Why should we fast in Ramadan? -Shaykh ibn al-’Uthaymeen

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful

Why should we fast in Ramadan?

By Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-’Uthaymeen may Allah have mercy on him

The shaykh mentions this point of benefit in his explanation of Imaam Nawawi’s “Riyaadus Saaliheen” under the 217th chapter, “The Excellence of Observing Fasts During Ramadan”. This particular portion is found under his explanation of the verses in Surah Baqarah 183-184:

Allah said,

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ (١٨٣) أَيَّامً۬ا مَّعۡدُودَٲتٍ۬‌ۚ

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous. [Fasting for] a limited number of days…”

Allah directed His address towards the believers. That is because fasting in Ramadan is from the requirements of Imaan (faith), it completes Imaan, and abandoning it decreases Imaan.

The scholars have differed in regards to someone who abandons fasting out of neglect or laziness, and if this is considered as apostasy or not. The correct opinion is that the person does not apostate. There is no pillar, which is abandoned, that causes one to leave the fold of Islaam except for the two testimonies and the prayer.

As for Allah’s statement, “decreed upon you” then this means that it is obligatory.

“as it was decreed” meaning, as it was obligatory.

“upon those before you” Allah mentioned that fasting was obligatory upon those before us, and He did not mention the same in regards to prayer.

The reason for mentioning this is because in fasting there are difficulties, fatigue, and abandonment of habitual routines. It is no secret that fasting during the long hot days is difficult upon the souls. Therefore, Allah mentioned this so that it may lighten the burden upon us. Because if mankind knows that someone was able to accomplish a deed then it becomes easier for him to carry it out as well. Allah also mentioned this in order to clarify that He bestowed bounties upon us just as He did with those who preceded.

“that you may become righteous” meaning, in order for you to fear Allah, because fasting is a shield. It protects you from disobedience and from the fire. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ

“Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, he will be forgiven his previous sins.” [Nasaa’i – Abu Hurayrah]

(Attaining piety and fear of Allah) is the wisdom behind the obligation of fasting, and what proves this is the statement of the Messenger (peace be upon him),

مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ اَلزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ, وَالْجَهْلَ, فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ

“Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions and does not abandon foolishness, Allah is not in need of his leaving food and drink” [Bukhaari – Abu Hurayrah]

Allah does not want to punish His slaves by having them abandon what they desire and are accustom to. Rather He wants them to leave off forged speech, evil actions, and foolishness.

[Fasting for] a limited number of days…” Allah mentioned this so His slaves realize that fasting does not last for months or years but it is only days. And they aren’t long but rather a limited amount of days.

Translated by: Abu Awzaa’ee AbdusSalaam

الفقير الى الله

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