Inner Dimensions of Fasting according to the Jistiyyah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh al-Ishraq (q.s.) wrote, “The visionary will understand the implication completely, learning much from a few hints.  He will have patience to be resolute in all matters, the secret of this patience being entrusted to the one who holds the authority to teach the book.  He will be characterised by Nearness to Allah (s.w.t.), a spare diet and little sleep, supplication to Allah (s.w.t.) to Ease the Path for him and a heart made refined by refined thoughts.”

The real fast, according to the Jistiyyah, is the renunciation of all religious and worldly desires.  The desire of Paradise, and of worldly wealth and position should be avoided.  The love of anyone else except Allah (s.w.t.) and the desire for Paradise are the things, which break the fast.  The people who keep the fast abstain from eating and drinking.  But this is not the real fast.  It is an unreal fast.  Such a fast does not imply the renunciation of things other than Allah (s.w.t.).  The idea of self continues to dominate.  Such a fast has this much of utility that an individual comes to realise the pangs of hunger and thirst of other people, thus enabling him to extend his sympathy to the sufferers.

Shah Wali’ullah (q.s.) of Delhi discussed the inner dimensions of the fast.  He told us, ‘When a person tries to subjugate the lower soul and eliminate its bad qualities, his act will take on a sanctified form in the World of Images.  Among the purest of the gnostics is the one who concentrates on this form, for he is furnished with knowledge from the unseen world and achieves union with the Divine Essence because of transcendence and sanctification.  This is the meaning of ‘Fasting is done for My Sake and I Reward it.’’”


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