The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah devotes a series of ayaat in surah al-Baqarah [2:183-187] to the rulings of fasting. However, in the middle of these ayaat, He mentions the well-known ayah:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) about Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the call of the supplicant when he calls Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided. [2:186]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir shed some light on the relationship of this ayah to the surrounding ayaat of fasting by writing:

وفي ذكره تعالى هذه الآية الباعثة على الدعاء ، متخللة بين أحكام الصيام ، إرشاد إلى الاجتهاد في الدعاء عند إكمال العدة ، بل وعند كل فطر . ـ

So Allah’s mention of this ayah encouraging supplication in midst of the rulings of fasting contains a directive to exert oneself in supplication when the entire period of fasting is completed – as well as of course at the breaking of every fast.

 كما رواه الإمام أبو داود الطيالسي في مسنده : حدثنا أبو محمد المليكي ، عن عمرو هو ابن شعيب بن محمد بن عبد الله بن عمرو ، عن أبيه ، عن جده عبد الله بن عمرو ، قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ” للصائم عند إفطاره دعوة مستجابة ” . فكان عبد الله بن عمرو إذ أفطر دعا أهله ، وولده ودعا . ـ

This is just as Imam Abu Dawud al-Tayaalisi recorded in his musnad … that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say, “At the time of breaking the fast, the fasting person has a supplication which is accepted.” And so when ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr used to break his fast, he would call the members of his household and supplicate.

وقال أبو عبد الله محمد بن يزيد بن ماجه في سننه : حدثنا هشام بن عمار ، أخبرنا الوليد بن مسلم ، عن إسحاق بن عبيد الله المدني ، عن عبد الله بن أبي مليكة ، عن عبد الله بن عمرو ، قال : قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” إن للصائم عند فطره دعوة ما ترد ” . قال عبد الله بن أبي مليكة : سمعت عبد الله بن عمرو يقول إذا أفطر : اللهم إني أسألك برحمتك التي وسعت كل شيء أن تغفر لي . ـ

And in his Sunnah collection, Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Yazeed ibn Maajah mentioned … that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr said: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “At the time of breaking the fast, the fasting person has a supplication which is not rejected.”

‘Abdullah ibn Abu Mulaykah said: When breaking his fast, I heard ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr say, “O Allah, I ask You by Your mercy which extends to every single thing that You would forgive me.”

وفي مسند الإمام أحمد ، وسنن الترمذي ، والنسائي ، وابن ماجه ، عن أبي هريرة قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” ثلاثة لا ترد دعوتهم : الإمام العادل ، والصائم حتى يفطر ، ودعوة المظلوم يرفعها الله دون الغمام يوم القيامة ، وتفتح لها أبواب السماء ، ويقول : بعزتي لأنصرنك ولو بعد حين ” . ـ

And it comes in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, as well as the Sunnah collections of al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasaa’i, and ibn Maajah, that Abu Hurayrah said: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “There are three categories of people whose supplications are not rejected: 1) a just leader, 2) the fasting person while he is fasting until he breaks his fast, and 3) the supplication of a person subjected to injustice, which Allah raises up to the clouds on the Day of Resurrection and the gates of the sky are opened for it and Allah says, ‘I swear by My might that I will aid you, even if that takes place after some time.'”

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 1/510]

And sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen also pointed to this connection by saying:

من فوائد الاية أن الصيام مظنة إجابة الدعاء؛ لأن الله سبحانه وتعالى ذكر هذه الآية في أثناء آيات الصيام ولا سيما أنه ذكرها في آخر الكلام على آيات الصيام وقال بعض أهل العلم يستفاد منها فائدة أخرى أنه ينبغي الدعاء في آخر يوم الصيام أي عند الإفطار. ـ

One of the benefits of this ayah is that the response to supplication is likely while fasting, as Allah has mentioned this ayah right in the midst of the ayaat of fasting. More specifically, He mentioned it at the close of His speech on the ayaat of fasting. And some of the scholars have said that another benefit which can be extracted from this is that one ought to supplicate at the end of a day of fasting, i.e. when breaking the fast.

[al-Tafsir al-Thameen al-‘Allaamah al-‘Uthaymeen 2/69]

Click here to view more Ramadan Articles

For a detailed discussion of the ayaat of fasting, please visit sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di’s explanation of them here.

See also: “When My slaves ask you about Me, Indeed I am near”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The fast is not perfected until one abandons the forbidden actions: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: A Relationship between Surah al-Ma’oon and Surah al-Kawthar: al-Zarkashi

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3 thoughts on “The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir

  1. Pingback: “When My slaves ask you about Me, Indeed I am near”: Tafsir al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Chapter on Fasting in the Qur’an – part 2: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: A Relationship between Surah al-Ma’oon and Surah al-Kawthar: al-Zarkashi | Tulayhah

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