Notes from chapters on fasting in âFath al-Bari'
By Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani
Here a few useful notes the first few chapters of âKitab as-Sawmâ in Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani's âFath al-Bariâ (4/123 onwards):
1 - The lexical and Sharâi definitions of Ű§ÙŰ”ÙÙ
âLinguistically, siyam is to refrain from something. Sharâan, it is to hold back from something specific for a specific amount of time, under specific conditionsâŠit is said to the knight who has refrained from joining an expedition for some time that he is saâim. And in the Sharâ, it is that one who is tasked with this obligation is to refrain from food, drink, sexual pleasure, and vomiting from sunrise to sunset.â
2 - Fasting is a shield:
ââŠand the narrations that are related to this show that it is a shield from the Hellfire, and this is what Ibn âAbd al-Barr opined.
As for the author of âan-Nihayah,â he said: âWhat is meant by it being a shield is that it protects the person from that which can harm him of desires.â
al-Qurtubi said: âIt is a curtain.â So, it is a must for the one fasting to avoid that which will corrupt him and decrease his rewardâŠ
ÙÙAnd al-âIyad said in âal-Ikmalâ: âIt is a shield from sins or the Fire, or both of these,â and an-Nawawi took this opinion.â
3 - The meaning of ââŠÙ ÙŰ§ ÙŰŹÙÙâŠâ:
âThis means that he should not do anything that is customary of the ignorant people, such as making foolish noises, fooling around, etcâŠal-Qurtubi said: âIt is not to be understood here that this is allowed when one is not fasting. Rather, it is even more incumbent to avoid such things when one is fasting.â"
4 - The various levels of fasting:
âAnd Ibn al-âArabi narrated from some of the ascetics that they said that fasting is of four types:
1) the fast of the layman, and that is from food, drink, and sex;
2) the fast of the chosen among the layman, and that is by avoiding all the forbidden statements and actions;
3) the fast of the chosen people, and that is to abstain from everything but the remembrance and worship of Allah; and
4) the special fast of the chosen people, and that is to fast from anything other than Allah, and there is no breaking of this fast until the Day of Resurrection.â"
5 - The meaning of âWhoever fasts Ramadan out of faith, and awaiting his rewardâŠâ:
âWhat is meant by âout of faithâ is that he deeply believes in fasting being an obligation, and âawaiting his rewardâ is that he seeks the reward from Allah.
al-Khattabi said: âThis means he should be energetic and willful, and should fast with the hope of getting a reward and purifying his soul, and he should not look at fasting as a burden, and should not be counting the days until Ramadan is over.â"
6 - âThe fasting person has two instances of joy: when he breaks his fast, and when he meets his Lordâ:
âal-Qurtubi said, in regards to the joy of breaking the fast, that this is because his hunger and thirst are gone, since he can now break his fast, and this is a natural type of happiness. It is also said that his happiness at breaking his fast is because he has completed his worship, been relieved from his Lord, and knows that he is able to fast again with help from Him.
I say that it is possible that the issue is more general than what has been mentioned, as each personâs happiness is in accordance with his different level in regards to his worship. So, there are some that express the permissible happiness, which is the natural joy of being able to eat, and some people express the happiness that is preferredâŠâ.
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