Jul 25, 2012

Two Occasions of Joy for the Fasting One

By Anum Ali


Last year at one of our iftaars, I asked my younger brother who is very fond of sweets and treats, “What are the two occasions of joy for those who fast?” and his somewhat correct and humorous answer was, “Suhoor and iftaar!”

Prophet Mohammad sal Allahu alayhi wa aalayhi wasallam conveyed to the Believers:
The fasting person has two occasions for joy.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 6, hadith no. 2566)

Sheikh Riyad Al-Musaymiri, a professor at Al-Imam University, Riyadh, explains that Iftaar, the fast-breaking meal, is the first joy for the fasting believer. The second is the greater part of the deal gifted to us by Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. It is experienced when the Believer meets Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala, after fasting during the course of his life, as an honorable Muslim worthy of great rewards. The two occasions are auspicious for a Muslim because they signify some of the greatest achievements known to Mankind. Iftaar is a Muslim’s victory over the evil of his/her nafs (psyche or self), a victory over Satan, and attainment of his Lord’s Good Will. And meeting the Lord Himself on Judgment Day, as His noble guest, is a merit beyond imagination.

The Joy of Obedience
Allah  subhaanahu wa ta’aala is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and the beauty of His Gifts could be assessed from the fact that He has promised great joys in exchange of obedience. In exchange for holding oneself from food, water, sexual desires, and evils, Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala has promised the expiation of all sins and limitless bounties in this world and the next. He exalts His obedient Believer to such great levels that the smell from his/her mouth, of stale breath on a hungry stomach and thirsty mouth, is called to be more fragrant than musk.

The Prophet Mohammad sal Allahu alaayhi wa aalayhi wasallam said:
Allah said: “The fast is for Me and I will give the reward for it, as he (the one who observes the fast) leaves his sexual desire, food, and drink for My Sake. Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures (moments of happiness of joys) for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord. And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allah’s Sight that the smell of musk.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 93, hadith no. 584)

So, at suhoor time, when the fast is over, a Muslim has all the reason to believe that he/she has been blessed by Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. A Muslim has all the reason to believe that his/her good supplications will be granted, his/her rewards shall be multiplied, and sins would be forgiven.

Victory over Nafs-i-Ammara
I have been writing Habibi Halaqas’ Self-Esteem Series for two years and I have discovered a lot about personal psychology and spirituality during the process. From research I have learned that the greatest of all struggles is the struggle with the self. I have referred to the nafs as a ‘raging bull’ in my article ‘Train the Bull that Satan Rides’ simply because it is the very loophole that becomes the striking point for Satan.

Ramadan is about putting a leash on nafs-i-ammara, the inciting nafs, which provokes a person to commit wrong. As a Muslim makes an intention after suhoor, the meal before starting the fast, that he/she is committing to fast the day of Ramadan in the way of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala he/she submits wholeheartedly to controlling his/her sinful desires.

The entire day is a struggle, in Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala's way , to tame that inciting, provoking nafs that keeps urging a person to commit major or minor sins. A Muslim fights the urge to lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, and other felonies that seem to be okay in routine life. At the end of the day when the obedient servant of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala sits down to break his/her fast, the nafs-i-ammara has been defeated for the day.

Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala conveys to the Believers, in the Quran:

O! You who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 183)

Successful Activation of the Nafs-i-Lawwama: Attaining Taqwa
It is very easy to stand up against others. But it is very, very challenging to stand up against one’s own self. Nafs-i-Lawwama is the self-accusing nafs in which a Muslim snaps out of self-denial, confronts his/her ego, and commits to self-improvement. Fasting triggers this nafs on and puts the believer in the self-correction mode in obedience to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. The fear of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala anchors itself in the hearts of believers and it keeps them steadfast in their duty.

Great prophets of Islam, may Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala's blessings be upon them, worked strenuously and tolerated great pains to switch this mode on in people of the dark times. Very few true Muslims were able to question their own selves and were able to embark on a journey towards attaining Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala's great rewards. Only Prophet Mohammad sal Allahu alayhi wa aalayhi wasallam’s Ummah was gifted with Ramadan to help them stay on the right track, the sirat-i-mustaqeem. Only a Muslim has the ability to trigger his/her nafs-i-lawwama. And at the end of the day, the joyous occasion of personal victory awaits him/her who has fasted successfully.

The Greater Victory
As a Muslim fasts dedicatedly for 30 days of Ramadan, incorporates the Ramadan lifestyle in his/her routine life; without fasting even, and continues to commemorate Ramadan fasts each year in full spirit and obedience to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala, then he/she is heading for the greater victory. Nobody is perfect and not everyone can achieve the state of absolute peaceful and perfection of faith as the auwliyaa (people who became very close to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala and attained His friendship) did. However, each Muslim has the ability to reach the stage of nafs-i-mutma’inna, the peaceful nafs, to some extent. These are the Muslims who are entitled for the greater of the two joys, the joy of meeting Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala as His friend, His noble guest, in Paradise.

Stand Up! For the Champions, Stand Up!
That’s the spirit with which the champions of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala - the ones who have fasted and maintained the dignity of their worship, will be greeted by all the angels of Paradise on Judgment Day. 

Abdullah ibn Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala, Prophet Mohammad sal Allahu alaayhi wa aalayhi wasallam said:
The fast and the Quran are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: “O! Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.”” (Musnad Ahmad, Book 5, hadith no. 6337)

Therefore, a fasting Muslim will stand as a victorious warrior over Satan, having shunned his/her worldly desires, having attained taqwa and nafs-i-mutma’inna, and having attained the two joys of fasting.

Al-Musaymiri, R. (n.d.). The fasting person has two occasions for joy. Retrieved from http://nur-ar-ramadan.tripod.com/id160.html


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