"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"
Hadith of the Day
الامام الصادق علیه السلام:
إذا كانَ الرَّجُلُ عَلى عَمَلٍ فَلْيَدُمْ عَلَيهِ سَنَةً ، ثُمَّ يَتَحَوَّلُ عَنهُ إن شاءَ إلى غَيرِهِ ؛ وذلكَ أنَّ لَيلَةَ القَدرِ يَكونُ فيها في عامِهِ ذلكَ ما شاءَ اللَّهُ أن يَكونَ
Al-Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said:
If a man performs a certain action, he should maintain it regularly for the duration of a year, then he may move on to another act if he wishes, and that is so that the grand Night of Ordainment (laylat al-qadr) is included in his year of performing that particular act, when whatever Allah wills therein happens.
Al-Kāfī, v. 2, p. 82, no. 1
In our country, there is a committee for moonsighting consisting of two Shiite scholars, two Sunni scholars and four more from Ahl-i Hadith (Wahhabies) who are all s e l e c ted by the government. The chairman of the committee (who is from the Ahlusunnah) declares the results of the moonsighting via the media.
With that said, is the verdict announced by this committee regarding moonsighting valid or not ?
If there are two just Shiʿa individuals among them who testify that the moon is sighted or they have become certain about that through the unanimous verdict of the committee, then they can act accordingly.
Daily Prayer of the Month
A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 18th
Thesupplicatory prayer of Ramadan 18th is as follows:
اللهُمَّ نَبِّهْنى فيهِ لِبَرَكاتِ اسْحارِهِ، وَنَوِّرْفيهِ قَلْبى بِضِيآءِ انْوارِهِ، وَخُذْ بِكُلِّ اعْضآئى الَى اتِّباعِ اثارِهِ، بِنُورِكَ يا مُنَوِّرَ قُلُوبِ الْعارِفين
“O’ Lord! Awaken me from my state of negligence by the blessings of the dawns of this month, and enlighten my heart in it with the rays of its light, and make all of my limbs follow its blessed effects by Your Light, O’ Illuminator of the hearts of the ‘Ārifīn.”
Among the most important points discussed in the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 18th are the following:
The spiritual significance of being awake at dawn and its blessed effects in elevating man both physically and spiritually; explaining the factors which can lead to the enlightening of the heart; and explaining the concept of Allah’s Light.
* The Blessedness of the Dawns of the Month of Ramadan
We must all do our utmost to use the blessings of the month of Ramadan, particularly those of its blessed dawns.
One can perform the Night Prayers at dawn, implore to Allah to save them from all moral vice, including hypocrisy, and ask for forgiveness. They may also recite the Quran as well as dawn supplications (duʿas of saḥar) and ponder their profound meanings during the dawns of this blessed month.
These acts of worship and supplication are of such an importance that they can create a veritable spiritual revolution in one and illuminate their heart and soul if they prepared themselves for it even a little.
* Being Awake at Dawn, a Chance to flee the Boredom of Daily Routines
In today’s world, the everyday routines have consumed us all, preventing us from focusing on and thinking about important issues of life. In such times, the quiet of the night and, in particular the dawn, when everyone is asleep is the best chance to break free of the everyday material hustle and bustle and seek spiritual and physical solace through getting up and praying. The dawn is the time when one has had enough sleep and getting up at this time can be a quite enjoyable experience for one.
* I Swear by the Dawn!
Dawn, is of such significance, that Allah has sworn on it in the Quran; due to the enormous spiritual blessings which people can receive during these hours :
وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا عَسْعَسَ
“… and by the night when it departs!”
Allah has sworn on the dawn in order to make the people think about it more and to encourage them wake up at dawn and see Allah’s signs and ponder upon them. It should be noted that Allah has only sworn on very important things in the Quran in order to emphasize their great significance and value.
The result of keeping prayer vigil at night and at dawn, particularly during the nights of Qadr in the month of Ramadan is the illumination of one’s heart and a higher level of spirituality reflected even on one’s face.
* Factors which Contribute to the Enlightenment of the Heart
By praying and supplicating to Allah, man will be able to purify one’s heart and soul and illuminate them with the light of spirituality. Further, engaging in Dhikr [remembrance of Allah] and thinking about and pondering Him also enlighten the heart.
It should be noted that sins prevent the heart from being attracted toward Allah; therefore, avoiding sins also greatly contributes to one’s spirituality, sense of submission to Allah, and the enlightenment of the heart.
* The Emission of the Rays of Divine Blessings at Dawn
In order for one to be able to truly concentrate on praying to Allah, one needs to have some time alone without being interrupted by anyone. This does not mean that one needs to seclude oneself from the society and the people. It rather means that one needs to find some time during the day when one can be alone with his Creator. The best time for this is, no doubt, the final hours of the night and at dawn.
* Keeping Prayer Vigil at Dawn and its Effects on Man’s Body and Soul
Prayers and supplications during the dawns of the month of Ramadan will be effective in spiritually elevating one only when they originate from one’s heart and are not merely empty words which one verbally utters.
The verbal utterance of prayers and supplications is, in effect, the link established between one’s entire body, soul, and heart and Allah. This way, it is as if one turns into a single d r o p which gets to join an unending ocean of spiritualty, connecting oneself with the great spiritual source of the universe.
* What is Allah’s Light?
Allah’s light is the same light which has both illuminated the heavens and the earth and also begins shining through the hearts of the believers, illuminating both their body and soul.
The Lamp of Guidance
THE PARTICULARITIES OF THE PIOUS BELIEVER
قَالَ الإمامُ الصَّادِقُ (علیه السلام): «المُؤْمِنُ مَنْ طَابَ مَکْسَبُهُ وَحَسُنَتْ خَلِیقَتُهُ وَ صَحَّتْ سَرِیرَتُهُ وَ أنْفَقَ الفَضْلَ مِنْ مَالِهِ وَ أمْسَکَ الفَضْلَ مِنْ کَلاَمِهِ»
Imam al-Sadiq ('a) is narrated to have said: ‘The believer is one whose business is pure, his behavior and attitude are positive, and his inner state and intentions, are correct. If he makes money beyond his needs, he gives it in charity and eliminates the excess in his speech.’
Claiming to be a pious believer is easy but truly reaching this rank is very difficult. In this tradition, Imam al-Sadiq ('a) has enumerated five characteristics of the pious believers. Let us consider each one of them in detail:
1. The believer is one whose business and earnings are pure. This means that a believer must make sure that he makes his living through lawful means. There are many people who claim to be pious believers but they make their money in ways which might not be lawful. There are many people in our society who claim to be pious believers but they manipulate the market in ways which unlawfully increase their wealth and put other people in difficulty.
Others deprive their mothers or daughters from their rightful share in inheritance, while this was a tradition practiced in the pre-Islamic pagan era. Yet others create credit unions which are supposed to provide interest-free loans to people but, in fact, charge 28 or 30 percent interest rates listed as bank fees in order to make it seem as if the rate isn’t really interest. This is while an actual bank fee for interest-free loans would only entail a maximum rate of 2 percent, and any interest charged above 2 percent is considered to be usury.
Finally, there are some who create businesses based on pyramid schemes with the sole aim of defrauding people of their money.
2. The pious believer will also possess good character qualities and a positive behavior. Such good character qualities are realized in one’s good behavior towards one’s children, spouse, neighbors, friends, and even enemies. Even when such an individual is correcting the mistakes of others, he does it in the best way possible.
3. The pious believer possesses a pure soul. A true believer’s good attitude and behavior is not pretense. He truly wishes well for all people for his soul is pure, his intentions for others are good, and he is neither jealous of others, nor is he miserly.
4. The pious believer gives out a portion of his wealth as charity in the way of Allah. There are some people who continuously pile up wealth without even using it for themselves; they only end up leaving it as an inheritance for others. On the Day of Judgment, they must account for it, while they never benefited in the least from it. Unfortunately, there are some people who buy a completely new set of household goods every year, and this is while there are some who cannot afford the basic necessities of life. Would any individual with a conscience act in such a way?
5. The pious believer is also known for being reserved and not speaking excessively. Excessive speech brings about hatred amongst people, it makes one negligent of Allah, and ultimately causes people to enter the hellfire.
This tradition is not merely a des c r i p tion of true believers, but rather a set of instructions for those who want to become true believers.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 815.
 The Beautiful Parables of the Quran, vol. 1, p. 43.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 815.
 A Selection of Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 2, p. 661.
 The Great Oaths of the Quran, p. 275.
 Al-Takwīr, 17.
 The Great Oaths of the Quran, p. 289.
 The Message of the Quran, vol. 2, p. 214.
 Islamic Ethics as Reflected in the Nahj al-Balāghah [based on the Muttaqīn Sermon], vol. 1, p. 432.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 61.
 Islamic Ethics as Reflected in the Nahj al-Balāghah [based on the Muttaqīn Sermon], vol. 2, p. 430.
 The Rays of Guidance: a Series of Ethical Discussions, p. 153.
 The Genesis of Religions, p. 96.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 14, p. 479.