Dear Dr Saab,
Respectfully find my response to your answer on Saum.
This “rumble in the jungle” had us watching the proceedings, with plenty of “floating like a butterfly” but I have not seen the “sting like a bee”, knockout blow which occurred with Salat verses namaz. There we had a devastating destruction of the Persian inspired ritual of namaz, but this has not happened with Saum.
Let me go through your response:-
SAUM = Self-control = Going the extra mile to avoid any violation = Refrain from trespassing = Discourage vice and promote virtue by example = Stop enemy’s advance = Rabaat or guarding the Islamic frontiers = Take extra burden for the welfare of society = Jihad with wealth and person = To strengthen one’s character = Sacrifice for the fellow man.
These are all things we should be doing every day of the week, 24/7, so why does the Quran say this is for one month, Ramadan, instead of all year round? Salat is all year round.
Strengthening ones character requires some sort of test- there is “no gain without pain”, so where and what is the test if there is eating and drinking during the day?
There is a Hadith where the exalted Prophet (S) is reported to have admired those Sahaba Kiraam who had not fasted and were busy fixing tents, cutting grass, tending animals, while those who fasted lay flat on the ground. He said, “Most certainly, the non-fasters have outdone the fasting ones”. [I doubt that people ever fasted in that blessed era since it was a late Imamist innovation.]
Could this hadith be forged to allow those who did not want to fast (95% according to your figures) to get away with this? If the Imams were trying to forge hadith to justify the “innovation” of fast for Saum, they would have written that “most fasters have outdone the non-fasters”.
A Fabrication: We know that the breath of a fasters stinks like a skunk after mid-day. A Hadith cames to the rescue, "The foul smell from the mouth of a faster is dearer to Allah than pure musk." :-)
Science has proved that in the first few days of fasting, the body gets rid of more toxins through the kidneys and lungs, caused by not eating while active. The body is able to use the energy normally used during digestion to eliminate these toxins more effectively, hence we become healthier.
The Sunni Pillars:
*Iman (Faith) – *Salat (Relegated to ritual prayers five times a day) - *Zakaat (distorted as annual charity or poor-due) - *Saum (Fasting in the month of Ramadhan) - *Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah).
The pot belly clergy, however, abjectly fail to describe a beautiful building on these “pillars”.
Red herring. All the five concepts have been ritualised, corrupted, but they are still in the Quran in one place or another. Islam is not based on them but we still have to undertake them in their correct forms.
Arif Shamim’s point is very strong: that the elite of any community are the first ones to oppose Divine commands. But, they seem to thrive on the empty ritual of fasting. Social partying, glittering dress and ornaments, invitations & counter invitations, show off of piety, and display of "generosity" fattens their ego. Iftar time has become a fashion show.
A Christian believes that Jesus is God, do we reject Jesus because of this falsehood? We look at the correct understanding from the Quran and reject the falsehood, not the Messenger Jesus. When people are not undertaking fasting correctly, we should reject their wrong practices and not reject the true concept they should be doing. If Muslims practice 99% wrong beliefs and actions (1.4 million hadith to bury the Quran under) then when they get irritated, over eat, indulge in parties and show off during Ramadan, this shows their lack of true belief, not the wrong in fasting.
Hajj has become an annual holiday to receive blessings and forgiveness of sins etc. Do we give this up completely or do we try and establish an annual gathering of mankind to sort out the worlds problems? Again, if most are not doing something correctly, we should look at what is required, not reject it completely. Fasting has not been proved to be not a part of Saum.
WHAT IS SAUM? Ramadan is a month of collective training for Muslims to intensify their efforts in following Divine commands and truly bring into practice self-control, self-sacrifice, and community service. It also entails warding off vice and promoting virtue by personal example. Most of these activities can take place only outdoors but the "fasters" would rather spend their days in cool shades playing with rosary beads, the Quran and Jaa-Namaaz (the prayer rug).
All of these can take place throughout the year but does the Quran say to undertake it during one month of Ramadan or not? It does say this so there must be something added to this in order to train our minds and bodies, and that is abstinence from eating and drinking during daylight.
In my humble opinion, 5 times daily NAMAZ and one month yearly FASTING were introduced to Islam by the Ajami Criminals to make Muslims worthless to the society. So, since teenage, I have not fallen for these empty rituals.
Five times namaz is not in the Quran, Salat is and means, in short, “to understand and follow the laws and principles of the Quran”. Empty rituals are rejected by most free and intellectual thinkers, but most rituals have a base where we can understand what should be done in the correct manner. Why does fast need to be eliminated when Saum has the meaning of “abstinence”, surely it should be included in this overall meaning as well. My father also rejected fast in his teens; he feinted in Pakistan one hot day and said that was it for him. He did not, however, discourage anyone else from doing so and I know you are also not discouraging others, but had you continued with fast since your teens, would you be opposed to it now? Did you know then as much as you know now, to intellectually make a decision to stop, or was it motivated by something else?
If you had presented one incorrect translation then that was sufficient proof, but where was the correct translation? According to QXiv:-
2:183 (Creating an ideal society requires discipline and self-restraint among the individuals.) O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! Abstinence (from food, drink and sex during the daytime) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you get empowered against evil.
[I have translated Saum as ‘Abstinence’ instead of the common ‘fasting’ since it involves more than fasting, such as abstaining from intimate husband-wife relationship. Moreover, Saum literally means self-restraint, and not fasting, hence, it includes desisting from common vices such as impatience, anger, unfair criticism, envy etc. Taqwa = Journeying in security = Being careful = Getting empowered against evil = To avoid overstepping the Laws = Exercising caution = Strengthening one’s ‘self’ = Preserving the ‘self’ against deterioration = Good conduct. Muttaqeen = Those endowed with Taqwa]
2:184 Just for a fixed number of days. But if any of you is sick or he is on a journey, he may make up the same number of days later. For those who can go through Abstinence only with hardship, there is a ransom: the feeding of an indigent. Any additional charity will bring additional reward. However, if you knew better, going through the training program of Abstinence is good for you.
2:185 The month of Ramadhan has been chosen for this collective training since this is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed, a Guidance for mankind, clearly explaining the ‘why’ of every Rule. And it is the Criterion of right and wrong. Hence, whoever witnesses this month should participate in the program of Abstinence. But if any of you is sick or on a journey, let him practice Abstinence for the same number of days later. God desires for you ease, and He desires for you no hardship. The postponement is to enable you to complete the period. The objective of this training is to establish the supremacy of God (on earth) for, He has shown you a well-lighted road, and for you to show gratitude.
[The entire Qur’an was revealed upon the Prophet’s heart (‘down-loaded’) in Ramadhan of 610 CE in the order as we see today. Thereafter, it was conveyed to people in stages. The concepts therein are not defunct theories and empty hypotheses. It has a Permanent Universal Code of Values and Laws. The yearly training of Abstinence in this month connects the Message with intensive reflection and study. Note: The Qur’an does not forbid menstruating women from praying or participating in the program of Abstinence. However, a menstruating woman may be considered unwell. The only thing forbidden by the Qur’an during menstruation is intimate husband-wife relationship. Shukr does not mean just verbal thanks. It involves showing gratitude in practice by sharing the God-given bounties with others. 2:87-97, 2:185 2:222, 2:233, 7:189, 9:32-33, 14:1, 16:2, 17:85-86, 26:193, 31:14, 42:52, 44:1-4, 46:15, 70:4, 81:17-19, 97:1]
2:186 (This training program has nothing to do with asceticism. The mystics think that self-denial will bring them close to God.) So, when My servants ask you about Me, surely, I am Near. I respond to the call of him who calls, whenever he calls unto Me. Let them, then, respond to Me and believe in Me, so that they might follow the right way.
[God’s response = A sincere caller will be shown the right direction = This Divine Writ, Al-Qur’an has answers to all their questions. 3:193-195, 7:56, 8:24, 32:15-16, 40:60, 42:25-26]
2:187 (Abstinence is only for the daytime.) It has been made Lawful for you to go unto your wives on the night of the Abstinence. They are your garments and you are their garments - close to each other, source of mutual comfort, complementing each other, trustworthy and keepers of privacy, reason for décor, and redressers of faults. God knows that you would have deprived yourselves and so He turns to you and pardons your misconceptions. So, now you may have intimate relations with them and, besides, seek all good that God has ordained for you. You may eat and drink until you can discern the white streak of light against the black streak of night at daybreak. Then complete the Abstinence until sunset. Do not have intimate relations with them while on special assignments in the Centers of the Divine System. These are the bounds set by God - so come not near violating them. It is thus that God explains His Commands unto mankind clearly, so that they understand and live upright.
[I’tikaaf = Special task = To be deputed = Extra duty = Unique assignment. ‘Aakifoon = Those on I’tikaaf. Unfortunately, under the Ajami (alien) influences, the concept given to I’tikaaf has reduced this Sublime Ordinance to ten days of ascetic and ritualistic isolation in a mosque in the third part of Ramadhan. Obviously, this invented practice violates the Qur’anic injunctions against monasticism and human rights. (57:27). Libaas = Garment = Raiment embraces all the meanings rendered]
2:188 (When you abstain from the Permissible during the annual training period, you empower yourselves to easily refrain from the Forbidden.) So, knowingly, do not devour the wealth and property of one another in a wrongful manner, nor bribe the officials or the judges to deprive others of their rightful belongings. This kind of behavior drags down your own humanity and harms the collective welfare of the society. [Ithm carries all the meanings given in the last sentence]
Something different happens in Ramadan which we are not to do during the rest of the year but which helps us to become better human beings. This is abstinence from food and water when we are awake. We can practice the new idea of abstinence (which does not require us to stop eating) at any time and what has a journey got to do with stopping this? It makes no sense unless we see the complete Saum as including fast. What hardship is felt with the new Saum interpretation while undertaking journeys? Also, anyone working in harsh environments, the ill, the elderly, are all exempt, since they can have adverse effects that are detrimental to their health. Feeding “indignant” can also be done every day of the year, why just in Ramadan when we cannot do “Saum” if we are ill or on a journey?
118 centigrade heat should mean we are exempt because this is a hardship we cannot endure without cheating (sleeping during the day, awake all night), or getting frustrated during the day! We know that Allah has not placed any burden upon us that we cannot bear, so not fasting during extremes of heat, or work or travelling etc, should be looked at with understanding and not seen as something tantamount to shirk, which most N2I do. We can stop fasting when we feel the need to do so, but it is still a part of Saum.
“Complete the abstinence till sunset” means what? We can develop self control during the night as well, but what are we told to stop during the day that we can do during the night?
Allah knows that mankind would move towards a sedentary lifestyle in towns and cities; at one time the majority had to work for their procurement of food, for example ploughing the fields or hunting and scavenging. Hence, the need to have a month long “training period” to “fine tune” our bodies; an annual MOT (a term used for an annual maintenance check on our cars in the UK). In cars the old oil is replaced, the brakes are checked etc. As I have stated previously, in fasting our bodies are purged of toxins and our minds are “re-focussed” on our social obligations. Periods of fast have been shown scientifically to benefit the body and mind, but only when done correctly. There is no detrimental effect on us from fasting correctly, which the blind, ritualised namaz produces.
Does the following not include fasting as a means of correcting oneself; if it does not, then what should be undertaken for two months?
58:3 Hence, those of you who have made senseless declarations about their wives, estranged them, and then wish to go back on their utterance - they should free a human being from bondage before the couple may have intimate relations with each other. This you are admonished to perform. And God is aware of all you do. [Freeing from bondage includes relieving someone from any kind of oppression and from a crushing burden of debt]
58:4 However, he who does not have the means thereof, let him observe Saum (Abstinence as in the month of Ramadhan 2:183) for two consecutive months before the couple may intimately touch each other. And if he is unable to do that either, he should arrange the feeding of sixty needy ones. This is so that you might be true to your faith in God and His Messenger. These are the bounds ordained by God. And for the deniers of the Divine Commands is a painful doom.
58:5 Surely, those who oppose God and His Messenger will be disgraced as were disgraced those before their times. Thus, We have sent down clear messages, and for the rejecters is a shameful suffering.
My apologies for presenting Parwez Saabs “incorrect” verses of the above , but I for one have not been convinced by any argument to reject fasting as a requirement of Saum, and his verses are fully detailed and clear in their explanation:-
183-184 Self-control is a prerequisite both for steadfastness and fortitude in the battlefield as well as for establishing a just and equitable socio-economic system. In other words, in case of a conflict between your physical drives and lofty human values, you should uphold the latter. Furthermore, you should habituate yourself to leading a hard and laborious life. For this purpose fasting has been made obligatory for you as it was for earlier communities, in order that you may live according to the Divine Laws and protect yourself from the pitfalls of life. Fasting is for a prescribed number of days (as fixation of time itself is an aid to disciplined life). If (during Ramadan) any of you is sick or on a journey (and misses some fasts) he must complete the prescribed number by fasting on other days. But if a person is neither sick nor on a journey yet cannot fast except with great hardship and, therefore, cannot make up missed fasts, he should provided food for a person in need in lieu thereof.
It is evident that the condition of the last named category of persons cannot be determined by Law. It is for you yourself to determine if you are unable to fast except with great hardship. If on assessing your own condition you conclude that the odds are even, then it is better for you to fast even if it is (relatively) hard for you, because the purpose which is served by fasting cannot be attained by providing food to another, provided you understand the rationale for fasting.
185 Here the question arises as to why the month of Ramadan was chosen for this collective (as well as individual) exercise in self-discipline. The answer is that Ramadan is the month during which the revelation of the Quran began which shows all humanity the clear path leading to its ultimate goal, revealing those permanent values whereby one can distinguish truth from falsehood. The discipline learned through fasting is an annual training to remain in a state of preparedness for the accomplishment of this lofty programme. Hence a person who is at home during this month should fast. If a person is sick or on a journey, he should, as already stated, complete the prescribed number of fasts by fasting on other days (and the concession allowed to a person who cannot fast except with great hardship has been mentioned earlier). Allah wants to make things easy for you and does not want to subject you to hardships and difficulties. Mark again that fasting is not a mere rite. Its purpose is to enable you to establish on the one hand supremacy of the Divine Laws in the world, in the light of the Guidance given to you (9/33) and on the other enable you to nourish your own potentialities.
186 In the context of the obligation to fast, do not think that by restricting the fulfilling of human needs to prescribed times and by abstaining from material indulgences, one is attaining closeness to Allah (as was believed to be the case amongst monastic cults). (O Rasool!) when My devotees ask you about Me, tell them that I am close to them at all times. (This means that) when anyone calls upon Me to lead him to the right path, My Guidance which is preserved in the Quran, answers his call. Therefore, tell them that the way to attain the nearness of Allah is to adhere to My Laws fully, believing implicitly in their validity (7/56, 8/24, 32/15-16, 40/60, 42/26). By following these Laws they will be able to walk firmly upon the right path of life.
187 Take note that fasting is only from dawn to dusk. During other hours, eating, drinking or having sexual intercourse with one’s wife is not prohibited. The relationship between the two spouses is a most intimate one. Monasticism engendered the concept that celibacy is a means of attaining closeness to Allah, but He is well aware of the importance of the intimate relationship between spouses in fulfilling human needs, and also the perversions, fantasies and self-deception to which renunciation of marital relationships lead (57/21). Human beings may set unnatural limits upon themselves, but Allah’s Law rising above all such limits, dispels your doubts and anxieties and makes it clear that in the hours from dusk to dawn you are permitted to cohabit with your wives, as well as partake of food and drink. From dawn to dusk you are required to fast. If after dusk you are detained at your centre (of training or activity e.g. Masjid) in order to ponder or resolve some important issue or problem, then you should devote your total attention to the task in hand and refrain from going home.
These are the Laws laid down by Allah regarding matters which have been discussed above. You should adhere to them. Allah explains His Laws clearly so that people can fully understand and follow them.
188 (As mentioned earlier) always keep this fact in mind that the purpose of fasting is to create in you the self-discipline by means of which you can distinguish between what is lawful and unlawful in all spheres of life and to reject the latter no matter how strongly you are attracted to it. For instance, do not devour another’s property or bribe officials to give you that which belongs to another person when you are aware of the consequences that follow from acquiring anything unfairly. The purpose of fasting is, thus, to develop your personality in the manner described above.
189 We have stated earlier that fasting is during the month of Ramadan. This has led some people to think that some months are auspicious and some are inauspicious and they have referred the matter to you. O Rasool! say to them that it is mere superstition to call some months (or days) auspicious or inauspicious. In fact, specification of time is only to determine the calendar. The advantage of having a calendar is obvious – for instance, it enables you to know when the Hajj is to be performed. Tell them clearly that superstition has no place in Deen. For instance, the belief that during the Hajj, the house should be entered from the back and not from the front-door is only a superstition. Righteousness is not associated with such rites. It is concerned only with the degree to which you adhere to the Divine Laws and with the sublimity of your character. Therefore, set aside such ignorant practices and enter houses during the Hajj as you do during other days.
Follow the Divine Laws and live according to your normal routine. This is the way to achieve success and bliss in life.
FOLLOW THE DIVINE LAWS AND NOURISH YOURSELF WITH SELF DISCIPLINE.
Self discipline will not occur without the “test” of fasting.
I too am fallible and I only mean to raise my concerns and arguments in an endeavour to find the truth.