fasting

Fearing that Wealth is your only Reward

‘Abd Al-Raḥmān b. ‘Awf – Allāh be pleased with him – was once brought some food, and he had been fasting. He said:

Muṣ’ab b. ‘Umayr was killed, and he was better than me and he was buried with a cloak as a shroud: if his head was covered with it his legs would be uncovered and if his legs were covered with it his head would be uncovered. And Ḥamzah was killed and he was better than me. Then, after that time, we were given what we were given of worldly wealth, and we fear that [the reward of] our good deeds has been quickened for us [in this life].

He then began to cry so much that he left his food.

Al-Bukhārī, Al-Ṣaḥīḥ hadith 1275 and other places.

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.

Going to the mosque when fasting

Abul-Mutawakkil Al-Nājī reports:

When Abū Hurayrah and his companions fasted, they would sit in the mosque and say, “let us purify our fast.”

Hunād b. Al-Sarī, Kitāb Al-Zuhd, article 1207

Weapons of Mass Distinction

Abū Isḥāq [Al-Fazārī] states:

The enemy was never able to stand up to the Companions of Allāh’s Messenger – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him, so when the news of the defeat of the Romans came to Heraclius at Antioch he asked [his people], “Woe to you, tell me about these people who fight you, are they not humans like you?” They replied, “Indeed, they are.” He asked, “So are you more in number or them?” They replied, “We outnumber them greatly in all places.” He said, “So how is it that you are defeated whenever you meet them [in battle].” A senior and esteemed elder amongst them replied, “Because they stand in prayer at night, fast during the day, fulfill their agreements and promises, enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil, they are fair and just amongst themselves; and because we drink wine, fornicate, commit sin, break our agreements, steal, oppress and do injustice, enjoin the committing of what angers Allāh and forbid what pleases Allāh the Mighty and Majestic, and we cause evil and corruption in the land.” Heraclius said, “You are the one who has told me the truth.”

Abū Bakr Al-Daynūrī, Al-Mujālasah wa Jawāhir Al-‘Ilm 4:91.

Do you have to make up fasts consecutively? [Fiqh of Fasting]

Ibn ‘Abbās and Abū Hurayrah – Allāh be pleased with them – said, “There is no harm in making up [fasts of] Ramaḍān separately from one another.”

ʿAbd Al-Razzāq, Al-Muṣannaf 4:243; Ibn Abī Shaybah, Al-Muṣannaf article 9114; Al-Dāraquṭnī, Al-Sunan 2:193.

Abū ‘Ubaydah b. Al-Jarrāḥ – Allāh be pleased with him – said, when asked about making up missed fasts of Ramaḍān separately, “Allāh did not legislate upon you the breaking of the fast, and then cause hardship on you when making it up, so count the days [you excusably missed] and fast them as you wish.”

Ibn Abī Shaybah, op. cit. article 9133.

Anas b. Mālik – Allāh be pleased with him – said, “If you wish, make up [missed fasts of] Ramaḍān consecutively, or if you wish, make them up separately.”

Ibid. article 9115.