On the obligation to fast Ramadan and clarification of the excellence of fasting

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

217. Chapter: On the obligation to fast Ramadan and clarification of the excellence of fasting and what is connected to it

Allah Almighty says, "You who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you.." to His words "The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur'an was sent down as guidance for mankind, with Clear Signs containing guidance and discrimination. Any of you who are resident for the month should fast it. But any of you who are ill or on a journey should fast a number of other days." (W2:182-184; H2:183-185)

1215. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah, the Mighty and Exalted said, 'Every action of the son of Adam is for himself except for fasting. It is Mine and I repay it.' Fasting is a shield. When someone is fasting, he should not have sexual relations nor quarrel. If someone fights him or insults him, he should say, 'I am fasting'. By the One in whose hand the self of Muhammad is, the changed breath in the mouth of the faster is more fragrant to Allah than the scent of musk. The faster experiences two joys: when he breaks his fast he rejoices and when he meets his Lord he rejoices in his fasting." [Agreed upon]

In one variant of al-Bukhari, "He has left his food and drink and appetites for My sake. Fasting is Mine and I repay it. Any other good deed I repay with ten like it."

In a variant of Muslim, "Every action of the son of Adam is multiplied. A good action receives from ten to seven hundred times. Allah Almighty said, "Fasting is Mine and I repay it. He leaves his appetites and food for My sake. The faster experiences two joys: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord. The changed breath in the mouth of the faster is more fragrant to Allah than the scent of musk."

1216. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The one who spends out two kinds of actions in the way of Allah will be summoned from the gates of the Garden and told, 'O slave of Allah this is better.' All the people who did the prayer will be called from the gate of the prayer. All the people who did jihad will be called from the gate of jihad. All the people who fasted will be called from the gate of Rayyan. All the people who gave sadaqa will be called from the gate of sadaqa." Abu Bakr said, "May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, Messenger of Allah. No one called from those gates will feel distress. Will anyone be called from all those gates?" He said, "Yes, and I hope that you will be among them." [Agreed upon]

1217. Sahl ibn Sa'd reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is a gate in the Garden called ar-Rayyan which those who fast will enter on the Day of Rising, and none but they will enter it." It will be said, 'Where are the fasters?' They will stand up and none but they will enter it. When they have entered it, it will be closed and no one else will enter it." [Agreed upon]

1218. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "No slave fasts one day in the way of Allah without Allah putting his face seventy years' journey away from the Fire on account of that day." [Agreed upon]

1219. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who prays in Ramadan motivated by belief and in expectation of the reward will be forgiven his past wrong actions." [Agreed upon]

1220. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When Ramadan comes, the gates of the Garden are opened, the gates of the Fire are closed and the shaytans are chained up." [Agreed upon]

1221. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Fast when you see it (the new moon) and break the fast when you see it. If it is cloudy, then make Sha'ban complete with thirty days." [Agreed upon]

In the variant of Muslim, "If it is cloudy, you must fast thirty days."