Why We Fast #1
Channel: Tom Facchine
File Size: 36.99MB
Salam Alaikum after la
misma not hamdulillah Allah.
Apologize, everybody for the technical difficulties. Internet connection here it comes and goes.
Obviously I'm here in Medina. So I apologize last week it held up and this week it kind of was spotty. So I'm gonna retry I shook the box and blew on it.
And we'll see if
we'll see if that's enough. So I'll try to just give again, a brief synopsis to catch up on not sure everything which was caught in the previous video or not. So we're talking about why we fast and our author of the book has no Islam, the first thing he mentioned is that we fast because it has a special value and merits with Allah. Fasting is wonderful and valuable in the sight of Allah.
to support this, he brings, or we know that there's a hadith that's in both Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari
where Allah says that everything that somebody does a good deed, it's for their own benefit, except for fasting fasting is for me a law sets. And so I will reward it, then we were going through the interpretations that even 100 Escalante gives you this hadith. What does it mean when Allah says that fasting is for me, and the other acts of worship aren't. And we said that the first interpretation, and we mentioned that all the interpretations, they don't necessarily contradict each other, they might all be correct. The first interpretation is that it's harder to show off while fasting than it is with any other acts of worship.
And that's primarily because nobody can tell if you're really fasting. If I really wanted to, I could sneak water or food here and there and nobody would ever know about. And then when I'm in front of other people, I can tell them I'm fasting.
So it's only something that if you're doing it alone knows it, and if you're not doing it alone knows that as opposed to the prayer, charity, Hajj, these things are to have to do with bringing an action into existence. And so you can see it, and so you can show off fairly easily. Whereas fasting is refraining from action, it's not doing things. And so it's a secret. Nobody really knows whether you're doing it or not.
The second interpretation that even Haji gives to this hadith is that nobody can estimate the reward of fasting, the value of fasting, how much Allah is going to compensate you for this thing is known only to Allah. And there's a different narration in Sahih Muslim of the same Hadith that kind of corroborate this interpretation, in which the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam he says, could no Amma Livni, Adam, you will die Apple has an eye to Asheville to Antarctica. In suddenly, they often fall Allah azza wa jal in song for in the holy Zb. So in this hadith, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam he says, the reward of every deed
that a person does is multiplied between anywhere between 10 and 700 times. And then he says that Allah says, Except fasting, for certainly fasting is for me, meaning for Allah, and Allah will reward it. So what this hadith gives to us is that every other deed, your prayer, your charity, your hij, you're helping your kind words, your compliments, everything has a limited amount of reward that you're going to be able to get from it. Now that limit is extremely generous. It's huge and vast, however it is at the end of the day, limited. Fasting, on the other hand, is completely unlimited. Does that mean that you're guaranteed to have a fast that's more valuable, valuable than
your prayer? No, that's not guaranteed at all. Because there are factors that make one person's fast, more valuable or less valuable in the sight of a law than a different fast.
So how can we take advantage of this information and how can we take advantage of this limit that's been lifted from this particular act of worship?
Basically, it all comes down to two things that comes down to what you avoid while you're fasting. And what are the extra things that you're doing while you're fasting? Looking at what you avoid the fastest not simply to abstain from food and drink and intimacy alone? No, it's much more comprehensive than that. So every organ that you have every sense from the five senses, takes part in this fast. For example, your tongue also should be fasting, not just from food and water, but from talking behind other people's backs, from slander, from gossip, and from blaming other people. There's a famous Hadith, or the Prophet Mohammed slice that, um, said, Min Lemina, called the zoo,
or the MLB. He was Johanna fillet salaallah he had, and the other ARPA AMA, who was shut off, this is in socketed, Makati the meaning of it is, whoever doesn't stop
Hola, zoo, false speech, idle speech, not thinking before you open your mouth,
and action and false actions and fruitless actions and this sort of ignorant way of behaving, then Allah has no need for that person. Not eating and not drinking, meaning his past is worthless, he might as well just eat and drink if he's going to be fasting, quote, unquote, but he's going to talk about other people behind their back. He's going to blame other people and bring up their shortcomings. What's the point he might as well not even fast. And this was Soufiane authority's opinion. It was a extreme minority opinion. But he held the opinion that if someone's fasting, and if they talk about somebody else behind their back, or they gossip about somebody, then that breaks
their fast and tired.
The majority, the vast majority of scholars don't hold that opinion. They say that, no, it doesn't break your fast, but your sinful, and your fast is going to be much less valuable than somebody who didn't do those things.
But it's not just the tongue, right? What are the other things that you have to avoid? When you're fasting, you have to look out for what your eyes are interacting with our society, especially on the internet and social media. It's filled with nudity and lewdness and all sorts of horrible things. Part of the fast is also refraining from those things. So you shouldn't spend your fasting day just on your online all day scrolling through your newsfeed, you're going to come across things that are actively decreasing the value of your fast.
for your ears, what are the things that you, you listen to you listen to gossip, you listen to rumors, to idle speech, to music, these sorts of things. These are things that are contradictory, and they go against the spirit of the fast, right? So
if you want to know what can I do, Allah has lifted the limit. For my for compensating or rewarding my fast, what can I do to make sure I'm taking advantage of that, the fact that he lifted the limit off of that? Well, you have to make sure that all of you is fasting, not just from food and water, but from all of these sorts of things. And then also, there's plenty of extra things that you can be doing, you know, reading Quran, and feeding other people, which is the thing that you probably want to do the most when you're fasting you want to eat. But if you struggle against yourself and actually push yourself to feed other people when you're fasting, then that's something that's
absolutely amazing, a lot is going to make your fast, way much more heavily or it's going to be weighted much more heavily with a lot.
Other things include things that everybody knows extra prayers, maintaining your patience with other people, this is a huge thing during fasting. A lot of us the last two, three hours before we break our fast, you better hope that nobody crosses you or makes you upset or annoys you at all, because they're going to get you know, maybe some not nice things said to them. So withholding all of this stuff and doing all these extra things. This is how one person distinguishes their fast from another person. And this is how one person takes advantage of
a laws not restricting the fast to having a specific reward. So this is the second interpretation even had your gifts. First is that it's hard to show off when you're fasting. Second is that fasting has no limit to how much reward you can possibly get. And the third thing that even hydro says
that fasting is the best act of worship
in and of itself. You know Manhattan hustle generally speaking, fasting is the best act of worship. And this is based off of a hadith that and necessity narrated on of yo mama followed us with Allah He sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Ali, Kuba, Soul soem. For him, the whole lamb is Lola who, so the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam he said, upon you is fasting, you have to fast, fast, for certainly then he give the reason, there is nothing like
this means that all else being equal, fasting is the best type of worship. Fasting is better than prayer, it's better than charity. It's better than Hajj or Umrah when it comes to if all else being equal.
Of course, if you haven't made Hajj, it's an and you're able to then it's an obligation to make your hedge, but this is talking about with the the work that it's doing on your soul. And there might be other situations that
make a different act of worship more beneficial for you than the fast that's true. It's not going to be the fast isn't the best act of worship for absolutely every person in absolutely every situation, there might be social situations that necessitate that other acts of worship are more valuable. So for example, if we live in times of economic depression, economic hardship, then a better act of worship is to do things that's going to relieve that like Zika and sadaqa. And helping other people in times of ignorance where people don't really know what is right and what is wrong in their religion, and they're confused, then teaching Islam and teaching authentic information about the
religion is something that then becomes the best thing to do in that scenario. In times of hunger, and famine, feeding other people similarly becomes the better thing to do. So these are all situations in which, okay, maybe fasting is the best act of worship, in and of itself. But there are some situations that make other acts of worship, in those situations better than fasting. There might also be personal situations, like for example, if a person struggles with greed, that's like their fitna, they want money and they want to hold on to it. And they have a hard time bringing themselves to give up their money in charity or things like that, then the best thing for that
person to do is to give in charity, because he's fighting that, that thing within him, that little bit of evil that his soul is calling himself to the same of somebody who struggles with being selfish, then their best act of worship is to fight against that, and to put themselves in the service of other people.
So the last interpretation of this hadith, we said all along that our author here is saying that why don't we fast, we fast because fasting has an amazing, it's so valuable to Allah. And we talked about all the different ways in which it's valuable, because you can't really show off when you're fasting, it's very hard to do that. Because there's no limit to how much reward Allah is going to give you for the fast. We said, because the fasting is, by default, the best act of worship you can do. And then finally, because the fast is associated with a lot when I lost as well Anna edges EBV, a Somali, he's associating it with himself, and anything that's associated with a law that it's
automatically even more honored and even more important, just like when Allah calls the Kaaba Bates law, or he calls the Prophet Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa salam, these things are then given honor and a higher status than other things, because of their being associated with Allah himself as a job. So okay, that's all within our first reason, first reason why do we fast the fast is extremely beneficial and valuable. It's valuable, and an extremely important to a lot.
The second thing that our author mentions is because when we fast, we bring ourselves in harmony with some of the laws attributes.
Bear with me, I'll explain how
to explain what the author means. By saying this we have to go into a little bit human nature, what is it? How does it work? And then what is the essence of ALLAH and compare the two? So when we're talking about human beings, human nature, human nature is more
mostly influenced and informed and determined by one thing. And that is its temporality. Meaning that it's not going to last, it will end one day, whether you live 60 years or 70 years or 100 years or 30 years, you know that you're going to die, as all of us do. The fact that every human being is fundamentally and primarily a dying being, it creates to necessities, two needs that every human being has those needs our food, and reproduction. Okay, so food is the way in which we delay our death in the short term, right? If you just stopped eating, you would die fairly soon, probably a week or more than a week.
However, we, by virtue of our ability to eat through the law provides for us then we're able to extend our lives to much longer. So we're dependent on this. And Allah subhanaw taala. In his mercy, He has made food. So he's made it plentiful. He's made it extremely varied, we have an enormous variety of things that we're able to eat, compared to other creatures that Allah has created. And he's made food extremely delicious. Like, just go on YouTube. And look at all of the YouTube channels that go around and tasty foods of different parts of the world. It's something that is a hobby for people, it tastes so good, and it's the different flavors that you can achieve is
miraculous, really. So this incentive that Allah gave for us to satisfy our need.
Allah made it so good that it's almost like a fitna for us. It becomes a drive and a desire, and it can turn into an object of obsession, and an object of greed.
Similarly, is reproduction. Reproduction is something that we need to preserve, not our individual lives, but the lives of our families, the lives of our cultures, and our tribes and our ethnicities, and the live the collective life of humanity. So because we're dependent upon it, similarly to food Allah has in his mercy, he has incentivized it, he has beautified it, he has made both companionship and reproduction in and of itself, something that's extremely enjoyable. And that's really amazing that Allah has done that for us. However, Allah doing that also makes it an object of desire, and a source of our drive. And so just like food, it can be turned into an obsession, or it can be turned
into an object of greed, if someone passes the limits. All of this to say, if we didn't have these two drives these two desires for food and for reproduction, then there would be little purpose to fasting. Fasting responds to these two main human drives and potential sources of greed. It helps keep them in their proper place, and keeps them in a healthy balance. Because these desires, if they're carried away by greed, they become a sin. Right? If you try to, you know, engage in relations outside of your marriage, that's sinful, if you eat too much beyond what you need, that can be sinful.
Whereas if you actually maintain that proper balance, then satisfying those needs can actually be an act of worship, in and of itself. And this is something that the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, and he said in a hadith in Sahih, Muslim, what the Buddha had a come sadhaka. In cohabiting with your spouse is in the process of reproduction or pursuing reproduction is charity.
So fasting is refraining from what one's nature calls to.
Our Nature Calls to these things in order to ensure our survival and survival is our fundamental condition since we are a creative being. So that's all human beings. Now, let's move over to talking about a laws essence.
completely opposite of ours. Allah's one of his main defining characteristics is one of permanence and eternity. Right and
Because of Allah's permanence and his eternal nature, he is that is a source of his perfection. He is free from any sort of need whatsoever. Just like a law says I'm sort of a class he says, Let me lead while I'm you learned what I'm Nicola who Cooper one, aha, this is why, that even though Allah doesn't eat, and he doesn't reproduce, he's not described as fasting, right? Because Allah doesn't have needs for those things in the first place. By the way, this is also why, saying that Allah has a son, or a partner, or an intercessor, a middleman, something like this is blasphemy. It's an abomination. It's an enormity within our religion. Why? Because if we say this, if we entertain the
idea that Allah would have a son or a child or a partner or an intermediary, then that means that Allah has a need.
And if Allah has a need, that points to the fact that he would be deficient, or he would lack perfection, of course, we know that the opposite is true that Allah is entirely absent of any need whatsoever. And so because of that, there's no merit or purpose for him in
quote, unquote, fasting in refraining from doing something that he has no need for. One day when I was in Medina, I went to say the Shahada. I don't know who for those of you who have been to Medina, this is right underneath the
the jungle mouth. And it's a story related to what we're just talking about with the two different natures between human beings and a lot.
It's a very nice place, you know, we I went there with a couple of friends, we were giving Sadam to the martyrs there Hamza, Mossad, and oh man, and the other Muslims who died there. And it's also a place where people can buy tea and snacks and sit on the the mountain of archers and things like this. It's a very nice place. So we were just walking around, and this man approaches us out of nowhere. We didn't know him, before we had never met him. And he asks us a question. He said, I'm from such and such a place. And I have a really hard time explaining Tao heed to the people of my village.
Whenever I try to tell them about Tawheed, they try to say to me, that Allah is like a king, and any king, he has guards, and he has spies. And he has the messengers, and he has, you know, the moats and the castle wall and all these sorts of boundaries between you and the king. So that if you want to approach the king, you have to go through the intermediaries. And it's part of his status and his excellence and his power that you have to that you can't just approach him like any other person, you have to go through all these intermediaries. And so he asked us, he said, How can I respond, he knew in his heart that this thinking wasn't right. But he didn't have necessarily a response to
them. And so we pause for a minute. And we thought, and we said to him, you know, with the situation of a king, it's actually all of those intermediaries and boundaries are actually a proof of his weakness and not of his power. Because the king can't know what's going on in the town, unless he sends spies. And the king can't have messages coming to him throughout the entire kingdom, unless he has messengers. And he has to have the moat and he has to have the castle wall. And he has to have the guards because he can't defend himself all by his own. And so Allah doesn't have any of these needs, no matter even if a leaf falls within Allah's entire creation. Allah knows exactly what's
happening and where anything that you say out loud, or anything that you think in your heart or in your mind, Allah knows that automatically. He's not dependent upon anybody or anything to inform him, which is part of the vast difference between human beings and Allah. So this illustrates what we're saying about how these two essences are completely different. We have human beings over here and human beings are needy and their dependents and they have these desires and these needs. And then we have a law and the law is completely perfect and eternal and free from any need whatsoever. So what does the author mean? Coming back full circle. What does the author mean when he say when he
says that? We come in harmony or we bring ourselves in line with Allah's characteristics when we fast
What he means he doesn't mean that we succeed in imitating Allah or that we are somehow one with Allah. No, we fail, and we fail miserably. And we'll talk about this in a little bit, inshallah. But we try. And we try to abandon food and abandon water and abandon these needs that we have. Because we love Allah so much. And because we want to be like Allah as much as possible. And we want to inhabit and embody the characteristics that Allah loves for us to have. Now, this reminds me of something that happened just a couple of weeks ago, my kids, they broke into my closet, and they raided it. And they came out dressed with my clothes, right. And they had big goofy smiles on their
faces. And they were just drowning, because you know, I'm kind of tall. So they were swimming in my clothes, but they came out. And they thought that this was really funny. But that wasn't enough. They went and they took some, some charcoal, and they painted on their faces a beard and a mustache, right? So that they looked like me. And they walked around, trying to talk in a deep voice and imitating me.
This is a common thing that children do. Why do children do it? When children dress up like an adult, this is a form of modeling, right? When you love someone and idealize them, you want to act like them, you want to even look like them. Modeling is extremely important for children, because they're using it to rehearse for a future version of themselves. Now, modeling is important for parents too, because when our children model we can observe them, we can kind of pay attention and see who our children value and who and who they think are role models and who they imagine themselves as becoming.
This brings up the point that as parents, we have an extremely huge responsibility when it comes to
providing good role models for our children,
and shaping what appears normal for our children.
We have from a good amount of years, maybe 15 years of our children's lives, the ability to structure and facilitate this project, this development that goes on where our children are kind of feeling out who they would like to become.
We've reached the time where our children are more attached to fictitious role models and books and movies and television than real people. Many times our role, our children's role models are other children
who aren't much older than themselves. It's well known that current media is that is aimed at children often has a bias against parents and adults. With examples of loving, nurturing parent child relationships, hard to find. This all has an effect, it undermines our own relationships with our children. And it orients or turns our children to their peers for guidance. All of this to say that as parents, we should be keen and placing importance on finding role models, righteous role models for our children. Now, some of these role models are going to be pastoral models like the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Sallam and his companions. That's obvious, everybody knows that. But we
also have to connect our children to living breathing adult believers in their own communities. Too often, when we have when we sit down with other adults, we have the attitude of shooing our kids out of the room so the adults can talk in peace. This is a mistake. It's a mistake because it deprives our children of building meaningful connections with the adults around them. connections that are going to become more important once our children become teenagers.
Importance. Modeling is also important for adults, it's not just important for kids, it shows who we want to become whether our friends or weather people that we look up to and respect and admire. So why are we talking about modeling, we're talking about modeling because it has to do a lot with Ramadan, just like our author is trying to get us to understand, you know, we're we're doing things that are against our nature, our nature is to eat our nature is to drink our nature is to to reproduce and to cohabit and to be intimate, right? Ramadan is taking us away from all of that. And so for us, Ramadan is a kind
of modeling, where we're trying to attempt to add habits or bring ourselves in line with some of Allah's characteristics in a more intense and serious way. And it's out of our love for Allah and wanting to be like a law in the ways that he wants us to be. So for example, Allah is always feeding and nourishing every living thing in the cosmos. So when we ourselves strive and Ramadan to feed others, we are bringing ourselves in line with this quality, and we're inhabiting a little tiny portion of it just for a small period of time. Allah is constantly generous and beneficent, and to His creation, he's always enriching his creation. So when we strive in Ramadan to give in charity,
we like that likewise we bring ourselves in accord with this characteristic of Allah.
When Allah teaches, Allah forgives and he forebears Allah is just a law is excellent, and everything that he does. So in all along, we try to dwell in these characteristics and get comfortable in them. So that even though we know we are weak, and it's impossible to even come close to Allah, those qualities, at least we'll be doing our part to become Allah's successor on Earth, as He promised us that we would be by doing as best as we can, at least as for the limited time that we're able to keep it up. So our author is telling us that, why do we fast we fast because fasting is especially valuable to a lot. And that when we fast, we are kind of bringing ourselves in harmony with some of
the characteristics that Allah has that he wants to see in his creation.
The next thing the author mentions, he says that, when we fast that's kind of the the flip side or the corer the corollary to what we just mentioned.
that fasting is a testament to Allah's perfection, his Rubia and his Udo here his uniqueness in both his control over the creation, His Lordship and his right to be worshipped.
All of this because like we were just explaining, no matter how hard we try, in this little modeling project or effort of ours, we try to be more like Allah, but we can't keep it up. At the end of the day, we fail, and we fail hard. We are weak, we have those needs that we talked about, we have the need to break our fast that melody, we have to sleep at night, we have to go to work and make money. But just as our act of modeling is good in that it tries to bring us closer to approaching some of those qualities. Even our failing is good in that it is extremely humbling. And it gives us an appreciation for the perfection, the unrivaled perfection of Allah, can you imagine if people
actually were able to survive without food or water? If that were the case, then they would surely claim that they were self sufficient, they would claim that they were gods. There are even people today that claim that they are gods or goddesses or something like that, despite the fact that they have to eat and they have to use the bathroom and they have to rest.
So the unrelenting nature of human need, highlights our other and continuous dependence upon a law for absolutely everything. Fasting takes those needs that we have, and it highlights them in bright colors, and it makes us experience them in a really, really visceral, bodily way. During Ramadan, as all of you I'm sure are feeling we are short on sleep. We are without food or hungry or thirsty. And it has consequences on our mood. Anybody who's ever interacted with us in the last couple of hours of our fast knows that it is hard to keep your cool and keep your patience leading up to the time when you're about to break your fast.
Back. The last time I lived in the Utica area was actually when I used to work on farms. I worked on a farm in a vegetable farm in Madison.
And during Ramadan at that point, Ramadan was square in the summer. And so fasting by the end of the fasting day I was so thirsty that my mouth felt like it was just a big bowl of cotton. And when I came home
I just collapsed on the floor and just wanted to lay and don't and not do anything until it was time to break the fast. So we have this exercise, we're doing this to ourselves intentionally. When we do this, we realize how we can't keep it up, we have to break down at some point and eat and drink and all these things, we are realizing how much we need a lot. And how perfect a lot is. The hunger and the thirst that we experience, when it's paired with our intention is actually doing spiritual work upon us.
That means that we shouldn't try to cheat this process by avoiding the hunger. If we do, we're missing the point of fasting in the first place. And it's well known that there are some people that they spend their entire Ramadan, running away from the feelings of hunger and thirst.
The feelings of hunger and thirst are the whole point. They are what's doing the spiritual work on you. So it's important to feel those things. Now, the most common ways people try to appeal avoid feeling hungry and thirsty during Ramadan is by sleeping all day. Right? There are some people that just become completely nocturnal, right? They sleep all day, maybe they even miss their prayers. And then they wake up a little bit before Maghrib they pray the harasser Inshallah, and then they break their fast, they've spent the whole day as if they weren't fasting.
The second way, people try to avoid feeling the hunger and the thirst of fasting is by gorging themselves is by eating too much, either in their own homes, or by having these lavish Iftar parties at different people's houses every single night. It's a different destination, a different social engagement.
Such eating habits makes it hard to worship.
If you ask anybody who leads taraweeh prayer, ask them what they eat before they leave totally. They eat dates, and drink some water and maybe have some coffee, they don't eat a big meal. If you eat a big meal, you're going to be tired. And if you're tired, you're not going to be able to worship a lot, you're not going to be able to stand for taraweeh or to do other night prayers. Some people they take it so far that they actually end up gaining weight and Ramadan, which is something that's hard to imagine. But it's a phenomenon. It's true. And so we need to remind ourselves that Ramadan is not a Ramadan comes first. And then anything comes after Ramadan is about feeling those, feeling
the hunger and feeling the thirst and having the intention. That's what you're after. You're after that hunger and thirst, to humble your ego, to humble yourself, and to realize the perfection of Allah and your dependence on him.
And with that, Inshallah, we'll stop here. If anybody has any questions, feel free to leave a question in the comments. Again, I apologize for the technical difficulties in the first, our first attempt, the connection was not very strong, but we will next week, same time, inshallah we'll be covering the second half of this talk. Why do we fast? What's the point behind it? Just a brief summary, we said we fast because this is something that has immense merits with Allah. And this is something that brings our nature in harmony with some of the laws characteristics, even for a short amount of time. And we finally said that this is something that because we can't keep it up, and
because we experience hunger and thirst and tiredness and fatigue, that it exposes our humility and our weak nature, and it highlights our dependency upon Allah, and how Allah is free from the and truly perfect, and that the results of such
contemplation should be an increased reliance and an increased sort of trust on Allah and hastening and trying even more to throw ourselves in depending upon Allah for everything. hamdulillah Thank you. I appreciate so humbly that belongs to Allah Allah masala, Amina Mohamed inshallah I will see you next week as Salaam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh