"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"
Hadith of the Day
الامام الباقر علیه السلام :
الصِّيامُ والحَجُّ تَسكِينُ القُلوبِ
Al-Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said:
The fast and the obligatory pilgrimage (hajj) pacify the heart.
Amāli al-Ṭūsi, p. 296, no. 528
If a person wraps his head in a plastic bag and goes under water while fasting in the month of Ramadan, will his fasting be invalidated?
Obligatory precaution dictates that going under water will invalidate one's fasting even when a plastic bag is wrapped around one's head unless the plastic bag is wrapped around the head in a way where it forms a helmet around the head, is not in direct contact with the head, and allows for the head to move freely inside it.
Daily Prayer of the Month
A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 6th
The supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 6th is as follows:
اللهُمَّ لا تَخْذُلْنى فيهِ لِتَعَرُّضِ مَعْصِيَتِكَ، وَلاتَضْرِبْنى بِسِياطِ نَقِمَتِكَ، وَزَحْزِحْنى فيهِ مِنْ مُوجِباتِسَخَطِكَ، بِمَنِّكَ وَاياديكَ، يا مُنْتَهى رَغْبَةِ الرَّاغِبين
“O’ Lord! Do not let me be disgraced because of my having disobeyed You, and do not punish me with the lashes of Your retribution, and keep me away from anything that arouses Your wrath, I implore You, by Your esoteric and exoteric blessings [to answer my prayer], O’ the Ultimate wish of the wishers.”
The most important points mentioned in this supplicatory prayer are as follows:
The explication of the ways to earn dignity and honor; an explanation of the effects and functions of praying to Allah in averting the Divine punishment; a des c r i p tion of the signs of Divine Wrath and the ways to avoid incurring it; the role of gaining knowledge of Allah in the realization of true gratitude for His blessings.
* The Secret of Honor
Following one’s carnal desires and falling into transgressions will cause one to be disgraced and dishonored in addition to the numerous sorts of corruption that it can create. This is because when a person falls into moral vice and transgression, Allah ceases to aid them in anything that they do and this is what is meant by “letting one be disgraced” which is mentioned in the first part of the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 6th.
Considering this fact, a rational and reasonable person would seize every opportunity to obey Allah because they know that only through such obedience can they have great honor and dignity in this world and salvation in the Hereafter. What must always be kept in mind is that no one has ever been dishonored through obeying Allah and no one has earned dignity and honor through disobeying Him.
The question that might arise here is that what should we do if we have been committing transgressions up until now? The answer is that one must prepare oneself to return to the path of obeying Allah first through repentance and imploring Allah for forgiveness. After that one must keep away from all sorts of sins, transgression, and corruption in order for the stigma of disgrace to be removed from one.
* The Role of Praying in Averting the Divine Punishment
When a person commits a sin, either they themselves realize the evils of what they have done and turn to Allah penitently or they keep committing transgressions for so long that the evils of their own deeds seriously threaten their faith and the well-being of their soul.
In the second case, there will remain no way but to awaken him by means of the lashes of Divine punishment, and so he will be afflicted with some sort of tribulation to stop transgressing and repent.
However, if the transgressing person persists so much in sinning that they are no longer considered worthy of repentance, Allah will pour down blessings on them, instead of awakening tribulations, in order to let them plunge deeper and deeper into transgressions.
Unbelievable as it may seem, this latter punishment, called “Istidrāj”, is the most horrifying sort of punishment; it is a deferred punishment designed to pave the way for an unworthy sinner to commit more and more sins in order to incur the most horrendous otherworldly penalty.
Therefore, we must be cautious not to be afflicted by these punishments; we must pray to Allah frequently in order to be saved from all sorts of Divine punishments.
* How can One avoid incurring the Divine Wrath?
Undoubtedly, the most serious threat to man’s felicity is Divine Wrath; therefore, we must all keep away from anything that could arouse it. One of the things that displeases Allah and arouses His wrath is an inordinate love of this world and its pleasures. Similarly, getting angry at other people and breaking one’s promises can also incur Allah’s wrath both in this world and the next.
On the other hand, there are certain things which can appease Allah’s wrath; for instance, Islamic teachings indicate that patience and forbearance please Allah. There are also traditions which indicate that helping the poor secretly will appease Allah’s wrath. Similarly, Imam Ali (‘a) has been quoted as saying: “Crying out of fear of Allah will extinguish oceans of fire burning of His wrath. ” 
Therefore, one to avoid incurring Divine wrath should does ones best to keep away from grave sins and the above-mentioned moral vices.
* The best Way of Showing Gratitude for Allah’s Blessings
The final phrases of this prayer are meant to strengthen the spirit of gratitude within people. It should be noted that one of the best ways to thank Allah for His blessings is understanding and recognizing how great and important they are.
Another way to show gratitude to Allah for his blessings is to strive to gain more knowledge of Him and His Attributes, in order to come a little closer to understanding His greatness.
The Lamp of Guidance
4. The manner of spending one’s wealth- The Shias are to be tested in regards to how much they help others with their wealth. During our time, we face a great number of difficulties— one of these difficulties involves the issue of unemployment which is itself the root of a great many other issues such as drug addiction, thievery, prostitution, as well as many other evils. We also face other difficulties such as a lack of proper housing, late marriage, and rising university costs; all of these create heavy burdens on our society. A great deal of money is spent by certain people on useless things while others struggle to meet their basic needs. In light of this tradition, we must attempt to implement these lessons in our day to day lives and consider others as our brothers who have a share in our wealth. These are the things that a true Shia must do.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SHIAS- PART 3
عَنْ سُلَیْمانِ بنِ مَهْرانَ قالَ: دَخَلْتُ عَلَی الصادِقِ جَعْفَرِبْنِ مُحَمَّد(علیه السلام) وَ عِنْدَهُ نَفَرٌ مِنَ الشِّیعَةِ وَ هُوَ یَقُولُ: مَعَاشِرَ الشِّیعَةِ کُونُوا لَنَا زَیْناً وَلاَ تَکُونُوا عَلَیْنَا شَیْناً قُولُوا لِلنَّاسِ حُسْناً وَ احْفَظُوا أَلْسِنَتَکُمْ وَ کُفُّوهَا عَنِ الفُضُولِ وَ قُبْحِ القُولِ
Sulaymān ibn Mahrān is narrated to have said: I once paid Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) a visit and heard him say the following to a group of his followers: ‘Oh our Shias! Be like an adornment for us and not a source of dishonor and disgrace for us—speak well with the people, hold your tongues [from insulting others], and refrain from unnecessary and ugly talk.
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) has explained a general principle in this tradition. He is in essence telling the Shias not to dishonor the Imams (‘a) through their actions. They should act in such a praiseworthy manner that others will incline towards their school of thought and be attracted to the Imams (‘a), who are the primary teachers of this school. People look at others and relate their behavior to their religious school of thought and the teachers whom they follow. The Imam (‘a) has then specifically pointed out the tongue, i.e. the things that one says to others. It is interesting to note that the scholars of ethics believe that in order for one to be able to set out on the spiritual journey toward Allah (swt), one must first purify his tongue; thus, so long as the tongue has not been properly purified the heart cannot be purified.
The tongue is the key to the entire human existence and we can oftentimes recognize men’s inner character through the things which they say. The Imam (‘a) has also instructed us to test people with their words: ‘When you wish to test people, see whether they speak the truth or they lie’. If the tongue is closely controlled, one will speak only what is right and true and will pay close attention to whatever he says. One of the ways in which one can learn to control his tongue is acting based on the instruction given by the Imam (‘a) at the end of the above mentioned tradition: ‘Do not speak excessively’.
There are five principles and instructions which, if one acts based on them, they will help one move toward perfection and gain proximity to Allah (swt). The first one is silence and speaking less. This shouldn’t be taken to mean that one should not speak at all; it rather means that one should abstain from unnecessary or evil words.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 813.
 Islamic Ethics reflected in Nahj al-Balāghah [based on the Muttaqīn Sermon], vol. 2, p. 225.
 Ethics in the Quran, vol. 3, p. 133.
 The Teachings of the Infallibles, vol. 2, p. 36.
 The Message of the Quran, vol. 8, p. 335.
 A Selection of Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 3, p. 524.
 Ibid, vol. 5, p. 254.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 21, p. 81.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 13, p. 532.
 Ibid, vol. 6, p. 277.
 Ethics in the Quran, vol. 3, p. 393.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 11, p. 133.
 Islam and the Public Donations, p. 91.
 Irshād al-Qulūb, vol. 1, p. 96.
 The Rays of Guidance: a Series of Ethical Discussions, p. 48.
 Nahj al-Balāghah with a Farsi Translation, p. 159.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 4, p. 47.