Reminder About the Inner Fast in Ramadan Pertaining to Speech

Reminder About the Inner Fast in Ramadan Pertaining to Speech

Posted on July 17, 2012 

By Dawud Walid

To maximize the blessings of the month of Ramadan, we need to pay extra attention to not just what goes into our mouths but also what comes out of them.  Blameworthy speech is one of the easiest things that can ruin the spirit of our fasting.  The following article will summarize different aspects of blameworthy speech and how to remedy it.

Prophet Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him and his family) said, “Whoever does not give up deceptive speech and action, Allah is in no need of his giving up food and drink.” [Al-Bukhari, An-Nasa’i & At-Tirmidhi]  Muhammad bin Idris Ash-Shafi’i (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) said, “Faith is action for Allah, and speech is part of that action.” [Al-Bayhaqi]


Perhaps the worse aspect of blameworthy speech that Muslims can undertake is to promote obscenity and injustice and to bid people to disobey Al-Qur’an and matters that are universally recognized by scholars as prophetic injunctions; to do such is in fact a sign of hypocrisy. Allah (SWT) says, “The hypocrite men and women are from one another, they enjoin what is wrong and forbid what is right.” [Surah At-Tawbah, ayah 67]  “Majority of people’s sins pertain to speech, which relates to disobeying Allah,” said Salman Al-Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him.) [Al-Isfahani]

Telling outright lies in general are also sinful behavior; however, blameworthy speech is also purposeful omission of the truth when giving information or telling stories which will not give people the true picture of situations and circumstances.


Allah (SWT) says, “Oh you who believe, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.”[Surah Al-Hujurat, ayah 11]


Allah (SWT) says, “Oh you who have believed, avoid much suspicion. Indeed, some suspicion is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And reverence Allah; indeed, Allah is the Acceptor of repentance, the Merciful Redeemer.” [Surah Al-Hujurat, ayah 12]  And Prophet Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him and his family) said, “The slandering gossiper will not enter paradise.” [Muslim & ibn Khuzaymah].  Backbiting differs from slander in that backbiting is saying something, which is true about a person behind their back, but that the person does not want exposed.  The exception for backbiting is testifying in front of a judge, giving someone advice when approached about a potential business or martial relationship or warning people about lewd or criminal behaviors, which a person openly promotes.


Ma’ruf Al-Karkhi (may Allah sanctify his spirit) said, “Protect your tongue from praising [people] just as you protect your tongue from obscenity.” [Al-Isfahani]  Prophet Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him and his family) said,” When an openly corrupt person is praised, the Lord is angry.” [Abu Ya’la]

Since we have been reminded about what types of speech that we should not be involved in which will corrupt the spirit of our fasting, we should involve ourselves in speech and action that is meritorious in their place.


During the fasting hours, our tongues should be moist with the glorification of Allah (SWT).  While we are off of work, we should busy ourselves with dhikr and du’a, which will take time away from potentially blameworthy speech.  Moreover during this month in which Al-Qur’an was revealed, we should spend more time reading Allah’s word.  If we set the goal to read Al-Qur’an completely at least once during Ramadan, we will not have time to be engaged in foolishness such as gossip and vain discussions.


Allah (SWT) says, “Oh you who believe, be regardful for Allah and speak a straight word.” [Surah Al-Ahzab, ayah 70]


Allah (SWT) says, “Oh you who believe, be regardful for Allah and be with the truthful people.” [Surah At-Tawbah, ayah 119]


One of the more meritorious acts of devotion that we can do is to stand up for justice against tyranny and speak for the rights of the underprivileged.  Prophet Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him and his family) said, “Whoever sees a wrong, he should change it with his hand. If not, he should resist it with his tongue.  And if not, he should resist it in his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.”  [Muslim]  He (prayers and peace be upon him) also said, “The best jihad is a word of justice to a tyrannical ruler.”  [At-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, At-Tabarani & Al-Bayhaqi]  And Imam Zayd bin Ali (peace be upon both of them] said, “The best jihad is to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.”  [Musnad Zayd]


Staying silent when there is nothing noteworthy to add to a discussion is a valuable act that we overlook at times.  In this age where everyone has an opinion to share on social media, many of us feel compelled to speak or write about something even when there is no benefit in doing so.  Though it is not the shari’ah of Prophet Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him and his family) to engage in fasting from speaking, Al-Qur’an does mention in Surah Maryam, ayah 10 of Zakariyyah (peace be upon him) making intentions to fast from speaking for three nights.  Prophet Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon him said) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

May our Ramadan be filled with blessings and speech, which will be rewarded abundantly, and may our Ramadan be free from blameworthy speech and action.

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Recommendations for Shahr Ramadan

أكثر في هذا الشهر المبارك من قراءة القرآن و الصلاة على رسول الله صلّى الله عليه و آله و سلم، و كثرة الصدقة، وذكر الله في آناء الليل و النهار، و بر الإخوان و إفطارهم معك بما يمكنك، فإنّ في ذلك ثواب عظيم و أجر كبير

The following advice was reportedly given by Ali Ar-Rida ibn Musa ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Al-Husayn ibn Ameer Al-Mu’mineen Ali (May Allah be pleased with them) regarding  recommended acts during the month of Ramadan that will provide great rewards:

1) Increase reading of Al-Qur’an

2) Increase sending prayers upon Prophet Muhammad (SAAS)

3) Increase giving charity

4) Increase remembering Allah during the night and day

5) Treating good brothers/sisters [in humanity]

6) Providing fast-breaking meal & eating with them

Answering those who state that fasting Aashoora disrespects Al-Husayn

Tomorrow marks one of the most sacred days on the Islamic calendar, Aashoora (also transliterated as Ashura), which is the 10th day of Muharram, Muharram being one of the four sacred months in Al-Islam.

The majority of Muslims worldwide believe that fasting this day atones for minor sins that were committed during the year and that it was the day in which Moses (Peace be Upon Him) and the Children of Israel were liberated from bondage in Egypt. However, the largest of the Shi’i schools of thought, Ja’faris also known as 12’evers/Ithna Asharis/Imamis, state that fasting this entire day is repugnant because it was instituted as a diversion for Muslims to forget about the martyrdom of Imam Al-Husayn (Peace be Upon Him)  via fabricated hadeeths by the Umayyads. They further dismiss fasting on this day saying that Prophet Muhammad (Prayers and Peace be Upon Him and His Family) was given his own application of Divine law, not to follow the law of Moses (Peace be Upon Him) even if Jews fasted this day in gratitude of their liberation.

If the Ja’faris simply stuck to the argument that the hadeeths in Al-Bukhari and Muslim relating to this have flaws in their narrators and that they are not authoritative to them, their argument for finding the fasting Aashoora to be repugnant might have more validity.  Even with this argument that the hadeeths relating to these books are flawed because of Umayyad manipulation, their argument still falls a little short.

The other two Shi’i schools of thought, Zaydis and Musta’ili Isma’ilis (Fatimis), consider fasting Aashoora to be meritorious and that they have narrations attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (Prayers and Peace be Upon Him and His Family) as well as sayings of Ahl Al-Bayt (The Prophet’s Household), which affirm this. Moreover, both of these schools reject many of the same narrators, whom they believe to have been Pro-Umayyad, as the Ja’faris do.  Also, neither one of these schools hold Al-Bukhari and Muslim to be authoritative as primary basis for jurisprudence regarding acts of worship.  Hence, Zaydis and Musta’ili Isma’ilis are just as anti-Umayyad traditions as Ja’faris, perhaps even more.

For instance in the magnum opus of Al-Qadi An-Nu’man titled Ad-Daa’im Al-Islam written during the Fatimid empire and recognized as its most authoritative book of fiqh until today, the following tradition is narrated relating to supererogatory fasting:

عنه (ع) أنه قال: استوت السفينة يوم عاشوراء على الجودى، فأمر نوح (ع م) من معه من الجن والانس بصومه، وهو اليوم الذى تاب الله فيه على آدم، وهو اليوم الذى يقوم فيه قائمنا، أهل البيت

Ja’far ibn Muhammad (May G’d be Pleased with Them Both) said:

Noah’s ark settled in Ashoora on [Mt.] Al-Judi, then Noah commanded from the jinn and men among them to fast it.  It was the day in which G’d accepted the repentance of Adam, and it was the day in which our standing was established, the Household [of the Prophet].

Even more interesting is that the Ibadi school of thought, which has a historical relationship with the Khawaarij who considered the Umayyad leader Mu’awiyah to be a disbeliever, also finds fasting Aashoora to be highly meritorious.  Moreover, the development of their compiling of Prophetic narrations evolved separately from Sunnis, who do not automatically disqualify traditions via the Umayyads.  Musnad Al-Imam Ar-Rabi’ narrates the fasting of Aashoora with different chains of narrators from Sunni, Zaydi and Isma’ili narrators.

Fasting Aashoora in no way is a diversion away from the martyrdom of Al-Husayn (Peace be Upon Him).  In fact, the sacredness of this day in connection and sacrificing (fasting) on it, should be an affirmation that the stance of Al-Husayn (Peace be Upon Him) was in accordance with those of prophets, who affirmed their servitude to none except G’d, not men, and stood against wrongdoers/oppressors.