"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"
Hadith of the Day
قال الإمامُ علی عليه السلام:
أعقَلُ النّاسِ مَن كانَ بِعَيبِهِ بَصيراً ، وعَن عَيبِ غَيرِهِ ضَريراً
Imam Ali (‘a) said:
The most intelligent of people is he who is well aware of his own faults and blind to others’ faults.
Ghurar al-Ḥikam, no. 3233
I wanted to know if the zakāt of fiṭrah of an unborn baby should be also paid by the father?
Zakāt of fiṭrah does not include unborn babies.
Daily Prayer of the Month
A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 21st
Thesupplicatory prayer of Ramadan 21st is as follows:
اللهُمَ اجْعَلْ لى فيهِ الى مَرْضاتِكَ دَليلًا، وَلا تَجْعَلْ لِلشَّيْطانِ فيهِ عَلَىَ سَبيلًا، وَاجْعَلِ الْجَنَّةَ لى مَنْزِلًا وَمَقيلًا، يا قاضِىَ حَوآئِجِ الطَّالِبينَ
“O’ Lord! Show me the way toward Your good pleasure in this month, do not grant Satan a way to dominate me, and make Paradise my home and returning place, O’ Granter of the wishes of all wishers!”
The most important issues attended to in the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 21st are the following:
Understanding what truly pleases Allah; the importance of obedience in earning Allah’s good pleasure; the significance of fasting in the month of Ramadan in helping one break free of the temptations of Satan; an effective solution for saving oneself from the evil temptations of Satan; and the things which can guarantee one’s eternal life of bliss in Paradise.
* Ramadan, an Opportunity to Earn Allah’s Good Pleasure
The month of Ramadan is known as the “month of Allah” in the Islamic culture; although, this could be said about all months. That may be due to the fact that this month specifically constitutes the best opportunity for people to earn Allah’s good pleasure through total obedience to Him.
With regard to this issue, Imam al-Hassan (‘a) is quoted to have said the following to his companions:
“Allah has made the month of Ramadan a means of testing people, in order to give them the chance to compete with one another in obeying Him and earning His good pleasure and an eternal life of bliss in Paradise …” 
The great Shiʿa scholar, the late Sayyid ibn Ṭāwūss has also made the following remarks in this regard: “… just as you make every attempt to ensure, by any means necessary, that the kings and rulers in this world are pleased with you, beware not to neglect to pursue Allah’s good pleasure and beware not to care more for the good pleasure of human rulers than that of Allah … for if you do that, you have, no doubt, underestimated Allah, the Almighty, and have treated His Majesty and Glory lightly!”
* Understanding what truly Pleases Allah
This means that one first needs to be steadfast in their faith in Allah and in the Thaqalayn [i.e. the Quran and the Ahl-al-Bayt (‘a), the things which the Muslims were ordered by the Prophet (s) to hold on to and never be separated from after his demise. In other words, in order for one to be able to please Allah, one needs to closely follow the Prophet’s Ahl-al-Bayt (‘a), i.e. the Infallible Imams (‘a), and to do their utmost in aiding the cause of Islam and the Muslim Ummah.
* Ramadan, a Month when Satan is chained down
According to some traditions, fasting in any month constitutes the most effective means for breaking free of the temptations of Satan; some other traditions, however, indicate that it is fasting in the month of Ramadan which has such a miraculous effect.
For instance, the Prophet (s) has been quoted as saying the following with respect to this issue:
مَن سَرَّهُ أن يَذهَبَ كَثيرٌ مِن وَحَرِ صَدرِهِ فَليَصُم شَهرَ الصَّبرِ وَثَلاثَةَ أيّامٍ مِن كُلّ شَهرٍ
“Anyone who likes to be free of much of the temptations [of Satan] need to fast [all of the days of] the month of Ramadan and also three days in other months.”
There is another related tradition by Imam Ali (‘a) which is in line with the above-mentioned Prophetic tradition:
و صوم شهر رمضان فإنّه جنّة من العقاب
“Fasting in the month of Ramadan provides one with a Shield against the Divine Retribution.”
Fasting in the month of Ramadan provides one with an important layer of defense in one’s constant fight with Satan’s temptations and one’s own carnal desires which are the main causes of transgressions and sins.
By fasting, one brings their carnal desires under the control of their sound mind and power of reason, keeping themselves protected against the temptations of Satan.
* Effective Solutions to the Problem of the Temptations of Satan
Strengthening piety, the sense of responsibility toward Allah’s orders, has been the essence of the mission of all divinely-sent prophets and leaders. It is a power without which no one will ever be able to break free of the temptations of Satan and their own evil-prompting self and lowly desires.
Other factors which can significantly contribute to man’s freedom from the domination of Satan include rational thinking, reflection on the outcome of everything that one wants to do and also on the laws of Allah, and finally repentance.
Furthermore, it so happens that many of the individuals who commit sins will fall prey to a deep feeling of despair, losing hope in ever being forgiven or being able to stop sinning. This feeling will, in turn, drive them farther into transgressions since they will reckon that now that they have no chance of being saved, what matters if they commit more sins?!!
In order for one not to fall into despair, one needs to fight against his evil-prompting soul and have close spiritual ties with righteous men of God. This will help one to gradually detach themselves from other transgressors, stop committing sins, and save themselves from the temptations of Satan.
* Things which can guarantee one’s Entry into Paradise
One’s long journey toward his eternal home, Paradise, begins with the moment of death. After death one goes through several stages and even worlds before making one’s way to Paradise. These include the intermediary world of Barzakh which one will live in after death and before the Day of Resurrection.
After being Resurrected in the Hereafter, one will need to go through several different stages including the stage of Questioning, Reckoning, and the Bridge of Ṣirāṭ each of which are horrific and dreadful in their own way.
After going through all of these stages, those who are considered worthy will be admitted into Paradise. But what will determine whether one is worthy of Paradise or not are their deeds and the level of their piety in this world. In other words, one will be able to successfully and safely go through all of these stages and make their way to Paradise only if they had been pious and had done righteous deeds in the world.
The Lamp of Guidance
When we look at worship in Islam, we see that many of the most important acts of worship are congregational in nature. For example, Ḥajj pilgrimage or congregational prayers can be considered as some of the most important acts of worship in Islam which are performed in a collective and communal basis. Another important precept in Islam is helping others financially and giving charity to the poor. The Prophet (s) has been quoted as saying the following in this regard: ‘All people are under the guardianship and tutelage of Allah’. This means that the emphasis that Islam places on giving out charity in the way of Allah is because these aids are meant to help the less fortunate among the servants of Allah. Similarly, the Quran has stated the following with regard to this issue: ‘You shall not attain righteousness until you spend out of what you love (in the way of Allah). Allah knows whatever you spend.’ This shows that Islam puts a heavy emphasis on societal rights and responsibilities.
In reality, there is no good deed in Islam as encouraged as giving charity in the way of Allah. Some traditions indicate that a simple good deed will be rewarded by Allah ten times its actual value, while others have mentioned that it will be rewarded seventy times its value. Yet, when it comes to giving charity, the Quran states that it will be rewarded seven hundred times its actual value: ‘The charity of those who expend their wealth in the way of Allah may be likened to a grain of corn, which produces seven ears and each ear yields a hundred grains. Likewise Allah develops manifold the charity of anyone He pleases…’
What is even more important is that it isn’t necessary that the individual who is being helped is a Muslim. The Prophet (s) is narrated as having said: ‘Quenching the thirst of anyone who is thirsty has its reward’. This reward even extends to animals. Therefore, the concept of ‘giving charity’ and ‘helping others’ in Islam extends to all human beings, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, or one’s friends or enemies; so much so that it even includes non-human creatures.
In essence, Islam encourages us to help anyone who is in need regardless of who they are. An example of this Islamic teaching can be found in a tradition narrated from Imam al-Sadiq ('a) which states: ‘If someone needs something from me, and he is my enemy, I will make even more haste for he may (lose hope and) not come back to me and I will be deprived of helping him’.
How can anyone accuse Islam of being a harsh religion, while it has offered us an abundant number of such altruistic teachings? In what other religion can one find such high levels of mercy towards all living beings? It is, in fact, due to such teachings that people are flocking towards Islam. The logic behind such teachings is clear: constantly seeking out revenge only prolongs hatred and extends the cycle of violence. Violence cannot always be stopped by further violence. In most cases in fact, it can best be stopped by acts of kindness and humanity. If we really wish that the people love the Prophet (s) and the Imams ('a), we should put the teachings of the Prophet (s) and the Imams (‘a) into practice.
قَالَ الإمَامُ عَلِی النَّقِی (علیه السلام): «مَنْ هَانَتْ عَلَیْهِ نَفْسُهُ فَلاَ تَأْمَنْ شرَّهُ»
Imam al-Hadi ('a) is narrated to have said: ‘You will not be safe from the evil of someone who maintains no value for themselves [i.e. who has no self-respect]’.
One of the important issues with regard to religions is their criteria for attaching value to different things. A religion might place great value on something while another religion would not. Similarly, in both spiritual and material worlds, some things are considered to be valuable while some other things are not. Naturally, if one believes something to be of low value, one will not care much about it and will soon lose it; counter wise, if one believes something he has is of high value he will not easily loose it. For example, if a child finds the most expensive jewel, they won’t consider it to be valuable and will simply play with it as children sometimes do. When the child loses interest, he will simply throw that expensive jewel aside, for he doesn’t appreciate its value.
Similarly, if we view human dignity as something of value, we will naturally take care of it and will not lose it easily. According to the Quran, the most valuable thing in this universe, after the Divine Essence of Allah, is the human being and that is because everything has been created for their sake. A divine tradition states: ‘[O’ man!] I created everything for you and I created you for myself’. Moreover, based on the following verse in the Quran, the purest and most high ranking creatures of Allah, the angels, prostrated themselves before man: ‘So, the angels - all of them - fell down in prostration’. Both of these show how valuable human beings really are. In addition, Allah has made man dominant over everything which exists and he has been given the ability to utilize all of the blessings which surround him; this is another sign of his rank before Allah.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 816.
 A Selection of Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 1, p. 122.
 The Message of the Quran, vol. 2, p. 117.
 Man Lā Yaḥḍaruhu al-Faqīh, vol. 1, p. 511, hadith No. 1479.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 15, p. 435.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 22.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 13, p. 390.
 Ibid, p. 391.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 6, p. 414.
 The Verses of Wilāyah in the Quran, p. 256.
 The Rays of Guidance: a Series of Ethical Discussions, p. 354.
 Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 97, p. 109, hadith No. 48.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 4, p. 624.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 10, p. 258.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 13, p. 263.
 The Message of the Quran, vol. 6, p. 396.
 Ibid, p. 397.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minin (‘a), vol. 2, p. 196.