ON THE SECRETS OF FASTING

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ON THE SECRETS OF FASTING

ON THE SECRETS OF FASTING


by Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid

أَسْرَارُ الصَّوْمِ

The Secrets of Fasting


فَالْصَّوْمُ فِي لُغَّةِ أَهْلِ اللهِ الرِّفْعَةُ لِاِرْتِفَعِهِ عَنْ سَائِرِ الْعِبَادَاتِ كُلِّهَا فِي الدَّرَجَةِ، فَإِنَ اللهَ اَرْتَفَعُ الصَّوْمَ بِنَفْيِّ الْمِثْلِيَّةِ عَنْهُ فِي الْعِبَادَاتِ، فَجَرَّدَهُ الصِّيَامَ مِنَ الْعَبْدِ وَأَنْ يَعْبَدَهُ بِهِ وَأَضَافَهُ إِلَي نَفْسِهِ، وَجَزَائَهُ مَن اِتَّصِفُ بِهِ بَيَدِهِ مِنْ أَنَانِيَّتِهِ بِقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى: ((كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ لَهُ إِلاَّ الصِّيَامَ فَإِنَّهُ لِى وَأَنَا أَجْزِى بِهِ))، وَأَلْحِقُ الصَّوْمَ بِنَفْسِهِ فِي نَفْيِّ الْمَثَلِيَّةِ بِقَوْلِهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام:ُ ((فَإِنَّهُ لاَ مِثْلَ لَهُ)).

For fasting in the language of the People of Allah means spiritual eminence because it is raised in rank above all the remaining acts of worship. Allah exalts fasting above all else by negating likeness to it among the other acts of worship. 


For He divests the act of fasting from the servant although he worships Him by means of it, and then rewards the one described by it with His Own Hands from His ‘I-ness’; by His words: ‘Every action of the son of Adam belongs to him except fasting, for it belongs to Me, and I alone reward for it’. He further connects fasting to Himself in the negation of likeness by his words, upon him be peace: “…fasting, it has no likeness”.

 

فَهُوَ فَالْحَقِيْقَةُ تَرْكُ الْعَمَلِ لَا عَمَلٌ، وَنَفْيُّ الْمَثَلِيَّةِ نَعْتُ سُلْبِيٍّ، فَتَقَوَّتْ الْمُنَاسِبَةُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ اللهِ، قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالَى: ﴿لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ﴾، فَنَفْيُّ أَنْ يَكُوْنَ لَهُ مِثْلٌ، فَلَا مِثْلٌ لَهُ بِالدَّلَالَةِ الْعَقْلِيَّةِ وَالشَّرِيْعَةِ، وَأَيْضًا وَصَفَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الصِّيَامَ بِنَفْيِّ الْمَثَلِيَّةِ كَمَا رَوَّاهُ النِّسَائِيُّ عَنْ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ قَالَ: "أَتَيْتُ رَسُوْلَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقُلْتُ لَهُ: مَرْنِي بَأَمْرٍ آخِذَهُ عَنْكَ قَالَ: ((عَلَيْكَ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لاَ مِثْلَ لَهُ))".


 For fasting in reality is the leaving of action, not an action. And the negation of likeness is an attribute of negation. Thus there is a relationship of subsistence between the act of fasting and Allah Himself. Allah ta`ala says: “There is nothing like Him.” 


Thus He negates any resemblance to Himself since there is  nothing that resembles Him by evidence of reason or the shari`a. Likewise the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace described fasting by negating resemblance to it as it was related by an-Nisaai’ on the authority of Abu Amama who said: 


“I once went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and said to him: ‘Order me to a matter which I can take from you.’ He said: ‘Obligatory upon you is fasting, for it has no likeness to it’.”


فَنَفْيُّ أَن يُمَاثِلَهُ عِبَادَةً مِنَ الْعِبَادَاتِ اَلَّتِي شُرِعَ لِعِبَادِهِ، فَمَنْ عَرِفَ أَنَّهُ وُصِفَ سَلْبِيٍّ إِذْ هُوَ تَرْكُ الْمُفْطِرَاتُ عَلِمَ قَطْعاً أَنَّهُ لَا مِثْلٌ لَهُ، وَلِهَذَا قَالَ اللهُ تَعَالَى كَمَا رَوَّاهُ الْإِمَامُ مُسْلِمٌ فِي الْحَدِيْثِ الْقُدْسِيِّ" ((كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ لَهُ إِلاَّ الصِّيَامَ فَإِنَّهُ لِى وَأَنَا أَجْزِى بِهِ)).


 Thus, fasting is negated from resembling any form of worship from the varieties of worship which has been made lawful for the servants. For whoever realizes that he is described through negation by avoiding eating also realizes decisively that He has no likeness to Him. 


It is for this reason that Allah ta`ala said as related by Imam Muslim in a Hadeeth Qudsi: “Every action of the son of Adam belongs to him except fasting, for it belongs to Me, and I alone reward for it.”


فَفِي هَذَا الْحَدِيْثِ أَسْرَارٌ لَا حَصَرٌ لَهَا، مِنْهَا أَنَّهُ تَعَالَى جَعَلَ الْعَمَلَ اَلَّذِي فِي الْحَقِيْقَةِ لَا عَمَلٌ لِأَنَّهُ تَرْكُ الْعَمَلِ أَوْ نَفْيُّ الْعَمَلِ فَأَلْحَقَهُ إِلَى نَفْسِهِ لِأَنَّهُ نَفْيُّ الْمَثَلِيَّةِ لَهُ مِنْ كُلِّ الْعِبَادَاتِ كَمَا نَفْيُّ أَنْ يَكُوْنَ لَهُ مِثْلٌ مِنَ الْمَخْلُوْقَاتِ.


For in this prophetic tradition are innumerous secrets. Among them being that He has made an action which in reality is a non-action because it is abstinence from actions, or the negation of action; and connects it to Himself because it is negated from resemblance to all the acts of worship in the same manner that He is negated from resembling anything from His creation. 


فَهَذَا السِّرُّ الْعَظِيْمُ لِأَنَّ اَتَّفِقُواْ أَهْلُ الطَّرِيْقَةِ عَلَى أَنَّ بَنَاءَ أَمْرِهِمْ عَلَى أَرْبَعِ أَشْيَاءٍ كَمَا قَالَ سَيِّدُ سَيِّدِنَا الشَّيْخُ الْحَبِيْبُ عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ أَبِي بَكْرٍ الْعَيْدَرِيسُ فِي الْكِبْرِيْطِ الْأَحْمَرِ: "قِلَّةِ الطَّعَامِ وَقِلَّةِ الْكَلَامِ وَقِلَّةِ الْمَنَامِ وَاِعْتِزَالِ الْأنَامِ". 


This is an immense secret because the People of the spiritual path are unanimous that their affair is constructed upon four things as the master of our master Shaykh al-Habib Abdallah ibn Abu Bakr al-`Aydarus said in his al-Kibreet’l-Ahmar: 


“[1] the decrease of food; [2] the decrease of speech; [3] the decrease of sleep; and [4] seclusion from people.”


فَكُلُّ هَذِهِ الْأَعْمَالُ فِي الْحَقِيْقَةِ لَا عَمَلٌ أَوْ أَنَّهَا نَفْيُّ الْعَمَلِ، وَبِهَا يَفْتَحُ لْلْعَبْدِ مَعْرِفَةَ الْحَقِّ تَعَالَى، فَبِنَفْيِّ الْعَمَلِ يُعْرِفُ اَلَّذِي نَفْيُّ لَهُ كُلَّ صِفَّةِ الْمَخْلُوْقَاتِ، فَلِذَلِكَ الصَّوْمُ هُوَ أَعْلَى الدَّرَجَةِ فِي مَعْرِفَةِ الْحَقِّ كَمَا قَالَ سَيِّدُ الصِّدِيْقِيْنَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ الصِّدِيْقُ: "عَدَمُ الْإِسْتِدْرَاكِ إِسْتِدْرَاكٌ"، أَيِّ إِذَا يَعْبَدَ اللهَ بِالْعِبَادَةِ اَلَّتِي لَا مِثْلُهَا فِي الْعِبَادَاتِ يُعْرِفُ اللهُ اَلَّذِي لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ مِنَ الْمَخْلُوْقَاتِ. 


For each of these actions are in reality non-actions or the negation of actions, but by means of them the servant has opened to him, direct experiential knowledge of the Absolute Being exalted be He. 


For by the negation of actions one comes to have gnosis of the One from whom all the attributes of creation are negated. For this reason fasting has the most exalted rank in achieving gnosis of the Absolute Being, as the master of the Champions of Truth Abu Bakr as-Sideeq said: 


“The absence of comprehension is comprehension.” That is to say, if one worships Allah with an act of worship which has no likeness among acts of worship, he will come to know Allah who is unlike anything from created things.


وَأَشَارَ الْمُصَنِفُ رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ إِلَى هَذَا السِّرِّ الْعَظِيْمِ فِي سَوْقِ الصِّدِيْقِيْنَ حِيْنَ قَالَ: "قَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ((جَاهِدُواْ أنفُسَكُمْ بِالجُوعِ وَالْعَطَشِ، فإِنّ الأجْرَ فِي ذَلِكَ كَأَجْرِ الْمُجَاهِدِ فِي سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ وأنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ أَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنْ جُوْعٍ وَمِنْ عَطَشٍ)).


The Shehu, may Allah be merciful to him indicated this in his Sawq as-Sidiqeen when he said: “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said: 


“Struggle against your soul by means of hunger and thirst; for truly the reward in that is like the reward of the mujaahid in the way of Allah. There is no action more beloved to Allah than hunger and thirst.” 


وَعَنْهُ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ((لَا تَدْخُلُ مَلَكُوْتَ السَّمَاءِ مَلَأ َبَطْنَهً)). 


He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace said: “The one who has filled his stomach will not enter the unseen kingdoms of the heavens.” 


وَقَالَ فِيْهِ أَيْضًا مِنْ سَهْلٍ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللهِ: "قَالَ...إِنَّمَا صَارَ الْأَبْدَالُ أَبْدَالاً لِإِخْمَاصِ الْبُطُوْنِ وَالصَّمْتِ وَالسَّهَرِ وَالْخَلْوَةِ وَالتَّفَكُرِ. 


He also said in it quoting Sahl ibn Abdallah: “He said…’Trully the abdaal only obtain the station of badaliyya by means of the emptiness of their stomachs, silence, wakefulness, seclusion and reflection’.” 


وَقَالَ فِيْهِ أَيْضًا: "كَانَ عَبْدُ الْوَاحِدِ بْنُ زَيْدٍ يَقْسِمُ بِاللهِ: إِنَّ اللّهَ مَا صَفَّى أَحَدًا إِلَّا بِالْجُوْعِ وَلَا مَشِيَ الْأَوْلِيَاءُ عَلَى الْمَاءِ إِلَّا بِالْجُوْعِ وَلَا طُوِيَتْ لَهُمُ الْأَرْضَ إِلَّا بِالْجُوْعِ وَلَا وَلَأَهُمْ اللهُ إِلَّا بِالْجُوْعِ".


He also said in it: “Abd’l-Wahid ibn Zayd swore by Allah: 


‘Trully Allah does not purify anyone except by means of their hunger. Truly the protected friends of Allah do not walk upon water except by means of their hunger. The earth is not rolled up for them except by means of their hunger.  Allah has not made them His protected friends except by means of their hunger.’.” 


فَالْحَاصِلُ أَنَّ الصِّيَامَ مِنْ اَعْظَمِ أَسْبَابِ الْوُصُوْلِ إِلَى مَعْرِفَةِ اللهِ تَعَالَى لِأَنَّهُ نَفْيُّ الْعَمَلِ لِلْعَبْدِ وَنَفْيُّ التَّمَثِلِ لَهُ فِي الْعِبَادَاتِ فَهُوَ للهِ فَقَطْ اَلَّذِي ﴿لَيْسَ كَمَثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ﴾ فَلَا بَابٌ فِي أَقْوَالِ اللهِ تَعَالَى مَفْتُوْحًا لِمَعْرِفَاتِهِ كَمَا هُوَ حَقُّهُ مِنَ الْبَابِ: ﴿لَيْسَ كَمَثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ﴾، وَاللهُ اَعْلِمُ.


In short, indeed fasting is among the greatest causative factors for Arrival at gnosis of Allah ta`ala, because it is the negation of actions to the servant and resemblance to it in others acts of worships is negated from it. For fasting belongs to Allah only, the One whom: “There is nothing like Him”. 


For there is no door from the Words of Allah ta`ala which is more open to gnosis of Him as He should be known than the Door of: “There is nothing like Him.” And Allah knows best.


SOURCES:


Sawq al-Umma Ila Itiba as-Sunna - Arabic: by SHEHU Uthman Dan Fodio


https://www.academia.edu/25494165/the_matin_of_the_Sawql-Umma_ila_Ittiba_as-Sunna_the_Mobilization_of_the_Umma_Towards_Following_the_Sunna_by_Shehu_Uthman_ibn_Fuduye_arabic


Tawq ‘l-Lama` wa Itmaam ‘n-Ni`ama Arabic: by Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid


https://www.academia.edu/8765559/Tawq_l-Lama_wa_Itmaam_n-Niama_a_commentary_upon_the_Sawq_l-Umma_Ila_Ittiba_as-Sunna_by_Shaykh_Muhammad_Shareef_bin_Farid_arabic


Sawq al-Umma Ila Itiba as-Sunna – English: by SHEHU Uthman Dan Fodio


https://www.academia.edu/25498734/the_matin_sawql-umma_ila_ittiba_as-sunna_the_Mobilization_of_the_Umma_Towards_Following_the_Sunna_by_Shehu_Uthman_ibn_Fuduye_english


Tawq ‘l-Lama` wa Itmaam ‘n-Ni`ama English: by Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid


https://www.academia.edu/8769703/Tawq_l-Lama_wa_Itmaam_n-Niama_a_commentary_upon_the_Sawq_l-Umma_Ila_Ittiba_as-Sunna_by_Shaykh_Muhammad_Shareef_bin_Farid_english

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