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Inner Dimension of Fasting:
Excerpts from Ghazali's Inner Dimention of Islamic Worship

Three grades of fasting

It should be known that there are three grades of fasting: ordinary, special and extra-special.

Ordinary fasting means abstaining from food, drink and sexual satisfaction.

Special fasting means keeping one's ears, eyes,tongue, hands and feet-and

all other organs-free from sin.

Extra-special fasting means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but Allah.

See not what displeases Allah

A chaste regard, restrained from viewing anything that is blameworthy or reprehensible, or which distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of God. The Prophet, said: the furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be God's curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of God, will receive from Him, great and gracious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart.'

Jabir relates from Anas that God's Messenger, on him be peace,said: 'Five things break a man's fast: lying,backbiting, scandalmongering, perjury and a lustful gaze.'

Speak no evil

Guarding one's tongue from twaddle, lying, backbiting, scandalmongering, obscenity, rudeness, wrangling and controversy; making it observe silence and occupying it with remembrance of Allah and with recitation of the Quran.

This is the fasting of the tongue. Sufyan said: "backbiting vitiates the fast." Layth quotes Mujahid as saying : "Two habits vitiate fasting: backbiting and telling lies.'

The Prophet said: ' Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is fasting he should not use foul or foolish talk. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say:"I am fasting, I am fasting!"

Hear no evil

Closing one's ears to everything reprehensible; for everything unlawful

to utter is likewise unlawful to listen to. That is why Allah equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer " (They like to) listen to falsehood, to devour anything forbidden" (part of Quran 5: 42).

Do no evil

Keeping all other limbs and organs away from sin: the hands and feet from reprehensible deeds, and the stomach from questionable food at the time for breaking fast.

It is meaningless to fast, to abstain from lawful food, only to break one's Fast on what is unlawful.

The object of Fasting is to induce moderation. The Prophet said 'How many of

those who Fast, get nothing from it but hunger and thirst!'

Avoid overeating

Of what use is the fast as a means of conquering God's enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking it not only makes up for all one has missed during the daytime, but perhaps also indulges in a variety of extra foods?

It has even become the custom to stock up for Ramadan with all kinds of foodstuffs, so that more is consumed during that time  than in the course of several other months put together.

It is well known that the object of fasting is to experience hunger and to check desire, in

order to reinforce the soul in piety.

If the stomach is starved from early morning till evening, so that it's appetite is aroused and it's craving intensified, and it is then offered delicacies and allowed to eat its fill, its taste for pleasure is increased and its force exaggerated; passions are activated which would have lain dormant under normal conditions.

It is therefore essential to cut down one's intake of what one would consume on a normal night, when not Fasting. No benefit is derived from the fast if one consumes as much as he or she would usually take during the day and night combined.

Look to Allah with fear and hope

After the fast has been broken, the heart should swing like a pendulum between fear and hope. For one does not know if one's fast will be accepted, so that one will find favor with God, or whether it will be rejected, leaving one among those He abhors. This is how one should be at the end of any act of worship one performs.

.......[order Inner Dimention of Islamic Worship] By Imam Ghazali

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Your Comments

Malikha Abdullahwali, Miami, Florida - wrote on 10/15/2005 11:03:06 PM
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Comment: As Salaamu Alaikum: Ramadan Mubbarik Your article brought joy to my heart since it allowed me the insight to perform this fard act with greater conviction and passion. Jazakallah for your continued torch of light.


sabah, orlando, fl - wrote on 10/14/2005 9:18:51 AM
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Comment: Jazak Allahu Khair for all those involved in sharing this beautiful message. Inshallah, may Allah (swt) reward you all with the best in both worlds, ameen.


Safia, North Carolina usa - wrote on 10/7/2005 2:05:58 PM
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Comment: This is only my third Ramadan, enchallah, so the insight into the finer points of fasting was very informative and has helped my very much..sukran


nafisa umar, maiduguri - wrote on 10/5/2005 4:10:39 AM
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Comment: that was really a very nice article ,and it reminds me and all my friends(the muslims)of the true essensce of fasting in the month of ramadan,jazakummulahu khairan,may Allah continue to reward you and the whole sound vision crew...amin


yusuff iskil, abeokuta - wrote on 10/22/2003 12:01:47 PM
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Comment: may Allah bless the soul of immam Ghazali,thanks to soundvision for making it available for our remembrance. May Allah accept our Ibadah


svaidee, sydney - australia - wrote on 10/12/2002 9:22:17 AM
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Comment: May Allah (s.w.) be well pleased with Imam Al-Ghazali InshAllah, and with us all...


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