Podcast–The Ramadan Intention Multiplier Machine

Before Ramadan, we had a small halaqah where we (the adults and kids present) discussed the idea of intentions for fasting. My husband pointed out that one way to maximize rewards in Ramadan is to stack up your intentions. So a person intends to fast because Allah ordered it, and because he seeks Bab ar-Rayyan, and because she wishes to distance herself from the fire, and, and….

The next day, I asked the kids: what if we could create an Intention Multiplier Machine? You take a simple intention: “I am fasting,” and then add on any number of variations.

20170502_145914You do have to be careful not to have conflicting intentions. So for example: “I am praying for Allah,” and, “I am praying because I want others to think I’m a good Muslim.”

The discussion about rewards came up: what if you are promised a reward like some money for fasting or for completing Qur’an reading?

That led to me to discuss my concerns with the idea of rewards–I dislike them for this very reason: that they lead divided intentions and can detract from iklaas (sincerity).

The recording of our discussion can be accessed here at this link: Intention Multiplier Machine Podcast.

This is a good example of a type of discussion I will have with my kids after we have learned some material. A first session would include the discussion of the topic using the relevant verses from the Qur’an or statements of the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam). After that, we will have a session like this one where we mind-map the concept or come up with some other graphic organizer for the content.

In an activity and discussion like this, I am looking for:

  • the ability to use what they have learned in the past and apply it to novel situations
  • the ability to synthesize their knowledge and come up with ways to organize it and relate it to other areas
  • the ability to “think outside the box” and expand their thinking on a subject

I was touched by how my son came up with the point in the bottom of the picture. He was reflecting on the fact that I could not fast due to my health, and so he said that one intention he could make was to be grateful for the ability to fast, since others could not do so. So the actual act of fasting in itself is done out of gratitude and appreciation for one’s health.

Do you have any other ideas for intentions to add to the list? If your kids listen to the discussion, please share their feedback!

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Fruits of Fasting

What do we gain from fasting? If you thought the answer was “taqwa,” you are correct–but there are other benefits the Qur’an mentions. This is a translation of Sh. Kehlan Abdullah Salman’s discussion of these benefits. The original Arabic can be found at the end of the post.


In the Qur’an, Allah mentions three benefits of fasting:

Taqwa (piety)  (لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ)

Shukr (gratitude)  (لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ)

Rushd (guidance)  (لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ)

The First Benefit: Taqwa “So that you may attain piety.” (لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ)

These are the levels of taqwa–various ways we erect a protection between ourselves and undesirable outcomes:

Level 1: Barrier against kufr (disbelief). All Muslims have this characteristic.

Level 2: Barrier against shahawaat (base desires), for these lead to fisq (disobedience) and transgression.

Level 3: Barrier against shubuhaat (doubts), for these lead to innovations.

Level 4: Barrier against permissible actions that are not necessities–this is the level of those who practice zuhd (asceticism, abstaining from unnecessary pleasure).

Level 5: Barrier against anything that distracts you from Allah, and this is the level of the saabiqoon (the “high-level believers”–those foremost in the worship of Allah)

The Second Benefit: Shukr (gratitude). “So that you may be grateful.” (وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ)

Shukr can be in word, or in deed.

Allah says, “Work, O family of David, in gratitude [towards Me].”

In the verses of siyam, Allah mentions both types of gratitude. He says, “that you may magnify Allah because He has guided you” (i.e. shukr via speech), and then, “and so that you may be grateful” (i.e. shukr via action).

One of the fruits of gratitude is that Allah increases your blessings. Allah says: (وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ) “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you are grateful, I will increase you.’”

However, sometimes an increase in one’s worldly blessings can lead a person to become arrogantly disobedient. That is why a person needs rushd (guidance) as well. This leads to the next benefit of fasting:

The Third Benefit: Rushd (guidance, integrity). “That you may be guided.” لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

One of the meanings of rushd is integrity of conduct; good dealings with others. So if a person has taqwa and shukr, and makes du’a to his Lord while his heart and soul are pure, Allah will grant him rushd.

This integrity of conduct (rushd) is something that is expected of every person: leaders, teachers, officials, spouses, and others.

Through this a person will reach true happiness in this world and the Hereafter, whereas if he is thoughtless and reckless, he will ruin his life in this world, and utterly fail in the Hereafter.

And Allah knows best.

من ثمار الصيام

ذكر الله تعالى في آيات الصيام ثلاث ثمرات “لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ” و “لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ” و “لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ”.

لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

من مراتب التقوى:

  1. اتقاء الكفر، وهذه مرتبة يشترك فيها كل المسلمين.
  2. اتقاء الشهوات، لأنها تؤدي إلى الفسق، والعدوان.
  3. اتقاء الشبهات لأنها تقود إلى البدع.
  4. اتقاء فضول المباحات، وهذه درجة الزهاد.
  5. اتقاء كل ما يشغلك عن الله، وهذه درجة السابقين.

وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

الشكر قد يكون بالقول، وقد يكون بالعمل، قال تعالى “اعْمَلُوا آلَ دَاوُودَ شُكْرًا”.

وقد جمع الله بين نوعي الشكر في آيات الصيام فقال “وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ” فهذا شكر بالقول، وقال “وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ” وهذا شكر بالعمل وغيره.

ومن ثمار الشكر الزيادة في الخير، قال تعالى “وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ”. وزيادة الخير قد تطغي صاحبها، فيحتاج معها إلى الرشد.

لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

والرشد من معانيه حُسن التصرف، فكأن العبد إذا اتقى، وشكر، ودعا ربه، ووافق ذلك صفاء في القلب والروح، رزقه الله الرشد.

والرشد مطلوب من الجميع، من الحاكم، والمعلم، والموظف، والزوجين وغيرهم. وفِي هذا سعادة الدنيا والآخرة، كما أن في الطيش خراب الدنيا وخسارة الآخرة.

والله أعلم