The Objectives of Fasting (Maqāŝid as-awm) Continued...

The mannerisms of fasting

They are six:

1. Restraining the tongue and limbs from all that opposes the Divine Law (Sharī'ah).

He (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) saying, "Whoever does not leave false speech and acting upon it, Allāh has no need of his leaving food and drink."

He (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) also said, "It is possible that one standing [in prayer] only attain weariness from his standing and the one fasting only attain hunger and thirst from his fasting."
[Aĥmad, al-'Irāqī said the isnād was ĥasan.]

2. If one is invited to eat while he is eating, let him say, 'I am fasting'

The Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "If one of you is invited to eat while fasting, let him say, 'I am fasting' "

3. What should be said when one breaks the fast.

He (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to say upon breaking fast, "The thirst has gone, the veins are moistened and the reward is certain if Allāh wills."
[Abū Dāwūd and ad-Dāruquţnī said its isnād was ĥasan.
Dhahaba adh-Dhama'u wa-btallati-l-'uruq wa thabata al-ajru inshaAllāh]

It is also reported that he said, "O Allāh! It is for you that I have fasted, and it is with your provision that I have broken fast."
[Abū Dāwūd with a weak isnād, however A. al-Arna'ut, Jami' al-Uŝul, said that it has witnesses that strengthen it.]

In another hadīth, it is reported that he said, "All praise and thanks are due to Allāh who gave me the strength to fast and who gave me the provisions with which to break fast."
[al-Bayhaqī with a weak isnād but it has witnesses that strengthen it.]

4. What the fast should be broken with.

The fast should be broken with fresh dates, or slightly older, drier, dates, or water. It is reported that he (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) would break fast with "Fresh dates before praying; and if not then with older, drier, dates; and if not with dates then with some mouthfuls of water."
[Abū Dawūd with a ĥasan isnād]

He (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "If one of you is fasting then let him break fast with dates, if he does not find any then with water for it is pure and purifying."
[Abū Dāwūd with a ŝaĥīĥ isnād]

5, 6. Hastening the ifţār (breaking of fast) and delaying the suĥūr (pre-dawn meal)

The Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Take the meal of suĥūr for indeed in the suĥūr lies blessings."
[Bukhārī and Muslim]

He (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "The people will not cease to be upon good so long as they hasten in breaking the fast."
[Bukhārī and Muslim]

He (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, ,i>"Allāh, Mighty and Magnificent, says, 'The most beloved of My servants are those who are quickest in breaking fast.' "
[Aĥmad with a weak isnād but it has witnesses that strengthen in, Jami' al-Uŝūl]

He (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "This religion will remain good and pure so long as the people hasten in breaking the fast for the Jews and Christians would delay it."
[Abū Dāwūd with a ŝaĥīĥ isnād]

'Amr bin Maymūn said, 'The Companions of the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) would be the quickest of people in breaking the fast and the slowest of them in taking the pre-dawn meal.'

The suĥūr is delayed so as to strengthen one more while he is fasting so that he can perform more actions of obedience, the gap between the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) taking the suĥūr and his prayer would be an interval allowing fifty verses of the Qur'ān to be recited.
[Bukhārī and Muslim]

The ifţār was hastened because it is possible that some physical harm arise from hunger and thirst, hence there is no need to put the soul through such difficulty in a time [after the time of breaking fast] in which hunger and thirst is no longer an action that would draw one closer to Allāh. One of the wealthier people amongst the Salaf was seen eating in the market place and when asked why he replied [by quoting the ĥadīth], 'The delay of the rich is oppression.'
[Bukhārī and Muslim]

What should be avoided while fasting

1. Continuous fasting.

Abū Hurayrah said, 'The Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) prohibited continuous fasting whereupon one of the Muslims asked him, "but you do it O Messenger of Allāh!" He replied, "Who amongst you is like me? I spend the night with my Lord, He giving me food and drink." But when the people persisted in fasting continuously, he fasted continuously with them for a day, followed by another until they saw the new moon upon which he said, "If the moon had delayed in appearing I would have made you fast more." This was a punishment for them because they refused to stop continuously fasting.'
[Bukhārī and Muslim]

Continuous fasting was prohibited because it weakens the person and emaciates his body by reason of something other than worship. As for the Messenger of Allāh (ŝallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) then if it is literally true that his food and drink was with his Lord, he cannot be said to have fasted continuously; but if 'food and drink' is a phrase used to denote the strength of his closeness and communion (uns) with his Lord and the joy he felt at this closeness, then this takes the place of food and drink in revitalizing his strength, indeed this uns is better than food and drink in this respect,

Indeed I fasted from worldly pleasures my entire life
And the Day that I meet You will be its breaking

For surely I find the delight of fasting for You within my soul
And not in the satisfaction of eating or drinking

2. Kissing

'Ā'ishah (radiyAllāhu 'anhā) said, 'The Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) would kiss and embrace while fasting but he was more able than you in restraining his desires.'
[Bukhārī and Muslim]

Therefore whoever is old, able to control his desires, and hence not ruin his fast, there is no harm in his kissing. If one is young and not sure that he can control his desires, it is disliked for him to kiss due to his subjecting his action of worship to the danger of something that could break it.

3. Cupping

It is authentically reported that the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was cupped while fasting.

Anas was asked, 'Did you consider cupping to be disliked for the one fasting?' He replied, 'No, [we only considered it disliked] if it caused weakness.'

Hence whoever is physically weakened by cupping, it is disliked for him to do so, because in his weakened state he is more likely to break fast or find the action of fasting extremely difficult for him and hence become averse to it.

4. Applying Kohl.

Anas would apply Kohl while fasting.
[Abū Dāwūd and ibn Ĥajr said the isnād had no fault.]

al-A'mash said, 'I never saw any of our companions disliking the application of Kohl for the one fasting.' Ibrāhīm [an-Nakha'ī] would allow the one fasting to apply aloes to his eyes.
[Abū Dāwūd]

Having said this, it is safer not to apply it so as to steer clear of the difference that the scholars have concerning this issue.

5. Snuffing the nose during ablution

The Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said to Laqīţ bin Sabrah, "Perform the ablution well, wipe between the fingers and exert yourself in snuffing the nose, unless you are fasting."
[Abū Dāwūd]

So he prohibited from exertion when snuffing the nose while fasting, the reason for this is that through exertion one puts his fast to risk [because the water could reach the back of the throat].

Allāh knows best.

[Actions which nullify the fast are eating and drinking deliberately; making oneself vomit; menstruation and post-natal bleeding and sexual intercourse.]

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Author: Imām al-'Izz ibn 'Abdi-s-Salām (d. 660H)

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