasts; it is required of him to strive and look for that of which is halal as supplements for breaking the fast.

Some of the salaf said: If you are fasting, be mindful of the thing you break your fast with, and whose place you are breaking it. This matter encourages us to be mindful and be concerned towards the food for our breaking of fast.
Furthermore, every fasting person should protect all his organs from committing sins, and repel from every matter that does not involve him. With that, then only will his fast be whole and pure. How many people, who fast, tiring their body because of hunger and thirst then lets his organs sin. It spoils his fast and the tiredness would be in vain, like that explained by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him: “How many people who fast, (but) does not get anything from his fast but hunger and thirst.”

Abandoning the prohibited has been an obligation at all times upon peoples either fasting or not. But for those who are fasting, it is more enforced to protect themselves, as to him it is very much encouraged and promoted.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Fasting is a fortress, and if one of you is fasting, it is required that he not speak dirty, not act unpleasant, and not transgress a ruling; if people curse him, or tempt an argument, he must say: Verily I am fasting.”

Among the other etiquettes of fasting are; it is essential that a fasting person not sleep too much during the day, and eat too much during the night. It is encouraged to be average in the two matters mentioned above, so that he feels the agony of hunger and thirst, then with it that his self could be disciplined, his lusts could be diminished and his heart would be enlightened. Here is where the secrets and intentions of fasting really are.

In addition, it is required that he abandon every wealth in every sense, and make it a habit to have food and drinks that builds appetites and that are delicious, as that which we had explained earlier. The least is that he does not exceed in spending for food in the month of Ramadhan, or even match that of his normal spending in other months. That is the least that he is to do. Otherwise, in disciplining the self by refraining from every desire would leave a positive mark in forming the light of enlightenment to the heart, and this could only be accomplished only in the month of Ramadhan.

For those who treat Ramadhan as a tradition and habit for feasting and fulfill every desire and accomplishing every lust that was never attended to in other months, then they have been deceived by syaitan that has always bear grudge against humanity, up to the point that every blessings of fasting has been lost, and thus not leaving any effects of the fast in enlightenment and unveiling, humbleness towards Allah Most High and modesty in His presence, enjoying requesting to Him and reading His words in His Book and remembering Him at all times.

When living Ramadhan, the salaf rahmatullahi-‘alaihim makes it a habit to minimize their daily (worldly) practice, suppressing the yearning of their desires and craving of their lusts. In addition to that, they constantly increase their devotional practices specifically in the month of Ramadhan, when they are already well-known for their devotions at all times.

Among the other etiquettes are that one should not get too involved in the worldly matters in the month of Ramadhan. On the contrary, he should concentrate in devotion towards Allah as much as possible, and making remembrance of Allah at every opportunity he has. Not to exert into worldly matters save that for his own needs and the needs of his dependents; like his wife and child etc. This is for the reason that Ramadhan when compared to other months, is like that Friday is compared to other days. Thus it is only proper that every believers single out Friday and the month of Ramadhan for his preparations of the Last Day.

Among that which is supererogatory for those who are fasting is to hasten the breaking of the fast (when it is time). It is highly recommended that it is commenced with dates, if not available, with water. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, breaks his fast prior to performing his Maghrib prayers. He said: “My community would always be in goodness, when they haste in breaking their fast and delaying in eating sahur (supper prior to fasting).”
It is clear from this tradition that delaying the supper meal of those who fasts is also a recommended act.

It is advised for fasting people to make it a habit to eat a small amount, not eating too much, so that the effect of fasting could be experienced upon him, then would he receive the secrets and intentions of fasting; i.e. disciplining the self and diminishing the desires and lust. It is because that hunger and the emptying of the stomach leaves positive marks to enlighten the heart and providing strength to the limbs of the body to perform devotional practices. On the contrary, a full-stomach (satiety) is the cause for all heedlessness and unmindful heart, and causing the laziness to perform devotional practices.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had said: “There is no other container that is filled by the children of Adam worse than that of his stomach. Sufficient is for the children of Adam a few feedings to sustain his life. If this is not enough, then let a third (of the capacity of his stomach) be for his food, a third for his drink and a third for his breathing.”

It is said by some philosophers: When the stomach it full, then hungry is the rest of the limbs. And when the stomach is hungry, then full (energized) are the rest of the limbs.

I say: If the limbs feel hungry, then it implies that it would request and give priority to fulfilling desires and lusts. During which, the tongue wants to speak, the eyes wants to see and the ears want to hear, and likewise to the rest of the limbs, each wanting to fulfill their desires and lusts when the stomach is full. But when the stomach is empty, the limbs would be at peace, as which was linked to the fullness of the limbs earlier. Events like these are constantly happening and thus are self-evident enough. And God know best!

Among that which is highly recommended is to invite others (who are fasting) for the breaking of fast, even with just a few dates or some water.

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, had said: “Whoever invites fasting person to break their fast, then for him the rewards of a fasting person; not less than the reward even a little.”

That is: A person who invites another to break the fast would receive rewards equivalent to the fasting person invited. And the reward is only for the person who invites to break the fast only, even with a glass of water. As for those who invite after the breaking of fast at other times, then he is not entitled to the enormous reward mentioned above. He would only receive the rewards for inviting to a meal only, and the rewards for which is also huge. The rewards of feeding a fasting person, with whatever food, until the fasting person overcomes his hunger; there is a huge and numerous rewards.

-Translated from the Malay Translation by al-Ustadz Ahmad bin Semait of An-Nashaaih Ad-Diniyah Wal-Washaaya Al-Imaaniyah by Imam ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Alwi al-Haddad

No comments: