From the legislation of fasting Written by/Said by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (Rahimahullaah) Taken from Miftaah Daar as-Sa’adah Translated by Editorial Staff at the former tazkiyah (dot) org Edited by Editorial Staff at the former tazkiyah (dot) org Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahimahullaah) said: “And as for fasting, then how great an act of worship it is that it stops the desires of the soul. And fasting brings the soul out from being in the likeness of animals to the likeness of the nearest Angels (to Allaah) for indeed if the soul was to follow its desires, it would join the world of the animals. So if the soul holds back its desires for (the sake of) Allaah, then the flowing of Shaytaan (through the bloodstream) becomes restricted and the soul gets nearer to Allaah by the abondonment of its habits and its desires. Having love for Him, choosing His pleasure, seeking nearness to Him, the fasting person leaves off the things he loves and the greatest of these is the attachment of the soul to food, to drink and to (lawful) sexual intercourse (with one’s spouse), for the sake of his Lord. And this is (true) worship. And you cannot envision the reality of fasting except by abondoning the desires for (the sake of) Allaah. So the fasting person leaves off his food, his drink, and his desires for the sake of his Lord. And this is the meaning of what constitutes fasting for His sake, the Blessed and Exalted. And by this, the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) explained this ancillary point in a hadeeth where he said: “Allaah the Exalted and Majestic said: ‘Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting. It is (exclusively) meant for Me and I (alone) will reward it. He leaves his food and his drink for My sake.'” (1) Until the fasting person envisions himself not needing anything from this worldy life except in acquiring the pleasure of Allaah. And what kind of good (deed) exceeds the goodness of this act of worship? (The one) that destroys the desires, and suppresses the soul, and revives the heart and pleases it. And makes one abstain from worldly matters and its desires. And awakens one’s desire for what is with Allaah (i.e. His reward). And (fasting) reminds the rich people about the condition of the needy and that they have (deserve) a portion from their livelihood. Then the rich, their hearts sympathize with the poor, and they know that what they have is from the bounty of Allaah so they increase in their thankfulness to Him. And in summary, the aid of fasting upon having taqwaa of Allaah is a well known matter. So when anyone seeks aid in having taqwaa of Allaah, to safeguard His limits and avoid His prohibitions with the likes of fasting, then he is a witness to the One who legislated it and commanded it, and He is the Wisest of Judges, the Most Merciful. And He legislated fasting as a favor upon His slaves, and as a mercy for them and a kindness to them, and He is not miserly upon them with His bounty. And it is not burden and hardship, free from and empty of wisdom and rectification, except that it has the highest degree of wisdom, and mercy, and rectification. And He legislated these acts of worship for His slaves from the completeness of His favor upon them and a mercy for them.” ________________________________________ 1 Recorded in Saheeh al-Bukhaari and Saheeh Muslim.