Explanation of – Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it

The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said that: “Allaah said: ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward for it…’” [al-Bukhaari (1761) and Muslim (1946)]

The obvious question which comes to one’s mind when he reads the above hadeeth is that, we all know that all deeds, actions and worship are for the sake of Allaah and He is the One Who rewards for them, so then what is special about fasting that Allaah has singled it out from other acts of worship by his statement “Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it”?

Reply by Shaykh Saalih ibn al-Fawzaan al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah)

This question was put forward to Shaykh Saalih ibn al-Fawzaan al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah). He was asked,

سؤال: في الحديث القدسي: قال الله تعالى: «كل عمل ابن آدم له إلا الصوم فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به» ، أرجو من فضيلتكم شرح هذا الحديث، ولماذا خص الصوم بهذا التخصيص؟ أفيدوني بارك الله فيكم.

Question: 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? Please advise me. May Allaah bless you.

The Shaykh replied,

هذا حديث عظيم وثابت عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فيما يرويه عن ربه عز وجل، أنه قال: «كل عمل ابن آدم له إلا الصوم فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به» ،

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.”

فهذا الحديث فيه فضيلة الصيام ومزيته من بين سائر الأعمال، وأن الله اختصه لنفسه من بين أعمال العبد، فهذا تشريف للصيام، وتفضيل له على غيره من الأعمال، وقد أجاب أهل العلم عن قوله تعالى: «الصوم لي وأنا أجزي به» بعدة أجوبة:

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:

منهم من قال: إن معنى قوله تعالى: «الصوم لي وأنا أجزي به» ، أن أعمال ابن آدم قد يجري فيها القصاص بينه وبين المظلومين، فالمظلومون يقتصون منه يوم القيامة بأخذ شيء من أعماله وحسناته، كما في الحديث: «بأن الرجل يأتي يوم القيامة بأعمال صالحة أمثال الجبال فيأتي وقد شتم هذا وضرب هذا، وأكل مال هذا،

(1) 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.

فيؤخذ لهذا من حسناته، ولهذا من حسناته، حتى إذا فنيت حسناته ولم يبق شيء يؤخذ من سيئات المظلومين وتطرح عليه، ويطرح بالنار» ،

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.

إلا الصيام فإنه لا يؤخذ منه يوم القيامة، وإنما يدخره الله عز وجل للعامل يجزيه به، ويكون هذا معنى قوله: «كل عمل ابن آدم له إلا الصوم فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به» ، أي أن أعمال بني آدم يجري فيها القصاص ويأخذها الغرماء يوم القيامة، إذا كان ظلمهم، إلا الصيام، فإن الله يحفظه ولا يتسلط عليه الغرماء، ويكون لصاحبه عند الله عز وجل.

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.

And this is meaning of His saying, “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.

وقيل: إن معنى قوله تعالى: «الصوم لي وأنا أجزي به، إنه ترك شهوته وطعامه وشرابه من أجلي» معناه: أن الصوم عمل باطني، لا يعلمه إلا الله سبحانه وتعالى، فهو نية قلبية، بخلاف سائر الأعمال، فإنها تظهر ويراها الناس،

(2) 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.

أما الصيام فإنه عمل سري بين العبد وبين ربه – عز وجل – ولهذا يقول: «الصوم لي وأنا أجزي به، إنه ترك شهوته وطعامه وشرابه من أجلي» ، فكونه ترك طعامه وشرابه من أجل الله هذا عمل باطني ونية خفية لا يعلمها إلا الله سبحانه وتعالى، بخلاف الصدقة مثلًا والصلاة والحج والأعمال الظاهرة، هذه يراها الناس، أما الصيام فلا يراه أحد؛ لأنه ليس معنى الصيام ترك الطعام والشراب فقط، أو ترك المفطرات الظاهرة فقط، لكن معنى الصيام أن يكون خالصًا لله عز وجل ونية صادقة لله عز وجل، هذا معنى الصيام، وهذا لا يعلمه إلا الله سبحانه وتعالى؛ فيكون هذا معنى قوله تعالى: «الصوم لي وأنا أجزي به» ، وفسره بقوله: «إنه ترك شهوته وطعامه وشرابه من أجلي» .

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”

ومن العلماء من يقول: إن معنى قوله تعالى: «الصوم لي وأنا أجزي به» أن الصوم لا يدخله شرك، بخلاف سائر الأعمال، فإن المشركين كانوا يقدمونها لمعبوداتهم، كالذبح والنذر، وغير ذلك من أنواع العبادة، وكذلك الدعاء والخوف والرجاء، فإن كثيرًا من المشركين يتقربون بها إلى أصنامهم ومعبوداتهم، بخلاف الصوم، فلم يذكر أن المشركين كانوا يصومون لأوثانهم ومعبوداتهم،

(3) 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.

الصوم إنما هو خاص بالله عز وجل، فهذا يكون معنى قوله: «الصوم لي وأنا أجزي به» ، أي أنه لا يدخله شرك، ولم يكن المشركون يتقربون به إلى أوثانهم، وإنما يتقرب بالصوم إلى الله عز وجل.

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.

Source: Majmoo’ Fataawa Fadeelat ash-Shaykh Saalih ibn Fawzaan, 1/193-195.

Reply by Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah):

Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) said:

وَهَذَا الحديثُ الجليلُ يدُلُّ على فضيلةِ الصومِ من وجوهٍ عديدةٍ :

الوجه الأول : أن الله اختصَّ لنفسه الصوم من بين سائرِ الأعمال ، وذلك لِشرفِهِ عنده ، ومحبَّتهِ له ، وظهور الإِخلاصِ له سبحانه فيه ، لأنه سِرُّ بَيْن العبدِ وربِّه لا يطَّلعُ عليه إلاّ الله . فإِن الصائمَ يكون في الموضِعِ الخالي من الناس مُتمكِّناً منْ تناوُلِ ما حرَّم الله عليه بالصيام ، فلا يتناولُهُ ؛ لأنه يعلم أن له ربّاً يطَّلع عليه في خلوتِه ، وقد حرَّم عَلَيْه ذلك ، فيترُكُه لله خوفاً من عقابه ، ورغبةً في ثوابه ، فمن أجل ذلك شكر اللهُ له هذا الإِخلاصَ ، واختصَّ صيامَه لنفْسِه من بين سَائِرِ أعمالِهِ ولهذا قال : ( يَدعُ شهوتَه وطعامَه من أجْلي ) .

This hadeeth points to the virtue of fasting in numerous ways:

(1) Allaah singled out fasting for Himself from all other good deeds, because of its honoured status before Him, because He loves it and because it is a demonstration of sincerity towards Him, as it is a secret between a person and his Lord, which no one can see except Allaah. The fasting person may be in a place with no other people around, and he could eat or drink that which Allaah has forbidden to the fasting person, but he does not do that, because he knows that he has a Lord Who can see him even though he is alone and Who has forbidden that to him. So he forsakes it for the sake of Allaah and fearing His punishment, seeking His reward. Because of that, Allaah appreciates his sincerity and singled out fasting for Himself from among all other good deeds. Hence He said: “He gives up his desires and his food for My sake.”

 وتظهرُ فائدةُ هذا الاختصاص يوم القيامَةِ كما قال سَفيانُ بنُ عُييَنة رحمه الله : إِذَا كانَ يومُ القِيَامَةِ يُحاسِبُ الله عبدَهُ ويؤدي ما عَلَيْه مِن المظالمِ مِن سائِر عمله حَتَّى إِذَا لم يبقَ إلاَّ الصومُ يتحملُ اللهُ عنه ما بقي من المظالِم ويُدخله الجنَّةَ بالصوم .

The benefit of this singling out will be seen on the Day of Resurrection, as Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyaynah said: When the Day of Resurrection comes, Allaah will bring His slave to account and will settle any scores outstanding from the rest of his deeds, until when there is nothing left but fasting, Allaah will settle the matter and will admit him to Paradise by virtue of his fasting.

الوجه الثاني : أن الله قال في الصوم : (وأَنَا أجْزي به) فأضافَ الجزاءَ إلى نفسه الكريمةِ ؛ لأنَّ الأعمالَ الصالحةَ يضاعفُ أجرها بالْعَدد ، الحسنةُ بعَشْرِ أمثالها إلى سَبْعِمائة ضعفٍ إلى أضعاف كثيرةٍ ، أمَّا الصَّوم فإِنَّ اللهَ أضافَ الجزاءَ عليه إلى نفسه من غير اعتبَار عَددٍ ، وهُوَ سبحانه أكرَمُ الأكرمين وأجوَدُ الأجودين ، والعطيَّةُ بقدر مُعْطيها . فيكُونُ أجرُ الصائمِ عظيماً كثيراً بِلاَ حساب .

(2) Allaah said concerning fasting: “I shall reward him for it.” So he connected the reward for fasting to Himself, because the reward for righteous deeds is mentioned by number, and a good deed will be rewarded between ten and seven hundred fold, many times. But with regard to fasting, Allaah connected the reward to Himself without specifying any number. Allaah is the most generous of those who are generous, and the gift reflects the generosity of the giver. So the reward of the one who fasts will be very great, without reckoning.

والصيامُ صبْرٌ على طاعةِ الله ، وصبرٌ عن مَحارِم الله ، وصَبْرٌ على أقْدَارِ الله المؤلمة مِنَ الجُوعِ والعَطَشِ وضعفِ البَدَنِ والنَّفْسِ ، فَقَدِ اجْتمعتْ فيه أنْواعُ الصبر الثلاثةُ ، وَتحقَّقَ أن يكون الصائمُ من الصابِرِين . وقَدْ قَالَ الله تَعالى : ( إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّـابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ ) الزمر/10

Fasting is patience in obeying Allaah, patience in keeping away from the things forbidden by Allaah, and patience in bearing the decree of Allaah, hunger, thirst, physical and mental weakness. So it combines all three types of patience, thus the fasting person deserves to be counted as one of the patient, and Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning” [al-Zumar 39:10]

Source: “Majaalis Shahr Ramadaan” of Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen, p. 13

Author: Islamic Treasure

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