Secrets of the Greatest Month
A collection of narrations and sayings from the Prophet ﷺ, his Companions (God be pleased with them), the Righteous Ones [salihin] and our Shaykhs on Ramadan; the immense blessings in its first night, the unmatched rewards that it brings to those who fulfil its rights, the Night of `Id/Eid al-Fitr.
Imam Ahmad ibn Zayn al-Habashi’s Words on Fasting
Imam Ahmad ibn Zayn ibn Ahmad al-Habashi (d.1732), a student of Imam Abdullah ibn ꜥAlawi al-Haddad, wrote a comprehensive Islamic Jurisprudence [fiqh] text for beginners in the Shafiꜥi School of Thought entitled Risala al-Jamiꜥah and in the section on Fasting [sawm] he writes:
Fasting is the third pillar of Islam. It is the well-known act of withholding one’s self (from food and drink) but with certain special characteristics. Among them are making a daily intention during the preceding night, and abandoning all things which break the fast, including food, drink, sexual intercourse, ejaculation, and self-induced vomiting.
Among the things which perfect the fast is the refraining of the limbs from things which God the Exalted dislikes. The ‘seven limbs’ which need to be restrained will be discussed later. It has been said in a hadith the ‘five things nullify the act of a fasting person: lies, backbiting, slander, false oaths and looking with desire.
Among the things which perfect the fast are: hastening to break the fast with halāl food and not eating a great amount.
On the Unlimited Rewards of Fasting
Habib ꜥUmar ibn Hafiz (God preserve him, benefit us through him and extend his lifespan) said:
Ibn ꜥUyayna (may God be pleased with him and have mercy on him) was asked about the Divine Utterance [ḥadīth qudsī], “except for fasting, for it is Mine and I give its reward”. His response was:
If a fast is accepted, God ﷻ will keep it protected with Him, such that even on Judgement Day, if this person were to have dues upon him from others, then God ﷻ will tell them to take from his other deeds, except for the fast, “for it is Mine”. They will be able to take from the other deeds, except for the fast because it will be protected. Even if all of his deeds were to be taken away by those whom he wronged, and they ask God ﷻ to give them the deed of his fasting, He will not allow them to.
So, how will they get their due?
Godﷻ will increase the reward of the fast and give them their due from Himself and he will enter him into Paradise from the reward of this fast.
Shaykh ash-Shaꜥrāwī (may God’s mercy and pleasure be upon him) also says that:
All other acts of worship can have their exterior appearances copied by the polytheists [mushrikīn] and the disbelievers, such as allotting places for pilgrimage, giving out money for a cause, sacrificing their animals for their gods, and similarly they would bow before their gods like in prayer but none of the polytheists would seek proximity to their gods through fasting. We did not hear of anyone fasting for al-Lāt and `Uzzah or any other thing worshiped other than Godﷻ. These are some of the understandings around the Divine Words, “except fasting, for it is mine and I will give reward for it.”
On Breaking the Fast
Habib Kazim as-Saqqaf (God preserve him, benefit us through him and extend his lifespan) said:
Recite the following supplication [duꜥā’] and then break your fast with 3, 5 or 7 dates (an odd number), and that it will expel all of your sins as if you were a newborn (1).
He also mentioned that you should break your fast on three dates (or an odd number) and with each date you eat, make duꜥā’ to reach and be exposed to The Night of Decree [laylatul qadr].
The Supplication to recite is as follows:
اللهّٰم يَاٰ عَظِيمُ يَاٰ عَظِيمُ
أَنْتَ إِلٰهِي لاٰ إلٰهَ غَيْرُكَ
إِغْفِرِ ٱلذَّنْبَ ٱلعَظِيمَ
فَإِنَّهُ لاٰ يَغْفِرُ ٱلذَّنْبَ ٱلْعَظِيمَ إِلّٰا ٱلْعَظِيمُ
Allāhumma yā ꜥaẓīmu yā ꜥaẓīm,
anta ilāhi lā ilāha ghayruk,
ighfir idh-dhanb al-ꜥaẓīm,
fa innahū la yaghfir udh-dhanb al-ꜥaẓīm ill al-ꜥaẓīm.
O God! O Mighty! O Mighty!
You are my Lord, there is no other god!
Forgive my great sins,
for none other than the All-Mighty is able to forgive them!
The Night of Reward and Celebration
Continuation of the previous hadith
When Ramaḍān ends and ꜥĪd (celebration, holiday) night comes, it is called the Night of Reward.
In the morning of the ꜥĪd, Godﷻ sends the Angels to every town. They descend to the earth, hold the street corners and shout with a sound every creature can hear except the human beings and the Jinn, “O! Community of Muḥammadﷺ ! Come to the presence of your Lord who bestows much and forgives your big sins.”
When they get to their places of worship Godﷻ asks the Angels, “What is the reward of the worker who has done his job?”
The Angels say, “O our exalted Lord! It is your giving his exact reward and payment.”
Upon that Godﷻ said, “O my Angels! Be witness that, I gave them my approval and forgiveness as a gift for their fasting and prayers they performed during Ramaḍān.”
And then Heﷻ ordered,
“O my slaves! Request from me. For the sake of my glory and superiority today I will surely give whatever you want for your Afterlife from me. And I will consider your situation for the things you want for this world.
For the sake of my glory, as long as you pay observe my approval, I will cover your mistakes.
For the sake of my glory and superiority, I will not disgrace you in front of the holders of a right and managers.
You gained my approval, return with my approval and having been forgiven of your sins.”
The Angels are then ecstatic and bring the glad tidings of the reward that Godﷻ will give to that community that breaks their fast at the end of Ramadan.