“…is such a person not nourished night and day by his Beloved?”

There is an interesting section of ‘Zad al-Ma’ad’ (2/33) where Ibn al-Qayyim talks about sawm al-wisal, which is that the Prophet would sometimes fast an entire 24-hour day without breaking his fast. When asked by the Companions why he had forbidden them from doing so while he himself would practice it, he replied: “I am not like anyone of you. During the night, my Lord provides me with food and drink.” Ibn al-Qayyim mentions that there are two interpretations to what the Prophet meant when he said this. The first is that he is literally provided with food and drink, and the second is that he is being nourished spiritually by Allah. The stronger of the two interpretations is the second, because if the Prophet was being provided with actual food and drink, he would no longer be fasting at all, let alone continuously.

He then proceeded with a beautiful exposition of how it is that the servant can be nourished by Allah without eating or drinking anything. Although Ibn al-Qayyim wrote this in regards to the Prophet’s continuous fasting, it is something that can actually apply to any fasting person, such as ourselves:

“…and those who have even the slightest bit of experience and longing know how little the body needs much physical nourishment when it is instead provided with the nourishment of the heart and soul, let alone when it comes to the one who is joyous, happy, and victorious because he has reached the One he has sought out, and whose eye is cooled by his Beloved, and feels blessed with His closeness, and is pleased with Him and the bounties and gifts of his Beloved.

And His protection showers him at all times, and his Beloved is constantly tending to his affairs, being as Generous as can be with complete Love towards him – is this not the greatest nourishment for the one who loves his Lord? So, how would it be when love of the Beloved – than Whom nothing is more exalted, and nothing is greater in might, and nothing is greater in beauty, and nothing is more complete, and nothing is greater in kindness – when love of Him fills the heart, and love of him takes over all regions of his heart and limbs, and love of Him is as firmly established as can be?

And this is his condition with the One he loves…

So, is such a person not nourished night and day by his Beloved?”

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