#36 – The Benefits of Fasting
April 11 – 17, 2022
Ramadan 10 – 16, 1443


The Benefits of Fasting

What have Allah and His Messenger said about

The Benefits of Fasting

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you—so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah˺.

[Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 183]
حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ مُوسَى، أَخْبَرَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ يُوسُفَ، عَنِ ابْنِ جُرَيْجٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي عَطَاءٌ، عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ الزَّيَّاتِ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ يَقُولُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ قَالَ اللَّهُ كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ لَهُ إِلاَّ الصِّيَامَ، فَإِنَّهُ لِي، وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ‏.‏ وَالصِّيَامُ جُنَّةٌ، وَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ صَوْمِ أَحَدِكُمْ، فَلاَ يَرْفُثْ وَلاَ يَصْخَبْ، فَإِنْ سَابَّهُ أَحَدٌ، أَوْ قَاتَلَهُ فَلْيَقُلْ إِنِّي امْرُؤٌ صَائِمٌ‏.‏ وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لَخُلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ، لِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ يَفْرَحُهُمَا إِذَا أَفْطَرَ فَرِحَ، وَإِذَا لَقِيَ رَبَّهُ فَرِحَ بِصَوْمِهِ ‏”‏‏.‏
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) 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.’ Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.’ 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.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari 1904]
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدَانُ، عَنْ أَبِي حَمْزَةَ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، عَنْ عَلْقَمَةَ، قَالَ بَيْنَا أَنَا أَمْشِي، مَعَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ فَقَالَ كُنَّا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ، فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ، فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ ‏”‏‏.‏
Narrated ‘Alqama: While I was walking with `Abdullah he said, “We were in the company of the Prophet (ﷺ) and he said,
‘He who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him refrain from looking at other women, and save his private parts from committing illegal sexual relation; and he who cannot afford to marry is advised to fast, as fasting will diminish his sexual power.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari 1905]


Literally, Sawm صوم means to abstain’. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm صوم means ‘to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual inter-course; with the conditions that one abstains continuously from dawn to sunset and that there is an intention to fast’. Therefore, should one eat or drink anything even a minute before sunset, the fast will not be valid. Similarly, if one abstained from all these things throughout the day but made no intention to fast, there will be no fast here too.

Sawm or ‘fasting’ is an ` ibadah, an act of worship in Islam, regarded as its pillar and sign. The merits of fasting are too numerous to be taken up at this point. Past communities and the injunction to fast

The verse makes it obligatory for the Muslims to fast in a specified period, but the command in this respect has been accompanied by the statement that the obligation of fasting is not peculiar to them. The fasting had also been enjoined upon the earlier Ummahs (communities of the past prophets). The reference to the earlier Ummahs in the verse shows the importance of fasting on the one hand, and gives an encouragement to the Muslims on the other. It indicates that although there may be some inconvenience in fasting but the same inconvenience was also faced by the earlier communities. This brings a psycho-logical comfort to the Muslims, because if an inconvenience is faced by a large number of people, it becomes easier to bear. (Rub al-Ma` am)

The words of the Qur’an, لَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ (those before you) have been used in a general sense including all religious communities from Sayyidna Adam (علیہ السلام) to the last of the Prophets ﷺ . This tells us that, like Salah, fasting has also been enjoined upon every .Ummah of every prophet without an exception.
Commentators who interpret مِن قَبْلِكُمْ (before you) to mean the Christians’ take it just as an example, not aiming to exclude other communities. (Ruh al-Ma` ani) The verse simply says that fasts have been enjoined on Muslims as were enjoined on past communities. From this it does not necessarily follow that the fasts enjoined upon the earlier communities were fully identical in all respects with the fasts enjoined upon this Ummah. There may have been differences in the number and the timings of the fasts etc. and, actually, there has been such a difference. (Ruh al Ma’ ani)

By saying لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ (so that you be God-fearing), the text has pointed out to the inherent quality of fasting which contributes significantly to one’s ability to become abstaining from the sins and God-fearing. Fasting grows into man a power which helps him control his desires, which is really the foundation of Taqwa تقویٰ , the very special term of the Holy Qur’an which has been tentatively translated as fear of God, abstinence, and the warding of evil.

[Maarif ul Quran Vol-1 (pg 453 – 454) , Maktabah Dar al Uloom, Translation by Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim]

Spiritual Reminders

Acts Nullifying The Fast

Acts nullifying the fast are of two kinds. In the first place there are some acts which fast, but also make one liable to both qada’ and kaffarah. The number of these acts is
(a) Eating something
(b) Drinking something
(c) Having sexual intercourse.

These three acts are liable to kaffarah when they are committed deliberately after one has started a fast, provided that the person committing them knows that they render the fast broken. In such cases both qada’ and kaffarah are obligatory on him. Qada’ means to keep another fast in lieu of the broken one. And kaffarah means to perform an act to expiate the sin of having broken the fast.

Kaffarah may be given in the following three ways respectively :
(a) Freeing a slave.
(b) Fasting for two months constantly without a break.
(c) Giving food to sixty persons.

Since slavery has come to an end in our days, only the latter two ways can be adopted today. But the person who has strength enough to fast for two months constantly has been bound to fast. He cannot adopt the third way, i.e. giving food to sixty persons. If he is too weak to fast for such a large number of days, he can give kaffarah by giving food to sixty persons. In the second place there are some acts which nullify the fast, but do not make the relevant person liable to kaffarah. In such cases only qada’ is obligatory.

These acts are :
(1) Eating or drinking unintentionally. For example, while making wudu, if a drop of water slips into the throat unintentionally, the fast stands broken, but only the qada’ will be enough to compensate for the mistake.
(ii) Dropping medicine or anything else in the nose
(iv) Emission of semen while touching, kissing or caressing a woman.
(v) Eating or drinking under the wrong impression that the dawn has not yet broken, or the sun has set, while otherwise was true.
(vi) If someone eats or drinks while he does not remember that he is in a state of fasting, his fast is not broken. He should continue with his fast after he remembers. Howeverif he eats or drinks after he remembers, his fast will stand broken, and if this eating or drinking was due to his wrong impression that his fast stood broken by his first eating or drinking, he will be liable to qada only.

Acts Rendering The Fast Makrooh:

The following acts do not nullify the fast, but render it makrooh in the sense that they lessen the of the fast. Hence it is not advisable to indulge in any of the following acts when one is in the state fast:

(i) Chewing something or tasting it with the tongue without eating it.
(ii) Using tooth paste or tooth powder. However, cleaning teeth with a miswak or a brush (without paste or powder) is allowed.
(iii) Remaining in the state of Janabah (major impurity) for the whole day.
(iv) Giving blood to anyone.
(v) Quarrelling with someone or abusing him
(vi) Gheebah i.e., to abuse or to blame someone in his absence.
(vii) Telling a lie.
The latter three acts are absolutely prohibited even when one is not in the state of fasting, but they become all the more prohibited when one keeps fast.

Acts Which Are Allowed

The following acts are allowed in the state of fasting :

(i) Cleaning teeth using a miswak or a brush and ears with cotton swabs.
(ii) Applying oil or henna or colour to the hair.
(iii) Using eye-drops or kohl (surma/kajal).
(iv) Wearing perfume or feeling it, or using lipstick or chopstick.
(v) Taking a shower.
(vi) Using medicine through injection.
(vii) Vomiting unintentionally.
(viii) Entrance of smoke or dust into the throat unintentionally.
(ix) Ejaculation while dreaming
(x) Bleeding from the teeth unless blood slips in to the throat.
(xi) Delaying the ghusl of janabah upto the sunrise.

[Taken from “the Month of RAMADAN” by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani]



The Fasting of Daud (AS)
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was informed about my fasts, and he came to me and I spread for him a leather cushion stuffed with palm fires, but he sat on the ground and the cushion remained between me and him, and then he said, “Isn’t it sufficient for you to fast three days a month?” I replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! (I can fast more).” He said, “Five?” I replied, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! (I can fast more).” He said, “Seven?” I replied, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! (I can fast more).” He said, “Nine (days per month)?” I replied, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! (I can fast more)” He said, “Eleven (days per month)?” And then the Prophet said, “There is no fast superior to that of the Prophet (ﷺ) David it was for half of the year. So, fast on alternate days.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari 1980]

Sunnah Acts

Generosity of The Prophet (SAW) During Ramadan
Narrated Ibn `Abbas:
The Prophet (ﷺ) was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him, and Gabriel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet (ﷺ) used to recite the Holy Qur’an to Gabriel, and when Gabriel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare).

[Sahih al-Bukhari 1902]


Du’a for Iftaar Host
أَفْطَرَ عِنْدَكُمُ الصَّائِمُونَ وَأَكَلَ طَعَامَكُمُ الأَبْرَارُ وَصَلَّتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ
Aftara ‘indakumus-saimun, wa akala ta’amakumul-abrar, wa sallat ‘alaikumul- mala’ikah

May the fasting (men) break their fast with you, and the pious eat your food, and the angels pray for blessing on you

[Ibn Majah: 1747]

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