بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Shaykh Saleh al-Fawzan
Explanation of the hadith…
كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ لَهُ إِلَّا الصَّوْمَ فَإِنَّهُ لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ وَلَخُلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ
All the actions by the son of Adam are for him, except fasting
Q: In the hadith Qudsi, “All the actions by the son of Adam are for him, except fasting for verily it is for Me and I shall reward for it.” (Related in Sahih Bukari, hadith of Abi Hurairah) I would like an explanation to this hadith. Why is fasting singled out with this specification?
A: All praise is for Allah. This is a great hadith and it has been established that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, has narrated this hadith from his Lord the Mighty and Exalted. “All the actions by the son of Adam are for him, except fasting for verily it is for Me and I shall reward for it.”
This hadith contains the great virtue of fasting, and its great merit in comparison with the other deeds. And Allah singled out fasting for Himself, from amongst the deeds of the son of Adam. The people of knowledge have answered the statement of Allah, (“Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it”), with a number of answers, from them is the one who said the statement of Allah, (“Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it”), means that a person’s good deeds may leave him pending retribution between him and the one that he oppressed; so the one that he oppressed will take retaliation from him on the Day of Judgment by taking something from his good deeds and his charity. This is as appears in the hadith that a man will come on the Day of Judgment with good deeds like a mountain. But he insulted this person and he struck this person and he consumed the wealth of this person. Therefore they will take for this wrongdoing some of his good deeds, and for that wrongdoing some of his good deeds, until when the person does not have any good deeds left then they will have to take the sins of the ones they oppressed, so all of these sins will drop upon them and they will be flung into the fire.
Except for fasting, for verily it will not be taken by the creditor (meaning the one who was oppressed and is due retribution) on the Day of Judgment. But rather it shall only be preserved and saved by Allah the Mighty and Majestic for the one who observes it and He shall reward him for it.
The proof is His statement, “All of the actions of the son of Adam are atonement for him except fasting, for verily it is for Me and I shall reward for it.” Meaning that a person’s good deeds may leave him pending retribution between him and the one that he oppressed, and the oppressed person will take from his good deeds on the day of Judgment if he oppressed them, except for fasting, for verily Allah will protect it and He will not give the oppressed person authority over it but rather the good deed of fasting shall be for its companion with Allah the Mighty and Majestic…
And it is said that what is meant by the statement of the Exalted, “Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it”, is because fasting is a hidden action that no one knows except for Allah the Glorified and Exalted. Therefore it is an intention of the heart as opposed to the rest of the actions, because they are apparent and seen by the people. As for fasting then it is a secret action between the slave and his Lord the Mighty and Majestic. And for this reason He said, “Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it, verily he gave up his desires, his food and his drink because of Me.” So the person giving up their desire and food for the sake of Allah is a hidden action and a hidden intention that no one knows except for Allah the Glorified and Exalted; as opposed to giving charity for example, or praying or hajj and those apparent actions that the people see, as for fasting then no one sees it, because the meaning of fasting is not giving up food and drink only or leaving alone those things that break the fast; but along with that it is a must that one fast sincerely for Allah the Mighty and Majestic. Therefore the statement, “verily he gave up his desires, his food and his drink because of Me.” Explains His statement, “Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it”
Some of the Scholars have said that the meaning of Allah’s statement, “Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it” to mean that shirk is not associated with fasting as opposed to the other actions. This is said because the pagans used to put forward acts of worship to their false gods, such as slaughtering, and vowing and other types of worship, like supplication, fear, and hope, so many of the pagans would seek to get closer to their idols and their objects of worship with these types of deeds, as opposed to fasting, because it has not been mentioned that the pagans used fast for their idols or their objects of worship. Therefore fasting is exclusively only for Allah the Mighty and Majestic, so for this reason the meaning of His statement, “Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it” means that shirk is not associated with fasting because the pagans did not use it as a way to seek closeness to their idols but rather fasting is only used to get close to Allah.
Translated by Rasheed Barbee
- The Chaining of the Shayātīn During a Month of Mercy (sabeelalmumineen.wordpress.com)