"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"
Hadith of the Day
قال الإمامُ علی عليه السلام:
الصِّيامُ اجتِنابُ المَحارِمِ كما يَمتَنِعُ الرجُلُ مِن الطَّعامِ والشَّرابِ
Imam Ali (‘a) said:
Fasting is just as much keeping away from prohibited things as it is keeping away from food and drink.
Ghurar al-Ḥikam, no. 9001
I am 21 years old student, however, in the holy month Ramadan when I observe fasting I become so weak that I don’t have the ability to anything. Fasting also affects my study which is my honor and my future. In such a condition, is it still obligatory on me to observe fasting?
If observing fasting causes you illness or physical problems then fasting is not obligatory on you. Furthermore, if such a condition continues until the next year then performing qaḍa is not obligatory either. 750 g food material, nonetheless, should be paid to the poor for every day as the fidyah.
Daily Prayer of the Month
A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 19th
Thesupplicatory prayer of Ramadan 19th is as follows:
اللهُمَّ وَفِّرْ فيهِ حَظّى مِنْ بَرَكاتِهِ، وَسَهِّلْ سَبيلى الى خَيْراتِهِ، وَلاتَحْرِمْنى قَبُولَ حَسَناتِهِ، يا هادِياً الَى الْحَقِّ الْمُبينِ
“O’ Lord! Let me have a large share of the blessings of this day, and facilitate my moving toward its blessings, and do not deprive me of its bounties, O’ Supreme Guide [of all] toward the manifest truth!”
The most important points made in this prayer are the following:
Explaining the importance of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan from the viewpoint of Imam al-Sadiq (‘a); explaining the ways of benefiting from the blessings of this great month; a review of the concept of Ḥasanah [goodly things and deeds] and its relationship with the concept of faith.
* The Necessity to Gain full Knowledge of the Month of Ramadan, the Month of Allah
Blessed and prosperous are those who recognize the true value and significance of this month and benefit from its unending blessings. One can benefit from the abundant blessings of this month through fasting and other acts of worship, enabling oneself to solve their material and spiritual problems.
* Imam al-Sadiq’s Beautiful View about Fasting
With regard to the issue of fasting, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) has been quoted as saying:
نَوْمُ الصَّائِمِ عِبادَةٌ وَصَمْتُهُ تَسْبيحٌ وَعَمَلُهُ مُتَقَبَّلٌ وَدُعاؤُهُ مُسْتَجابٌ
“When a person is fasting, his sleeping will be counted as an act of worship, his silence will be counted as the glorification of Allah, his acts of worship will all be accepted, and his prayers will all be answered.” 
As this tradition from the Imam (‘a) indicates, the sleep of a fasting person is considered an act of worship, not to mention those good deeds they do when awake.
Similarly, the silence of a fasting person is considered an act of glorification of Allah, better yet, when they do engage in Dhikr and glorification of Allah.
Since Allah the Almighty is our host in this month, receiving us all with His unending and All-embracing Grace and Compassion, He accepts even the smallest good deeds from us as acts of worship.
The reason why people’s prayers are accepted and answered more in this month is that a person who is fasting is usually more attentive to Allah and the deeds which can earn His pleasure and the more attentive one is to Allah, the greater chance their prayers be accepted and answered by Him.
* No pain no Gain!
Just like any other goal, one needs to work hard in order to benefit from both the material and spiritual the blessings of the month of Ramadan. Therefore, one must not restrict oneself to just fasting; rather, one needs to engage in other constructive undertakings which can help him benefit more from this month.
These include abstaining from sins and moral vice, self-purification and moral training which will prepare one’s soul to receive the special blessings and bounties of Allah in this month.
One thing that we all need to keep in mind is that whatever we need for spiritual development and growth are ready in this blessed month. However, what prevents some from benefitting from this blessed month is that they are lazy and they do not work hard enough and so their fasting does not benefit them much.
* Allah, the Source of all Goodness and Blessings
All goodness and blessings originate from Allah the Almighty. This is because it is actually Allah who has created all the goodness in the heavens and the earth, in man himself, and in this world and the world to come.
However, some negligent people would turn to others than Allah when they are faced with some problem, taking them as their veritable deities beside Allah. These people neglect the fact that they cannot achieve anything in this world, including knowledge of Allah and true development and growth, unless they put all their trust in Allah and have hope only in Him as the sole grantor of blessings and redemption.
* What is Ḥasanah?
Ḥasanah has a broad scope of meaning; it includes all good deeds, but most importantly it includes having faith in Allah, the Prophet of Islam (s), and the Wilāyah of the Infallibles Imams (‘a). Though they are the most important examples of Ḥasanah, the above mentioned deeds do not constitute the only instance of Ḥasanah. In other words, any action that is considered to be good is considered a Ḥasanah.
* The Condition for One’s Good Deeds to be accepted
The single most important condition for one’s good deeds to be accepted and rewarded by Allah is having faith in Him. The sing of having faith in Allah is obeying His and His Prophet’s every command which is itself important in keeping one away from Shirk [polytheism], something which can cause all of one’s good deeds to be futile.
Moreover, when one submits to Allah and His Prophet’s Wilāyah, one can no longer recklessly do whatever they desire or act based on their whims and lusts. Rather, one will be careful to act as is demanded by the Walī.
The issue of Wilāyah is particularly important because for an action to be considered a good deed, it needs to meet certain conditions and prerequisites and it needs to be done in very specific ways which are taught by the Infallible Leaders appointed by Allah. Therefore, if a good action is done in ways other than what is taught by these leaders, it will not be considered a good deed.
* The Nature of Divine Guidance
The last part of this prayer refers to Allah using the term Ḥādī [Supreme Guide] which is one of Allah’s Attributes. It is used here to refer to the fact that Allah’s guidance includes all of man’s material, spiritual, esoteric, exoteric, existential and legislative aspects.
The Lamp of Guidance
THE FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PIOUS BELIEVER
قَالَ الصَّادِقُ (علیه السلام): «أرْبَعٌ مَنْ کُنَّ فِیهِ کَانَ مُؤمِناً وَ إنْ کَانَ مِنْ قَرْنِهِ إلی قَدَمِهِ ذُنُوباً: الصِّدْقُ وَالْحَیَاءُ وَ حُسْنُ الخُلْقِ وَ الشُّکْرُ»
Imam al-Sadiq ('a) is narrated to have said: ‘If an individual possesses four characteristics, they are a believer, even if they are engulfed in sin from head to toe. These four are: truthfulness, modesty, pleasant disposition, and thankfulness.’
The literal meaning of this tradition might be unimaginable. Literally speaking, this tradition seems to indicate that no matter what kinds and how many sins one commits, one is still considered to be a believer as long as they possesses these four qualities. This interpretation of the tradition is, of course, neither logical nor acceptable. However, through further contemplating this tradition, a more profound meaning arises. What this tradition indicates is that even if one is engulfed from head to toe in sin, these four characteristics have the potential of purifying them and pushing them away from sins in the future. Let us look at these four characteristics in detail:
1. Truthfulness: This characteristic will prevent one from committing such sins as stealing, giving short weights, hoarding, product adulteration, and the like. The reason behind this is that if one commits any of these sins, they will naturally be forced to lie in order to cover them up. Therefore, if one is completely truthful, they will be unable to commit many of these evil acts.
There is a famous story of a young man who approached the Prophet (s) and said to him: I am afflicted with a multitude of sins. what should I do? The Prophet (s) said to him: Just do not lie. This advice of the Prophet (s) caused this individual to break free from all sins; for, now that he was unable to lie and cover up what he was doing, his sense of shame would naturally prevent him from committing those sins.
2. A Sense of Modesty and Shame: The word used for this quality in Arabic is Ḥayā’ and it refers to an inner faculty which repels one from everything that is unseemly and shameful. When one has this inner sense of shame and modesty, they will naturally stay away from many sins.
3. A Pleasant Disposition: Good character is a means of purifying oneself from sins. People commit many of their sins while in a state of anger and one who has this sense of good character will control his anger and so he will naturally be protected against many sins.
4. Thankfulness: True thankfulness entails using every aspect of our being in the proper way in which it has been intended by Allah. When one is thankful in such a manner, there is no longer any room for sinning.
THE STATION OF THE PIOUS BELIEVERS
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ(صلی الله علیه وآله): مَنْ أحْزَنَ مُؤْمِناً ثُمَّ أعْطَاهُ الدُّنْیَا لَمْ یَکُنْ ذَلِکَ کَفَّارَتُهُ»
The Prophet (s) is narrated to have said: ‘One who saddens a faithful believer and wishes to make up for it by giving him the entire world will still be unable to atone for his sin.’
There is another tradition narrated from Imam al-Sadiq ('a) which further emphasizes this point. This tradition narrates that Allah said: ‘Anyone who disturbed my faithful believers has declared war on me.’ When we look at various religions and schools of thought and wish to evaluate them, one of the important criteria which we can use is how the religion views human beings. Islam has given the highest rank to human beings and has given much attention and importance to issues related to their day to day lives. The Quran has also paid much attention to human beings in various verses, and has pointed out a number of facts about them which need to be discussed here:
1. The Best of Creatures: The Quran has stated that- ‘…Then We produced him as [yet] another creature. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators!’ According to this verse, Allah is the best of creators because He created man; what follows from this verse is that mankind is the best of Allah’s creatures and there is no rank above that.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 815.
 Ibid, p. 696.
 Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 96, p. 253; al-Faqīh, vol. 2, p. 64; Rawḍah al-Muttaqīn, vol. 3, p. 230.
 The Teachings of the Infallibles (‘a), vol. 2, p. 122.
 Ibid, p. 123.
 The Teachings of the Infallibles (‘a), vol. 2, p. 122.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 696.
 Ibid, p. 696.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 7, p. 631.
 Ibid, vol. 10, p. 320.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 23, p. 187.
 Ibid, p. 186.
 Ibid, p. 187.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 3, p. 129.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 15, p. 573.
 A Selection of Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 4, p. 242.
 Beautiful Parables of the Quran, vol. 1, p. 319.
 The Message of the Quran, vol. 4, p. 410.