Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I shall reward for it…
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every deed of the son of Adam will be given a ten-fold reward, up to seven hundred. Allaah says: ‘Except fasting, for it is for Me, and I shall reward for it, for he gives up his desire and his food for My sake…’ and the fasting person has two joys, one joy when he breaks his fast and another when he meets his Lord. And the smell from his mouth is better before Allaah than the fragrance of musk.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5927; Muslim, 1151.
This hadeeth points to the virtue of fasting and the greatness of its status before Allaah. This hadeeth mentions four of the many virtues of fasting:
Those who fast will be given their reward without measure. All good deeds will be rewarded between ten and seven hundred fold, except fasting, for its reward is not limited to these numbers, rather Allaah will multiply it greatly.
For fasting is part of sabr, and Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning”
al-Awzaa’i said: “It will not be weighed or measured, rather it will be scooped up in abundance.
Allaah has connected fasting to Himself, in exclusion to all other deeds, and this is sufficient honour. This – and Allaah knows best – is because fasting covers the entire day, so the fasting person feels that he has lost his desire and he would like to have it back. There is no other act of worship that takes as long as fasting, especially in the summer when days are long and hot.
For a man to give up his desires for the sake of Allaah is an act of worship that is rewarded, for fasting is a secret between a person and his Lord which no one knows of except Allaah. It is a hidden action which people cannot see and in which there is no element of showing off.
When the fasting person meets his Lord, he will rejoice over his fasting, when he sees the reward for that and the result of the acceptance of the fasting that Allaah enabled him to do.
As for his joy when breaking his fast, that is because he has completed his act of worship and kept it sound and free of anything that will invalidate it, and has managed to refrain from something that he was inclined towards. This is a kind of joy that is praiseworthy because it is joy in obeying Allaah and completing the fast for which reward is promised, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say: In the Bounty of Allaah, and in His Mercy —therein let them rejoice.”
The smell from the mouth of a fasting person is better before Allaah than the scent of musk. This fragrance will appear on the Day of Resurrection because that is the time when the reward of deeds will become apparent. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “… better before Allaah on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim, 163).
That also applies in this world because that is when the effect of this worship becomes apparent, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The smell in the mouth of the fasting person is better before Allaah than the scent of musk.” Ibn Hibbaan (8/211).
This smell – even though it is unpleasant to people in this world – is still better before Allaah than the scent of musk, because it is the result of obeying Allaah.
Ibn Hibbaan (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The signs of the believers on the Day of Resurrection will be the marks of their wudoo’ in this world, by which they will be distinguished from all other nations. And their sign on the Day of Resurrection will be their fasting and the smell of their mouths will be better before Allaah than the scent of musk, so that they will be known among that great gathering by this action. We ask Allaah for that blessing on that Day.” Saheeh Ibn Hibbaan, 8/211.
Another of the virtues of fasting is that Allaah has set aside a special gate of Paradise for those who fast, through which no one else will enter Paradise, as an honour to them. Sahl ibn Sa’d (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “In Paradise there is a gate called al-Rayyaan, through which those who fast will enter on the Day of Resurrection, and no one will enter it but them. When they have entered it will be closed and no one will enter it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1896; Muslim, 1152. “And whoever enters will drink, and whoever drinks will never thirst again.” Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, 1903.
But these virtues will only be attained by those who fast sincerely, abstaining from food, drink and sex, and who also abstain from listening to and looking at haraam things, and from haraam earnings, and whose physical faculties abstain from sin and whose tongues abstain from lies, obscene talk and false speech.
This is the fast that is prescribed in Islam and that will bring this great reward. Otherwise, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and offensive speech and actions, Allaah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1903.
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray qiyaam and get nothing from their qiyaam but a sleepless night.”
Narrated by Ahmad, 8693; Ibn Maajah, 1690.
See Ahaadeeth al-Siyaam by al-Fawzaan, p. 27.
O Allaah, accept our worship for You are the All-Hearing, All-Knowing, and accept our repentance, for You are the Accepter of repentance, the Most Merciful.