What is meant with firm belief and hope in the following hadith?
- From Abu Hurairah RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ، إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا، غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
“Whoever fasted the month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith (i.e. belief) and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven,”
Sahih al-Bukhari (38) and Sahih Muslim (760)
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Imam al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani commented on the above hadith, what is meant by sincere faith is firm belief regarding the rewards of the obligation of fasting. As for the meaning of hope, it is sincere hope in seeking the rewards of Allah SWT. Furthermore, Imam al-Khattabi said, what is meant as hope is azimah, which means, someone who is fasting and is desperately wishing to receive the rewards from Allah SWt for himself without feeling it be burdensome throughout his days. (See Fath al-Bari, 4/115)
Furthermore, Imam al-Munawi said the meaning of faith is believing in the rewards of Allah SWT and worshipping Him with the intention of seeking the rewards and doing it only for the sake of Allah and not due to riya’. The reason is, sometimes a mukallaf will perform acts of worship while thinking they are doing good, but in truth, they are insincere. Sometimes the reason for their worship is due to fear or riya’. (See Faidh al-Qadhir, 6/160)
Imam al-Nawawi said the real meaning of faith is someone with a firm belief (in their hearts) about the obligation and rewards from Allah SWT for fasting or enlivening the night. And for the meaning of hope, is sincere hope in the rewards from Allah SWT and the intention of fasting only for the sake of Allah SWT. (See Syarh Sahih al-Bukhari, 4/21)
Another benefit for those who are fasting from the above hadith is, all their sins are forgiven if they perform the fast with firm belief and hope to Allah SWT as we have explained the meaning of it above. Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani asserted that the fasting must be free from riya’ and other factors that could affect its acceptance. However, only minor sins will be forgiven for one of the prerequisites for a major sin to be forgiven is true repentance towards Allah SWT.
To conclude, the worship of fasting should be performed with firm belief and hope to Allah SWT so that we will be forgiven for all our past sins and transgressions. Furthermore, fasting is also one of significant worship, for Allah SWT Himself will determine the rewards of each fasting performed. Lastly, may Allah SWT make us be among those who have consciousness towards Him and accept our fast and may with the acceptance of our fast, all our past sins will be forgiven. Amin.