"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"
قال الإمامُ علی عليه السلام:
إنَّما هُوَ عيدٌ لِمَن قَبِلَ اللَّهُ صِيامَهُ وشَكَرَ قِيامَهُ ، وكُلُّ يَومٍ لا يُعصى اللَّهُ فيهِ فهُوَ عيدٌ
Imam Ali (ʿa) said:
Verily it is only a feast (‘Id) for he whose fasts Allah has accepted and whose prayers He has acknowledged, and every day in which we do not disobey Allah is a day of celebration.
Nahj al-Balāgha, Saying 428
Is it permissible for me to give the kaffāra to my brother, who is poor, in order to help him get married?
The precaution entails that the kaffāra is paid on food such as bread etc. and not for other purposes.
A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 29th
Thesupplicatory prayer of Ramadan 29th is as follows:
اللهُمَّ غَشِّنى فيهِ بِالرَّحْمَةِ، وَارْزُقْنى فيهِ التَّوْفيقَ وَالْعِصْمَةَ، وَطَهِّرْ قَلْبى مِنْ غَياهِبِ التُّهَمَةِ، يا رَحيماً بِعِبادِهِ الْمُؤْمِنينَ
“O’ Lord! Cover me in this month with Your Compassion and grant me the opportunity to do what pleases You and keep away from sins, and purify my heart from the darkness of defamation, O’ the Most Compassionate to the Believing servants!”
The most important points which need to be discussed regarding the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 29th are the following:
Revisiting the concepts of Divine Grace and Compassion and their significance particularly in the month of Ramadan; the importance of trusting Allah and the role of divinely-granted Tawfīq in ensuring man’s guidance and prosperity; the negative effects of sins on man’s heart and soul; and the meaning of Divine Compassion and Grace.
* The Month of Ramadan, a time for the Descension of Divine Compassion and Blessings
The month of Ramadan is a time of the descension of Divine blessings and bounties. It is a time when even a believer’s unconscious acts such as sleeping and breathing will be rewarded by Allah as a good deed. This being said, one can only imagine what great rewards await a person who engages in worshipping Allah, praying, and doing actual good deeds in this month!
As Imam Ali (‘a) has mentioned, it is the hopes for these great rewards that motivates the believers to fast in the month of Ramadan and tolerate the extreme thirst during its hot days.
Allah’s boundless compassion and mercy dictates that He does not leave His servants without guiding them and helping them find the right path. Therefore, He has sent down a complete program for their development and has shown them the path toward attaining nearness to Him.
It should be noted that the entire universe and all the beings in it have originated from Allah’s infinite grace. But among all the other created beings, mankind has gotten the largest share of Divine Grace.
* The All-embracing Divine Grace
Divine Grace is All-embracing and encompasses the whole being. The people, though, would benefit from it to the extent of their worthiness and capacity.
Allah sends out His blessings and bounties both to those who pray to Him and ask Him for them and those who do not. Additionally, He even allows those people who do not know Allah in their entire lives to benefit from His All-embracing Grace as well.
He never withholds His All-embracing Grace from any beseecher and He even allows those who do not beseech Him for His Grace to benefit from it.
The Concept of Divinely-granted Tawfīq
When we pray to Allah to grant us Tawfīq in our endeavors, we actually ask Him to help us toward achieving our goals by preparing the material and non-material conditions needed for our success.
Indeed, one must do whatever is in one’s power to achieve their goals and pray to Allah to help them in matters beyond their power.
* Praying to Allah for Success in doing Good Deeds
If we are not blessed by Allah’s Grace and are not granted the proper opportunities by Him to do good deeds, we will never be able to do any good deeds in this world. This is because the opportunity for guidance and for doing good deeds is only in Allah’s Hands and if He does not grant it to one, one will never be guided and will never have the opportunity to do any good deeds.
By thinking about the fact that if we are rightly guided and are able to do good deeds it is all because of the Tawfīq that we had been granted by Allah, we will feel a profound sense of gratitude which will drive us to give thanks to Allah. However, we must keep in mind that there are certain things that we ourselves have to do in order to become worthy of divinely-granted success.
* The God-given Tawfīq for Abandoning Sins
What is meant by the Tawfīq to stop sinning is the opportunity prepared by Allah for man to have access to all the factors necessary for obeying Allah and keeping away from sins.
Allah has given us all sound minds and reason, together with a sensitive conscience which tells us when we are doing the wrong thing. Additionally, He sent numerous Prophets to us with s c r i p tures designed to teach us the right way of living and the ways to avoid sinning.
Allah has given us all of these things in order to give us the opportunity to obey Him and keep away from sins. If He had not given us the powers of reason and intellect, or He did not send Prophets to us to guide us, we would all have fallen in to transgressions without knowing how to get out of them. Therefore, all of these things are great blessings given to us by Allah and we must always be grateful for them.
* Sins Tarnish Human Heart and Soul
Sins have an unbelievably devastating effect on human heart and soul, i.e. the non-physical dimension of human self. The negative effect of sins on one’s heart and soul have been likened to dark spots left on a previously spotless white piece of cloth.
Therefore, as soon as one commits the first sin, a single dark spot is formed on one’s heart and if one continues committing more sins, the dark spot expands until it finally completely covers the heart. This is a spiritual condition which is referred to in the Quran as follows:
وَأَحاطَتْ بِهِ خَطيئَتُهُ 
“Those who transgress and are engulfed by the concomitants of transgression…”
As a result of this condition, the heart becomes incapable of pursuing the right path and one becomes demotivated from pursuing their great spiritual goal of attaining nearness to Allah. At this point, they will also lose the drive and enthusiasm for doing good deeds and for achieving otherworldly rewards.
* Allah’s Special Compassion
The Arabic term “al-Raḥīm” is used to refer to Allah’s special compassion which is bestowed exclusively on the righteous and pious believers. This is because they have become worthy of this special favor due to their unshakeable faith in Allah and their good deeds. The wrongdoers and disbelievers, however, are deprived of this special Divine Compassion because of their own disbelief and wrongdoing.
2. In a situation where one’s inner self is at conflict with one’s outer self, if an individual reforms his inner self, Allah will reform his outer self.
3. When one is in a quandary, where he has to choose between pleasing Allah or pleasing the people, he should choose to please Allah, for then will Allah reform his relationship with the people for the better.
These are all the result of believing in the Unity of Divine Acts (al-Taḥīd al-Afʿālī): if we believe that the hearts of men are ultimately owned by Allah, we must always strive towards pleasing Allah, and striving in this path will not hurt us in the end. The reason why the Imam ('a) stated that these three lines require no other is due to the fact that our relationships are either formed with Allah, with ourselves, or with others. There is no other type of relationship and so in all three, we must be careful to keep Allah in mind.
In our day to day lives, we are able to see some of the effects of these things. For example, when someone has a pure soul and heart, this purity will naturally extend to the outer aspects of their lives. Similarly, one who has a good relationship with Allah will naturally be loved by people and so he will have good relations with people. These are all natural consequences which can be understood by the human mind. However, there are some effects which are not so easily perceived by us, such as the part of the above-mentioned verse which states: ‘…and provide for him from whence he does not count upon…’ The most important lesson which forms the basis of these three lines is the concept that we should first pay attention to our relationship with Allah. Those who have left the Omnipotent, Almighty Allah in order to seek help from His weak creation are only hurting themselves. This is a type of polytheism and it is one of the major problems in the world of today.
PIVOTAL GOOD DEEDS
قَالَ الامَامُ الصَّادِقُ (علیه السلام): «مَنْ صَدَقَ لِسَانَهُ زَکَی عَمَلُهُ وَ مَنْ حَسُنَتْ نِیَّتُهُ زِیدَ فِی رِزْقِهِ وَ مَنْ حَسُنَ بِرُّهُ بِأَهْلِ بَیْتِهِ مُدَّ لَهُ فِی عُمْرِهِ»
Imam al-Ṣādiq ('a) is narrated to have said: ‘The one whose tongue speaks but the truth will have his deeds purified (meaning that there is a connection between truthfulness and the purity of one’s deeds), and the one who has good intentions will have his sustenance increased, and the one who treats his family kindly will have his lifespan increased.’
Human deeds can be divided in to two kinds good and bad. Some deeds, however, have pivotal roles in the sense that they will pave the way for many other good deeds. Similarly, we have certain bad deeds which play a key role in opening the door to many other sins. For example, a sin such as defrauding others isn’t a sin which will give rise to others, but sins such as lying and drinking alcohol are as they are the roots of many other sins.
According to this tradition, the Imam ('a) has stated that speaking the truth is the key to the purity of one’s deeds. This is clearly because a truthful person has no choice but to leave aside many evil actions because if he does not, he will have to lie about them to cover them up. It is for this reason that truthfulness is considered the key towards purifying one’s actions and lying is considered the root of many evils.
There is a famous story about a young man who approached the Prophet (ṣ) and said to him: I am afflicted with a multitude of sins--- what should I do? The Prophet (ṣ) said to him: Do not lie. When he left and was back with his friends, they began to encourage him towards certain sins. The young man thought to himself that if he engaged in those sins, he would have to lie when he next time saw the Prophet (ṣ), so he refrained from committing those sins. This shows that the first step in the right direction is honesty and truthfulness.
Lies are mainly of three types: one might try to lie to Allah, to the people, or to oneself. An example of lying to Allah is reciting the verse ‘Only you do we worship and only from you do we seek for help’ in one’s prayer, when in practice one worships various idols such as his carnal desires and lusts. Another example is when someone recites in prayer ‘Allah has no partners’, while they have set up numerous partners for Allah, worshipping wealth, worldly ranks and positions, as well as other things beside Him. In some cases, a person lies even to himself; they consider themselves to be an ascetic and immune to the glamor of the world, while they are in fact, just lazy and don’t wish to work, or they are miserly, or even cowardly in facing the challenges of life and earning a living. In all of these cases, such an individual is lying to oneself.
 Mafātīḥ Nuvīn, p. 817.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 11, p. 467.
 Misālhāy-i Zibāy-i Quran, vol. 1, p. 7.
 Tarjumeh-i Gūyā va Sharḥ-i Fishurdih bar Nahj al-Balāghah [the original text and its translation] vol. 1, p. 191.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 21, p. 153.
 Ibid, p. 154.
 Ibid, vol. 4, p. 528.
 Anwār-i Hidāyat: Majmū‘i-yi Mabāhis-i Akhlāqī, p. 244.
 Payām-i Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 13, p. 628.
 Ibid, p. 629.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 21, p. 214.
 The Lamp of Guidance, p. 133.
 Payām-i Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 7, p. 600.
 Al-Baqarah, 81.
 Anwār-i Hidāyat: Majmū‘ih-yi Mabāhis-i Akhlāqī, p. 567.
 Payām-i Quran, vol. 4, p. 356.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 1, p. 22.