The International Affairs Division of Ayatollah Makarem Shiraz’s Office Offers Dear Brothers and Sisters the Informative Package of “Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance-4th”

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On the Arrival of the Auspicious Month of Ramadan:

The International Affairs Division of Ayatollah Makarem Shiraz’s Office Offers Dear Brothers and Sisters the Informative Package of “Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance-4th”

The package includes the Daily ’Istiftā’, the Lamp of Guidance, Daily prayers of the Month with quick commentary and a word of wisdom

"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"

Hadith of the Day       Daily ’Istiftā’       Daily Prayers of the Month       The Lamp of Guidance

  

Hadith of the Day

 

 : رسولُ اللَّهِ صلى اللَّه عليه وآله

 

 لِكُلِّ شَي‏ءٍ زكاةٌ وزكاةُ الأبدانِ الصِّيامُ 

 

The Prophet () said:

 

Everything has a zakāt, and the zakāt of the bodies is to fast.

 

Faḍa’il al-Ashhur al-Thalathah, p. 75, no. 57

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Daily ’Istiftā’

 

If a person knows that if he sleeps facedown he will have wet dream then is his act harām and his fasting invalidated?

It is obligatory precaution not to do this, but if he performed this act then he should perform fasting and then perform the qaḍa of that later.

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Daily Prayer of the Month

 

Ramadan 4th

A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 4th

The supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 4th is as follows:

 

اللهُمَ قَوِّنى فيهِ عَلى اقامَةِ امْرِكَ، وَاذِقْنى فيهِ حَلاوَةَ ذِكْرِكَ، وَاوْزِعْنى فيهِ لِأَدآءِ شُكْرِكَ بِكَرَمِكَ، وَاحْفَظْنى فيهِ بِحِفْظِكَ وَسَتْرِكَ، يا ابْصَرَ النَّاظِرينَ

 

 

O’ Lord! Give me strength in this day to uphold Your Law, and let me taste the sweetness of Your remembrance in it … I ask you by Your Grace to give me the chance to give You thanks and [I ask You to] protect me in it with Your protection and covering, for You are the Most acute of Observers![1]

 

The main themes of the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 4th are as follows:  

The explication of the relation between worshipping Allah and spiritual delight; an explanation of what is meant by the “sweet taste of remembering Allah”; how to truly be grateful to Allah; a discussion of the reason behind Allah’s inclination to cover up people’s misdeeds; and understanding the omnipresence of Allah.

 

Worshipping Allah and Spiritual Delight

 

The holy month of Ramadan is a month of spiritual rejuvenation through worshipping Allah. It has been likened to the spring where all physical bodies, both mankind, animals, and plants, are delighted. Similarly, human beings can attain spiritual delight in this holy month through worshipping Allah, however this is not attainable except by preparing oneself beforehand.[2]

In order to truly experience such spiritual delight, one first needs to purify one’s heart and soul through sincere repentance and cleanse one’s heart of grudge, envy, and all vices polluting the heart.[3]  

 

Why do we usually not Experience any Spiritual Delight during our Acts of Worship?

 

One may not feel any spiritual delight when worshipping Allah for a variety of reasons; sometimes it is because of physical or psychological fatigue and some other times it is due to a weakness in one’s faith.[4] Lack of enthusiasm in worship can be cured through strengthening one’s faith and by refraining from engaging in worship in times of fatigue and tiredness.[5]

 

The Essence of the Sweet Taste of Remembering Allah (Dhikr)

 

What is meant by “remembering Allah” within the framework of Islamic teachings is not merely calling out Allah’s name or remembering Him through frequent verbal dhikr. True remembrance of Allah involves a state of full and constant attention to His greatness, Knowledge, Awareness, and the fact that He is always observing us all.

This kind of attention is the very power that can drive one toward all kinds of good deeds, including struggling for the cause of Allah. It also constitutes the most powerful deterrent against sins and transgressions. When one comes to achieve these two powers through full attention to Allah he will then come to truly taste the sweetness of remembering Him and worshipping Him.[6]

 

The Chance to Truly Give Thanks to Allah

 

One thing which should be kept in mind is that no one is ever able to truly thank Allah for all of His bounties. This is because anything that man uses to give thanks to Allah, including his intellect, power of speech, arms, legs, etc., have been created by Allah himself.

In other words, in order to thank Allah for His bounties and blessings, man needs to use those same bounties and blessings and without using them he is unable to even give thanks to their Creator! Therefore, man needs to give thanks to Allah even for giving him the power to carry on the very act of thanksgiving!

This is why, according to the Islamic teachings, the greatest gratitude that human beings can show their Lord is to sincerely pray to Him and tell Him that they are unable to truly give Him thanks for His countless bounties and blessings.[7]

 

Who is a truly Thankful Person?

 

Thankfulness involves being always mindful of God-given bounties and blessings and expressing that one is aware of them and is grateful for them.[8]

True gratitude is realized not through words but in deeds; this means that one needs to show one’s gratitude in practice rather than in mere words. This is perhaps why the Quran has stated that very few people are truly grateful for Allah’s blessings.[9]

 

Why does Allah Cover up the Sins of His Servants instead of Exposing them?

 

The purpose behind not exposing the transgression of people is that Allah intends to protect the social standing, respect, and honor of all the people, because honor itself is one of the powerful deterrents against sins.[10] This is clearly because when an honorable person thinks about losing their honor because of their sins being exposed, they would refrain from committing them in the first place.

Another purpose behind covering up people’s sins is that the Divine test is based on a natural flow of human life where everyone is free to exercise their freewill without being exposed. Therefore, if all the people knew that immediately after committing something wrong they would be exposed, they would refrain from wrongdoing only out of fear of being exposed and so determinism would have ruled the human world rather than man’s freewill.

Obviously, the key factor in human spiritual development is their freewill through which they are able to freely choose either to be bound by moral principles and traverse the path of perfection or to trample such moral principles and deviate from the path of guidance.[11]

 

The Entire World is Constantly in Allah’s Presence

 

The last phrase of the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 4th reads: “… You are the Most acute of observers[12]. The term “the Most Acute of observers” is used to emphasize one of the aspects of Allah’s greatness, the fact that He observes everything at all times, an astounding and rather disturbing fact!

This means that whatever human beings, regardless of when or where they do it, Allah watches it all! It is, hence, a sort of warning for all the people to know that they must closely watch what they say and what they do.[13]

Moreover, feeling that one is constantly in the presence of Allah and that He constantly observes them will make them to be more considerate and careful about what they do and say. Needless to say that this feeling is, in itself, an effective deterrent against sins and transgressions.[14]

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The Lamp of Guidance
 

2. Trustworthy, 3. Wise, and 4. Protectors of secrets: One of the complaints of the Imams (‘a) was that some of their followers would quickly divulge secrets. What they meant by secrets were the teachings related to the rank of the Imams (‘a), the Imams’ knowledge of the unseen, their intercession on the Day of Judgment, their miracles, etc…  These were issues which the average person or those who were opposed to the Imams (‘a) were unable to comprehend. In spite of this, some simple minded Shias would simply reveal everything they knew to whomever they met and this would cause conflict and animosity amongst the people. It was for this reason that the Imam (‘a) stated the following in a tradition: ‘Our Shias possess trustworthy hearts and do not divulge (information) without cause and consideration, creating discord amongst the people’.

During our time, we see certain people spreading exaggerations and blasphemous ideas about the Imams (‘a) under the pretext of promoting the Wilāyah of the Imams (ʿa). However, the Infallible Imams (ʿa) would have never approved of such things and so the actions of these individuals are exponentially worse than the simple minded people who would simply divulge every secret which they knew. We must be careful about these ‘exaggerators’. These individuals have committed two errors: First, they disgrace themselves through their actions. They mistakenly think that they are somehow defending the Wilāyah of the Ahl al-Bayt by falsifying certain points in regards to their rank and station.

Their second and greater error is that through their words, they provoke hostility against the Shias, causing the death of a number of Shias in various other parts of the world. We live in a time of mass media and modern technology in which a piece of news can be sent from one corner of the globe to another within a matter of minutes. Thus, such untrue and exaggerated words about the Imams (ʿa) can easily and quickly reach the ears of those who introduce Shias to the world as disbelievers which can and indeed has led to the killing of Shias around the world.

5. Affectionate: The Shias are not harsh in nature; they are rather lenient, clement, and gentle towards their fellow human beings. The true Shias adhere closely to the ways of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and the rest of the Imams (‘a), who were merciful even to the worst of their enemies.

6. Spending the night awake in worship and 7. Courageous: The Shias are not ostentatious and showy in their actions. They have perfectly understood and combined the worldly life with the religious life, finding a balance between the two. If someone were to see their worship during the nights, they would say that these are the ascetics of the time and so they must naturally be weak in regards to their worldly life. Yet, when the day dawns these worshippers of the night are like lions, courageous and resolute with regard to their social responsibilities. Only those who possess such qualities are considered to be the true Shias and followers of the school of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

 

 


[1] The New Mafātīḥ, p. 813.

[2] The Teachings of the Infallibles (‘a), vol. 2, p. 123.

[3] Ibid, p. 122.

[4] Islamic Ethics reflected in Nahj al-Balāghah [based on the Sermon of Muttaqīn], vol. 2, p. 215.

[5] Ibid.

[6] A Selection of Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 2, p. 480.

[7] Ethics in the Quran, vol. 3, p. 80.

[8] For more information in this regard, refer to the book “al-Mufradāt”.

[9] Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 18, p. 51.

[10] The Teachings of the Infallibles (‘a). vol. 2, p. 140.

[11] Ibid.

[12]  The New Mafātīḥ, p. 813.

[13] The Story of the Companions: a Series of Exegetic Discussions by G. A. Makarem Shirazi. P. 70.

[14] Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 20, p. 66.


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