Fasting of the Ecstatics

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh Abu Muhammad Ruzbihan al-Baqli (q.s.) was a poet, mystic, and Sufi from Fasa in Fars.  He was a noted ecstatic and of the ahl al-hal.  Shaykh al-Baqli (q.s.) wrote a commentary of the Qur’an on the subject of fasting.  It is a difficult read but well worth it for those of gnosis in fasting.  The translation is by Dr. Alan Godlas.

O ye who believe!  Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self-restraint.― (Surah al-Baqarah:183)

According to Shaykh al-Baqli (q.s.), this is a call to the companions of the hearts, ashab al-qulub and an address to the seekers of the crescent, hilal, of witnessing in the regions of the heavens, of the unmanifest realms.   For the people of certainty, it is an obligatory duty for to abstain, imsak, from the existent being, kawn, primarily, aswlan, because of involvement in the seeking of witnessing.  It is necessary to fast from the familiar things of physical existence, malufat att-thabiah, in the station of servanthood, just as it was decreed for the messengers, prophets, gnostics, and lovers before; so that we might be freed from the dirt of humanness and arrive at the stations of security, amn, and nearness.

(Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later.  For those who can do it (with hardship) is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent.  But he that will give more of his own free-will―it is better for him, and it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. (Surah al-Baqarah:184)

They are the days of the time of the world.  By means of this Address, He Incites His friends, awliya’, to abandon, for a limited time, indulging in pleasantries, getting married, sexual intercourse, socialising, being frivolous, the delights of life in all kinds of lusts, drinking cold drinks, and wearing fine clothes.  The awliya’ are to be patient, with the lusts of the world, since indeed they are days that will come to an end soon, so that the fast may be broken by means of His pre-temporal meeting and life in His Generous Proximity.

Whoever among those who are cut off, is ill on account of His Separation, furqati. or is on the journey of estrangement, wahshah, from His Union, wuswlati, he must make up the days of weakness, al-fatrah, after his reaching the station of nearness, qurbah, and witnessing, mushahadah.

Those who are capable of abstaining from existent being, al-kawn, - characterized by ascetic withdrawal, zuhd, from the world throughout the days of his life, while not performing the action of the folk of capability due to the paucity of his Receiving Grace, tawfiq, and guidance - there is a sacrifice.  It is the service of awliya’ by means of their expending their selves and wealth, mal, for those who have abandoned the world to its folk.  And that is the allusion of His Words with regards the feeding of the indigent.  The indigent are those who accidentally encounter the station of variegating, talwin, without reaching the station of stability, tamkin.

Whoever, sacrifices, compensating for his inability, ajz, to fulfill the truth of pious action, mu'amalah, - in excess of the obligatory duty that is necessary for him - sacrificing something  from that which is available, mawjud, to him after enduring, muqasat, what was lacking, al-mafqud, it is better for him than seeking dispensations.  The awliya’ must abstain from what the folk of the world are preoccupied with by establishing, thubat, their state and the strength, quwwah, of will, iradhah.  Th gain is gnosis of the joy, farah, of those who fast, both a joy in the world by means of unveiling, mukashafah, and a joy in the hereafter by pure witnessing, bi sirr al-mushahadah.

Ramadhan is the (month) in which was Sent down the Qur'an as a guide to mankind also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong).  So everyone of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spent it in fasting, but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later.  Allah Intends every facility for you.  He does not want to put you to difficulties.  (He Wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has Guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful. (Surah al-Baqarah:185)

Ramadhan is a month in which there is the burning of the hearts, akbad, of the folk of the direct encounter, ahl al-ayan, due to ardour, shawq, for witnessing the Infinitely Compassionate, ar-Rahman.  Hence, the Quran was Revealed in it on account of the tenderness, riqqah, of the hearts of those addressed, a tenderness deriving from the fires of striving, mujahadah, and from the unveiling of the lights of witnessing.  It was said the Quran was Revealed in the month of Ramadhan for the following reasons: on account of its excellence, God's Choosing it out of all the months, fasting in it being made obligatory, and the rising during its nights with the Quran being made a sunnah.

Whoever comes during it to the station of seeking, thalab, let him wean himself of suckling from the physical world, ath-thabiah, for the sake of reaching the station of rejoicing, tharab.   Whoever witnesses the month, fasts from drink and food; and whoever witnesses Allah (s.w.t.), fasts from violations, mukhalafat, and sins, atham.

Shaykh al-Wasithi (q.s.), in a hal, said, whoever witnesses the month, let him fast during it and whoever witnesses Allah (s.w.t.), shahidani, and witnesses directly, shahadah, His Command, let him fast during all of His Moments, awqat, from violations.  And whoever witnesses the month while having the vision, ruyah, of the affirmation of Divine Majesty, at-Tazhim, let him abstain in it from foolish talk, laghw, and vilification, lahw.  And whoever witnesses the month while having the vision of his acting, fil, and fasting, Allah (s.w.t.) has no need for him to abandon his food and drink.  And he is just as the Prophet (s.a.w.) informed, "There are many who fast whose share of fasting is simply hunger and thirst."


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