Fruits for the Week

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The Prophet (saw) said: “The fasting of the Month of Patience and three days from every month remove the contaminants of the heart.” (Ahmad)

The primary target of worship in Islam is the heart. It aims to educate it, enliven it, and connect it to the Creator. And the more important and foundational the worship is, the more is its impact in curing our hearts. As one of the pillars of Islamic practice and life, fasting has an undeniable impact on improving the state of our hearts and guiding them to the Most Merciful.

In addition to Ramadhan, the hadith recommends the fasting of three days from every month. The fasting of three days monthly counts as the fasting of the entire year. The Prophet (saw) said: “The one who fasts three days from every month, then this will be the fasting of the whole year. And Allah revealed the confirmation of this in His Book:” The one, who does good will have ten times the reward.” The day is equal to ten days. (Tirmidhi)

The best days to fast are the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth of every Islamic month as the Prophet (saw) explained: “Fasting three days from every month is fasting of the whole year – the white days: thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen.” (Nasa’i)

Yet it was also the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) to fast the three days at the beginning of the month, its end, or whatever it was convenient for him during the month. The benefit and reward are attained through any three days in the month.

The Sahabah (ra) understood the great favour and mercy of Allah in this multiplication of reward and taught it to others. This is what Abu Hurayrah did in the following incident: “Abu Hurayrah was on a journey and when they set camp, they sent for him to eat while he was praying, and he said: “I am fasting.” So when they served the food and were about done, he came and they said to him: “Come and eat,” and he ate. So the people turned their heads to the Messenger (they sent before) and he said: “What are you looking at? By Allah he said: ‘I am fasting.’” So, Abu Hurayrah said: “He has spoken the truth. The Messenger (saw) said: “Fasting the Month of Patience and three days from every month is like fasting the whole year.” And I have fasted three days from the beginning of this month, so I am not fasting in Allah’s lightening of the load, but I am fasting in the multiplication of reward from Allah.”

The great blessing of multiplication brings the benefit and reward of the fast without overburdening the seeker of purification. The rahmah of Allah protects from the excesses of asceticism. The following incident with the Companion Kahmas illustrates the Islamic middle path of purification and the great compassion the Prophet (saw) had for the Ummah: “I (Kahmas) accepted Islam and came to the Messenger (saw) and told him about my acceptance of Islam. I then stayed away for a whole year and became thin. I then came back to see him, and he looked up and down at me. I asked: “Don’t you recognize me?” “And who are you?” I answered: “I am Kahmas Al-Hilali.” He asked: “And what made you look like this?” I answered: “I did not break my fast a single day after I met you, and did not sleep a single night.” He said: “And who asked you to torment yourself? Fast the Month of Patience and a day from each month.” I said: “Give me more.” He said: “Fast the Month of Patience and two days from each month.” I said: “Give me more, I am strong.” He said: “Fast the Month of Patience and three days from each month.” (Al-Bani)

The benefit of moderate practice is that the purification effort can be continuous, and thus more effective and lasting. Extreme behaviour is not suitable for the majority of humanity who eschews overly demanding practice and do not embrace it. And for the minority who are more religiously inclined, extremes are not sustainable: they are likely to yield unbalanced lives and personalities and be abandoned eventually. The Creator who understands human nature is the only one who can legislates the proper remedy for its ills and problems.

Fasting three days monthly creates a continuous chain throughout the year, where fasting is allowed to penetrate to the heart and treat it

The hadith explains that the cumulative fasting of Ramadhan and three days every month removes wahar (contaminants) from the chest. The heart is strongly attached to this world and its attractions, and this attachment brings with it competition, envy, and hostility. These illnesses weaken the heart and its resolve to follow what Allah revealed, so it accepts more of the whispers of Shaytan and develops hypocrisy and deception. Ultimately, it starts hating the truth and favouring what agrees with its wayward desires.

by Dr. Ali Albarghouthi