Fasting Quotes: Islam & Ramadan; Quran; Hadith; Imams (7/7)

Ramadan & Fasting Quotes: Quran; Hadith; Imams; & Shaykhs

  • Quran on Ramadan, Fasting
  • Hadith on Ramadan, Fasting
  • Imams, Shaykhs on Ramadan, Fasting
    • Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq (83 – 148 AH) (702 – 765 C.E.)
    • Imam al-Ghazali (450 – 503 AH)(c. 1058–1111 C.E.)
    • Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (470–561 A.H)(1078–1166 C.E.)
    • Muḥyiddin ibn Arabi  (561–638 AH)(1165–1240 C.E.)
    • Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah  (661–728 A.H.)(1263–1328 C.E.)
    • Jalauddin Rumi  (604 – 672 A.H.)(1207 – 1273 C.E.)
    • Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal
    • Imam al-`Izz Ibn `Abd Al-Salam
    • Abdullah bin ‘Umar
    • Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ud
  • Contemporary Leaders
    • Fethullah Gülen (1360 A.H. – )(1941 C.E. – )
    • Mufti Ismail Menk
    • Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
    • Tariq Ramadan

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 Quran on Ramadan, Fasting

O YOU who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God: [Quran 2:183].

… fasting] during a certain number of days. But whoever of you is ill, or on a journey, [shall fast instead for the same] number of other days; and [in such cases] it is incumbent upon those who can afford it to make sacrifice by feeding a needy person. And whoever does more good than he is bound to do does good unto himself thereby; for to fast is to do good unto yourselves – if you but knew it.  [Quran 2:184].

It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was [first] bestowed from on high as a guidance unto man and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as the standard by which to discern the true from the false. Hence, whoever of you lives to see this month shall fast throughout it . . . [Quran 2:185].

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, 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; but do not associate with your wives while ye are in retreat in the mosques. Those are Limits (set by) Allah: Approach not nigh thereto. Thus doth Allah make clear His Signs to men: that they may learn self-restraint. [Quran 2:187].

We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the night of power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand: Peace! This until the rise of morn!  [Quran 97:1-5].

CONSIDER this divine writ, clear in itself and clearly showing the truth! Behold, from on high have We bestowed it on a blessed night: for, verily, We have always been warning [man]. On that [night] was made clear, in wisdom, the distinction between all things [good and evil] at a behest from Ourselves: for, verily, We have always been sending [Our messages of guidance] in pursuance of thy Sustainer’s grace [unto man]. Verily, He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing … [Quran 44:2-6].

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Hadith on Ramadan, Fasting

On the authority of Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahman ‘Abdullah, the son of Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say: “Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the zakat, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.” [an-Nawawi, Forty Hadith, #3].

O people! A month [Ramadan] has approached you laden with blessing, mercy and forgiveness; it is a month which Almighty Allah regards as the best of all months. Its days, in the sight of Almighty Allah, are the best of days, its nights are the best of nights, its hours are the best of hours. It is a month in which you are invited to be the guests of Almighty Allah and you are regarded during it as worthy of enjoying Almighty Allah’s generosity. Your breathing in it is regarded as praising Almighty Allah and your sleep as adoration, and your voluntary acts of worship are accepted, and your pleas are answered. [Prophet’s Sermon on the Month of Ramadan, Islamic City Bulletin].

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions [during Ramadan], Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” [Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 127].

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) said, “Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting.” [Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 118].

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) said, “Allah said, ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.’ … By Him in Whose Hands my soul is’ The unpleasant smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting.” [Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 128].

Anas (radiallahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Take meal a little before dawn [during Ramadan], for there is a blessing in taking meal at that time.” [Sahih Muslim: 2412].

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace he upon him) used to observe i’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till Allah called him back (to his heavenly home). Then his wives observed i’tikaf after him. [Sahih Muslim: 2640].

Narrated Sahl: The Prophet said, “There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.” [Sahih Bukhari 31:111].

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Sahih Bukhari 31:123].

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sahih Bukhari 31:125].

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Urwa ibn az-Zubayr from A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, prayed in the mosque one night and people prayed behind him. Then he prayed the next night and there were more people. Then they gathered on the third or fourth night and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not come out to them. In the morning, he said, “I saw what you were doing and the only thing that prevented me from coming out to you was that I feared that it would become obligatory (fard) for you.” This happened in Ramadan. [Malik’s Muwatta].

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Fasting and the Quran will intercede for the servant on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say: O Lord, I prevented him from food and drink during the day, so allow me to intercede for him. The Quran will say: O Lord, I prevented him from sleeping during the night, so allow me to intercede for him. Thus, they will both intercede for him.”  [Musnad Ahmad 6589].

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Imams, Shaykhs on Ramadan, Fasting

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (21 B.H.–40 A.H.)(601–661 C.E.)

Many persons get nothing out of their fasts but hunger and thirst, many more get nothing out of their night prayers but exertions and sleepless nights. Wise and sagacious persons are praiseworthy even if they do not fast and sleep during the nights. [Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, Nahjul Balagha, 144

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Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq  (83–148 A.H.)(702–765 C.E.)

The Holy Prophet said, ‘Fasting is a protection from the calamities of this world, and a veil from punishment of the next.’ When you fast, intend thereby to restrain yourself from fleshly appetites and to cut off those worldly desires arising from the ideas of Satan and his kind. Put yourself in the position of a sick person who desires neither food nor drink; expect recovery at any moment from the sickness of wrong actions. Purify your inner being of every lie, turbidity, heedlessness and darkness, which might cut you off from the meaning of being sincere for the sake of Allah. [Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq, The Lantern of the Path, Fasting].

Fasting kills the desire of the self and the appetite of greed, and from it comes purity of the heart, purification of the limbs, cultivation of the inner and the outer being, thankfulness for blessings, charity to the poor, increase of humble supplication, humility, weeping and most of the ways of seeking refuge in God; and it is the reason for the breaking of aspiration, the lightening of evil things, and the redoubling of good deeds. It contains benefits which cannot be counted. It is enough that we mention some of them to the person who understands and is given success in making use of fasting, if God wills. [Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq, The Lantern of the Path, Fasting].

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Imam al-Ghazali (450–503 A.H.)(c. 1058–1111 C.E.)

The Fast of the [spiritually elevated] Elite means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but God, Great and Glorious is He. This kind of Fast is broken by thinking of worldly matters, except for those conducive to religious ends, since these constitute provision for the Hereafter and are not of this lower world. [Imam al-Ghazali, The Mysteries of Fasting the Month of Ramadan].

Know, O dear readers, that there are three classes of fast. (1) Fast of the general Muslims. It is to restrain, oneself from eating and drinking and from sexual passion. This is the lowest kind of fast. (2) Fast of the few select Muslims. In this kind of fasting, besides the above things one refrains himself from sins of hand, feet, sight and other limbs of body. (3) Fast of the highest class. These people keep fast of mind. In other words, they don’t think of anything else except God and the next world. They think only of the world with the intention of the next world as it is the seed ground for the future . . . This highest class of people are the Prophets and the near ones of God. This kind of fast is kept after sacrificing oneself and his thoughts fully to God [Imam al-Ghazali, Ihya Ulum-id-Din (The Book of Religious Learning)].

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Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (470–561 A.H)(1078–1166 C.E.)

The fasting prescribed by the religion is to abstain from eating and drinking and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, while spiritual fasting is, in addition, to protect all the senses and thoughts from all that is unlawful. It is to abandon all that is disharmonious, inwardly as well as outwardly. The slightest breach of that intention breaks the fast. Religious fasting is limited by time, while spiritual fasting is forever and lasts throughout one’s temporal and eternal life. This is true fasting. [Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Spiritual Fasting, Ch. 17].

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Muḥyiddin ibn Arabi  (561–638 AH)(1165–1240 CE)

Know that fasting (sawm) is both abstention and elevation. …  It is because the fast has a higher degree than all other acts of worship that it is called “fast” (sawm). Allah elevated it by denying that it is like any other act of worship…. He denied its ownership to His servants although they worship Him by it and ascribed the fast to Himself. Part of its affirmation is that He rewards the one who is described by it by His hand even though He connected it to Himself when He stated that it is not like anything else. [Muhyiddin ibn Arabi, al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya, (The Meccan Openings) Ch. 71, “On the Secrets of Fasting“].

Muslim related from the hadith of Sahl ibn Sa’d that the Messenger of Allah said, “There is a door in the Garden called the Quenching. The fasters will enter it on the Day of Rising. None except them will enter it. It will be said, ‘Where are the fasters?’ and they will enter it. When the last of them has gone in it, it will be locked and no one else will enter it.” That is not said about any of the commanded or forbidden acts of worship except for the fast. By “the Quenching,” He made it clear that they obtain the attribute of perfection in action since they are described by that which has no like as we already said. In reality, the one who has no like is the perfect. The fasters among the gnostics enter it here, and there they will enter it with the knowledge of all creatures. [Muhyiddin ibn Arabi, al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya, (The Meccan Openings) Ch. 71, “On the Secrets of Fasting“].

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Jalauddin Rumi  (604–672 A.H.)(1207–1273 C.E.)

What hidden sweetness is found in this empty stomach! Man is like a lute, neither more nor less: When the lute’s stomach is full, it cannot lament, whether high or low. If your brain and stomach burn from fasting, their fire will draw constant lamentation from your breast. Through that fire you will burn a thousand veils at every instant–you will ascend a thousand degrees on the Way and in your aspiration. [Jalauddin Rumi, Divan: Ghazal 1739].

When satiated by food and drink, an unsightly metal statue is seated where your spirit should be. When fasting, good habits gather like helpful friends. [Jalauddin Rumi, Divan: Ghazal 1739]

Be empty of stomach and cry out, in neediness, like the reed flute! Be empty of stomach and tell secrets like the reed pen! [Jalauddin Rumi, Divan: Ghazal 1739]

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Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (661–728 A.H.)(1263–1328 C.E.)

…The night prayers of Ramadan have not been limited to a specific number (of rak’ahs).  He (the Prophet) himself (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) used to pray no more than 13 rak’ahs in Ramadan or any other time.  However, he used to pray with long rak’ahs. When ‘Umar gathered the people behind Ubayy ibn Ka’b, he (Ubayy) used to pray 20 rak’ahs with them, and then pray three rak’ahs of witr.  He used to recite less in the rak’ahs to compensate for the increased number, since that was easier for the believers than long rak’ahs. After that, some of the Salaf used to pray 40 rak’ahs, adding three for witr. Others prayed 36 rak’ahs, adding three for witr. All of this was acceptable.  Whichever of these ways a person chooses to pray in Ramadan is fine. [Shaykh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah].

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Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal

Surely there are times when a woman goes through some conditions of bodily weakness and fatigue of the mind. Such that Allah has relieved her of some of her compulsory worships during that period; Allah has totally pardoned her from praying, and has postponed the days of fasting for her within this break to a later date until she regains her health and becomes normal in her temperament once more. Thus, during these days, treat her in a godly manner. Just as Allah has relieved her of the duties, you should also lessen your demands and instructions from her during those days. [Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal]

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Imam al-`Izz Ibn `Abd Al-Salam

As for fasting repelling sinful thoughts and bad behaviour, this is because if the nafs [appetites, lower self; ego-soul] is gratified or satiated, it inclines towards and directs itself to disobedience as well as bad behaviour. If it is made to feel hungry or thirsty, it will long for food and drink. The inclinations and desires of the nafs towards spirituality and to busy it with that is better than its inclination towards and desire for disobedience and lapsing into sin. This is why some of the Salaf preferred fasting over the other acts of worship. One was asked about that and he replied: ‘because I would prefer Allah looking at my nafs while it is in conflict with me over food and hunger than when it is in conflict with me over disobedience to Him [after] having been satiated [Imam al-`Izz Ibn `Abd al-Salam, Maqasid al-Sawm, p.17.]

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Abdullah bin ‘Umar

By Allah, if I fasted all day without eating, prayed all night without sleeping, spent all of my wealth in the Path of Allah, died the day I died, but had no love in my heart for those who obey Allah, and no hatred in my heart for those who disobey Allah, none of this would benefit me in the least. [Abdullah bin ‘Umar]

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Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ud

A memoriser of the Quraan should be known for his long night prayers when people are asleep, his fasting when people are eating, his saddness when people are happy, his silence when people are talking nonsense, and his humbleness when people are not. He should be wise, gentle and not talk to much: he should not be rude, negligent, clamorous, nor hot tempered. [Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ud, Ibn Al Jawzee, Sifaat As-Safwa: 1/413]

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Contemporary Leaders

Fethullah Gülen

Fasting may be difficult, but it provides the body with energy, activity, and resistance … Human life is a composite of two distinct powers: the spirit and the flesh. Although they sometimes act in harmony, conflict is more usual – conflict in which one defeats the other. If bodily lusts are indulged, the spirit grows more powerless as it becomes more obedient to those lusts. If one can control the desires of the flesh, place the heart (the seat of spiritual intellect) over reason, and oppose bodily lusts, he or she acquires eternity. [Fethullah Gülen].

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Tariq Ramadan

Between an individual’s spiritual experience and that of the community, there is one common dimension that defines fasting. To fast is an act of liberation. To fast is to liberate one’s self from one’s ego, one’s selfishness, and one’s illusions in order to reach the true inner freedom of those who are at peace with themselves.

To fast means to free society from artificial collective emotions, consumerism, insane competition and love of power in order to set ourselves free from injustice, oppression and war. Eventually to fast means to learn individually and collectively to give, to resist and to serve.[ Tariq Ramadan]

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Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

Where fasting has become a ritual, the month of Ramadan becomes a time of celebration instead of religious contemplation and abstinence. Ramadan nights are nights of party and enjoyment which continue until the dawn in some countries. …. In most places, Suhur (the light meal which is supposed to be taken prior the dawn) becomes a major three-course meal. Consequently, few experience real hunger during the fast. And at the time of breaking the fast, another three-course meal is taken, followed by a sampling of all kinds of sweets imaginable. As a result, many Muslims complain about gaining weight during Ramadan.

…Since fasting is basically abstinence from food, drink and sexual relations, it trains the believers in self-control. Consequently, the actual test of the effects of fasting occurs at the time of breaking the fast. When food is traditionally spread out in large delicious quantities and people are tempted to gorge themselves, the believer is required to control his or her appetite and have a light meal and drink prior to the sunset prayers. It was the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to break his fast with three dates and water, and after giving the sunset prayers eat a moderate meal. [Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips]

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Mufti Ismail Menk

The supplications made immediately after engaging in a good deed are more likely to be answered in the way we wished. The same applies when praying for others who are going through difficulty etc before praying for ourselves. Hence when the fast comes to an end each day do not forget to pray for humanity at large! We are taught that when we pray for others, the angels ask that the same be given to us! [Mufti Ismail Menk].

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