The Merits of Fasting
Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saleh Bin ‘Uthaymeen
My brothers: Know that fasting is from one of the greatest acts of worship and obedience.
From the greatness of fasting is that Allah prescribed it on all of the nations and made it obligatory on them. “Oh you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you just as it was prescribed on those before you so that you may be pious.” If it were not such a great act, then it would not be prescribed for all of the nations.
One of the merits of fasting is that it is a cause for forgiveness and expiation for sins. As it is stated in the Saheehayn, On Abu Hurayrah (RA), that the Prophet (SAW) said, “whoever fasts Ramadhan with faith and seeking his reward, his past sins will be forgiven.” Which means, faith in Allah and pleasure with the obligation, expecting to get rewarded for it, and not disliking that fasting is obligatory, and not having doubt in being rewarded. In Saheeh Muslim on Abu Hurayrah as well, that the Prophet (SAW) said, “The five daily prayers, and Friday to Friday, and Ramadhan to Ramadhan, are an expiation for what is in between them, if you stay away from the major sins.”
Another merit of fasting is that it is not measured with a specific amount of reward, but Allah rewards for fasting without account. As is stated in the Saheehayn, on Abu Hurayrah (RA), the Prophet (SAW) said, Allah said, “Every action of the son of Adam is for them, except for fasting which is for me, and I reward for it.” And fasting is protection, if one of you is fasting let him not behave or speak indecently; if someone tries to abuse him or fight him, let him say, ‘I am fasting’. By the one in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the smell emanating from the mouth of the one fasting is better with Allah then the smell of misk. For the fasting person there are 2 moments of happiness, when he breaks his fast, he is happy to eat, and when he meets his Lord, he is happy with his fast. And in another narration, “Every good action of the son of Adam is multiplied from 10 up to 700, Allah said, “Except for the fasting, for indeed it is for Me, and I reward for it, they leave their desires and their food for My sake.”
This beautiful hadeeth shows the many merits of fasting in a number of different ways.
The first: Allah has chosen this act out of the many other acts to be for Himself. This shows the nobility of this act, and how much it is loved by Allah. Fasting shows the sincerity to Allah, as it is a secret between the slave and his Lord. No one else can see the fast except for Allah. Someone may be all by themselves and still will not break their fast from fear of Allah, and hope for His reward. For these reasons Allah has rewards this sincerity and made fasting for Himself from amongst the other acts of worship, as Allah said, “He leaves his desires and food for My sake.” On the Day of Judgment the benefit of Allah choosing this act for Himself will become clear. As Sufyan bin Uyaynah (RA) said, “When on the Day of Judgment a slave is being taken into account and from amongst all of his actions are sins, and all that remains is that person’s fast, Allah will take from him all of the sins and enter him into Jannah with his fast.”
The Second: Allah said about fasting, “And I reward for it.” The good deeds are multiplied in number, the good deed with ten like it up until 700 like it and even more. As for fasting it is rewarded by Allah without regard for numbers, and Allah is the most Noble and Gracious. And giving is based on how much one can give, meaning that Allah will give great amounts of reward for fasting without account. Fasting is patience on obeying Allah, and patience from disobeying Allah, and patience on what Allah decrees. All the types of patience have come together in this month, as well as patience with hunger thirst, and weakness of the body and soul. So, it is a must that the fasting one should be patient, as Allah says, “Allah rewards the patience ones without account.”
Third: Indeed fasting is protection, protection from acting or speaking indecently. As the Prophet (SAW) said, “When the day of fasting comes do not act indecently or cause mischief.” It is also a means of protection from the Fire as narrated by Imam Ahmad with a good chain on the authority of Jabir (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Fasting is a protection for the slave from the Fire.”
Fourth: The smell of the fasting person’s breath is more beloved to Allah than the smell of misk, because it is a sign of fasting so it is loved by Allah. This shows the greatness of fasting in the view of Allah. Even something that is hated amongst the people becomes loved by Allah because it is a sign of obedience to Allah through fasting.
Fifth: For the person fasting is 2 moments of happiness, when he breaks his fast and when he meets his Lord. As for his happiness in breaking the fast, that is because they are happy with the blessing Allah gives them for giving them the ability to do such a great act. And how many people prevent themselves from this reward by finding happiness in eating and drinking and going to weddings while they should be fasting? As for happiness with their fast when they meet their Lord, once they see their reward with Allah (SWT) given to them like money at a time of poverty once it said, “Where are the fasting ones that they may enter Jannah from the door of Ar-rayyan which no one else but they will enter.” Also in this hadeeth, once the fasting one is cursed by someone or someone fights with them, then they should not return with the same behavior, this might make the cursing and fighting increase. They should not also remain silent, but they should let the other person know they are fasting so they know that they will not face them with the same behavior out of respect for the fast. “Repel with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate. Yet to achieve this is only for those who are patient it is not given to any but those endowed with the greatest good fortune.”
Also from the merits of fasting is that it intercedes for the person on the Day of Judgment. Abdullah Bin Omar (RA) narrates that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Fasting and Qur’an are two interceders on the Day of Judgment, the fast will say, “My Lord, I prevented him from food and desires so grant me intercession for him”, and the Qur’an will say, “I prevented him from sleeping at night so grant me intercession for him.” He said, “So they will intercede.” Narrated by Ahmad.
My brothers: The merits of fasting will not benefit unless you perform the fast in the correct manners and are mindful of its rules and boundaries. Ask Allah to forgive your shortcomings during the fast. Oh Allah protect our fast, and make it an intercession for us, and forgive us and our parents and the Muslims, and send your peace and blessings on our Prophet Muhammad (SAW).