He who fasts has two joys

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “He who fasts has two joys: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord. The change in the breath of the mouth of the one who fasts is sweeter to Allah than the smell of musk.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Commentary:

The above Hadith informs us that fasting brings about two great occasions of joy and happiness for the fasting person: one in this life and that is when the fasting person breaks his fast with what Allah has allowed for him of foods and drinks. As for the other, it is in the Hereafter, and that is when the person receives the rewards for his fast. We shall now discuss these two joys in more detail:

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) saying “The fasting person has two occasions for joy…” This does not mean that the fasting person experiences no other joys aside from these two. It is just that these two particular occasions of joy are exclusive to a fasting person and are experienced by no one else.

The fasting person experiences the first occasion of joy when he eats and drinks after a full day of self-restraint, patience, and obedience seeking Allah’s reward.

He experiences the second occasion of joy when he meets his Lord after a full lifetime of fasting and seeking Allah’s reward every time the month of Ramadan called upon him as an honoured guest.

The first of these two joys comes every night in Ramadan when the Sun sets and the fasting person stretches out his hand to eat a sweet date or take a sip of cool, refreshing water to relieve his hunger and thirst.

And why should he not feel joy at this moment? He had expended every effort throughout the day only for his Lord’s pleasure and forbade himself his share of food and drink, seeking Allah’s eternal and everlasting reward.

It is the joy of having control over the demands of one’s own body and ascendancy over the everyday habits of life. It is, in this way, a spiritual joy, an exuberance that comes with the appearance of every Ramadan and with the exercise of goodly patience.

It is also the joy of having successfully carried out the command of our Lord. When He asked us to abandon our food, we abandoned it. When He called upon us to abstain from quenching our thirsts, we abstained from it.

As for the second occasion of joy, it is an experience like no other, reminiscent of the joy felt when meeting someone who is most beloved. It is the meeting of the fasting person with his Lord who had helped him to carry out his fast and had blessed him with success in doing so, and who had promised him for his fast the best of rewards that He has kept in store for him.

This is an experience of joy by which all the pains and sorrows of life are forever forgotten. It is an overwhelming joy. On that day, the person who had fasted during his worldly life will be entitled to rejoice in it. However, this will be the case only as long as he had restrained his hands from sinful deeds and his tongue from evil words and thereby safeguarded his fasting from becoming bereft of blessings.

The above Hadith also informs us that the smell emanating from the mouth of the fasting person, which may sometimes be a foul smell, is more beloved to Allah than the scent of musk. This is because this change of breath is the result of a deed that Allah loves, and He therefore loves the resulting smell as well.

And Allah knows best!

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