Dictionary / Arabic - Turkish Terminology

SAWM – صوم


Literally: Abstinence.

Sawm is a form of ibâdah which has to be performed annually, in the month of Ramadhan. One of the Five Pillars of Islam. The outward form of sawm is abstinence from eating and drinking from morning till sunset. The inner state of sawm is the renunciation of all things that Allah has forbidden, directly or indirectly.



The Second Section, which is the Second Risale About the Noble Ramadhan

[For it has been discussed briefly about the shaâ’er of Islam at the end of the First Section,  in this Second Section that is about the Noble Ramadhan, which is the most brilliant and splendid amongst the shaâ’er, some of the hikmahs of it will be mentioned.

This Second Section consists of Nine Subtle Points, which explains nine of the numerous hikmahs of the Noble Ramadhan.]

بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِى اُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَ بَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَ الْفُرْقَانِ1

First Subtle Point: The sawm in the Noble Ramadhan is one of the foremost in the five pillars of Islam. Also, it is one of the greatest of the shaâ’er of Islam.2 There are many hikmahs in the sawm in the Noble Ramadhan which look to both Janâb-i Haqq's Rubûbiyyah, and to man's social life, his personal life and the tarbiyyah of his nafs, and to his shukr for Ilahî ni’mahs. One of the many instances of hikmah in sawm from the point of view of Janâb-i Haqq's Rubûbiyyah is as follows:

Janâb-i Haqq created the face of the earth in the form of a table laden with ni’mahs, and arranged on the table every sort of ni’mah in a form of مِنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَحْتَسِبُ3 in this way stating the perfection of His Rubûbiyyah, Rahmâniyyah and Rahîmiyyah. Human beings are unable to discern clearly the haqiqah of this situation while in the sphere of causes, under the veil of ghaflah, and they sometimes forget it. However, during the month of Ramadhan, the people of îmân suddenly become like a well drawn-up army. As sunset approaches, they display an attitude like ‘ubûdiyyah as though, having been invited to the Pre-Eternal Sultân's banquet, they are awaiting the command of "Fall to and help yourselves!" They are responding to that compassionate, illustrious, and universal Rahmâniyyah with comprehensive, exalted, and orderly ‘ubûdiyyah. Do you think those who do not participate in such elevated ‘ubûdiyyah and noble bounties are worthy to be called human beings?

Second Subtle Point: One of the many hikmah in the sawm of the blessed month of Ramadhan with respect to shukr for Janâb-i Haqq's ni’mahs is as follows:

As is stated in the First Word, a price is required for the foods a tray-bearer brings from a royal kitchen. But, to give a tip to the tray-bearer, and to suppose those priceless ni’mah to be valueless and not to recognize the one who bestowed them would be the greatest foolishness.

Janâb-i Haqq has spread innumerable sorts of ni’mahs over the face of the earth for mankind, in return for which He wishes shukr, as the price of those ni’mahs. The apparent causes and possessors of the ni’mahs are like tray-bearers. We pay a certain price to them and are indebted to them, and even though they do not merit it, are over-respectful and grateful to them. Whereas the True Mun’im is infinitely more deserving of shukr than those causes which are merely the means for the ni’mah. To thank Him, then, is to recognize that the ni’mahs come directly from Him; it is to appreciate their worth and to perceive one's own need for them.

Sawm in the Noble Ramadhan, then, is the key to a true, sincere, extensive, and universal shukr. For at other times of the year, most of those who are not in difficult circumstances do not realize the value of many ni’mahs since they do not experience real hunger. Those whose stomachs are full and especially if they are rich, do not understand the degree of ni’mah there is in a piece of dry bread. But when it is the time of iftâr, the sense of taste testifies that the dry bread is a most valuable Ilahî ni’mah in the eyes of a mu’min. During the Noble Ramadhan, everyone from the monarch to the destitute, manifests a ma’nawî shukr through understanding the value of those ni’mahs.4

Furthermore, since eating is prohibited during the day, they will say: "Those ni’mahs do not belong to me. I am not free to eat them, for they are another's property and gift. I await his command." They will recognize the ni’mah to be ni’mah and so will be giving a ma’nawî shukr. Thus, sawm in this way is in many respects like a key to shukr that is man's true duty.

Third Subtle Point: One of the many hikmah in sawm from the point of view of man's social life is as follows:

Human beings have been created differently with regard to their livelihoods. As a consequence of the difference, Janâb-i Haqq invites the rich to assist the poor,5 so that through the hunger experienced in sawm, the rich can truly understand the pains and hunger which the poor suffer. If there was no sawm, there would be many rich who perform ‘ibâdah to their nafs unable to perceive just how grievous is hunger and poverty and how needy of compassion are those who suffer them.

From this aspect, compassion for one's fellow men is an essential of true shukr. Whoever a person is, there will always be someone poorer than himself in some respect. He is responsible to be compassionate towards that person. If his nafs was not compelled to suffer hunger, he would be unable to give the person -by means of compassion- the help and assistance which he is obliged to offer. And even if he was able, it would be deficient, for he would not have truly experienced the state of hunger in his nafs.

Fourth Subtle Point: One of the many hikmah in sawm in the Noble Ramadhan with respect to tarbiyyah of the nafs is as follows:

Nafs wants to be free and independent and considers itself to be thus. According to the dictates of its fitrah, it even desires an imaginary rubûbiyyah and to act as it pleases. It does not want to admit that it is being tarbiyyah through innumerable ni’mahs. Especially if it possesses wealth and power in this world, and if ghaflah also encourages it, it will devour Allah's ni’mah like a usurping, thieving animal.

Thus, in the Noble Ramadhan, everyone’s nafs, from the richest to the poorest, understand that it does not own itself, but is totally owned; that it is not free, but is an ‘abd. It understands that if it receives no command, it is unable to do the simplest and easiest thing, it cannot even stretch out its hand towards the water. Its imaginary rubûbiyyah is therefore shattered; it performs its ‘ubûdiyyah and begins to shukr, its true duty.

Fifth Subtle Point: One of the many hikmah in the sawm of the Noble Ramadhan from the point of view of improving the conduct of the nafs and giving up its rebellious habits is as follows:

The human nafs forgets itself through ghaflah. It cannot see the limitless impotence, infinite poverty, and uttermost deficiency within its essence and it does not wish to see them. And it does not think of just how weak it is, and how subject to transience and to disasters, nor of the fact that it consists merely of flesh and bones, which quickly decline and are dispersed.

Simply, it assaults the world as though it possessed a body made of steel and imagined itself to be undying and eternal. It hurls itself onto the world with intense ambition and greed and passionate attachment and love. It is captivated by anything that gives its pleasure or that benefits it. Moreover, it forgets its Khâliq Who does tarbiyyah it with perfect compassion, and it does not think of the results of its life and its life in the âkhirah. Indeed, it wallows in bad moral

However, sawm in the month of Noble Ramadhan awakens even the most ghâfil and obstinate to their weakness, impotence, and poverty. By means of hunger, they think of their stomachs; they understand the need therein. They realize how unsound are their weak bodies, and perceive how needy they are for kindness and compassion. So they abandon the nafs' pharaohism, and through recognizing their utter impotence and poverty, perceive a desire to take refuge at the Ilahî Court. And they prepare themselves to knock at the door of rahmah with the hand of ma’nawî shukr. So long as ghaflah has not destroyed their hearts, that is.

Sixth Subtle Point: One of the many hikmah in sawm of the Noble Ramadhan from the point of view of the revelation of Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm and with respect to the fact that the month of Noble Ramadhan was the most important time in its revelation, is as follows:

Since Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm was revealed in the month of Ramadhan, to shun the lower demands of the nafs and trivialities and to resemble the malâikah state by abstaining from food and drink in order to greet that samâwî address in the best manner, is to attain to a holy state. And to read and listen to the Qur'an as though it was just revealed, to listen to the Ilahî address in it as if it was being revealed that very instant, to listen to that address as though hearing it from Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm, indeed, from the Hazrat Jabrâil, or from the Pre-Eternal Mutakallim, is to attain to that same holy state.6 To act in this way is to act as an interpreter and to cause others to listen to it and in some degree to demonstrate the hikmah of the Qur'an's revelation.

Indeed, it is as if the world of Islam becomes a mosque during the Noble Ramadhan. In every corner of that mighty mosque, millions of hâfidhes cause the dwellers on the earth to hear the samâwî address. Each Ramadhan displays the âyah شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِى اُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ7 in luminous shining manner. It proves that Ramadhan is the month of the Qur'an. Some of the members of the vast jamâ’ah listen to the hâfidhes with khushû’, while others read it themselves.

Following the appetites of the base nafs while in a sacred mosque that is such, and quitting that luminous condition through eating and drinking, is truly loathsome and makes such a person the target of the ma’nawî aversion of the jamâ’ah in the mosque. In the same way, people who oppose those holding sawm during the Noble Ramadhan are to the same extent the target of the ma’nawî aversion and disgust of the whole ‘âlam of Islam.

Seventh Subtle Point: One of the many hikmah in the sawm of Ramadhan with respect to mankind's gain and profit, who comes to this world in order to cultivate and trade for the âkhirah, is as follows:

The reward for actions in the Noble Ramadhan is a thousandfold. According to Hadith, each letter of Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm has ten merits; each is counted as ten merits and will yield ten fruits in Jannah.8 While during the Noble Ramadhan, each letter bears not ten fruits but a thousand, and âyahs like Âyah al-Kursi thousands for each letter, and on Jumas in Ramadhan it is even more. And on the Night of Qadr, each word is counted as thirty thousand merits.

Indeed, Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm, each of whose letters yield thirty thousand eternal fruits, is like a luminous Tree of Tûbâ that gains for mu’mins in the Noble Ramadhan millions of those eternal fruits. So, come and look at this sacred, eternal profitable trade, then consider it and understand the infinite loss of those who do not appreciate the value of those letters.

To put it simply, the Noble Ramadhan is an extremely profitable display and a market for the trade of the âkhirah. It is an extremely fertile piece of land for the crops of the âkhirah. For the growth and flourishing of actions, it is like April showers in the spring. It is like a brilliant holy festival for the parade of mankind's ‘ubûdiyyah in the face of the sovereignty of Ilahî rubûbiyyah. Since it is thus, mankind has been charged with sawm in order not with ghaflah indulge the animal needs of the nafs like eating and drinking, nor to indulge the appetites lustfully and in trivialities. For, by temporarily rising above animality and quitting the calls of this world, man approaches the malâikah state and enters upon the trade of the âkhirah. And by sawm, he approaches the state of the âkhirah and that of a rûh appearing in bodily form. It is as if man then becomes a sort of mirror reflecting Samadiyyah. Indeed, the Noble Ramadhan comprises and gains a permanent and eternal life in this fleeting world and brief transient life.

Certainly, a single Ramadhan can produce fruits equal to that of a lifetime of eighty years. The fact that, according to the Qur'an, the Night of Qadr is more auspicious than a thousand months is a decisive proof of this.

For example, a monarch may declare certain days to be festivals during his reign, or perhaps once a year. Either on his accession to the throne or on some other days which reflect a glittering manifestation of his sovereignty. On those days, he favours his subjects, not within the general sphere of the law, but with his special bounties and favours, with his presence without veil and his wondrous activities. And he favours with his especial regard and attention those of his nation who are completely loyal and worthy.

In the same way, the Zuljalâl Monarch of eighteen thousand ‘âlam, Who is As-Sultân of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, revealed in the Noble Ramadhan the illustrious decree of Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm, which looks to the eighteen thousand ‘âlam. It is a requirement of hikmah, then, that Ramadhan should be like special Ilahî festival, a Rabbânî display, and a spiritual gathering. Since Ramadhan is such a festival, Allah has commanded man to sawm, in order to disengage him to a degree from base and animal activities.

The most excellent sawm is to make the human senses and organs, like the eyes, ears, heart, imagination and thoughts, holding sawm together with the stomach. That is, to withdraw them from all haram things and from trivia, and to urge each of them to their particular ‘ubûdiyyah.

For example, to ban the tongue from lying, ghiybah, and obscene language and to make it also hold sawm. And to busy it with activities like reciting the Qur'an, dhikr, tasbîh, salawât, and istighfâr. And for example, to prevent the eyes looking at non-mahrams, and the ears from hearing evil things, and to use the eyes to take lessons and the ears to listen to the haqq words and to the Qur'an, is to make other organs hold sawm too. As a matter of fact, since the stomach is the largest factory, if it has an enforced holiday from work through sawm, the other small workshops will be made to follow it easily.

Eighth Subtle Point: One of the many hikmah in the Noble Ramadhan from the point of view of man's personal life is as follows:

It is a physical and ma’nawî diet as a sort of most important medicine and medically a diet. When man's nafs eats and drinks just as it pleases, it is both harmful for man's physical life medically, and when it hurls itself on everything it encounters without considering whether it is halal or haram, it quite simply poisons his ma’nawî life. Further, it is difficult for such a nafs to obey the heart and the rûh. It wilfully takes the reins into its own hands, and then man cannot ride it, it rather rides man. By the means of sawm in the Noble Ramadhan, it becomes accustomed to a sort of diet. It tries to riyâzah and learns to listen to commands.

Furthermore, it will not be attracting illness to that miserable, weak stomach by cramming it with food before the previous consignment has been digested. And by abandoning halal by the means of command, it will acquire the ability to listen to the commands of the Sharî’ah and the mind for avoiding haram. It will try not to destroy his ma’nawî life.

Moreover, the great majority of mankind frequently suffer from hunger. Man, therefore, needs hunger and riyâzah, which are training for patience and endurance. Sawm in the Noble Ramadhan is patient endurance of a period of hunger that continues for fifteen hours, or for twenty-four if the sahûr not eaten, and it is a discipline and a riyâzah. That is to say, sawm is also a cure for impatience and lack of endurance, which double man's afflictions.

Furthermore, the factory of the stomach has many workers. And many of the human senses are connected to it. If the nafs does not have a rest from activity during the day for a month, it makes the factory's workers and those senses forget their particular ‘ibâdah. It makes them busy with itself so that they remain under its tyranny. Also, it confuses the rest of the senses of human with the clangour and steam of the ma’nawî factory's machinery. It continuously attracts their attention to itself, making them temporarily forget their exalted duties. It is because of this that for centuries many of the people of walâyah have accustomed themselves to riyâzah and to eating and drinking little in order to be perfected.

However, through sawm in the Noble Ramadhan, the factory's workers understand that they were not created for the factory only. While the rest of the senses, instead of delighting in the lowly amusements of the factory, in the Noble Ramadhan they take pleasure in amusements pertaining to the rûh like malâikah and fix their gazes on them. It is for this reason that in the Noble Ramadhan the nûrs, faydh and ma’nawî joys reflects on the mu’mins which differ according to their degrees. Their subtle faculties, such as the heart, rûh, mind and sirr, make great progress and advancement in that blessed month by means of sawm. They laugh with innocent joy in spite of the stomach's weeping.

Ninth Subtle Point: One of the hikmah in sawm in the Noble Ramadhan with regard to shattering the nafs' imaginary rubûbiyyah and making known its ‘ubûdiyyah through pointing out its impotence is as follows:

Nafs does not want to recognize its Rabb; it wants its own rubûbiyyah, like Pharaoh. However much torment it suffers, that vein remains in it. It is however destroyed through hunger. And so, sawm in the Noble Ramadhan strikes direct blows at the nafs' pharaoh-like front, shattering it. It demonstrates its impotence, weakness and poverty. It makes it realize that it is an ‘abd.

Among the riwâyât of Hadith is the following:

Janâb-i Haqq said to the nafs:

- “What am I and what are you?”

The nafs replied:

- “I am myself and You are Yourself.”

So He punished it and cast it into Jahannam, then asked it again. Again it replied:

-"Ana ana, anta anta."9

However He punished it, it did not give up its ananiyyah. Finally He punished it with hunger. That is, He left it hungry. Then again He asked it:

-"Man ana? Wa mâ anta?"10

And the nafs replied:

- وَاَنَا عَبْدُكَ الْعَاجْزُ - اَنْتَ رَبِّى الرَّحِيمُ   That is: “You are my Rabb Who is Rahîm and I am your impotent ‘abd.

اَللّٰهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ صَلاَةً تَكُونُ لَكَ رِضَاءً وَ لِحَقِّهِ اَدَاءً بِعَدَدِ ثَوَابِ قِرَائَةِ حُرُوفِ الْقُرْآنِ فِى شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ وَ صَحْبِهِ وَ سَلِّمْ

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّكَ رَبِّ الْعِزَّةِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ وَسَلاَمٌ عَلَى الْمُرْسَلِينَ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ آمِينَ

The Twenty-Ninth Letter


1 [It was the month of Ramadhan in which the Qur'an was revealed as a guide for mankind with clear proofs of hidâyah and furqân (to distinguish between haqq and bâtil)]

2 “The most important among the Sunnah as-Saniyyah are the Sunnahs which are the symbols of Islam and connected with the shaâ’er. Shaâ’er is an ‘ubûdiyyah concerning the community which are general rights of a sort. As the whole community benefits from one person performing them, so the whole community is responsible in their abandonment” The Eleventh Flash- Sixth Subtle Point

“Just as there are two sorts of rights, 'personal rights' and 'general rights,' which are considered to be a sort of the rights of Allah, so too in the matters of the Sharî’ah, certain matters concern individuals, and others, with regard to generality, they concern the public and are called 'Shaâ’er of Islam.' Since these Shaâ’er concern all, all participate in them. To interfere in them without the consent of the public is an infringement of the public's rights. The most minor of those Shaâ’er (a matter of the status of Sunnah) is the equivalent of the greatest matter in regard to importance. They directly concern the whole ‘âlam of Islam. Those who are trying to break the luminous chain to which all the great figures of Islam since the Era of the Prophet (asm) till now have been bound, and to destroy it and corrupt it, and those who assist them,  should dwell on what a ghastly error they are making. If they possess the smallest grain of consciousness, they should tremble.” The Letters ( 464 )

3 (From whence he does not expect,)

4 “Out of His perfect generosity, Janâb-i Haqqmakes a poor man understand the pleasure of His ni’mah the same as a rich man, and a beggar the same as a king. Indeed, the pleasure a poor man obtains from a dry piece of black bread through hunger and being frugal is greater than the pleasure a king or a rich man obtains from the choicest baklava eaten with the weariness and lack of appetite resulting from waste.” The Flashes ( 194 )

5 “the order of society is dependent on there being no vacuum between the classes of people. The upper classes should not grow distant from the lower classes, nor the rich from the poor, to the extent that the lines of communication are broken between them. But because the being wâjib of zakât and the being haram of usury and interest have been neglected, a yawning gap has opened up between the classes, and the upper classes have grown so distant from the lower classes that no links between them remain. It is because of this that instead of respect, obedience, and love ascending from the lower classes to the upper classes, shouts of revolution arise, and shrieks of envy and cries of hatred and revenge. Similarly, instead of kindness, generosity, and favours descending from the upper to the lower classes, the fires of tyranny and oppression, and volleys of insult rain down on them. Alas! While the qualities of the elite should be the cause of modesty and compassion, unfortunately they give rise to pride and arrogance. And while the powerlessness and poverty of the poor necessitate kindness and benevolence, they lead to slavery and degradation. If you want a witness for what I say, take a look at the civilized world; there you will find as many witnesses as you could wish for. The only means of reconciliation between the classes, which will bring them closer together, is the payment of zakât, one of the pillars of Islam, and an elevated, far-reaching rule in the administration of society.” Signs of Miraculousness ( 53 )

6 “KNOW, O FRIEND, that each melody of the Qur’an assumes a new attitude and mood according to the level of the audience it is guiding. Try to assume the mood of the intermediaries ranging from Jabrâil ‘alayhissalâm, who brought it to the Prophet, to the one from whom you hear it directly. While listening to its recitation, try to hear it as if you were listening to the Prophet reciting it at the summit of nubuwwah to all people and other beings. Then assume the manner of Jabrâil while He recites it to the Prophet (asm), on the “highest horizon.” Finally, try to hear it as if you were listening to it from behind 70,000 veils from the Pre-Eternal Mutakallim, Who speaks to the Prophet at Qab Qawsayn.” Al-Mathnawi al-Nuri (194 )

7 (It was the month of Ramadhan in which the Qur'an was bestowed from on high)

8 “O the man in ghaflah! See Janâb-i Haqq’s fadl and generosity! Although it would be justice to record one evil as a thousand and a single good deed as one or not at all, He records a single evil as one, and a single good deed as ten, and sometimes as seventy or seven hundred, or even sometimes as seven thousand. You will also understand from this Remark that to be sent to Jahannam, which is so dreadful, is retribution for the deed and pure justice, while to be sent to Jannah is pure fadl.” The Words ( 329 )

9 (I am myself and You are Yourself.)

10 (Who am I and who are you?)

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