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Author Topic: Guidance of the Prophet on Fasting  (Read 2390 times)
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« on: July 21, 2011, 02:39:10 AM »

بسْمِ اللهِ، الحمد لله وَالصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَّامُ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ

All praise is due to  Allah.  May  He  bestow  His  peace  and blessings  upon  His Prophet, his relatives, companions and those  who are  loyal  to him.

Ibn al Qayim  mentioned that: 'Among the guidance of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم  in the month of Ramadan was his engagement in many forms  of worship. The angel  Gabriel used to teach him the Quran in this  month. Whenever Gabriel met him he was more generous than  a guided  breeze. He was, ordinarily, the most charitable person, and  yet when  Ramadan arrived he  became   even  more  generous. He gave  much charity and  engaged  in kind  acts,  recitation of the Quran, prayers, remembrance and  retreat during this  month.'

He used to apportion  to Ramadan a degree of worship that was not set aside to any other  month. Sometimes he actually used to continue into the night. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم , however, forbade his companions  from doing so. When they pointed out to him that he continued he responded saying: 'My body is not like yours, I dwell with my Lord, He feeds me and gives me drink' (Bukhari and Muslim). Accordingly, Allah  Almighty used  to  nourish His Prophet during those  periods of extended fasts with subtle  knowledge, and  abounding wisdom and  light of the message.  Of course, it was not food  and drink  in the literal sense,  for if this were so the Prophet would  not  be consid­ ered  fasting.

When the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم  became satisfied from the worship of  his creator, and  his heart opened up to his aim,  and  his mind  rested  with  the  remembrance of his Master, and  his condition  improved by  his  closeness to  His  Lord,  he forgot all food  and  drink. As it was said: spiritual power is  in  the  essence  of souls, it is not  dependent on  food  or drink. Nothing can  harm   you,  if you  have  attained  the knowledge of your  Lord.

The  Prophet Muhammad  صلى الله عليه و سلم was  the  best of  those  who remembered and  worshipped Allah.  As for  the  month  of Ramadan, it  was  made  to  be a season  of  worship and  a time for remembrance and recitation. His nights were spent in supplication and humiliation unto  his Lord,  seeking  His help,  support, victory  and  guidance. He  read  long  chap­ters  of the  Quran and  stayed  for  long  periods bowing  (in ruku') and  prostrating himself  before  Him.  Such  was  the desire  that  was  never  satisfied with  worship,  making his standing in the night  a source  of sustenance and supply  as well as  power  and  energy.  Allah  Almighty says:  'O Thou enwrapped one! Keep awake [in prayer] at night, all but a small  part' (73:1).

'And  rise from  thy sleep  and  pray  during part  of the night [as  well],  as  a free  offering from  thee,  and  thy  Sustainer may well raise thee to a glorious station [in the life to come]' (17:79).

During the days of the fasting month, the Prophet  صلى الله عليه و سلم spent his time in propagating the Islamic call, engaging in jihad, providing advice and  training,  and  reminding  his companions. Among his practices  was  that  the  Prophet   صلى الله عليه و سلم never commenced  the fast  of  Ramadan except  with  a  vision  of  what  was  to  be achieved. He used to encourage  his companions to partake  of a meal before daybreak. Indeed, it was confirmed that he said:

'Have  the meal  before daybreak, because there  is blessing in it.'
  The period before daybreak  is considered  blessed because it is in the last third of the night, the time of divine descent and forgiveness. Allah says: 'And  in the hours of early dawn,  they were found praying for forgiveness' (51:18).

He also says: 'Those who show  patience, firmness and self­ control; who  are  true  (in  word   and  deed);  who  worship devoutly; who spend  in the way of Allah; and  who  pray for forgiveness in the early  hours of the morning' (3:17).

Still besides,  the meal before  daybreak helps  the individual in his fast and  worship. It is, therefore, a payment for  the bounty  of worship that  Allah  has bestowed upon  us.

It was also established  that the Prophet  صلى الله عليه و سلم used to hasten to  have  a  meal  after  the  setting  of  the  sun.  He,  likewise, ordered  his companions to do the same. Usually he had dates or  water  because something sweet  was  most  agreeable  for an  empty  stomach. Several  sources  have  narrated that  the Prophet   صلى الله عليه و سلم said: 'Verily the fasting  person  has a prayer  that will never be rejected.' Thus,  he used to pray for the good  of this world and the hereafter. He broke his fast before praying Salaat  ul  Maghreb  (the  evening  prayer). In  one  authentic hadith  he said: 'If the night  enters  from  here and  slips away from  there, then  the faster  should end  his fast.'
The  Prophet Muhammad  صلى الله عليه و سلم  travelled   during   Ramadan, fasting  and  then  breaking  his fast.  In  this  regard,  he gave the companions the choice of fasting or not while travelling. During battle, however,   he  ordered  them  to break  their fasts, to  enable   them  to  fight.  Here  it  would   be recalled that  the Great  Battle of Badr was fought during the month of  Ramadan. Then, Allah  gave  the Muslims a victory  that has known no parallel  since.  Yet, the Prophet  صلى الله عليه و سلم broke  his fast  in two  of his battles  according to narrations by Umar ibn  al Khattab and  collected by AI Tirmidhi and  Ahmad . The  Prophet  صلى الله عليه و سلم did  not,  however,  specify  the  distance after which  the fast  should be broken. There  are  in fact  no au­thentic accounts to prove  this.

There  were, observedly, times when   the   morning prayer,  al Fajr, came  and  the Prophet was still in a state  of impurity following sexual  intercourse. He would, in those circumstances, perform the ritual  bath  and  thereafter fast. In a related matter, he used to kiss some  of his wives while he was  fasting in Ramadan. He compared the  kiss of the fasting person  to the washing of the mouth.

On another  level, the Prophet  Muhammad  صلى الله عليه و سلم ruled that the person who  broke his fast through  a genuine act of forgetfulness was not required to make up that day's fast. He pointed out that it was Allah Almighty who had fed and given drink to that person. We have learnt from the prophetic  traditions  also that the things which invalidate one's fast are: eating, drinking, cupping, and vomiting. The Noble Quran  explains that sexual intercourse nullifies fasting  in the same  way that  eating and drinking does.

Among  his  practices also  was  that  of retreat and  seclusion  during the last  ten days  of Ramadan. The  Prophet  صلى الله عليه و سلم did this in order  to attune his heart  ever more with Allah and  to free  his mind  from  the concerns of the  world. The gaze of his heart thus became entirely focused in the heavens.

During this  time,  he limited  his contacts with  people  and intensified his supplication and  prayers to Allah,  the Lord of  all  Majesty and  Glory.  His  heart, therefore, indulged purely  in the contemplation of Allah's attributes and  qualities.  It  reflected  upon  His  clear signs   in  the   universe and  of Allah's  creation in the  heavens and  the earth. With all this in mind, it would  be very difficult to determine how much  knowledge Prophet  صلى الله عليه و سلم acquired, or  how  much  light was  revealed  to him,  or how  many  realities were  exposed to  him.  He  was,  without doubt, the  most  knowledgeable person  about Allah,  the  most  fearful of Him,  and  the one who  trusted and  depended upon  Him  the most. Indeed, he was  the  most  pious  of all  men  and  sacrificed himself  the most for the sake  of Allah! May  the peace and  blessings  of Allah  be upon  him.

And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning Me, then, I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright. Qur'an (2:186)
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