"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"
فاطمةُ الزَّهراءُ عليها السلام:
ما يَصنَعُ الصائمُ بِصِيامِهِ إذا لَم يَصُنْ لِسانَهُ وسَمعَهُ وبَصَرَهُ وجوارِحَهُ ؟!
Fāṭima al-Zahrā’ (ʿa) said:
What is the fasting person doing with his fast if he is not guarding his tongue, his hearing, his sight and his limbs [from sins]?!
Biḥār al-Anwār, v. 96, p. 375, no. 63
If the new moon of the month of Shawwal is sighted on the last day of the month of Ramadan while the sun has not yet set, will it be permissible for one to break one's fast after that? What is the ruling regarding the person who intentionally breaks his fast in the aforementioned situation? What if the person in question assures others that it is permissible to break their fast in the foresaid situation and they do so? should they pay any kaffāra for it?
The mere sighting of the new moon of the month of Shawwal is not enough for breaking the fast of that day. If one breaks one’s fast due to unawareness of the related laws, they should perform the Qaḍa of that day's fast later but they are not required to pay any kaffāra.
There is also no kaffāra incumbent upon the person who bids others, without proper knowledge, to break their fasts though one must not do so without having acquired sufficient knowledge of the religious laws.
A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 17th
Thesupplicatory prayer of Ramadan 17th is as follows:
اللهُمَّ اهْدِنى فيهِ لِصالِحِ الْأَعْمالِ، وَاقْضِ لى فيهِ الْحَوآئِجَ وَالْأمالَ، يا مَنْ لا يَحْتاجُ الَى التَّفْسيرِ وَالسُّؤالِ، يا عالِماً بِما فى صُدُورِ الْعالَمينَ، [صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِهِ الطَّاهِرينِ]
“O’ Lord! Guide me in this day toward all the good and righteous deeds and grant me what I hope and wish, O’ You who are in no need of asking questions or being provided with explanations, and O’ You the All-knower of what lies within the breasts [and send peace and blessings upon Muhammad and his pure Progeny].”
Among the issues discussed in the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 17th are the following:
Revisiting the concept of good deed and its examples; the purpose of praying to Allah to grant one’s wishes; and outlining the scope of Divine Knowledge.
* The Concept of Good Deed (al-ʿamal al-ṣaliḥ)
The term “good deed” is one of the key words which is used frequently in the Quran and has a broad scope of meaning. It refers to any good actions which are done for the sake of Allah and in order to earn His good pleasure.
Therefore, good deeds are not merely acts of worship such as prayers, fasting, performing the Ḥajj, giving Zakāt, Khums, reciting supplications or Ziarats. Although these acts of worship are the greatest examples of good deeds, any beneficial act that one does with a the intention of earning Allah’s proximity is considered a good deed.
Therefore, acts like worship, helping the needy, building hospitals, roads, and schools, establishing charity organizations, providing needy newly-weds with the basic household furniture and appliances, providing the single individuals in the society with the basic requirements to get married, paying for the treatment of needy people with incurable or refractory diseases, enj o i ning what is good and forbidding what is bad in the society, trying to guide the unaware individuals who are going astray, and admonishing the ignorant are all examples of good deeds (al-ʿamal al-ṣaliḥ).
* Allah is the Ultimate Wish of the Wishers
It must be kept in mind that Allah has the supreme power over anything that we might decide to do all throughout our lives. This is why people pray to Him when they need something because they know that there is no being more powerful than Him, and that He is the ever-living God and all beyond Him are bound to die.
This human need of praying is a permanent one and they constantly ask for blessings from Allah who is the source of all blessings in the universe. In fact, the very essence of a contingent being is dependent on the existence of the Necessary Being.
* Why is it that Allah is in No Need of asking Questions or being provided with Explanations?
Allah’s knowledge of His created beings is of a kind which is known as Presential Knowledge (al-ʿilm al-ḥuḍūrī). This means that He is ever present everywhere and all beings are in His presence at all times and so He encompasses them all in knowledge.
Therefore, He always has full knowledge of any and all things that His servants do in the day or the night, as His infinite Knowledge completely encompasses them all. This concept is explained more in the following tradition by Imam al-Ṣādiq (‘a):
إنّ اللّه يعلم حاجتك و ما تريد و لكنّه يحبّ ان تبثّ إليه الحوائج
* Ṣalawāt [sending peace and blessing to the Prophet (ṣ) and his progeny] is the Key to the Acceptance of Prayers by Allah
In the last part of this prayer, one sends blessings [Ṣalawāt] to the Prophet and his pure progeny. This is based on the fact that one’s prayers will have a higher chance to be accepted by Allah, if one began and finished one’s supplications with sending peace and blessings to the Prophet (ṣ) and his pure progeny.
4. The next characteristic is being content with what one has. A pious believer is always content and not greedy for more. Instead of looking at those above him in wealth, he looks at those below him. He works very hard but isn’t greedy. He is content but not lazy. We have traditions which indicate that being truly ‘rich’ is not an outer characteristic but an inner quality which stems from one’s inner contentment.
5. The fifth quality is being fair and just to one’s enemies; The Imam ('a) hasn’t said that the believers must not act unjustly towards the Muslims, for this much is self-evident. He has stated that a believer will not act unjustly even towards his enemies. This is in keeping with the following verse of the Quran: ‘Believers! Be upright bearers of witness for Allah, and do not let the enmity of any people move you to deviate from justice. Act justly, that is nearer to being God-fearing…’ True believers would judge their friends and their enemies in the same just manner; they wouldn’t allow personal grudges to influence their decision making.
6. The next characteristic demands that the believer never puts his friends in hardship. For example, when a believer is living in a given society and refuses to lift a hand and do anything, he is putting other Muslims in hardship. There is a famous story of the Prophet (ṣ) when he was traveling with some of his companions. When they reached a place, they decided to rest there and they also had a sheep which they wished to eat.
One of the companions came forward and said that he would perform the butchering of the sheep. Another came forward and offered to skin it, while a third individual offered to cook it. The Prophet (ṣ) came forward and began to collect firewood in order to start a fire. When the companions came and told the Prophet (ṣ) that he shouldn’t be doing this work and that they would happily do it, he said to them: Allah does not like an individual in a group who awaits the others to serve him.
7 and 8. These qualities require that one should work hard and other individuals should be safe from them. In the aforementioned tradition, a believer is characterized as someone who works hard and struggles but they don’t burden others with their personal troubles. This means that they don’t complain about their difficulties and so the people are safe from them in this respect.
We should now gauge ourselves in light of these eight characteristics and see to what degree we possess each of them. It is only to the degree which we possess these characteristics that we can consider ourselves pious believers. It is easy to claim faith but it is not easy to actually be a faithful individual as defined by this tradition.
 Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 95, p. 47.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 815.
 Mizān al-Ḥikmah, section 2227, hadith No. 10384.
 The Great Oaths of the Quran, p. 228.
 Mizān al-Ḥikmah, section 2227, hadith No. 10384.
 The Great Oaths of the Quran, p. 544.
 The Practical Laws of Islam [Farsi version], vol. 9, p. 503.
 The Lexicon of Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, p. 337.
 Ibid, p. 338.
 Ibid, p. 644.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 4, p. 193.
 A Farsi Translation and Brief Commentary on the Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 2, p. 355.
 Fi Ẓilāl Nahj al-Balāghah, vol. 2, p. 319.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 5, p. 599.
 Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 95, p. 47.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 15, p. 20.