"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"
رسولُ اللَّهِ صلى اللَّه عليه وآله:
زَيِّنوا العيدَينِ بِالتَّهليلِ والتَّكبيرِ والتَّحميدِ والتَّقديسِ
The Prophet (ṣ) said:
Adorn the two festivals (‘id al-fitr and ‘id al-adha) with frequent chants of la ilaha illallah (There is no god but Allah), Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest), al-Hamdu lillah (All praise is due to Allah), and with glorification of Allah.
Kanz al-ʿUmmāl, no. 18101
How much is the amount of kaffāra for fasts from which one have been exempted due to legitimate excuses? Furthermore, should one pays the price according to the city they live in or there is some other criterion?
An amount of 750 g of food such as bread, rice and dates must be paid for each day as the kaffāra, however, one may pay the money equal to the amount if they are certain the one receiving it will spend the money on food. In addition, the prices of the city where they live should be considered in calculation.
A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 28th
Thesupplicatory prayer of Ramadan 28th is as follows:
اللهُمَّ وَفِّرْ حَظّى فيهِ مِنَ النَّوافِلِ، وَاكْرِمْنى فيهِ بِاحْضارِ الْمَسآئِلِ، وَقَرِّبْ فيهِ وَسيلَتى الَيْكَ مِنْ بَيْنِ الْوَسآئِلِ، يا مَنْ لا يَشْغَلُهُ الْحاحُ الْمُلِحّينَ
“O’ Lord! Grant me a large portion of the blessings of the supererogatory prayers in this month, and honor me by granting my wishes, and facilitate my access to the means of attaining nearness to You from among all other means, O’ He who is never preoccupied by the beseeching of the beseechers!”
The most important teachings in the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 28th are the following:
The significance of attending to the recommendable acts of worship in order to enhance one’s worshipful devotion to Allah; the necessity of giving precedence to the obligatory religious duties over the Nawāfil [the recommendable supererogatory prayers]; the necessity of the conformity of one’s actual deeds with one’s prayers; and the ways and means toward attaining nearness to Allah.
* The Tawfīq of practicing the Nawāfil
One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that we must all strive to completely perform the acts of worship, which include both the obligatory ones and the recommendable ones. Therefore, one must never feel that the mere performing of the obligatory religious acts of worship is enough for them and that they are in no need of the recommendable prayers. One of the great mistakes one can make is to be preoccupied with everyday life to the point where one forgets to attend to the recommendable acts of worship.
This, however, does not mean that one should go to the extreme in performing the recommendable acts of worship to the point where one is totally demotivated to attend to them any longer. Rather, one needs to attend to these recommendable prayers whenever one has some free time and feels an urge for them. This way, one will always be motivated to perform the recommendable prayers.
* Worthless Recommendable Prayers
It so happens that many people attend so enthusiastically to recommendable prayers that they forget to attend to their obligatory religious duties. This is in conflict with the teachings and the Shari‘ah [i.e. Law] of Islam.
This is, in effect, the same thing which is referred to in the science of the “Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence” as the conflict of the important and the more important. This means that when one is at a crossroads to choose between a recommendable act of worship or an obligatory one, or between an obligatory deed and a more important obligatory one, both sound mind and religious law dictate that one must choose the one which is of more importance and discard the other one.
In other words, all of the obligatory religious duties have been legislated due to some expediency; therefore, if these duties are forsaken, one will be seriously harmed. However, this is not the case with the recommendable acts of worship. These latter ones have been enj o i ned upon man in order for them to have a faster spiritual growth if they want.
Therefore, giving precedence to recommendable prayers over the obligatory religious duties is just like discarding one’s vital and life-saving medicine and taking some food-supplement instead!
* Divine Munificence, Collective Efforts, and Human Prosperity
One of the greatest blessings conferred on man by Allah is obligation and responsibility. In other words, Allah has favored man greatly by considering them worthy of being given responsibilities to fulfill.
Therefore, man needs to strive with all of their might to fulfill the God-given responsibilities and duties and, at the same time, they should leave what is beyond their ability and power to Allah through prayer.
By praying to Allah, one will also try to remove the obstacles to the answering of one’s prayers, the most important of which is making an honest and lawful living and refraining from making money through unlawful and illegal ways.
Similarly, one also needs to be attentive to other people’s rights and avoid committing such sins as backbiting, slander, wine-drinking, and severing family ties with blood-relatives which all constitute major obstacles to the acceptance of prayers.
* The most Easily Accessible Means of attaining Nearness to Allah
The Arabic term “Wasā’il” used in this prayer has a broad scope of meaning; it includes any method or means that can help one attain nearness to Allah. The most important of these means is having faith in Allah and His Prophet (ṣ), engaging in Jihad in the way of Allah, performing the obligatory religious duties such as Ṣalāt, the payment of Zakāt, fasting, and making the Hajj pilgrimage.
Other important means toward attaining nearness to Allah are visiting one’s blood-relatives, making charitable payments to the poor, whether in public or in private, and doing any other thing that is considered a good deed.
* Allah is Never Wearied by the Beseeching of His Servants
The last part of the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 28th indicates that Allah is never wearied by the prayers and supplications of His servants. This clearly indicates that frequent prayers and supplications will never have any effect on His munificence or the amount of blessings that He ordains for people.
However, this is not true about people; even the most generous of the people is vulnerable to the conditions in which they are because their means are limited. However, Allah’s blessings and bounties, very much like His pure Essence, are infinite and boundless and so He will never run out of bounties, no matter how much He grants different people.
THE RECITATION OF THE QURAN
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ (صلی الله علیه وآله): «نَوِّرُوا بُیُوتَکُمْ بِتِلاَوَةِ القُرْآنِ وَ لاَ تَتَّخِذُوهَا قُبُوراً کَمَا فَعَلَتِ الیَهُودُ وَ النَّصَاری صَلُّوا فِی الکَنَائِسِ وَ البِیَعِ وَ عَطَّلُوا بُیُوتَهُمْ فَإنَّ البَیْتَ إذَا کَثُرَ فِیهِ تِلاَوَةُ القُرْآنِ کَثُرَ خَیْرُهُ وَ اتَّسَعَ أهْلُهُ وَ أضَاءَ لاِهْلِ السَّمَاءِ کَمَا تُضِیئُ نُجُومُ السَّمَاءِ لاِهْلِ الدُّنْیَا»
The Prophet (ṣ) is narrated to have said: ‘Make your homes luminous through the recitation of the Quran and do not silence and darken them like graveyards, much like the Jews and Christians did when they made worship particular to their synagogues and churches and they didn’t perform any worship in their homes. Any home in which the Quran is recited frequently will be filled with blessings by Allah, its members will be affluent, and they will see an increase in their wealth, knowledge, love, power, etc. as well. That house will sparkle with light for the people of the heavens, much like the stars sparkle for the people of the earth.’
There is no set time or place for people to talk to their Creator. The Quran has stated the following in this regard: ‘Remember Allah in the mornings and the evenings’. This is a metaphorical way of saying that one should always remember Allah. This is similar to someone asking if one is keeping another person in mind and the person responds by saying: ‘I remember them day and night’. The Prophet (ṣ) is narrated to have said: ‘The earth has been made a place of purity and prostration for me.’
According to Islam, maintaining one’s connection with Allah is not limited to mosques, temples, and other places of worship. This is why the tradition is telling us to make our homes bright with the recitation of the Quran, for our homes can be one of the best places for maintaining our connection with our Creator. Through this recitation, the people of that household will gradually become familiar with the Quran and its teachings will seep in to their very souls.
Reciting the Quran in one’s home has three important effects:
1. It will increase the blessings of the home and will bestow a sense of spirituality, love, and peace amongst the members of that household.
2. It will increase one’s wealth, intellect, and livelihood, as well as one’s tolerance.
3. The home will gain a luminosity which is seen by the angels of the heavens. It is narrated that when Fāṭimah ('a) stood in worship, a light would shine in to the heavens and the angels would be amazed by it and they would ask Allah as to where the light was coming from. He would answer them, saying: ‘O’ my angels, look at Fāṭimah’s place of worship’. In essence, the Quran is the root of all human affection, emotion, unity, honesty, and virtue and whenever the light of the Quran is taken away, all of the moral and human values leave with it.
THE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE
قَالَ الامام علی (علیه السلام): «کَانَتِ الفُقَهَاءُ وَ الْحُکَمَاءُ إذَا کَاتَبَ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضاً کَتَبُوا بِثَلاَث لَیْسَ مَعَهُنَّ رَابِعَةٌ: مَنْ کَانَتْ الآخِرَةُ هَمَّهُ کَفَاهُ اللهُ هَمَّهُ فِی الدُّنْیَا وَ مَنْ أصْلَحَ سَرِیرَتَهُ أصْلَحَ اللهُ عَلاَنِیَتَهُ وَ مَنْ أصْلَحَ فِیمَا بَیْنَهُ وَ بَیْنَ اللهِ عَزَّوَجَلَّ أصْلَحَ اللهُ فِیمَا بَیْنَهُ وَ بَیْنَ النَّاسِ»
Imam 'Alī ('a) is narrated to have said: ‘Whenever the jurisprudents and the sages wished to write to one another (in order to give advice), they would mention three lines which didn’t need a fourth. They would write the following: One who directs their efforts for the hereafter will have Allah take care of their worldly needs. One who performs self-purification to purify their inner self will find that Allah has reformed the outer aspects of their lives. And one who reforms their relationship with Allah will have Allah reform their relationship with the people.’
In the beginning of this tradition, Imam 'Alī ('a) has said that: ‘Whenever the jurisprudents and the sages wished to write to one another (in order to give advice), they would mention three lines…’ It is possible that his reference to the jurisprudents is directed towards those who followed religion, while his reference to the sages is directed towards those who primarily followed their reason. In any case, this three-part advice is comprised of the following:
1. When an individual is at a junction where he must necessarily choose between his worldly interests and the ‘right thing’ which would entail Allah’s pleasure, he should tread on the path which would earn Allah’s pleasure, for then will Allah resolve his worldly issues as well. The Quran has stated in this regard: ‘…Whoever is wary of Allah, He shall make for him a way out [of the adversities of the world and the Hereafter] and provide for him from whence he does not count upon…’
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 817.
 Ibid, vol. 11, p. 85.
 Ibid, p. 356.
 Ibid, vol. 14, p. 333.
 Ibid, vol. 14, p. 334.
 Ibid, vol. 12, p. 265.
 The Lexicon of Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, p. 577.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 1100.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 2, p. 519.
 Ibid, vol. 3, p. 264.
 Nahj al-Balāghah, sermon No. 110.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 817.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 4, p. 31.