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Ibn-ʿAllan’s Commentary Dalilul-Falihin: The Book of Fasting With A Short Biography of Imam Al-Nawawi



About Imām Al-Nawawī

He is the Imām and Ḥāfiẓ, the Shaykh and Imām, Muḥyiddīn Abū-Zakariyyā Yaḥyā bin-Sharaf al-Nawawī, affiliated to Nawā a village on the outskirts of Damascus in Syria.  He then settled in Damascus, and he was Shāfiʿī.  He was the Shaykh of the madhāhib and the senior among the fuqahā of his time.

He was born in the year 631 A.H, from two devout parents.  He started memorizing Qurʾān at the age of 10, as well as the study of fiqh with some of the scholars in his village.  A pious man by the name of Shaykh Yāsīn bin-Yūsuf al-Marākashī once passed by the village, and observed him running away from children who were attempting to force him to play, all the while reciting Qurʾān.  He went to his father and advised him to devote him to the pursuit of knowledge, advice which he accepted.

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In the year 649 A.H he went with his father to Damascus to complete his pursuit of knowledge, and resided in the institute Al-Rawāhiya.  

His works include: a commentary on Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Al-Majmūʿ, Riyāḍul-Ṣāliḥīn, Tahdhībul-asmāʾ wal-lughāt, Rawḍaṭul-Ṭālibīn wa ʿumdatul-muftiyyīn, Al-Minhāj fil fiqh, Al-arbaʿīn al-Nawawiyya, Al-Tibyān fī ādābi ḥamalatil-Qurʾān, Al-Adhkār, and Al-Īdāḥ fil-manāsik.

In the year 676 A.H he went back to Nawā, after having returned all the books he had borrowed from the national library.  He visited his teacher’s graves, prayed for them and cried.  He also visited his friends who were alive, and bid them farewell for ‘traveling’.  After visiting his father, he went to Baitul-Maqdis and Khalīl (Palestine).  He then returned to Nawa where he fell ill and passed away on the 24th of Rajab.  When the news of his demise reached Damascus, the city and its surroundings were over-taken by weeping.  The Muslims were overtaken by grief.  The Chief Qāḍī ʿIzzuddīn Muḥammad bin-Ṣāʾigh went with a group of his companions to Nawā for his funeral prayer.  A group praised him through poetic eulogies, among which Muḥammad bin-Aḥmad bin-ʿUmar al-Ḥanafī al-Irbilī.      

His Book Riyādul-Ṣāliḥīn

In his own paraphrased words, he describes this book of his as:

‘It contains encouragement and warnings, and a complete set of etiquettes for the seeker.  It only contains rigorously authentic aḥādīth, with each chapter starting with verses from the Qurʾān, with short explanations where warranted’.  

He also says: ‘I am hopeful that for those who direct their attention to it, it will prove to be a drive towards a variety of good actions, and a shield from base and destructive actions. 

Ibn ʿAllān and his commentary Dalīlul-Fāliḥīn

Muḥammad ʿAlī bin-Muḥammad ʿAllān al-Ṣiddīqī Al-Shāfiʿī.  Born in Makka in 996 A.H.  He was a muffassir, a reviver of the Sunna in the Ḥijāz, and taught the Ṣaḥīḥ of Al-Bukhārī from beginning to end in the middle of the Kaʿba.  He took knowledge from 50 scholars of Makka al-Mukarrama, as well as from the ʿulamāʾ who came to Makka from different corners of the world.  Al-Muḥibī says about him: ‘He was an Īmām, trustworthy and unique among his contemporaries for his knowledge, memory, precision and mastery of the ḥadīth of Rasūlullāh .  He would quote previous commentators from memory, in a manner which would leave listeners fascinated.  He was similar to Al-Suyūṭī in his expertise in the field of ḥadīth’.

He taught the Ṣaḥīh of Al-Bukhārī between Maghrib and ʿIshāʾ in the Ḥaram. Every night, he would compose a khuṭbah fit to the the context of the ḥadīth he would teach that same evening.  Allāh granted him the honor of concluding a complete teaching of the Bukhārī in the middle of the honored Kaaʿba.   He passed away at the age of 62 years, the 21st of Dhul-Ḥijja 1057 A.H.

Dalīlul-Fāliḥīn is the first commentary on Riyādūl-Ṣāliḥīn (6 volumes), and Ibn-ʿAllān is also the only known commentator of Kitābul-adhkār of Imām Al-Nawawī.     

This is a translation of his work

– باب وجوب صوم رمضان وبيان فضل الصيام وما يتعلق به

Chapter on the obligation of fasting Ramaḍān, and expounding on the virtues of fasting and of the actions which are related to this month

In this opening section, the author intends to familiarize the Muslims with the origins of the obligation of fasting in Ramadan.  It is a succinct, yet very meaningful introduction which benefits Muslims in all levels of knowledge of Islam.

The actions related to this month i.e iʿtikāf and the increasing performance of various virtuous deeds.

Ṣaum, linguistically means, to refrain from something.  In Islām it means to refrain from food at a particular time and in a specific manner.

The obligation of fasting in Ramaḍān is so heavily evidenced by the Qurʾān, the Sunna and the consensus [ijmāʿ] for every Muslim that the person who denies its obligation is considered a disbeliever, except if one is excused by being new to Islām or were brought up in a rural area which is far from the ʿulamāʾ [scholars]. 

قال الله تعالى: “يَا أيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ” إلى قوله تعالى: “شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدىً لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ [479] وَمَنْ كَانَ مَرِيضاً أوْ عَلَى سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أيَّامٍ أُخَرَ” الآية (البقرة:183-185).

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ﴿

“O you who believe”

Allāh has first honored the Muslims here by addressing them directly and is calling to the believers through their most noble attribute, their belief. 

 كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ ﴿

“the fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you”

This is a form of encouragement because of the burdensome nature of fasting on one’s ego.  When a matter is difficult, knowing others are sharing with you in difficulty, eases the burden. Ramaḍān was not prescribed to the previous nations. It is a distinguishing feature of this Ummah as a means of honoring its Nabī Muḥammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).  Therefore, the similitude drawn in this verse refers to the act of fasting, not to Ramaḍān itself. 

 لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ  ﴿

“so that you may be mindful”

of disobedience, because fasting restricts the paths of the shayṭān.

 أَيَّامًا مَعْدُودَاتٍ ﴿

“for days few in number”

This is mentioned to encourage towards fasting, because the days will feel “few” and light in difficulty once one has started.

 فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ﴿

“However, should any one of you be sick or on a journey, then (he should fast) a number of other days (equal to the missed ones)”

If one breaks their fast due to sickness or traveling, then it is an obligation to make up for those days outside of Ramāḍān.

 وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ﴿

“and those who have the strength, (still, they do not opt for fasting,) on them there is a fidyah (compensation), that is, the feeding of a poor person”

In the beginning of Islām, Muslims were given a choice between fasting and feeding a poor person every day.  This was subsequently abrogated.

فَمَنْ تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَهُ ۚ وَأَنْ تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ ۖ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿

“Then whoever does good voluntarily, that is better for him. However, that you fast is better for you, if you only knew”

By feeding more than one person every day, then that is better for him.  However, fasting is better for those of you who are capable, if only you were aware of the virtues of fasting.  

﴿ شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَنْ كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ

“The month of Ramaḍān is the one in which the Qur’ān was revealed as guidance for mankind, and as clear signs that show the right way and distinguish between right and wrong. So those of you who witness the month must fast in it. But the one who is sick, or is on a journey (should fast) as much from other days (as he missed)”

This is the month of Ramaḍān in which the Qurʾān was descended.  Before the advent of prophethood of the Nabi SAW the Quran resided in the seventh sky, in what is called the Ummul-Kitab [the original book].  On Laylatul-qadr it was descended in its entirety to the first sky.  From there, Jibril revealed it in portions to the Nabi SAW over the course of 23 years.   This is the best month. 

The Qurʾān is characterized as being guiding, with clear verses which guide towards the truth through their commands.  It also separates truth from falsehood.  Whoever among you is not traveling during this month, and is not ill as to make fasting difficult or harmful, then they should fast.  The fact that the person who is not traveling is not mentioned in this verse, provides clear evidence that it abrogates the previous verse which provides a choice between fasting and feeding the poor.    

﴿ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

“Allah intends (to provide) ease for you and does not intend (to create) hardship for you. All this is so that you may complete the number (of fasts as prescribed) and proclaim the Takbīr of Allah for having guided you, and (so) that you may be grateful”

It is because Allāh wishes ease for you that He has allowed you to break your fast when traveling or in illness.  He also wishes you to complete the requirements of fasting by replacing the days of the month which you have missed due to illness or travel.  He also wishes that you glorify Him for having made fasting an obligation, and for having shown leniency in the presence of an excuse.  The takbīrāt of the night of ʿĪd are what is meant by “Glorify Him”.  He finally wishes you to thank him for His bounties, or again for showing leniency by allowing you to break your fast.

This commentary of the above verses is quoted from Jāmiʿul-Bayān (Tafsīr Al-Qurṭubī).              

وأما الأحاديث فقد تقدمت في الباب الذي قبله

These are the verses of Qurʾān from which the obligation of fasting in Ramaḍān is derived.  As for the relevant aḥādīth, several have been mentioned in the preceding chapter.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Mukhtar Ba is a Muslim man in his early forties, who hopes one day to become among the Ṣāliḥīn. He has a strong interest in continuously acquiring and perusing Islamic knowledge. An Industrial engineer by profession, he has strived to assiduously seek sacred knowledge along with his professional activities since the early 2000s. This interest has led him to study with contemporary senior scholars in Mauritania and Senegal, his home countries. He has studied mainly the following subjects: Māliki Fiqh, Arabic grammar, Seerah Nabawiyya, Hadith, Aqeeda and Tasawwuf. He takes a particular interest in Tafsir of Quran, and has translated one volume (out of 6) of a classical Tafsir by a Senegalese scholar of the 20th century, organized in a similar fashion to the Jalalayn. One of his areas of interest is analyzing the intersection between modern issues and traditional sources of Islamic knowledge. He currently resides in Canada.

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