Fasts of the Prophets علیھم السلام
The people of the previous Ummahs also fasted but their manner of fasting was different from ours.
According to narrations,
* Sayyiduna Adam علی نبینا وعلیہ الصلوۃ والسلام would fast on the 13th, 14th and 15th dates.
(Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, pp. 257, vol. 8, Hadiš 24188)
* Sayyiduna Nuh علی نبینا وعلیہ الصلوۃ والسلام used to fast every day.
(Sunan Ibn Majah, pp. 333, vol. 2, Hadiš 1714)
* Sayyiduna ‘Isa علی نبینا وعلیہ الصلوۃ والسلام would fast every day and would never miss even a single fast.
(Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, pp. 304, vol. 8, Hadiš 24624)
* Sayyiduna Dawud علی نبینا وعلیہ الصلوۃ والسلام used to fast on alternate days.
(Sahih Muslim, pp. 584, Hadiš 1189)
* Sayyiduna Sulayman علی نبینا وعلیہ الصلوۃ والسلام used to fast on the first three, the middle three and the last three days of every month.
(Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, pp. 304, vol. 8, Hadiš 24624)
Does man fall ill due to Fast?
There is a general misconception that a person falls ill as a result of fasting but this has nothing to do with reality. A’la Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ has stated in Al-Malfuz (part 2, page 143), ‘Once I saw my respected father Sayyiduna Maulana Naqi ‘Ali Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ in my dream a few weeks before Ramadan; he said, ‘Son, you will fall severely ill in the following Ramadan, but be careful, you should not miss even a single fast.’ As my father predicted, I did fall severely ill in Ramadan but I did not miss even a single fast. الحمد للہ عزوجل Allah عزوجل granted me good health by the blessing of fasts. The Noble Prophet ﷺ has said,’صُومُوا تَصحوا’ (Fast; you will get healthy).’
(Ad-Dur-rul- Manšur, pp. 440, vol. 1)
Fast improves health
Sayyiduna ‘Ali کرم اللہ تعالی وجہہ الکریم has narrated that the Prophet of Rahman, the Intercessor of Ummah ﷺ has said, ‘Allah عزوجل sent a revelation to one of the Prophets of Bani Israil commanding him to inform his Ummah that if anyone fasts a day for My pleasure, I will grant him good health and reward him greatly.
(Shu’ab-ul-Iman, pp. 412, vol. 3, Hadiš 3923)
Far from Hell
Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Khudri رضی اللہ عنہ has narrated that the Noble Rasul صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم has said: ‘If any one fasts for a day in Allah’s way, Allah عزوجل will move his face as far away from Hell as is the distance of seventy years.’.
(Sahih Bukhari, pp. 265, vol. 2, Hadiš 2840)
Dear Islamic brothers! As there are countless blessings and benefits of fasting, there are also severe warnings for missing a single fast of Ramadan without a valid exemption of Shari’ah. If anyone misses a single fast in Ramadan deliberately without a valid exemption he will not be able to make up for it even if he fasts for the rest of his life.
Loss of missing one fast
Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah رضی اللہ عنہ has narrated that the Holy Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم has said: ‘Anyone who misses one fast in Ramadan without a valid reason or without illness cannot make up for it even if he fasts for the rest of his life.’
(Sahih Bukhari, pp. 638, vol. 1, Hadiš 1934)
This means that he can never earn the blessings that lie in the fasts of Ramadan. So therefore we must not deprive ourselves of this huge blessing due to heedlessness. People who fast and then break it without a valid exemption must fear the wrath of Allah عزوجل.
People hanging upside down
Sayyiduna Abu Umamah Bahiliٓ رضی اللہ عنہ has narrated that he heard the Beloved and Blessed Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم say: ‘Whilst I was asleep two persons came to me and took me to a mountain. When I got to the middle of the mountain, I heard terrifying sounds. Upon asking about the sounds, I was told, ‘These are the voices of the people in Hell.’ I proceeded further and saw people who were tied upside down with the veins of their own ankles; their jaws had been torn apart and were bleeding. I asked as to who they were and I was told, ‘They used to break their fast before its due time.’
(Al-Ihsan bittartib Sahih Ibn Hibban, pp. 286, vol. 9, Hadiš 7448)
Dear Islamic brothers! Breaking a fast in Ramadan without a valid exemption is a major sin. This hadiš refers to the punishment of the people who fast but then break their fast deliberately before sunset without a valid exemption. Likewise, there is severe punishment of Hell for those who do not fast at all in Ramadan without valid exemption. May Allah عزوجل protect us from His wrath for the sake of His Beloved Rasul صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم !
Three unfortunate people
Sayyiduna Jabir Bin ‘Abdullah رضی اللہ عنہ has narrated that the Prophet of mankind, the Peace of our heart and mind, the most Generous and Kind صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم has said: ‘The one who finds Ramadan but does not fast is unfortunate; the one who has both of his parents or any one of them but does not treat them well is unfortunate; the one who hears me being mentioned but does not recite Salat is unfortunate.’
(Majma’-uz-Zawaid, pp. 340, vol. 3, Hadiš 4773)
Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah رضی اللہ عنہ has narrated that Rasulullah صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم has said: ‘May the person who hears me being mentioned but does not recite Salat upon me be disgraced! May the person who finds Ramadan but is not forgiven before it departs be disgraced! May the person who has old parents but does not enter Heaven by (respecting and serving) them be disgraced!’
(Musnad Imam AEmad, pp. 61, vol. 3, Hadiš 7455)
Three levels of Fasting
Dear Islamic brothers! Though the apparent precondition of fast is to abstain from deliberately eating, drinking and intercourse, there are also some manners of fasting which we must get to know so that we can succeed in acquiring all the blessings of fasting. There are three degrees of fasting:
1. The fast of common people.
2. The fast of the pious.
3. The fast of the ascetic.
1. Fast of common people
The literal meaning of fast is ‘to abstain’ while by Shari’ah, it implies to abstain from deliberately eating, drinking and intercourse from dawn (Sub-e-Sadiq) to sunset. This is called the fast of the common people.
2. Fast of the pious
In addition to abstaining from eating, drinking and intercourse avoiding all types of evils is the fast of the pious people.
3. Fast of the ascetic
To refrain from all the worldly activities and devote oneself completely to the worship of Allah عزوجل is the fast of the ascetic.
Dear Islamic brothers! In addition to abstaining from eating and drinking, we must also prevent all of our body parts from sins.
Sin even in fast!
Dear Islamic brothers! Please have pity on yourselves and ponder carefully! In Ramadan, the fasting person avoids eating and drinking during the day, which was absolutely permissible even during the day in other months. Now ponder! Even the acts, such as eating and drinking, which were Halal (lawful) before Ramadan are forbidden in this sacred month, so the acts which were already Haram such as backbiting, lying, telling tales, suspicion, abusing, watching films, dramas and Na-Mahram women etc., shaving the beard or trimming it less than a fist-length, misbehaving parents, hurting others without the permission of Shari’ah will automatically become even more severely Haram. When a fasting person refrains from eating and drinking pure and clean foods in Ramadan why he does not refrain from unlawful (Haram) acts. So if a person avoids eating and drinking in Ramadan but does not avoid unlawful acts leading to Hell, what type of fasting person he is?
Allah عزوجل does not need anything.
Remember! The Holy Prophetصلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم has warned, ‘If anyone does not refrain from indecent talking and evil acts (remember) Allah عزوجل does not need his remaining hungry and thirsty.’
(Sahih Bukhari, pp. 628, vol. 1, Hadiš 1903)
He صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم has also said, ‘Fasting implies abstaining not only from eating and drinking but also from useless and indecent talking.’
(Al-Mustadrak, pp. 67, vol. 2, Hadiš 1611)
I am Fasting
Therefore, as a fasting person refrains from eating and drinking he should also abstain from sins such as lying, backbiting, suspicion, laying a false blame, misusing his tongue etc. The Prophet of Rahman, the Intercessor of Ummah صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم has also said: If someone fights you or abuses you, you should say to him ‘I am fasting.’
(Attarghib Wattarhib, pp. 87, vol. 1, Hadiš 1)