الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد
Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (rahimahullaah) said:
“As for fasting, then along with it being an aspect of worship; it also halts the soul from its desires and so takes it out from the imitation of the beasts (animals) to the imitation of the Angels brought near. For indeed the soul; if it is left alone and is invited to by its desires; it merges with the world of the beasts, yet if it is halted from its desires for the sake of Allaah; the duct streams of Satan are constricted and so it (the soul) is rendered close to Allaah through abandoning its habits and its desires out of love for Him and preferring His Pleasure and seeking nearness to Him.
So the fasting person leaves off the most beloved of things to him and the greatest of them in close attachment to himself from food and drink and his desires for the sake of his Lord. This is the very meaning of fasting being for Him, The Blessed and Most High, and with this the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) expounded this supplementation in the hadeeth. He said:
((Allaah, The Most High said: every action of the son of Aadam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like. Allaah said: except for fasting, for it is for Me and I shall grant reward for it, he leaves off his food and his drink for Me.))
This is such that the fasting person envisages the representation of the one who has no need for the life of this world except in the attainment of the pleasure of Allaah, and what splendor amplifies the magnificence of this worship which is such that it breaks the desire and restrains the soul and gives life to the heart and gives it delight and furnishes abstinence in the life of this world and of its desires and causes it to ardently yearn for that which is to be found with Allaah. Likewise that it causes the rich to reflect upon the circumstance of the needy and of their situation and so they take a portion of their way of life. So their hearts feel compassion for them and they come to know of that which they themselves are engaged in by way of the favours of Allaah – and so they increase in giving thanks to Him.
So in general, the facility of attaining piety and dutifulness to Allaah by way of fasting is an affair that is well known. Hence no one is aided in attaining piety and dutifulness to Allaah and in guarding His set boundaries and abstaining from things He made forbidden than through the like of fasting. For it is testament to The One that legislated it and commanded with it in that He is indeed The Most Just of judges and The Most Merciful of those who show mercy.”
Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali (rahimahullaah) said regarding the fasting person:
“So when the craving of the soul becomes severe in its longing for that which it desires – given its ability to attain it; and yet it abandons it for the sake of Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic – in a situation where no one can look upon him except Allaah; then that is a proof of the soundness of Eemaan.
For indeed the fasting person knows that he has a Lord Who sees him during his seclusion; and that He has made forbidden upon him that he should engage in his desires upon which he has a natural inclination for in seclusion/secret – and so he obeys his Lord and carries out His command and abstains from that which He has prohibited out of fear of His punishment and ardent hope for His reward. So Allaah, The Most High, is Most Ready to appreciate that from him and so specifies this action of his for Himself as opposed to all of the other actions, and it is due to this that He said thereafter:
((Indeed; he leaves his desires and his food and his drink because of Me.))
Some of the Salaf said:
‘Toobaa for the one that leaves off a present and available desire for a hidden promise he has not seen.’
When the fasting believer knows that the pleasure of his Lord is in the abandonment of his desires; he gives precedence to the pleasure of his Lord over that of his own desire. So his own delight turns into the abandonment of his desires for the sake of Allaah; this being due to his Eemaan with regard to Allaah’s seeing him, as well as the affair of His reward and His punishment – being greater than his engaging in them in seclusion. This being as a preference of the pleasure of his Lord over and above that of the desirous craving of his own soul, rather the believer dislikes that more-so when he is alone than his dislike for pain as a consequence of beating.
Due to this – most of the believers; were they to be (physically) beaten upon eating during the month of Ramadhaan without a legitimate reason they would not do so, due to his knowledge of Allaah’s dislike of his eating during this month. This is from the signs of Eemaan; that the believer dislikes that which would be blameworthy upon him (to embark upon) from his desires once he comes to know that Allaah dislikes it and so his own delight turns into that which is pleasing to his Lord – even if it be that it is contrary to the wants of his own desires. Likewise that his anguish is in that which is disliked by his Lord – even if it be that it is in agreement with his own desire.
So if this is in that which has been prohibited by way of food and drink and in the physical intimacy with women with the reason being due to the obstruction of fasting; then it befits that it should be imperative in that which has been prohibited without exception; such as in fornication and drinking wine and taking wealth and violating reputes without any due right and shedding unlawful innocent blood. For indeed this displeases Allaah in every circumstance – as well as in every era and place.”
Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) said:
“Fasting has within it tribulation, and it is the withholding from what is beloved, and how severe is the withholding from that which is beloved. Look at what occurs in it from hardship; the hardship of that which is customary, for if the day is that of severe heat and is lengthy you will find that the person yearns with an immense craving for water. However the person prepares (oneself) upon withholding – as Allaah has obligated upon him.
So the person withholds from the three desirous things which are the greatest of things: the desire of eating and the desire of drinking and the desire of marriage. He withholds himself from the commencement of dawn until the setting of the sun on days which are days of work – meaning: that it was not appointed in the night, since the night is for resting and the person sleeps within it from the ‘Ishaa prayer until Fajr (dawn). Rather it was appointed during the day wherein a person is in need within it of working – and with work one has the need for food and drink and thus it becomes a test during this time.
This is because the compliance within it is more truthful, since a person leaves off his desires and his food and his drink for the sake of Allaah, The Mighty and Majestic – such that if the person were to be beaten in order for him to be made to eat a single date or to drink a mouthful of water during the days of fasting – he would indeed not do so. Even if he were to be alone and no one can see him except for Allaah; it would not be possible that he engages in this.
It is for this reason that the scholars (rahimahumullaah) stated that: fasting is the secret between the servant and his Lord. So Allaah has specified it from amongst all the other actions, for He said:
((Fasting is for Me; and I shall grant reward for it.))
So every action is for the person except for fasting – for it is for Allaah, and the scholars have interpreted this hadeeth in that the righteous actions other than fasting can be taken from in the settlement of accounts (in the Hereafter) for the one who is oppressed – if it is the case that the worshipper had oppressed someone – with the exception of fasting. It cannot be taken from in the settlement of accounts because Allaah said:
((It is for Me and I shall grant reward for it.))”
(Taken from: Miftaah Daarus Sa’aadah vol 2 p.867-868, Lataa-if al-Ma’aarif p.211 and Fath Dhil-Jalaali wal Ikraam be-Sharh Buloogh Al-Maraam p.12)
 Reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.1904 & 7492) and Muslim (no.2701) with slight variations in wording between them, refer to the two Saheehs for the full wordings of this hadeeth.
 Part of a hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.7492) and Muslim (no.2701) with similar wording. The wording above is that of Al-Bukhaaree.
 Part of a hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.7492) and Muslim (no.2702) with similar wording.
 Part of a hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhaaree (no.1761) and Muslim (no.2701) with the wording: ((Indeed; it is for Me and I shall grant reward for it.))