“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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  1. Pingback: “Fasting Is For Me”: The Meaning Of The Hadith Qudsi at HAhmed.com

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