"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"
قال الإمامُ علی عليه السلام:
ما أكَلتَهُ راحَ، وما أطعَمتَهُ فاحَ
Imam Ali (ʿa) said:
That which you yourself eat gets consumed whereas that which you feed others diffuses [i.e. the blessing in that sustenance].
Ghurar al-Ḥikam, no. 9634
Does swallowing the phlegm invalidates fasting?
If it doesn’t enter the mouth area or it is swallowed involuntarily then it doesn’t have any problem.
A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 24th
Thesupplicatory prayer of Ramadan 24th is as follows:
اللَّهُمَّ انّى اسْئَلُكَ فيهِ ما يُرْضيكَ، وَاعُوذُ بِكَ مِمَّا يُؤْذيكَ، وَاسْئَلُكَ التَّوْفيقَ فيهِ لِأَنْ اطيعَكَ وَلا اعْصِيَكَ، يا جَوادَ السَّآئِلينَ
“O’ Lord! I ask you for the means toward earning Your good pleasure in this month, and I seek refuge with you from anything that displeases You, and I ask you to grant me the opportunity to obey You and never to disobey You, O’ Granter of the needs of the needy!”
The most important points in the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 24th are the following:
Explaining the concept of Allah’s pleasure; the relationship between denying the Wilāyah and incurring the Divine Wrath; and describing the different aspects of Divine Munificence.
* Earning Allah’s good Pleasure, the Greatest Pleasure in the World
There is nothing more pleasurable to man than knowing that their beloved One is pleased with them. Such a feeling would make one experience such intense pleasure which is incomparable to any other sense of satisfaction in the world.
The feeling that one’s beloved one is pleased with them is one of the greatest kinds of spiritual pleasure which is accompanied by a sense of nobility and honor. This is because one knows that if one had not been valuable enough for one’s beloved, nothing done by them would have been important enough to please Him. It is due to this same reason that the holy Quran states the following with regard to the rewards that the righteous receive in the Hereafter:
وَ رِضْوانٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ اكْبَرُ
“… and Allah’s pleasure is greater [than all the other rewards]”
* Denying the Wilāyah of Imam Ali (‘a) will provoke the Divine Wrath
According to the Ziarat al-Jāmi‘ah al-Kabīrah, those who abjure the Wilāyah of Imam Ali (‘a) and the other Infallible Imams, will incur the Divine Wrath:
وَعَلى مَنْ جَحَدَ وِلايَتَكُمْ غَضَبُ الرَّحْمنِ
“And upon those who abjure your Wilāyah is the Divine Wrath!”
This is why in her speech given to a group of women in Medina, the Lady Fatimah al-Zahra (‘a) expresses her severe indignation and hatred toward those who denied Imam Ali’s Wilāyah and his rightful position as the successor of the Prophet (ṣ).
This was because many of the Muslim people could not pass that important test successfully and they failed to recognize the Prophet’s true successor. However, this was perhaps a necessary test in the history of Islam to distinguish true believers from hypocrites and the righteous from those who only pretended to be righteous!
* Submitting to the Wilāyah of the Infallibles is Obeying Allah’s Command
It must be kept in mind that all must submit to and obey Allah alone. However, since the divinely-sent prophets and Imams are the promoters of Allah’s orders and laws, obeying them is considered to be obeying Allah.
This is why Allah has emphasized the issue of “loving only for Allah’s sake and hatred only for Allah’s sake” in the Quran, placing enormous importance on the Wilāyah and leadership of divinely-appointed leaders.
Therefore, after explaining the issue of Wilāyah, the Quran states that obeying Allah, obeying the Prophet, and obeying he who gave out his possessions to the poor as charity while he was performing Ṣalāt [i.e. Imam Ali (‘a)], is absolutely obligatory. The Quran then continues:
وَ مَنْ يَتَوَلَّ اللَّهَ وَ رَسُولَهُ وَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَإِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْغالِبُونَ
“And whoever submits to Allah’s Guardianship and that of His Messenger and the believers [they are the prosperous] for Allah’s party [i.e. the monotheists] are indeed the victorious.”
This means that the party of Allah consists of the people who adhere to the Wilāyah of the Prophet (ṣ) and his rightful successors and who repudiate the Wilāyah of everyone else.
In a related tradition from the Prophet (ṣ), he explains that the “companions of Paradise” are those who obey him and submit to Ali’s (‘a) Wilāyah. The Prophet (ṣ) also explains that the “companions of Hell” are those who were displeased with Ali’s Wilāyah and who broke their covenant with him and fought him. 
* Conclusion: Allah, the Granter of the Needs of the Needy
There are certain words which reflect the Divine Attributes. One of them is the Arabic word “Jawād” which is used to refer to the Divine Munificence.
The renowned Shi’a scholar, Allameh Majlisī has made the following remarks regarding this word:
“Allah is not called Sakhī [meaning generous] but He is called Jawād [meaning munificent] because the Arabic term Sakhī comes from the root word Sikhāwat which originally means lenience.
A generous person is called Sakhī in Arabic because when someone begs them for help, their hearts soften and they agree to help them. However, changes of mood like the softening of the heart or lenience are not applicable to Allah and so this term befits only His servants not Him. ”
Allah, is therefore, Jawād, meaning that He has bestowed on everything that exists whatever blessings that they could possibly handle, and He has bestowed all those blessings without having any personal benefits in such bestowal or hoping to gain anything from them.
In other worlds, He bestows blessings without anything being added to His Essence through such bestowal or without making Himself more complete through it.
THE REWARD OF CHASTITY
قَالَ الامام عَلِی (علیه السلام): «مَا المُجَاهِدُ الشَّهِیدُ فِی سَبِیلِ اللّهِ بِأَعْظَمَ أَجْراً مِمَّن قَدَرَ فَعَفَّ لَکَادَ العَفِیفُ أَنْ یَکُونَ مَلَکاً مِنَ الْمَلاَئِکَةِ»
Imam 'Alī ('a) is narrated to have said: ‘The warrior who is killed in the way of Allah is not rewarded more than one who is able to sin but refrains (from committing that sin). A chaste person is [of such a high rank before Allah that he could even be] compared to the angels.’
Islam considers a very high rank for the martyrs and it can be said that there is no rank which is considered to be higher than that of the one who has lost their life in the way of Allah. The Quran has mentioned something about the martyrs which it has not said about anyone else: ‘Think not of those slain in the way of Allah as dead. Indeed they are living, and with their Lord they have their sustenance.’
This verse was addressed to the Prophet (ṣ) and it contains certain points about the martyrs which are not used about anyone else in the Quran.
The Islamic traditions have similarly attached great importance to the martyrs. The Late Shaykh al-Kulaynī has narrated the following tradition from the Prophet (ṣ) where he says: ‘Higher than every good deed is another good deed (which occupies a higher rank) to the point where an individual is killed in the way of Allah; and there is no good deed which ranks higher than giving one’s life in the cause of Allah.’
There is another tradition narrated from Imam 'Alī ('a) which is addressed to Mālik al-Ashtar, where he said at the end of his letter: ‘And I implore Allah, for the sake of his all-embracing mercy and great power, to make my end and your end one of felicity and martyrdom.’ There are many such traditions which show the high rank of martyrs in Islam.
It should be noted that the concept of martyrdom has a broad scope of meaning in Islam; however, its primary meaning refers to fighting in the way of Allah and being killed on the battlefield. Certain religious rulings (such as the way one is buried and the rites regarding it) apply to a person who is martyred this way; however, these rulings do not apply, for instance, to those who are injured on the battlefield but who later die outside of the battlefield, although they are still considered to be martyrs.
In addition to this specific meaning of martyrdom, there are other more general meanings as well. In essence, anyone who dies while fulfilling the duties assigned to him by Allah is considered to be a martyr. For instance, according to narrations the following people are considered to be martyrs:
1. ‘He who dies in defense of his wealth [is a martyr].’
2. ‘He who is killed while defending his family and his honor [dies a martyr] on the condition that he recognizes and observes the rights of Allah, and those of the Prophet (ṣ) and the Ahl al-Bayt ('a).’
3. ‘One who dies as a friend of the Family of the Prophet ('a) [has died a martyr]’.
The reason behind this last tradition is that loving the Family of the Prophet ('a) entails following them and their teachings which in turn entails knowing one’s duties towards Allah and fulfilling those duties. This shows just how vast and comprehensive the definition of martyrdom is in Islam.
In the aforementioned tradition, Imam 'Alī ('a) has mentioned that one who is martyred is not higher in rank than one who has the ability to sin but does not do so. Based on this tradition, one who can sin but refrains from doing so enjoys the same level of reward as a martyr. It should be noted that the term ‘chaste’ is used here, not just to refer to sexual sins, but all sins. There are several examples in the Quran of righteous people who had the chance to easily sin, but refrained and protected their chastity and purity. For instance, according to the Quran Prophet Yūsuf ('a) had all the means available to him towards sinning and yet he refused, saying: ‘…"My Lord! I prefer imprisonment to what they ask me to do. And if you do not avert from me the guile of these women, I will succumb to their attraction and lapse in to ignorance."’
Another Quranic story in this regard concerns Āsīyah, the wife of the Pharaoh. She also had all of the means available to her for sinning and becoming a polytheist. Yet, she refrained from this sin as the Quran has recounted her story: ‘Allah has set forth for the believers the parable of Pharaoh's wife. She prayed: “My Lord, build for me a house with you in Paradise and deliver me from Pharaoh and his misdeeds; and deliver me from the iniquitous people.”’ Such people will also be rewarded like martyrs. As regards to the reason why such pious people are also granted the rank of martyrs, it is noteworthy to mention that Jiḥād (holy struggle) has been divided in Islam in to two kinds: the lesser Jiḥād, which refers to fighting the enemies of Allah on the battlefield, and the greater Jiḥād, which refers to struggling with one’s evil-prompting self for the purpose of self-purification. As its name suggests, the greater Jiḥād is both more important and more difficult than the lesser Jiḥād and so those who engage in the greater Jiḥād are granted the same rank, and even higher ranks, than those who are martyred during the lesser Jiḥād.
Walking on the path of truth, attaining the rank of the righteous and martyrs, and attaining nearness to Allah have certain difficulties. We should trust in Allah and understand that even though we live in a time where all the means of sin are openly available for us, we should reject them, adopting the way of the great prophets and men of Allah. We should do our best to protect ourselves, our families, and our societies from the dangers of these sins.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 816.
 The Message of the Quran, vol. 6, p. 225.
 Al-Tawbah, 72.
 Our Creed, p. 73.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 546.
 The Lady Zahra, the Greatest Woman of the World, p. 221.
 Ibid, p. 222.
 Our Creed [Aṣl al-Shi’a], p. 146.
 Al-Mā’idah, 56.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 23, p. 472.
 The Great Oaths of the Quran, p. 429.
 Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 4, p. 206.
 The Message of the Quran, vol. 4, p. 32.