Guidance of the Prophet in Fasting

by Aa'id 'Abdullâh al-Qarnî

Translated by Daud Abdullah

All Praise is due to Allah. May He bestow His peace and blessings upon His Prophet, his relatives, companions and those who are loyal to him.

Ibn al Qayim mentioned that:

‘Among the guidance of the Prophet in the month of Ramadan was his engagement in many forms of worship. The angel Gabriel used to teach him the Quran in this month. Whenever Gabriel met him he was more generous than a guided breeze. He was, ordi narily, the most charitable person, and yet when Ramadan arrived he became even more generous. He gave much charity and engaged in kind acts, recitation of the Quran, prayers, remembrance and retreat during this month.’

He used to apportion to Ramadan a degree of worship that was not set aside to any other month. Some times he actually used to continue into the night. The Prophet, however, forbade his companions from doing so. When they pointed out to him that he continued he responded saying:

‘My body is not like yours, I dwell with my Lord, He feeds me and gives me drink’ (Bukhari and Muslim).

Accordingly, Allah Almighty used to nourish His Prophet during those periods of extended fasts with subtle knowledge, and abounding wisdom and light of the message. Of course, it was not food and drink in the literal sense, for if this were so the Prophet would not be considered fasting.

When the Prophet became satisfied from the worship of his creator, and his heart opened up to his aim, and his mind rested with the remembrance of his Master, and his condition improved by his closeness to His Lord, he forgot all food and drink. As it was said: spiritual power is in the essence of souls, it is not dependent on food or drink. Nothing can harm you, if you have attained the knowledge of your Lord.

The Prophet Muhammad was the best of those who remembered and worshipped Allah. As for the month of Ramadan, it was made to be a season of worship and a time for remembrance and recitation. His nights were spent in supplication and humiliation unto his Lord, seeking His help, support, victory and guidance. He read long chapters of the Quran and stayed for long periods bowing (in ruku’) and prostrating himself before Him. Such was the desire that was never satisfied with worship, making his standing in the night a source of sustenance and supply as well as power and energy. Allah Almighty says:

‘0 Thou enwrapped one! Keep awake [in prayer] at night, all but a small part’ (73:1)

‘And rise from thy sleep and pray during part of the night [as well], as a free offering from thee, and thy Sustainer may well raise thee to a glorious station [in the life to come]’ (17:79).

Among his practices also was that of retreat and seclusion during the last ten days of Ramadan. The Prophet did this in order to attune his heart ever more with Allah and to free his mind from the concerns of the world. The gaze of his heart thus became entirely focused in the heavens.

During this time, he limited his contacts with people and intensified his supplication and prayers to Allah, the Lord of all Maiesty and Glory. His heart, therefore, indulged purely in the contemplation of Allah’s attributes and qualities. It reflected upon His clear signs in the universe and of Allah’s creation in the heavens and the earth. With all this in mind, it would be very difficult to determine how much knowledge Prophet acquired, or how much light was revealed to him, or how many realities were exposed to him. He was, without doubt, the most knowledgeable person about Allah, the most fearful of Him, and the one who trusted and depended upon Him the most. Indeed, he was the most pious of all men and sacrificed himself the most for the sake of Allah! May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him as long as musk continues to give its sweet fragrance and as long as pigeons echo their mournful cries and nightingales sing out their melodies.


Taken from the Book: Thirty Lessons for those who Fast
Published by Message of Islam

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