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Fasting: Things You Probably Didn’t Know

Know that fasting is one of the pillars of religion. It has two special qualities:

  • It’s to naturalize in not doing something rather than an action.
  • It is a victory over Satan, for Satan’s armies are carnal appetites, and fasting is the abandonment of those appetites.

Prophetic Practices of Fasting

Know that the Prophetic practices of fasting are six:

  • Delay the pre-dawn meal
  • Hasten to break the fast with the dates or water before prayer
  • Brush your teeth in the afternoon
  • Be generous
  • Recite the Quran
  • Seclusion

Degrees of Fasting

Know that fasting has three degrees.

The lowest degree is of the common folk: that is simply restraining the stomach and genitalia

The fasting of the select: that is restraining all bodily limbs. This lies in six things:

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  • Restraining the eye from looking at things that distract one from God
  • Restraining the tongue from foolish talk and other harms
  • Restraining the ear from listening to improper things
  • Restraining the hands, feet, and all bodily parts from the indecent
  • Restraining the stomach from overeating after breaking the fast
  • Maintaining a state of humility after breaking your fast.

God is your judge, and it is God who will decide your reward. The highest degree is the fasting of the spiritual elite; it is to restrain the soul from thought of all things except God. One must give oneself entirely to God and fast from everything inwardly and outwardly.

About Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali
Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali (1058-1111) is one of the greatest Islamic Jurists, theologians and mystical thinkers. Al-Ghazali wrote many works on theology and philosophy like al-Iqtisad fi'I-i`tiqad (The Middle Path in Theology), al-Risala al-Qudsiyya (The Jerusalem Epistle), Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din (The Revival of the Religious Sciences)