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What is fasting

Date published: 15 December 2021
Topic: Fasting



Allah Ta’ala states in The Holy Quran:


“O you who believe! Fasting has been made obligatory upon you as it was made obligatory upon those before you, so that you may become pious’

“The days are counted”

(Surah Al-Baqara. verse 183, 184)


Imaan, Namaaz, Zakaat, and Hajj have been mentioned in The Holy Quran on many occasions. But, fasting has been mentioned on only one occasion, where its status and philosophy has been set out. Allah Ta’ala states that fasting has been made farz upon us, as it was made farz upon those before us, so that we become pious. Allah Ta’ala also states that the days of fasting are few.


Fasting is abstaining from food, drinks and sexual activity from dawn till sunset.


Once, just before the beginning of the month of Ramadhan i.e. towards the end of the month of Sha’ban, Prophet Muhammad delivered a very glorious and splendid sermon to his companions(Radi Allahu Anhum). Prophetlectured about the importance and the advantages of the month of Ramadhan.

Salmaan al-Farsi(Radi Allaahu Anhu) narrates that Prophet Muhammad said that ‘a very glorious and a very blessed month is approaching upon us. There is a night in this month that is better than thousand months, referring to Shab-e-Qadr (Laylat al-Qadr). This is the month in which fasting has been made obligatory by Allah Ta’ala, and Taraweeh Namaaz has been prescribed for the night. In this blessed month, a person gets rewarded seventy times more for performing an obligatory (farz) deed.


This is a month of patience (sabr) and endurance, and the reward for patience is a place in paradise.


The sustenance (rizq) of a pious person is increased in this holy month.


The sins of a person are forgiven if he provides for means of breaking fast for a fasting person. He will also be freed from the torment of the Hell and get the reward of the fasting person, without a reduction in the reward of the fasting person. This reward is for providing one date and a mouth full of water for the fasting person to break his fast. If a person provides for a full course of meal for the fasting person for iftaari, Allah Ta’ala will provide him with a drink whereby he will never get thirsty again. He will be granted paradise.


The holy month of Ramadhan is divided into three sets of ten days each (ashra). The first ashra are the days of mercy. Seek the mercy of Allah Ta’ala in these days. The second ashra are the days of forgiveness. Repent for all your sins, and seek forgiveness for your sins from Allah Ta’ala. The third and last ashra are the days of emancipation from the fire of Hell. Seek refuge from Hellfire.


Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar(Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates that Prophet has said that ‘fast (sawm/roza) and The Quran, both will intercede for a worshipper and the intercession will be accepted’.


A person who fasts in the blessed month of Ramadhan, and recites The Holy Quran in the Taraweeh Namaaz will be worthy of forgiveness on the judgement day, and will be granted paradise.


Hazrat Abu Hurairah(Radi Allaahu Anhu) narrates that Prophet Muhammad has said that ‘his ummati have been granted five favours in regards to the blessed month of Ramadhan, which the previous ummatis were not granted:

i)              by Him in whose hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah Ta’ala than the smell of a musk.

ii)             the fish from watercourse supplicate for a fasting person till fast break time (aftaari).

iii)           the Paradise is brightened everyday for a fasting person. A fasting person overlooks his hardship and comes towards the Paradise. (Allah Ta’ala says about the fasting person).

iv)            when the month of Ramadhan starts, the gates of the Heaven are opened and the gates of the Hell are closed, and the devils are chained.

v)             a person who fasted during the blessed month of Ramadhan is pardoned on the last night of the month’.


People committing sins in this blessed month are not committing it because of shaitaan, but because he is enslaved by the self (ego).


Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said that ‘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’.


Allama Abdur Rahman Safuri(Rahmatullah Alaih), in his book ‘Nazhatul Majalis’ mentions a hadith in which Prophet Muhammad has said that ‘any person attending the gatherings of dhikr, gatherings of Quran recitals, and the gatherings of hadith recitals during the month of Ramadhan, are rewarded with sawab of one year of divine worship for every one step he takes towards these gatherings. And such people will be in the shade of the seventh layer of the sky (arsh) on the judgement day. And whoever performs all his Namaaz in congregation in this blessed month will be bestowed with the light of bewitch, the light of charm (noor e sahar).


Prophet Muhammad has said that (Allah says about the fasting person), ‘he has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So, I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward for good deeds is multiplied by ten times’.


Prophet Muhammad has said that ‘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 of his fasting’.


Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas(Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates that Prophet Muhammad has said that ‘in the first night of Ramadhan, an amazing breeze blows from the exquisite of the seventh layer of the sky (arsh), moving the leaves of the trees in the Paradise. The rustling of the leaves pitches such a lovely and charming sound that a better sound than this has never been pitched before’.


Allah Ta’ala states in The Holy Quran:


Ramadhan is the month in which was sent The Quran as the guidance to mankind with clear proofs of guidance and criterion”

(Surah Al-Baqara. verse 185)


“So whoever among is ill, or on a journey, then an equal number of days (are to be made up) on other days and upon those who have no strength (to fast) a ransom of a meal to a needy person (each day) and whoever volunteers good it is better for him. But to fast is better for you if you only know.”

(Surah Al-Baqara. verse 185)


If someone misses the obligatory fast, he has to make up for the fasts out of the month of Ramadhan. This is wajib.

For a person deliberately breaking his fast, there is a penalty (kaffarah) i.e. he has to fast for two months (sixty consecutive days) or feed sixty poor people.

For a non-obligatory (nafil) fast, there is no kaffarah, but the fast has to be observed on another day.


There is a lot of reward for fasting on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of each Islamic month (Ayaam Al Beed). Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said that ‘if you want to fast at any other time during the month, then fast on the 13th, 14th, and 15th.




This article is an abridged English translation of Urdu sermons delivered by his eminence, Peer Syed Imroz Dean Saifi, Hanfi, Maturidi of Masjid Anwaar e Madina, Surrey BC Canada

If there is an inaccurate translation, please pardon it and not let it be a means to negatively reflect on the honoured presenter.