Abū Al-ʿĀliyah

The Blessing of not Being a Kharijite

It is reported that Abu Al-ʿĀlyah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

There are two blessings I have been blessed with, I know not which of them is greatest: that Allāh guided me to Islām, and that he did not make me a Ḥarūrī (from the Khawārij extremists).

ʿAbd Al-Razzāq Al-Ṣanʿānī, Al-Muṣannaf ḥadīth 18667.

Wolves in Sheeps’ Clothing

It is reported that Abūl-ʿĀliyah said:

There will come upon the people a time when their hearts will be derelict of the Qurān; they will find neither sweetness nor pleasure by it. If they fall short of doing what they have been commanded to do, they will say: Allāh is most forgiving, merciful (He will forgive us), and if they do what they have been forbidden from doing, they will say: we will be forgiven, we haven’t committed any shirk with Allāh. Their affairs will all be based on [false] hope, having no truth and sincerity with it. They will wear the skins of lambs over hearts of wolves. The best of them in his religion will be someone who compromises.

Imām Aḥmad, Al-Zuhd article 1741.

Sinning while fasting [does it break the fast?]

It is reported that ‘Umar – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

Fasting does not mean keeping away from only food and drink, it also means keeping away from lying, falsehood, inanity and swearing [by Allāh without need].

It is reported that Ibrāhīm Al-Nakha’ī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

They used to say: lying breaks the fast.

It is reported that Mujāhid – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

There are two practices, if a person can keep himself from them, his fast will be secured for him: backbiting and lying.

It is related that Abul-‘Āliyah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

The fasting person is in a state of worship as long as he does not backbite. [1]

It is reported that Ḥafṣah bint Sīrīn – Allāh have mercy on her – said:

Fasting is a shield as long as one does not tear it, and tearing it is when you backbite. [2]

It is reported that Anas b. Mālik – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

If the fasting person backbites, his fast is broken. [3]

Notes

Explaining the meaning of sins breaking the fast, Shaykh Al-Islām Ibn Taymīyah – Allāh have mercy on him – states: [4]

It is related from some of the Salaf that backbiting, tale carrying and the likes break the fast, and it is mentioned as one opinion in the madhab of Imām Aḥmad. The final word on this issue is that Allāh the Exalted commanded people to fast in order to achieve piety (taqwā), and Allāh’s Messenger – praise and peace of Allāh be upon him – stated:

Whoever does not leave off false speech and acting by it; then Allāh is not in need of him abandoning his food and drink.

So if the fasting person does not achieve piety, he has not achieved what is intended through fasting, and so the reward of [his] fast will decrease in accordance [with how much he has gone against the intended goal, i.e. commensurate with his sins].

Righteous deeds have two intended goals: gaining reward and avoiding punishment. If a person fasts while also doing forbidden things, like backbiting, carrying tales between people or consuming what is forbidden and so on, he loses the reward.

Thus, when the imams say [backbiting etc.] does not break the fast, it means that the person who sins is not punished in the way a person who openly breaks his fast would be punished.

And those who said it does break the fast in the sense that the person has not achieved the intended goal behind fasting, or in the sense that he has lost the reward for fasting, then this statement is in agreement with the position of the imams.

One who says it breaks the fast in the sense that the person is to be punished for leaving [the fast], then he is in contradiction to the imams.

Conclusion

A person who disobeys Allāh while fasting hasn’t truly grasped the intent behind fasting. The real goal is to achieve piety and obedience of Allāh through the abandonment of food, drink and sin. Although a person who backbites, lies or does other sins is not considered to have physically broken his fast, he loses the reward of fasting and in this sense he has broken his fast.

Allāh knows best.

[1] Ibn Abī Al-Shaybah, Al-Muṣannaf articles 8975, 8980, 8981 and 8982.

[2] ‘Abd Al-Razzāq Al-Ṣan’ānī, Al-Muṣannaf articles 8975.

[3] Hunād b. Al-Saree, Al-Zuhd article 1204.

[4] Badr Al-Dīn Al-Ba’lī. Mukhtaṣar Al-Fatāwā Al-Maṣrīyah pp288, 289. 1st edn. 1418H. Dār Al-Kutub Al-‘Ilmīyah. Beirut, Lebanon.

The Integrity of a Man and his Prayer

It is reported that Abū Al-‘Āliyah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

I would travel for days to a man to hear [knowledge/ḥadīth ] from him, and the first thing I would check about him is his prayer: if he performed it properly I would stay and hear [knowledge] from him, but if he neglected it, I would return without hearing from him, and I would say, ‘He will be even more neglectful of other matters.’

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baghdādī, Al-Riḥlah fī Ṭalab Al-Ḥadīth article 22; Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` 4:209.

Secret Devotion

It is reported that Shurayḥ the Judge used to have a house in which he would spend time alone on Fridays; no one knew what he did in it.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` Vol.4 p105.

It is reported that Abū Al-‘Āliyah said, “I learned writing and the Qur`ān without my family noticing, and not a drop of ink was ever seen on my garment.”

Abū Nu’aym, Ḥilyatu Al-Awliyā` Vol. 2 p217.

It is reported that when Ibn Abī Laylā prayed [at night], if someone entered [his house], he would lie down on his bed [as if he was sleeping].

Ibid. Vol. 4 p351.

It is reported that Ayyūb Al-Sakhtiyānī used to pray all night and hide it. In the morning, he would raise his voice as if he had just woken up.

Al-Dhahabī, op. cit. Vol. 6 p17.

It is reported that Dāwūd b. Abī Hind fasted for forty years without his family knowing, he would take his lunch out with him and donate it in the street.

Ibid. Vol. 6 p378.