Monthly Archives: September 2006

“Fasting Is For Me”: The Meaning Of The Hadith Qudsi

It is narrated in a hadith qudsi that Allah says:

كل حسنة بعشر أمثالها إلى سبع مائة ضعف إلا الصيام فهو لي وأنا أجزي به

“Every good action is rewarded by ten times its kind, up to seven hundred times, except fasting, which is for Me, and I reward it.”

(Narrated in the Sunan of Tirmidhi and the Muwatta of Imam Malik, from Abu Hurayra, with variants in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasa`i and Ahmad)

The Meaning of ‘Fasting is for Me’

 

Among the various interpretations for Allah’s usage of this phrase are:

[1] Fasting is an act of worship that precludes the presence of riya’ (showing-off) due to its hidden nature, whereas all other acts of worship are clearly visible which makes the probability of riya’ occurring higher. This was mentioned by al Maziri, as related by Qadhi `Iyad from Abi `Ubaid. It was also stated by Qurtubi and Ibn Jawzi. This is why Allah said “Fasting is for Me”.

[2] It can also mean that “Fasting is the most beloved to Me, and most preferable with Me”. This was the position preferred by Ibn `Abd al Barr. In the Fath al bari it states:

معنى قوله ” الصوم لي ” أي أنه أحب العبادات إلي والمقدم عندي , وقد تقدم قول ابن عبد البر : كفى بقوله ” الصوم لي ” فضلا للصيام على سائر العبادات

[3] The relationship (nisba) in the phrase “Fasting is for Me” is a nisba al ta`zim i.e of reverence and respect, just like the phrase baytullah (the house of Allah) although all houses are Allah’s. This was mentioned by Ibn Munir who stated that such specification from the general is meant to convey a meaning of nobility and respect. wa fi fath al bari li ibn hajar `asqalani:

قال الزين بن المنير : التخصيص في موضع التعميم في مثل هذا السياق لا يفهم منه إلا التعظيم والتشريف

[4] Being free from the need of food and other desires, in totality, is specifically an attribute of Allah Most High. When a person abstains from these desires then he formulates a specific closeness to Allah Most High by resembling His attribute (although, of course, it is not at the same level of independence). Due to this it is said “‘Fasting is for Me’, meaning, Fasting is the means of closeness to Me.” Imam Qurtubi, explaining this, said:

وقال القرطبي : معناه أن أعمال العباد مناسبة لأحوالهم إلا الصيام فإنه مناسب لصفة من صفات الحق , كأنه يقول إن الصائم يتقرب إلي بأمر هو متعلق بصفة من صفاتي

[5] Being free from food, water, and its like are attributes of the angels who are among Allah’s most closest creations. The believer, by fasting, allows himself to resemble this attribute of the angels which draws him closer to Allah. wa fi fath al bari:

أن المعنى كذلك , لكن بالنسبة إلى الملائكة لأن ذلك من صفاتهم

[6] Fasting is an act of worship specifically done for Allah, with no delight in it for the human being except, of course, the delight of pleasing his Lord. This is what al Khatabi mentioned kaza fil fath al bari :

أنه خالص لله وليس للعبد فيه حظ , قاله الخطابي , هكذا نقله عياض وغيره

[7] Fasting is an act of worship that is not done for anyone besides Allah, unlike praying, giving charity, doing tawaf and so forth. Ibn Hajar says in his Fath:

سبب الإضافة إلى الله أن الصيام لم يعبد به غير الله , بخلاف الصلاة والصدقة والطواف ونحو ذلك

[8] Fasting is hidden worship regarding which everyone, even the angels writing down our deeds, are unaware of. Only Allah is aware of this deed.

[9] Similar to the above, the interpretation of “And I reward it” is interpreted to mean that fasting is rewarded without the means of the angels. This was mentioned by Hakim al Ummah.

[10] “And I reward it” can also mean that the amount of reward earned by the one who is fasting is solely known by Allah, whereas the rewards for other acts of worship can be known to specific people. The knowledge of the reward gained through fasting is thus specific only to Allah. This was mentioned by Ibn `Uyana. Imam Qurtubi said as stated in the fath al bari:

المراد بقوله ” وأنا أجزي به ” أني أنفرد بعلم مقدار ثوابه وتضعيف حسناته . وأما غيره من العبادات فقد اطلع عليها بعض الناس . قال القرطبي : معناه أن الأعمال قد كشفت مقادير ثوابها للناس وأنها تضاعف من عشرة إلى سبعمائة إلى ما شاء الله , إلا الصيام فإن الله يثيب عليه بغير تقدير . ويشهد لهذا السياق الرواية الأخرى يعني رواية الموطأ , وكذلك رواية الأعمش عن أبي صالح حيث قال ” كل عمل ابن آدم يضاعف الحسنة بعشر أمثالها إلى سبعمائة ضعف إلى ما شاء الله – قال الله – إلا الصوم فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به ” أي أجازي عليه جزاء كثيرا من غير تعيين لمقداره , وهذا كقوله تعالى ( إنما يوفى الصابرون أجرهم بغير حساب ) انتهى

And Allah Knows Best

Main Sources: Darse Tirmidhi of Mufti Taqi, and Ibn Hajar `Asqalani’s Fath al Bari (see attachment below of Ibn Hajar’s full text)

Ibn Hajar’s commentary

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The Chaining of the Devils

Salamu `Alaykum

It is narrated on the authority Sayyidina Abu Hurayra (Allah be well-pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:

‏حدثنا ‏ ‏يحيى بن أيوب ‏ ‏وقتيبة ‏ ‏وابن حجر ‏ ‏قالوا حدثنا ‏ ‏إسمعيل وهو ابن جعفر ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي سهيل ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبيه ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏ ‏رضي الله عنه ‏
‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏إذا جاء رمضان فتحت أبواب الجنة وغلقت أبواب النار ‏ ‏وصفدت ‏ ‏الشياطين

“When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened, and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained up.

(Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, and Nasa`i – who narrates numerous versions of the narration with their variants some mentioning “the most evil jinns“)

Among the interpretative possibilities given for this narration are:

[1] That it is taken literally and on its apparent meaning. This was the position of Qadhi `Iyaad, Imam Qurtubi, and Ibn Munir. In the Fath al Bari, it states in a lengthy discussion:

قال عياض : يحتمل أنه على ظاهره وحقيقته وأن ذلك كله علامة للملائكة لدخول الشر وتعظيم حرمته ولمنع الشياطين من أذى المؤمنين , ويحتمل أن يكون إشارة إلى كثرة الثواب والعفو , وأن الشياطين يقل إغواؤهم فيصيرون كالمصفدين . قال : ويؤيد هذا الاحتمال الثاني قوله في رواية يونس عن ابن شهاب عند مسلم ” فتحت أبواب الرحمة ” قال : ويحتمل أن يكون فتح أبواب الجنة عبارة عما يفتحه الله لعباده من الطاعات وذلك أسباب لدخول الجنة , وغلق أبواب النار عبارة عن صرف الهمم عن المعاصي الآيلة بأصحابها إلى النار , وتصفيد الشياطين عبارة عن تعجيزهم عن الإغواء وتزيين الشهوات . قال الزين بن المنير : والأول أوجه , ولا ضرورة تدعو إلى صرف اللفظ عن ظاهره

“[Qadhi] `Iyaadh said: ‘It is alluded to that it is on its apparent and literal meaning… and the devils are prevented from harming the believers. And it also (s: speaking of the second opinion) alludes to the abundance of reward and forgiveness, and that the seduction of the devils decreases. The second position is indicated from the narration of Yunus from Ibn Shihab in Muslim that, “The gates of Mercy are opened”. This phrase signifies the opening of the gates of paradise and expresses Allahs opening of the gates of obedience for his servants, which is the door to paradise. The closing of the doors of hell is an expression of changing resolve from the verge of disobedience…’ Ibn Munir said: ‘The first opinion is preferrable and there is no reason to change the words from their apparent meaning.'”

[2] That this is a figurative expression that alludes to the doer of good being rewarded more for his noble actions, the forgiveness of his sins, overlooking of his mistakes, and the lessening of the devils influence. Imam Turbushati held this opinion, as did others, and took as his proof the narration “When Ramadhan comes the doors of mercy are opened” (Muslim). (See: above)

From among these two positions, Imam Qurtubi gave preference to the first. However, a questions arises: If the devils are chained up during the month of Ramadhan then why do we still commit sins?

Imam Qurtubi, replying to this, states that sin and disobedience are not only a result of the devils and their whispers but also due to the weakness of our nufus, our ill habits, bad company, and disposition to sin. In the Sharh of Nasa`i it the author states:

وجود المعاصي شرازة النفس وخباثتها ولا يلزم أن تكون كل معصية بواسطة شيطان

“The presence of disobedience is the nafs and its malice, and it is not necessary that all disobedience be by the way of the devils.”

Further, the narration mentioning the chaining of the devils does not necessitate that all of them are chained. Rather, as some variants mention only the “most evil jinn” are locked up. Even if we presume that all of them are chained the effects of their whispers are still with us, even if somewhat lessened, due to their accompanying us for the remaining, prior months. It is like a hot iron rod that is placed in a furnace for a number of days. When removed, its temperature may decrease, but some of its hot effects remain. Imam Suyuti states in his Sharh `ala Sunan al Nasa`i:

وقال غيره : المراد بالشياطين بعضهم وهم المردة منهم ويؤيده قوله في الحديث بعد هذا ‏

“And others said: What is indicated by “devils” is some of them, and they are the most evil ones from among them…”

This is why seeking the spiritual path is of utmost importance as it allows one to rectify the self and overcome the ill habits that plague the human being. It is only through purification of the heart that complete felicity and hifaza from sin can be attained.

And Allah Knows Best

وقال القرطبي بعد أن رجح حمله على ظاهره : فإن قيل كيف نرى الشرور والمعاصي واقعة في رمضان كثيرا فلو صفدت الشياطين لم يقع ذلك ؟ فالجواب أنها إنما تقل عن الصائمين الصوم الذي حوفظ على شروطه وروعيت آدابه , أو المصفد بعض الشياطين وهم المردة لا كلهم كما تقدم في بعض الروايات , أو المقصود تقليل الشرور فيه وهذا أمر محسوس فإن وقوع ذلك فيه أقل من غيره , إذ لا يلزم من تصفيد جميعهم أن لا يقع شر ولا معصية لأن لذلك أسبابا غير الشياطين كالنفوس الخبيثة والعادات القبيحة والشياطين الإنسية . وقال غيره : في تصفيد الشياطين في رمضان إشارة إلى رفع عذر المكلف كأنه يقال له قد كفت الشياطين عنك فلا تعتل بهم في ترك الطاعة ولا فعل المعص

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Engulfed In Sadness

Sadness,

It has engulfed my soul,

I lay here withering,

Seeking to be consoled,

I have diverged from the path,

No longer do I have sight of the goal,

Aimlessly I walk around,

A seemingly never ending stroll.

.

Rumi said sadness is a bad dream,

To me it seems very real,

If only I could contemplate on his words and wisdom,

Feel the spiritual presence he feels,

Yet, I lack the yearning of my Beloved,

Without Him I cannot heal,

I shall try to bury my existence within the depth of the earth,

Hoping one day I will again become ecstatic in His zeal…

.

Ibn Ata said that fruits do not ripen,

Unless they are first buried within dirt,

So also does the soul not actualize,

Unless it is buried and given rebirth.

– Ibn Ahmad

A feeling of discouragement when you slip up
is a sure sign that you put your faith in deeds.

– Ibn Ata’illah fil Hikam

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A Good Weekend

Salamu`Alaykum

I’ve been a bit busy with university and therefore have been unable to update my blog for the past few weeks. I have a number of partially translated fatawa and other enlightening pieces that will be presented soon, Insha’Allah.

Just a quick update: I had an extremely wonderful weekend. I got the chance to meet Mufti Saeed Palanpuri of Deoband, who was the individual seen teaching in “A Deobandi Classroom” (see: previous post). I managed to pray side by side with him twice, alhamdulilah, and also to sit face to face with him with no more than a hand-span between us. He spoke in lengtt, during his two sessions, regarding the moonsighting issue as well as ijtihad and taqlid.

I also had the opportunity to meet Shaykh Faraz, who is currently visiting New York, on Friday, Saturday (I had dinner with him) and Sunday. He is currently on tour across North America so be sure to check out his schedule and attend! I’ll see if i remember enough to update more on the specifics of our meeting.

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