Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN
AKRA FM Friday Discourse
December 8, 2000
VALUE OF FASTING AND ISLAM
As-salâmu 'alaykum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhû!..
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
May your Ramadan be blessed and full of good deeds. May Almighty Allah reward your worship, fasting, Tarawih prayers, dinner invitations, charities, zakat, and other good deeds in the best way. May He grant you good things, health and happiness in this world and in the hereafter.
a. Rewards for One Day of Voluntary Fasting
According to Abu Hurayrah RA, the Prophet SAS said:
(Lew anna rajulan sàma yawman tatawwu'àn, thumma u'tiya mil'al-ardi dheheben lem yestawfi thawâbahû dûna yawmil-hisâb.)
Abû Ya'lâ and Tabarânî included this hadith in their collections. According to a note next to the hadith, all of the reporters of this hadith are reliable people (illâ laysibni abî sulaym) except for Lays Ibn-i Abî Sulaym. The Prophet said: (Lew anna rajulan sàma yawman tatawwu'àn) If a person fasts a day voluntarily, (thumma u'tiya mil'al-ardi dheheben) and then he is given so much gold that would fill up the earth, (lem yestawfi thawâbahû) he would not be rewarded enough. That would not match the reward for fasting. (Dûna yawmil-hisâb.) He will receive the reward on the day of Judgement." (At-Targhib, Fasting: 17)
Keep this hadith in mind while you fast. Imagine the whole world with its continents and oceans full of gold. One day of voluntary fasting--not the obligatory fasting--is so valuable that no material wealth is close enough meeting its reward. Only Almighty Allah will sufficiently reward the person who fasts. Fasting is such a great worship; Ramadan is an exceptional time period. It is a great blessing from The Almighty bestowed on us.
May Allah give awareness to those who are unaware. May He guide those who has gone astray. May He give inner vision for all and grant strength and zeal for those who are on His path.
b. Fasting on the Hot Days
Here is the second hadith. It was narrated by Abû Burdah and Abû Mûsâ RA. It is included in the collections of Ibn-i Abid-Dunyâ. The Prophet said:
(Innallàha taàlâ qadà alâ nafsihî annahû men attasha nafsahû lillâhi fî yawmin hàrrin, kâna haqqan alallàhi azza wa jalla an yarwiyahû yawmal-qiyâmah.)
(Innallàha taàlâ qadà alâ nafsihî annahû) "Verily, Almighty Allah took the decision, made a must on Himself that (men attasha nafsahû lillâhi fî yawmin hàrrin) if a person abstains from water, i.e., if he fasts, on a hot day for the sake of Allah, (kâna haqqan alallàhi azza wa jalla an yarwiyahû yawmal-qiyâmah) it becomes a must that Allah provides water for this person on the Day of Resurrection."
As you know, on the Day of Resurrection, the Sun will be brought closer to people. Only those who spend in charity and zakat will have shadows of their charities over their heads. Everybody will sweat because of the intense heat, and the sweat will penetrate deep into the ground. The sweat will rise up to the knees, to the waist, to the shoulders and to the ears of people. People will swim in sweat, with fear and thirst.
At a terrible time like that, Almighty Allah will provide water for the person who fasts. Allah decreed it this way. He will reward His servant this way.
A brief note about the narrator of this hadith: (Kâna abû mûsâ yatawakh-khal-yawmash-shadîdal-harrilledhî yakâdul-insânu yansalikhu fîhî harran fayasùmuhû) "Abû Mûsâ used to seek such hot days that a person would feel as though his spirit would leave his body, and he used to fast on such hot days." He used to do this to be subject of the good news: "If a person abstains from water for the sake of Allah, Allah will provide him water on the day of Resurrection."
Why did I read this hadith?
Now it is winter season for the northern hemisphere, and the days are much shorter than they are in summer. It is not difficult to fast during the winter. The southern hemisphere, on the other hand, is having summer now. Friends in Australia say that it is very hot there. The heat is making people almost faint. I would like to have them hear this hadith and realize how rewarding it is. I wanted to point out the spiritual benefits of fasting.
Ramadan is in winter in the northern hemisphere these years, yet it comes eleven days earlier every year. These eleven days add up in about eight years, and it will be autumn when Ramazan begins. Another eight years or so will make it summer time in the northern hemisphere when Ramazan begins. Then, the days will be very long for those living in northern latitudes such as Sweden. Those who are in Australia will have an easier time with fasting because it will be winter time there.
Almighty Allah rewards a person who fasts and undergoes hardship just for the sake of Allah. He will provide ease and blessings for the person on the Day of Judgement. Having heard of this hadith, we should carry out our worship willingly even if it is difficult for our bodies. Keep remembering Abû Mûsâ RA who would seek the hot days to fast despite the fact that everybody else avoids voluntary fasting during the hot days.
c. Uttering Lâ ilâha illallah at the last breath
Huzayfa al-Yemânî RA said:
(Asnadtun-nabiyya sallallàhu alayhi wa sallama ilâ sadrî, faqàla: Men qàla lâ ilâha illallàhu khutima lahû bihâ dakhalal-jannah, wa men sàma yawman ibtighà-a wajhillâhi khutima lahû bihî dakhalal-jannah, wa men tasaddaqa bisadaqatin ibtighà-a wajhillàhi khutima lahû bihâ dakhalal-jannah) (At-Targhib, Fasting: 20)
This hadith is in the collection of Ahmad Ibn-i Hanbal. About the authenticity, he said (lâ ba'sa bih) "no problem." In the collection of Isbahânî, there is an additional sentence:
(Yâ huzayfah, men khutima lahû bisiyâmi yawmin yurîdu bihî wajhallàhi azza wa jalla adkhalahullàhul-jannah.)
Huzayfa RA said: (Asnadtun-nabiyya sallallàhu alayhi wa sallama ilâ sadrî) "I had the Prophet SAS lean on my chest. (Faqàla) The Prophet said: (Men qàla lâ ilâha illallàh) 'If a person declares that there is no deity but Allah, (khutima lahû bihâ) and if his life ends with these words, (dakhalal-jannah) he enters Paradise.'
The statement lâ ilâha illallàh means "there is a Lord of Universe, the Creator of the earth, the heavens and everything in them, the Creator of angels. He is one and only; he has no partners, no son, nor an equal. He is Allah, and there is no other deity. He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent. We do not see Him, yet He sees and knows everything. He is All Knowing, All Powerful. If a person dies upon uttering these words, then he will enter Paradise. This is a great news and blessing from Almighty Allah.
We must keep saying lâ ilâha illallàh and teach it to our children, as well. We have to inform them about the importance of these words. We have to point them the works of missionaries. We have to save them from the allure and destruction of the media.
All prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus AS preached lâ ilâha illallàh throughout their lives. Other beliefs are the inventions of man. Idols and idol worshiping came out of the man's mind which was influenced by Satan.
We must advice our children: "Son, testifying lâ ilâha illallàh is the most important duty in life. Live accordingly and let it be your final words. Do not deviate from the decree of lâ ilâha illallàh muhammadur rasûlullah. Also, fulfil the requirements of this belief, for it is the source of happiness in this world and in the hereafter. It is the source of straightforwardness, truthfulness, order, usefulness and happiness. It is the cure for anarchy, steeling, shamelessness, embezzlement, burglary, and gangs. Islam is the cure for all of these evil acts. It also provides means to attract the good things. Hold tight to the decree of lâ ilâha illallàh." You must scribe lâ ilâha illallàh in your hearts and in the hearts of the children.
The year 2000 is the Tawheed Year, the Unity Year. The Twenty-first century is the Century of Unity. The next millennium will be an era of Unity. It is not a mere wish, but it is stated in books. Eventually, the false beliefs will perish, and truth of lâ ilâha illallàh muhammadur rasûlullah will be accepted by all mankind. The new era begins with this year. We must teach every Muslim that we must carry out our responsibilities attentively in this Unity era. We must write, draw, speak, and spend money and time for the sake of Allah, to convey the message of lâ ilâha illallàh.
Huzayfa RA had the Prophet lean on his chest, and the Prophet said: "If a person declares lâ ilâha illallàhand if his life ends with these words, he enters Paradise." May Almighty Allah place us among the perfect believers and good Muslims who live with the decree lâ ilâha illallàh and leave this world with the decree lâ ilâha illallàh.
d. Death While Fasting
The hadith continues with a statement about fasting: (Wa men sàma yawman ibtighà-a wajhillâhi khutima lahû bihî dakhalal-jannah) "If a person, expecting the rewards from Allah, fasts just for the pleasure of Allah and if his life ends while he is fasting, he enters Paradise."
Here the emphasis is on the pleasure of Allah. The purpose of fasting is only the pleasure of Allah, attaining the consent of Allah. There is no other reason such as showing off or losing weight.
e. Giving for Charity for the Sake of Allah
Our beloved Prophet gave another good news in the last part of the hadith: (Wa men tasaddaqa bisadaqatin ibtighà-a wajhillàhi khutima lahû bihâ dakhalal-jannah) "If a person gives for charity just for the sake of Allah, for the pleasure and consent of Allah, and if he dies on the same day, he enters Paradise."
Here the material amount is not specified. There is no lower limit on the amount. Our forefathers--may Allah bless them all and make their abode Paradise--put it in words nicely: "One who gives little gives from his heart; one who gives much gives from his wealth." One who gives little does not have much for himself, yet he shares it with a less fortunate. He gives it out of his sincerity. The small amount he gives is very valuable because if he gives it, he will have nothing left for himself. On the other hand, a rich person could give much more, yet it will be a small fraction of his wealth. The amount he gives will not make any significant difference in his wealth. That is why the charity given by a poor person is much more valuable that that of a wealthy person.
We had seen some examples of generous giving during the time of the Prophet. When Makkan Muslims emigrated to Madinah al-Munawwarah, the Muslims in Madinah welcomed them and offered them all what they had. Almighty Allah praised them in the Qur'an:
(Wa yu'thirûna alâ anfusihim wa lew kâna bihim khasàsah) "While they were in need, they preferred their brothers over themselves." It is the result of sincerity, pure intention, strong belief, and feeling of brotherhood that existed among the companions of the Prophet. A true Muslim feeds people before he eats; he provides clothes for people before he buys clothes for himself. This is beyond the comprehension of those who have indulged in this world up to their necks.
f. Appreciate the Value of Islam
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Islam is such a great way of life, yet the Satan is so successful in mustering billions of supporters and making them attack Islam. They all are trying with all their might to wipe out Islam. They are not aware that Islam is the source of happiness for the mankind. It is the source of peace and pleasure in this world and in the world to come. They are like an insane patient who refuses to take medicine and breaks the bottle of the medicine, scatters the pills away, and throws the cup of water; he refuses the cure and the treatment.
This is a test from Allah. Almighty Allah sent prophets and messages through them. The prophets have preached the truth. On the other hand, Satan takes a position and convinces people to stand against the truth. You see some bright and educated people becoming satanists. Satanist means someone who is on the side of Satan, who is a servant of Satan. I do not know the details how the youth are attracted to this kind of beliefs. People are deceived; then they start committing sin without hesitation. They run away from good things and virtues that would lead the individuals and the society to salvation in this world and in the hereafter. They become enemies of Islam.
Here in Sweden a brother told us that he kept giving good advice to a young man who was in all sorts of evil deeds. Finally, the young man repented for his sins, started offering prayers and became a good person. I must tell you that when the young people start doing bad things here, they go to the extremes. They use drugs, endanger their health, severe their relations with their families, and commit unimaginable crimes. The advice of the brother was effective in saving this young man. I was amazed when I heard the rest of the story: The father of the young man got angry at our brother for helping him become a practicing Muslim. He claimed that his son was better off when he indulged in drugs.
This would make an interesting case for studying the phenomenon how a person can be so absurd and bizarre. It must be studied how a person can become an enemy of Islam and have all values mixed-up. How can a person love kufr, shirk, and denial? What is the basis of their approach? How does Satan allure them? I would like to know all of this.
Almighty Allah provide protection against Satan for those who put their trust in Him:
(Innehû laysa lahû sultànun alalledhîna âmanû wa alâ rabbihim yatawakkalûn) "Satan has no authority over those who believe and rely on their Lord."
We all witness the nudity in all branches of media, bars and discos in all parts of towns, a giant industry of improper entertainment and fun in all countries. We see stadiums and arenas filled up with people cheering and screaming. We see many factors that will take a person away from the path of Allah. Despite all of these factors, there are some people who do not give up their integrity, their path, their truthfulness, and their code of conduct. Everybody benefits from their hard-work and endowment. How does this happen? How could they remain unspoiled? They remain pure because they believe in Allah and they put their trust in Him. They are good Muslims. Those who lack the faith and trust in Allah deviate from the straight path. They follow their whims and the desires of their nafs.
These facts are stated in the Qur'an and in the ahadith of the Prophet, yet many of us fail to read and study them. The Qur'an is described as shifâ-un, i.e., "a cure." When it is practiced, it becomes a cure for spiritual and physical, individual and social illnesses. Muslims already benefit from these cures.
You know that graduates of Imam-Khatib schools get the top scores in nationwide exams. Their success comes from the strength of their beliefs. The belief creates a seriousness in them. They can study well and get high scores. On the other hand, some students in other schools have a hard time passing the grades and getting a diploma. They fail the university entrance exam, and they go abroad to get a diploma. Away from their families, they concentrate on entertainment and having fun instead of studying for the courses. They could receive diplomas without a good knowledge in their fields.
While I was serving in the military, I observed many college graduates who lack the essential knowledge in their fields. For instance, an engineer would not know how to replace an electrical fuse in a building. An accountant could not do basic calculations. A graduate of Imam-Khatib school could not lead the Friday prayer or recite a page from the Qur'an. These are the signs of lack of hard work.
(Wa an laysa lil-insâni illâ mâ sa-à. Wa anna sa'yahû safwa yurâ)
[Every man receives only what he makes an effort for, so his effort shall be noticed.] A person gets whatever he works for. A football player practices over long periods of time and becomes a star. A weight-lifter trains for years and becomes a world champion. When a person gives up work, he loses.
May Almighty Allah give us the consciousness to appreciate the value of Islam and to be a perfect Muslim. An incomplete, one half, one quarter, one tenth, or a discounted Islam is not acceptable. We must live Islam in full. When it is lived in full, Allah is pleased. If it is lived partially, He interrogates about the missing part.
Servitude to Allah as He deserves it is beyond the capability of men, yet each of us ought to try his best to be a perfect servant. We may not do good things in one half of the day and commit sins in the other half. A Muslim may not do contradictory deeds.
May our Lord protect us from all misdeeds. May He keep His guidance as our company. May He keep us on His path. May He shower us with the beauties, rewards and spiritual treats of this blessed month. May He place us among those who benefited from the blessings of Ramadan. May He give us the vision to see the truth and sincerity to practice what we learn. May He keep us in this world and in the hereafter as His beloved servants.
As-salâmu 'alaykum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhû!..
December 8, 2000 - AKRA