Nine Facts Why Ramadhan Fast Is Just a Ploy of Muhammad
Today fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadhan has become more than a religious event, but has developed into a cultural norm or fashion as well. All activities engaging the fast breaking events in larger families and certain community groups have become very meaningful social occasions. The Ramadhan fast was made obligatory at the 2nd year of Muhammad’s emigration to Medina, and since then all Muslims are made obligatory to observe such fast in addition to the (five) compulsory prayer times, all of these purportedly by the explicit instruction of Allah. The one story of the 5 times compulsory prayer was given to Muhammad during his miraculous flight journey to heaven (the Mi’raj) with no quranic text. Whereas another compulsory on fasting came down to Muhammad from heaven, written in Quran Sura Al-Baqarah 183,
“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.”
The story of how Allah commanded to pray five times a day is given clearly in various hadith which recount the Mi’raj night journey. Although it all sounds as fictitious as the notorious 1001 stories of the Arabian nights and is full of contradicting details one with another, Muslims nevertheless truly believe these things. Now, is there any one who know what was the path of Muhammad’s journey in getting the order of Ramadhan fast? Was it truly that Allah Himself who gave Muhammad the rightly fasting order, the legitimate and perfect order came from the heaven? Or was it a wordly ploy only in tailoring his emergency need? The following are some of the facts which are easily observable, but very often glossed over by the Muslims.
Fact # 1: The Islamic fast had never before been observed by the preceding prophets
The Ramadhan fast was actually not a custom known or practiced by the prophets before Muhammad. It is not really a fast to human desires by abstaining from food, drinks and sex etc. It just shifts the times for having food and sex from daytime to nighttime during this month. Instead of reducing or abstaining, excessive amounts of food and drink are consumed, at night and nothing during the day. The fast do not leave anything tangible behind as narrated by Ibn Khuzaimah in the hadith, but it is rather the rescheduling of mealtimes of the day.
“Abstaining from food for My sake, abstaining from drinks for My sake, abstaining from desires for My sake, and abstaining from sex for My sake” (Hadith Ibn Khuzaimah).
Compare this with the fast observed by the “people of the Book” (Jews and Christians), whose fasts are not a rearrangement of mealtimes, but are basically to express “mournful contrition”, sounding the cry of their hearts, a repentance/ request for forgiveness of sins, and a deep concern for bitter life conditions and issues. Therefore, with great humility – even with broken hearts – they deliberately seek the face and mercy of God, getting closer to Him, and abstain from food, drinks and other fleshly desires. This kind of fast is done on an individual basis or in groups, for as long a day, or more time as deemed necessary by them.
Thus, Islamic fast is different and it is not founded on customs already observed by the biblical prophets.
Fact #2: The Ramadhan fast is for show off, while demanding respect from others and expecting to be rewarded.
The Hadith indeed have commanded Muslims to show off their fasting by expressing twice the words “I’m fasting” to anyone fighting them,
Allah’s Apostle said, “Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting.” (Bukhari, Book #31, Hadith #118).
This is a very arrogant defense mechanism! Muslims are not only urged to boast that they are fasting, as if they are holier and on that account, deserving of respect, but also they are to proudly announce their self-righteousness in the midst of a fight. The believer has to assert, I am fasting, as a means to make his opponent feel guilty and thus gain an upper hand. A more sane way would be to say, “This is a holy month so let us make peace.”
As the result of this arrogance Muslims feel it is their right to impose their religious practices on others. Restaurants and businesses are forced to kowtow to Muslim demands and close down during the month of Ramadan, lest they offend Muslims’ religious sensitivity. The Islamists insist that other people should be sensitive and “realize” that they (the Muslims) are fasting and are doing a sacred service, so that they should be treated with great respect. They feel they are special in the eyes of Allah and mankind and thus should receive preferential treatment.
Compare this with the fast in other religions that emphasizes its spiritual nature in utmost humility, without any kind of showing off, or demanding a reward or acknowledgement from others, where it is performed only as a means of nearness to God. No man should receive any special reward, because everything belongs to the Lord, after all. God has already bestowed so much on us, that He even went as far as sacrificing Jesus, and we are not supposed to ask for more. However, He will continue bestowing His grace, just as Jesus had said [NIV Bible]:
“When you fast [not just rearrange the mealtimes!], do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. [They want others to acknowledge them and pay them greater respect.] Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen [it is to be of a private nature, observe in humility, and not demanding anything but accepting with a surrendered heart]; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:16-18).
Fact #3: Muhammad reportedly practiced the 10th of Muharram Fast, which was a Pagan Custom.
Strangely enough, no Muslim knows when their prophet fasted the first time, and how and with whom? Logically, he should already have fasted during the retreat at Hira cave as he was allegedly keen to seek God at that time. We know from the Scriptures that no tangible transformation ever occurs in a person’s life before he fasts in full before God. Look at the examples of Moses, Queen Esther, David, Prophet Jonah, Jesus, etc. All the amazing transformations took place AFTER they completed their prayers with a determined fast. However, such situation has not happened with Muhammad. As a matter of fact, fasting was already well known among the Arabic community before the rise of Islam. It is said that the pagan Quraish tribe had been accustomed to fast during the Ashura day in the times of ignorance (before Islam). Therefore, Muhammad participated in the Ashura fast to honor the sacred day, in an effort to win the hearts of the pagans to accept the Islamic religion (for proof, see next point).
Thus, the initial fast observed by Muhammad was actually a pagan fast, not the Islamic one! That is truly something to be regretted! It is known that the 10th Muharram for Ashura Fast also did not come from Allah, but was a relic of the Quraish pagan tradition. Muhammad observed this pagan fast for a while and was not censured by Allah, until the time he was in Medinah.
Fact #4: Muhammad emulated the Jewish fast in Medinah: Again the Ashura Fast
Muhammad tried hard to please the Quraish tribe by following their traditions, but he never succeeded in becoming their friends. He had already accepted and followed their traditions, including (1) declaring the four “Holy” months as sacred, (2) following the pilgrimage ritual, (3) calling upon the similar name of “Allah”, (4) claiming that the Ka’abah and its Black Stone are sacred, (5) and observing the Ashura fast as well. However, the Quraish continued their enmity with him because he disrespected their gods. When he emigrated to Medina, he turned his attention to the Jews and tried to win them instead.
In fact, since his teenage years Muhammad had a penchant for the Jewish religion as against the heathen philosophy of the Arabs. Since he was a shepherd, Muhammad dreamed of someday becoming a prophet in the footsteps of the Jewish prophets, Moses and David (See Biography of Muhammad, by MH Haekal, page 60). Later his wife Khadijah and Uncle Waraqah bin Naufal also assured him that he is a prophet. He claimed that just as biblical prophet were for the Jews, he had been sent as a prophet for the Meccans.
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet came to Medina and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura [??]. He asked them about that. They replied, “This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Bani Israel from their enemy. So, Moses fasted this day.” The Prophet said, “We have more claim over Moses than you.” So, the Prophet fasted on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to fast (on that day). (Buhkhari # 31, Hadith # 222).
This fast was obligatory. The hadith clearly says that Muhammad made is obligatory on Muslims to emulate the Jews. Although Muhammad’s followers had already had their lunch (Yusuf Qardhawi, Follow the Prophet and Emulate His Fast), he told them to fast for the rest of the day. He wanted to more Jew than the Jews in order to entice the Jews to his religion.
He also adopted the Baitul Maqdis (Jerusalem Temple) the qibla for Muslims to convince the Jews that he is a new prophet from the same line of biblical prophets. He even claimed that his name is prophesized in the Torah as Ahmad, which of course is not true. He strived hard to attract the Jews to his religion, but to no avail.
There is confusion here. How could the Jews and the Pagans observe fast on the same day? Is it possible that at least one of the hadiths reported as shahih is incorrect? If so how many other hadiths labeled sahih are incorrect?
Fact #5: Illiterate Muhammad got confused in Hebrew language, but Allah just kept quiet.
Muhammad was illiterate and could only impress people who are also illiterate and ignorant.
The Hadiths say that Muhammad observed the Ashura fast on the 10th of Muharram, following the Pagan religion of the Quraish, and then in Median, when he learned the Jews also observe their fast in that very day, he ordered his followers to observe it too, claiming they have more rights that the Jews to observer it. How could he have become so mixed up?
We know there is a famous Jewish fast called Yom Kippur on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishri. The only similarity between the two fasts is that it took place on the “10th” calendar day, which happens to be called “Ashura” in Arab and “Assara” in the Hebrew language. Evidently, the Prophet mistook the “Assara” for “Ashura”!
In fact, the Yom Kippur fast has nothing to do with the pagan fast in the month of “Muharram”. Here the illiterate Muhammad made a mistake.
Narrated Abu Musa: The day of ‘Ashura’ was considered as ‘Id day by the Jews. So the Prophet ordered, “I recommend you (Muslims) to fast on this day.” (Bukhari #31, Hadith 223).
So, in Muhammad’s mind he was recommending and ordering the “Ashura” fast Id holiday of the Jews (Yom Kippur), believing it was the 10th of Muharram as being the same of the Quraishy fast. But he was wrong. The dates and months are totally different. The 10th of Tishri falls on 14th September 2013 this year, whereas the Ashura fast on the 10th of the pagan month falls on 24th November 2013. Aside from that, the Yom Kippur celebration is also very different, because the spirit of their worship is centred on forgiveness and redemption of sin, and it lasts one full day (day and night) non stop.
Fact #6: The Ramadhan fast was born out of Muhammad’s hate and anger.
The obligatory Ashura fast which Muslims observe does not come from Allah. It is rather adopted by Muhammad to either attract the Quraish or the Jews. However, instead making the Jews happy, he alienated them when he said, “We have more claim over Moses than you.” The Jews who knew own religion better, ridiculed the ruses and rhetoric of Muhammad. They rejected his claim to prophethood and said he has no resemblance of their promised Messiah. Unlike the biblical prophets, whom he admitted had performed miracles; Muhammad was unable to produce any miracle. They called him a liar when he told them his name is mentioned in the Torah.
Unable to convince the Jews of his claim, he became resentful of them so profoundly that he harbored an eternal hatred of them. He changed his qibla (direction during prayers) to the Kaaba in Mecca and denounced the Jews of tampering their scriptures. He also abrogating his previous ordinance of fasting in the Ashura. He began calling the Jews names and vilifying them by saying they are rats, pigs and monkeys. This is the reason behind the eternal muslims’ hatred of the Jews.
And as alwyas, Allah faithfully complied with Muhammad’s wishes. That is when the fasting on Ashura was dropped and the fasting on the Ramadan was prescribed.
“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will, — it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew.” (Quran 2:183-184).
This great command from heaven contains a fatal mistake. Muhammad saw that the Quraish, Sabeans, Jews and Christians observed fast and assumed that it has been prescribed to them by their god. So he thought his religion should also have a fast. But he was wrong and based on a false assumption.
Muhammad did not know that the Christian fast for example, was not ordered by Jesus. Jesus himself fasted, but only once in a special fast (40 days-40 nights, without any food or drink). He never ordered his followers to fast at a certain time or during a special month. And he was not seeking any reward for his fasting. And at one time when his disciples were criticized for not fasting, Jesus defended them by saying: “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast” (Mark 2:19, 20).
Also there are no fixed days of fasting for the Jews and for the Christians. If all the biblical prophets are Muslim prophets and the religion they brought was Isla, how could their teaching be so different to the Islam of Muhammad? How come, a law that consitutes a sacred tenet of the Muslim faith originate from the anger of their Prophet and from the conflicting positioning of the Torah – a book initially confirmed as “true” and later condemned as “false”?
Fact #7: Allah totally ignored the Ashura Fast initiated by His Prophet.
We see Muhammad adopting a fast practiced by the heathens without any instruction from God and then adopting a Jewish fast without understanding its purpose and finally abrogating them and instituting a new fast that today Muslims observe.
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: The Prophet observed the fast on the 10th of Muharram (‘Ashura), and ordered (Muslims) to fast on that day, but when the fasting of the month of Ramadan was prescribed, the fasting of the ‘Ashura’ was abandoned” (Bukhari #31, Hadith 116).
‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) had ordered to observe fast (on ‘Ashura) before the fasting in Ramadan was made obligatory. But when it became obligatory, then he who wished fasted on the day of Ashura, and he who wished did not observe it (on that day)”. (Muslim 6, Hadith # 2502).
Are we supposed to believe that God is whimsical and changes his mind every now and then or is it more reasonable to assume Muhammad made up his rule as situations dictated? Doesn’t this whimsical behavior reveal the fact that Muhammad was making up his revelation? .
Fact #8: Muhammad confused his followers.
When Muhammad adopted the fast of Ashra, he was very enthused about it.
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: I never saw the Prophet seeking to fast on a day more (preferable to him) than this day, the day of ‘Ashura’, or this month, i.e. the month of Ramadan”.
(Bukhari, Book # 31, Hadith #224).
Abu Qatada (r.a.) has related that the prophet (saw) has reported to have said: “ It is my thought that by fasting on the 10th Muharram Allah (swt) will pardon the sins of the past year” (Tirmidhi).
The abrogation of Ashura fast perplexed his followers. But after the Jews had rejected him, Muhammad did not want to have anything with it. So he devised a new fast and called it “Tasu’a fasting”.
Ibn ‘Abbas reported that when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) fasted on the day of ‘Ashura and commanded that it should he observed as a fast, they (his Companions) said [complained] to him: Messenger of Allah, it is a day which the Jews and Christians hold in high esteem. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When the next year comes, God willing, we would observe fast on the 9th. But the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) died before the advent of the next year. (Muslim, Book #006, Hadith #2528)
Allah’s Prophet said: “Fast ye on the Day of Ashura but make a difference with the Jews, fast one day before and one day afterwards.” (Hadith Ahmad and Al Baihaqy r.a.)
Muhammad died and his followers adopted Tasu’a based on his intention, even though no revelation was given to sanction it.
The Question now is: had he not died, would he have still enforced the Tasu’a? Does also Muhammad’s intention count for Sunnah? At best Muslims are speculating on keeping the Tasu’a as well as the Ashura, but don’t really know how to deal with the fasts combination amongst the three dates of 9th-10th and11th of Muharram. They have no correct clue except speculations.
Fact #9: Who says Ramadhan is the holiest month of Islam?
The Quran says that there are only four holy or prohibited (haram) months. They do not include the month of Ramadhan. These are the 4 months of Muharram, Rajab, Dzul Qadah, and Dzul Hijjah (QS.9:36, 37; 2:197, 217; 5:2; 9:2-5; Bukhari #4, Hadith # 419), during which Arabs did not fight.
But Muhammad actually violated the sanctity of these months. Among others is the raid on the Meccan caravan in Nakhla in the month of Rajab, when Abdullah bin Jash and his gang deceived the caravan of the Meccans, pretending to have gone for pilgrimage only to ambush them.
Since then, Muslims never observed the sanctity of any month and many raids and bloodshed of Muhammad took place in the month of Ramadan, such as the battle of Badr.
Muhammad originally planned to attack Mecca in the month of Ramadan in the 8th year of Hijra, where he signed the treaty of peace and withdrew.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.”
(Bukhari #31, Hadith # 123). This did not stop Muhammad raiding and looting during this month.
There are many more facts and valid reasons to claim that the (Ramadhan) fast is only one out of many Muhammad’s ploys. He strived hard to conform his religion to that of Pagans and the the Jews in the hope of attracting them to his faith, but when he was rejected he began hating them.
He once said, “No fasting is superior to the fasting of (the Prophet David) which was one half of a year, and he used, to fast on alternate days” (Book #74, Hadith #294). But such a fast was never practiced by any biblical prophet, which shows his complete ignorance of the Bible.
The one fast that is attributed to Moses and Jesus is fasting for 40 consecutive days and night. He never mentioned that because he knew he could not observe such a fast. If Islam is the continuation of the revelation of the Torah and the Gospel, then Muhammad – who is considered the greatest prophet and the last– should have been able to do the same and Jesus. (Al-Wisal in Hadiths, and Exodus 34:28; Matthew 4:2; Luke 4:2). He was even put to shame by ‘Abdullah b. Amr, who asserted himself in front of Muhammad that he has the stronger power than Muhammad to fast daily all the year! (Bukhari Book #31, Hadith #200).
In Deuteronomy 8:20-22, Moses had prophesied an eternal death for a false prophet who made too many ploys using the word bismillah (in the name of Allah) but lied outright by misusing God’s name.
Furthermore, Muhammad also claimed to be very close to Jesus, the son of Mary. His boasting about that proximity expanded from this world to the hereafter,
Notice! In this instance, the lie of the “father of lies” which Jesus spoke about (John 8:44) came up and met with the “Khairul Makiriin”, the Greatest Deceiver of all, as Muhammad’s Allah himself admitted in the Quran (QS.3:54)! These two greatest liars are indeed one and only one! Jesus pointed his finger at the Scribes – and here also at Muhammad – and said: “I’m JESUS the Son of God”, NOT ISA THE SON OF MARYAM! (See John 10:36).
Having said this, now only one last question remains for us:
If Moses, David, Esther, Jonah, Jesus, and others have fasted and obtained power, miracles and full blessings as a result, then what have Muhammad and Muslims really got after faithfully observing the Ramadhan fast for so many years on end?
The Bible has told us vividly: “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day”.