What is the (main) purpose of fasting?

Shaykh al-‘Allâmah Ibn Bâz رحمه الله was asked:لا شك أن للصيام معانٍ سامية عظيمة، فنسأل يا سماحة الشيخ ونقول: ما هو الغرض من الصيام؟

Question: “No doubt, fasting has many great and lofty meanings. Therefore, we ask your eminence, ‘What is the (main) purpose of fasting?’”

الغرض من الصيام هو التقرب إلى الله جل وعلا وترك الشهوات التي كان يحتاجها طاعة له، وتعظيماً له, وتقرباً إليه بما شرع-سبحانه وتعالى

Answer: “The purposeful intent behind fasting is to draw close to Allah ﷻ‎, by leaving all the (usual) desires he needs in order to be obedient to Allah and glorify Him, draw closer to Him with what He has prescribed.

لأن الله يحب من عباده أن يتقربوا إليه بترك ما تحبه نفوسهم طاعة له وتقرباً إليه، فإن من طبيعة الإنسان محبة الأكل والشرب والاتصال بأهله

For Allah loves His servants to draw closer to Him by leaving what they desire, in order to adhere and draw closer to Him. As the nature of man is to love to eat, drink and have relations with his wives.

فالله جل وعلا فرض عليه ترك ذلك في أيام الصيام تقرباً إليه، وابتلاء وامتحاناً له، هل يؤثر محاب الله أو يؤثر هواه

Thus, Allah ﷻ‎ made it obligatory to leave all of this during the days of fasting in order to draw closer to Him, as a means of trial and test for the servant. To see if he is puts the love of Allah ahead, or his own desires.

فإذا وفقهه الله لإيثار محاب الله وطاعته سبحانه وتعالى وصيانة صيامه عما حرم الله عليه كان ذلك دليلاً على قوة إيمانه وقوة يقينه، ورغبته بما عند الله عز وجل

So if Allah has permitted him to conciliate (in agreement) to the love of Allah and obedience to Him, and maintains fasting from what Allah has forbidden, then this is evidence of strength of his certainty (of faith) and the strength of his expressed will for the sake of Allah ﷻ‎. ”

[http://www.binbaz.org.sa/noor/9810]

Speaking about the wisdom behind fasting, shaykh al-‘Allâmah Ibn ‘Uthaymeen رحمه الله said:

والسنة تدلُّ على أن الحكمة الوحيدة هي التقوى، أما ما يكون وافداً عليها فهذا أمر ثانويٌّ مثل قول بعضهم: إن الإنسان يتذكر نعمة الله عليه بالغنى وتيسير الطعام والشراب حيث إنه يَمَسُّه الجوع والعطش وفقدُ النكاح في يومه، وقالوا: ليتذكر حال الفقير… الخ

” The Sunnah indicates that the primary (reason) is taqwah, as for what is considered secondary, such as the saying of some of them, ‘(It is) a reminder of the blessings of Allah upon the person for the riches (he is granted) and the ease with which he can access food and drink; whereas he is touched by hunger and thirst and the loss of marital relations during his day’. They also say, ‘It is to remember the state of poverty that people endure… etc. ”

[Al-Duroos al-Fiqhiyyah, 2/29]

WHO OR WHAT IS AN TAGHOOT الطاغوت? 

Imâm Ibnul-Qayyim – rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ – has given a very comprehensive definition, so he said,الطاغوت كل ما تجاوز به العبد حده من معبود أو متبوع أو مطاع 

“The tâghût is all that which causes the person to exceed the limits with regards to that which is worshipped, followed, or obeyed.  

فطاغوت كل قوم من يتحاكمون إليه غير الله ورسوله ، 

So the tâghût in any nation is whosoever turns to other than Allâh and His Messenger for matters of judgement; 

أو يعبدونه من دون الله ، 

or is pleased to be worshipped besides Allâh; 

أو يتبعونه على غير بصير من الله ، 

or is followed without a clear proof from Allâh; 

أو يطيعونه فيما لا يعلمون أنه طاعة الله

or is obeyed in that which is known to be disobedience to Allâh.” 

[I’lâmul-Muwaqqi’în (1/53)]

Where is your Honour of Islam?

When the Muslims faced the two hundred thousand strong Persian army,  their leader Rustum requested Abu ‘Ubaydah, may Allaah be pleased with him, to send him a messenger to inform him about Islaam. 

Abu ‘Ubaydah, may Allaah be pleased with him, dispatched Rib’i ibn ‘Aamir, may Allaah be pleased with him, for this task and commanded him not to change his clothes and wear better ones, saying: “We are people whom Allaah made honourable by the virtue of Islaam, and no matter how hard we endeavour to attain it by other means, Allaah will humiliate us.”

 Rib’i, may Allaah be pleased with him, set off, riding his weak horse, wearing worn out clothes, and holding his spear in his hand. 

When Rustum heard that the Muslim messenger had come to see him, he gathered around him the royal family and his ministers and soldiers, in order to instil fear in his heart and to display honour and might to him. Rustum sat down and commanded his soldiers to bring him in; he may Allaah be pleased with him, entered, pulling his horse and dragging his spear along the ground, which tore holes in the silk rugs that were there, thereby ruining them; he did this as if to show them that nothing in this life is of any value to the Muslims and that it is all worthless in the scale of Allaah. When he entered, Rustum said to him: “Sit down.” 

He, may Allaah be pleased with him, replied: “I did not come to you as a guest, I am a messenger for the believers.”

Rustum said: “What is wrong with you Arabs? I swear by our gods! We do not know of any nation more humiliated than yours. The Romans have their civilisation; us Persians have our own civilisation; and the Indians have their civilisation, but as for you, you are lower than the roaches, going after sheep and camels in the deserts (i.e., you are nothing but a bunch of shepherds) what brings you to us?”

 Rib’i, may Allaah be pleased with him, replied: “O king! Indeed you are correct, we used to be as you described, and worse; we were living a state of ignorance, worshipping idols and killing each other over insignificant matters, and we had no system in life, nor were we organised or civilised.” 

Then, he, may Allaah be pleased with him, raised his tone of voice, and thundered: “But after Islaam, Allaah has sent us to rescue the slaves from being enslaved to other humans to worship the Lord of all humans, and from the constrictiveness of this life to the broadness of this life and the Hereafter, and from the injustice of all other existing religions to the justice of Islaam.”

 See: 

Tareekh at-Tabari by Ibn Jareer at-Tabari

Siyar A‘laam an-Nubala’ by al-Haafiz Shams ad-Deen adh-Dhahabi

Al-Bidaayah wa’n-Nihaayah by al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer ad-Dimashqi

Al-Mufassal fi Tareekh al-‘Arab qabl al-Islam by Dr Jawaad ‘Ali

Iran fi Zill al-Islam fi’l-‘Usooi as-Sunniyyah wa’sh-Shi‘iyyah by Dr ‘Abd al-Mun‘im Hasanayn

Qaadat Fath Bilaad Faaris – Mahmoud Sheet Khattaab

Iran wa Afghanistan – Mahmoud Shaakir

Iran mundhu Fajr at-Tareekh hatta al-Fath al-Islami by Dr Muhammad ‘Abd al-Qaadir Muhammad