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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ramadan Fasting: Virtues and History of Legislation

All praises are due to Allah, Who has chosen Ramadan over other months, as a pillar of Islam, as a cleanser of sins. We celebrate His praises and gratitude, seek His help and guidance, We seek refuge in Him from the evils of our souls and deeds. He whom Allah, guides is rightly guided; but he whom Allah leaves to stray,- for him will you find no protector to lead him to the Right Way. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, there is no partner for Him, I equally bear witness that prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is His servant and Messenger; the best person that prayed and fasted. May the peace and blessings of Allah be showered upon him, his families, companions and those who follow them in righteousness until the day of recompense. Thereafter, Dear believers, I enjoin you to fear Allah, surely, that is the unbreakable bond, its roots illuminate the hearts and comprehension, it is the provision that leads to paradise- the abode of eternal peace. Almighty Allah says: { يِا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إَن تَتَّقُواْ اللّهَ يَجْعَل لَّكُمْ فُرْقَاناً وَيُكَفِّرْ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ وَاللّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ} (الأنفال 29). { O ye who believe! if ye fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion (to judge between right and wrong), remove from you (all) evil (that may afflict) you, and forgive you: for Allah is the Lord of grace unbounded.} (Mary: 63). Dear brothers, Ramadan is one of the most impeccable act of worship and one of the most pious act. it is one of the pillars of Islam and its well defined structures. May Allah preserve us till Ramadan. History of Legislation Fasting in Ramadan was made obligatory in the month of Sha’baan in the second year of the hijrah. The prophet (pbuh) observed nine years of fasting before his demise in one of the two views of the scholars. The obligatory status of fasting have been described in the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the Consensus of the ummah. In Qur’an: {يَأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ أَمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمْ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ} (البقرة183) {O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint, (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later.} (2: 183- 184), The verses are the establishment of the legislation of the obligation of fasting. Allah calls out to the believers in the tone the believers love: (O ye who believe) Ibn Qayyim said: “Owing to the difficulty and hardship in separating the souls from its inclinations and desires, the obligation of fasting was delayed to the middle years of Islamic existence, when the hearts have been convinced and stable on Tawheed- faith and solat, and got used to the laws of the Qur’an, thus it inclined towards it in gradual manner. The three stages of the legislation of fasting: 1- Fasting was first made mandatory as a matter of choice between observing the fast or feeding an indigent in its place an every day, with much encouragement to fast. Allah says: :{أَيَّامًا مَعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ فَمَنْ تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَهُ وَأَنْ تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ} (البقرة184) (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. (2: 184) Imam Bukhari related from Yazeed the bondsman of Salamah bn Al-Akwa’i that Salamah said: “When the verse was revealed: “For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent.” A person who wishes would stay without fast but feed an indigent instead, until the verse after it was revealed, which abrogated the former” Ibn Umar also mentioned about the abrogation of the verse as reported by Bukhari. 2- Its being mandatory, but when a faster sleeps before eating then food and drink is forbidden for him till the night of the next day. Allah says: So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting (2:185). Imam Bukhari related from Al-Baraa (R.A): “The companions of the prophet (pbuh) when anyone of the fasts and the time to break it comes but he sleeps off before eating, he will not eat for that night and the day until he reach the next evening. Qays bn Sormah Al-Anbaariy fasted but when the time to break the fast came, he when to his wife and asked her: “Do you have food?” She replied: “No, but I will go and get some for you” He had worked in the day thus (while waitng) sleep overcome him. The wife returned and met him asleep, she said: “You have been disappointed” In the middle of the day, he was overcome by the event thus he reported to the prophet (pbuh), and the verse was revealed thus: Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments. Allah knoweth what ye used to do secretly among yourselves; but He turned to you and forgave you; so now associate with them, and seek what Allah Hath ordained for you, (2:187). Upon that, the companions were greatly joyous and this verse was also revealed: and eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast Till the night appears (2:187) 3- This became the substantive law established in the Shariah till the day of judgement which declares that fasting is mandatory as pointed out in the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the concensus. In the sunah: Ibn Umar (R.A) said: the prophet (pbuh) said: Islam is built on five: testifying that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, establishing of Solat, paying of zakat, the pilgrimage and fasting in Ramadan,” (Bukhari) The Ummah is united that fasting in Ramadan is mandatory. They are also united that whoever rejects its obligation is a Kafir- unbeliever, except if such person is an ignorant one who has newly come into Islam, hence he should be educated. But if he is stubborn on his rejection then he is a Kafir because he has rejected a matter which firmly established in the Qur’an and sunnah and widely known as part of the religion by default. Virtues of the month of Ramadan: The first part of Ramadan is mercy, the middle is forgiveness and the last part is for emancipation from hellfire, in it is a night better than a thousand night, the Qur’an was revealed in it. {شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَان} (البقرة 185) Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). (2:185) The prophet said: “In this month, the nation of Islam is given five benefits which have not been given to any other nation before it: the smell from the mouth a fasting person is more pleasant than the musk perfume, the angels seek forgiveness for them until they break the fasts, Allah beautifies the paradise daily, the stubborn devils are kept under chains and shackles, the fasting ones are forgiven in the last night.” From Abu Hurairah: “Whoever fast in this month out of faith and hope in Allah for reward, his earlier sins will be forgiven, whoever stanf in prayer in it out of faith and hope in Allah for reward, his earlier sins will be forgiven.” Also reported in Bukhari and Muslim, Abu hurairah said, that the prophet said: “ A blessed month have come unto you, Allah made fasting in it obligatory, the gates of paradise are opened, the gates of hell are locked, the devils are chained, in it is a night which is better than a thousanf month, whoever is therefore forbidden the blessings in it have been truly forbidden all goodness” (Ahmad, Nasaai, Bayhaqiy) Whoever fast also is counted as part of the pious and the matyrs: From ‘Amr bn Marrah Al-Juhmiy, that a man came to the prophet (pbuh), he said: O messenger of Allah, among whom am I if I testify that there is no god except Allah, and that you are the messenger of Allah, and I observe the five daily prayers, and I pay zakat, and I fast in Ramadan and stand in prayer there in? He replied: “Among the truthful and the matyrs.” (bayhaqi/ bazaar) Brothers in Islam Ramadan is loaded with praise worthy acts and virtuous deeds and blessings, therefore it is mandatory for every Muslim to maximize the gains in its days and nights with good deeds and lots of worship, solat, quranic recitation, charity, supplications, seeking forgiveness and so on, may Allah preserve our lives till then. May God bless us with the Holy Qur'aan, and benefit us all from the lessons there in. Having said all you heard, I seek forgiveness from Allah for my sins and for you all, Muslims, engage in seeking forgiveness from Him, He is All-forgiving, Most- merciful. THE SECOND SERMON All praises are due to Allah, Who has perfected the religion and favour on us. We praise and thank Him and seek His forgiveness. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that prophet Muhammad is His servant and messenger. May the peace and blessings be showered upon him, his household, and all his companions. The tribulations and trials faced by Muslims today are a result of our sins and iniquities. Many Muslims are joining partners with Allah in their words and deeds. How many among them are observing solat at the right time? Without doubt they are very very small in number. Most of the Muslims live in frivolities and forgetfulness, they commit evil, engage in fornication and adultery, they consume alcohol wittingly, usury taking becomes a way of life, they legalise bribery, and they see evil and keep quiet without warning against it. These are a little of the sins widely spread among Muslims today. Therefore when evil is widely spread and people keep mute from reforming the status quo, they leave out enjoining good and forbidding evil, then Allah send His punishment to cover them all, and when they call Him, He will not respond to their call, the prophet said: “I swear by the One in whose hand lies my soul, command goodness, forbid evil, or that surely soon, Allah descends His punishment on you, and you will call Him and He will not respond to your call.” He also said: “When people see a transgressor and they fail to prevent him, surely soon Allah will cover them all with punish from Himself.” (Abu Dawu, Tirmidhi and Nasaai) Shunning sins and evil and abiding by the commandment of Allah are some of the greatest means needed today to actualize victory for Muslims. Oh Allah grant us Ramadan, assist us to fast and stand in its night for prayers, in faith and anticipation for Your rewards, and make us not among those who only gain hunger and thirst from their fasts, or earns no other reward from their tahajud except fatigue and sleeplessness, grant us good words and works, save us from the fire and all in it including the shackles and horrors.

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