"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"
Hadith of the Day
قال الإمامُ علی عليه السلام :
إنَّ رسولَ اللَّهِ صلى اللَّه عليه وآله خَطَبَنا ذاتَ يَومٍ، فقالَ : أيُّها الناسُ ، إنّهُ قد أقبَلَ إلَيكُم شَهرُ اللَّهِ بالبَرَكَةِ والرّحمَةِ والمَغفِرةِ ، شَهرٌ هُو عِندَ اللَّهِ أفضَلُ الشُّهورِ ، وأيّامُهُ أفضَلُ الأيّامِ ، ولَيالِيهِ أفضَلُ اللَّيالِي ، وساعاتُهُ أفضَلُ الساعاتِ ، هُو شَهرٌ دُعِيتُمْ فيهِ إلى ضِيافَةِ اللَّهِ وجُعِلتُم فيهِ مِن أهلِ كَرامَةِ اللَّهِ ، أنفاسُكُم فيهِ تَسبيحٌ ، ونَومُكُم فيهِ عِبادَةٌ ، وعَمَلُكُم فيهِ مَقبولٌ ، ودُعاؤكُم فيهِ مُستَجابٌ ...
فَقُمتُ فقلتُ : يا رسولَ اللَّهِ ، ما أفضَلُ الأعمالِ فيهذا الشَّهرِ؟ فقالَ: يا أباالحسنِ، أفضَلُ الأعمالِ في هذا الشَّهرِ الوَرَعُ عن مَحارِمِاللَّهِ عزّوجلّ
Imam Ali (‘a) said:
Verily the Prophet of Allah (s) addressed us one day, saying, "O people, verily the month of Allah has come to you with benediction, mercy and forgiveness - a month that is the best of months in the sight of Allah, whose days are the best of days, whose nights are the best of nights, and whose hours are the best of hours. It is a month wherein you have been invited to the banquet of Allah and have been made worthy of Allah's magnanimity. Your breaths during this month are considered glorification [of Allah], and your sleep worship. Your actions in it are accepted and your supplication answered..." Upon hearing this, I stood up and asked, 'O Prophet of Allah, what is the best of deeds to be performed in this month?' He replied, 'O Abu al-Hasan, the best of deeds in this month is to restrain oneself from all that Allah, Mighty and Exalted, has prohibited.
Amālī al-Ṣadūq, p. 84, no. 4
Is it permissible for an individual accompanying his Sunni friend at the time of Iftar, to open the fasting at the time of Iftar according to the Ahlusunnah?
If it is possible for him/her to wait until the standard Shiʿa time then it is better to do so.
Daily Prayer of the Month
A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 13th
Thesupplicatory prayer of Ramadan 13th is as follows:
أَللَّهُمَّ طَهِّرْنِى فيهِ مِنَ الدَّنَسِ وَالْأَقْذارِ، وَصَبِّرْنى فيهِ عَلى كائناتِ الْأقْدارِ، وَوَفِّقْنى فيهِ لِلتُّقى وَ صُحْبَةِ الْابْرارِ، بِعَوْنِكَ يا قُرَّةَ عَيْنِ الْمَساكين
“O’ Lord! Purify me in this day of all wretchedness and impurities, give me patience in the face of what has been ordained for me, and grant me the opportunity to be pious and to be in the company of the righteous, by Your Succor, O’ Comfort of the Needy!”
The most important points discussed in the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 13th are the following:
The necessity of engaging in self-purification in the month of Ramadan; the methods of spiritual purification of the heart and the soul; the importance of patience in the face of divine decree and ordinance; and presenting the greatest examples of the virtuous and pious individuals.
* The Month of Ramadan, a golden Opportunity for Spiritual Self-purification
Just as human body needs to be washed every now and then to be cleansed of filth and impurities, human soul also needs to be purified of the sins that one commits. The month of Ramadan is the month in which people are invited to a gathering arranged by Allah. In order to be worthy enough for this invitation, we all need to first purify ourselves through repentance, imploring Allah for forgiveness, strengthening the spirit of piety in ourselves, and worship Allah with total submission.
Furthermore, the month of Ramadan itself constitutes a golden opportunity to purify ourselves even further and become worthy of receiving divine pardon and forgiveness. The best opportunity to do so in the month of Ramadan is given to us all on the Nights of Qadr; on these sacred nights, one needs to keep prayer vigil and repent to Allah in order to purify one’s heart of the impurities which have covered it. They then need to use the light that they find on these nights to find their way to the right path, abstain from further sins, and make their way toward the Lord.
This issue has also been reflected in various Islamic traditions; these traditions indicate that people need to repent immediately after their lapses and sins. This means that they must quickly cleanse their souls of the impurity of the sins in order to prevent them from making permanent damage.
After cleansing the soul of the impurities of sins, it will be ready for its journey toward Allah and for truly repenting and turning to Him penitently. In short, one first needs to purify one’s heart and then use it for his spiritual journey toward Allah.
* How can the Heart be purified?
Spiritual purification involves purifying one’s soul of all sorts of moral vice and reprehensible carnal desires along with purifying the mind of all sorts of negative thoughts. In short, self-purification is the process of cleansing one’s soul and mind of any factor which can lead one astray.
In the next level, self-purification involves restraining one’s limbs from any sort of activities that are both logically and religiously considered reprehensible. One needs to thoroughly purify one’s heart and soul, which are the true origins of one’s thoughts, words, and deeds, so that they produce no thought or utterance except in a way that can earn Allah’s good pleasure. They should be cleansed to the point where they give birth to no thought or utterance except what is considered the glorification of Allah.
By purifying one’s soul in this way, one will be able to earn Allah’s satisfaction; this is very much like cleansing one’s body of the impurities that contaminate it. How can one be so attentive to the purity of this material and mortal body and not be careful about the purity of their spiritual and everlasting self, the soul?! 
* Total Submission to Allah’s Ordinance and Decrees (qaḍā and qadar)
According to Islamic traditions, if one shows patience in the face of calamities and tragedies which strike them during their life, one will be rewarded by Allah and if they are impatient in hard times, they will not be rewarded at all.
This means that one needs to restrain one’s emotions and avoid uttering ungrateful utterances in times of difficulty, utterances which might imply that they are displeased with Allah’s ordinance. By restraining one’s emotions in hard times, one will prove themselves worthy of the reward that Allah has prepared for the patient.
It should be noted that this does not mean that one should no express one’s emotions at all. Expressing one’s emotions is not prohibited in Islam because emotions have roots in the affective dimension of man’s nature and Islam never fights positive feelings which are a part of man’s affective dimension.
What is considered reprehensible, however, is being extremely impatient in the face of adversities and stating and doing things which show one’s ingratitude toward Allah and one’s objection to His ordinance.
* The Greatest Examples of Righteous and Pious Individuals
By considering the Quran and its teachings, one will realize that the righteous individuals to whom the Quran has referred as Abrār [meaning the ever-obedient individuals] are not ordinary people. These are the people who enjoy high ranks with Allah and have attained nearness to Him.
The greatest and the most high ranking of the Abrār are the Holy Prophet (s), Imam Ali (‘a), the Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (‘a), and their infallible descendants (‘a).
The Lamp of Guidance
When this group saw this, they said to the Imam ('a): O’ descendant of the Messenger of Allah! What have we done that you are treating us in this manner? The Imam ('a) replied: You call yourselves the Shias of Ali while the true Shias of Ali are Hasan ('a), Husayn ('a), Abū Dharr, Salmān, Miqdād, 'Ammār, and Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr. They did not disobey the commands of Imam Ali ('a) and they did not commit those things which he forbade them from. You, on the other hand, have disobeyed the Imam ('a) in most of what you have done…you neglect your obligations to your fellow Muslims and take your religious duties and rituals lightly. You disregard dissimulation (the taqīyyah) when necessary and dissimulate when unnecessary.
So you are only fit to say that you love Ali and hold dear his friends and hate his enemies; if you had said this instead of your former claim, I would not have repudiated it. They then said: ‘We repent before Allah.’ When they said this, the Imam ('a) ordered his housekeeper to honor them and attend to them.’
This is truly a moving and thought-provoking tradition! We all claim that we are the Shias of Imam Ali ('a) while those who had come to visit Imam al-Rida ('a) were better than us, and yet they were forbidden from calling themselves Shias! This shows that this is a rather weighty claim and it comes with many responsibilities. Imam al-Sadiq ('a) has stated the following about the characteristics of the Shias: ‘My companions have the highest levels of Wara' (abstemiousness) and fear of Allah, and they have great hope in the reward of Allah [i.e. they completely obey His every command]. Such individuals are my companions.’ It should be noted that piety is lower than abstemiousness in level. Piety involves abstaining from sins, while abstemiousness (Wara') is abstaining not only from sins but from dubious things which one is not sure whether are permissible or prohibited.
We have truly taken ‘being a Shia’ lightly. We assume that in order to be considered a Shia, one needs only to perform a few supplications, recite a few Zīyārah, and ask for the intercession of the Imams ('a). We do not wish to trivialize these religious rituals, but we simply mean that being a Shia entails much more than just these things. It includes things like self-sacrifice, dedication, knowledge wisdom, and piety …
Every aspect of our lives must reflect such lofty principles and it is only then that the true meaning of being a Shia can be comprehended. We must adhere, not in words but in practice, to the commands of the Imams (‘a), and just as the people who had come to visit Imam al-Rida ('a) repented, we too need to repent and start our lives anew. Being a Shia is not attained through empty claims; it can only be attained through sincere action.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 814.
 Ibid, p. 999.
 The Rays of Guidance: a Series of Ethical Discussions, p. 98.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 16, p. 290.
 The Great Oaths of the Quran, p. 168.
 Ethics in the Quran, vol. 1, p. 194.
 The Story of the Companions: a Series of Exegetic Discussions by A. Makarem Shirazi. P. 230.
 Islamic Ethics in the Nahj al-Balāghah [based on the Muttaqīn Sermon], vol. 1, p. 415.
 Ibid, p. 414.
 Ibid, p. 415.
 Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 68, p. 92.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 14, p. 415.
 Ibid, p. 416.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 13, p. 173.
 Al-Infiṭār, 13-14.
 The Verses of Wilāyah in the Quran, p. 234.