"Ramadan Spiritual Sustenance"
الإمامُ الصّادقُ عليه السلام:
أفضَلُ الجِهادِ الصَّومُ في الحَرِّ
Al-Imam al-Sadiq (ʿa):
The best jihad is fasting in hot weather.
Bihār al-Anwār, v. 96, p. 375, no. 63
We read in the book Practical Laws of Islam issue “No 1423”: “If a person in the state of janābah during a night of Ramadan sleeps and wakes up, and then sleeps for a second time or third time and does not wake up, in such a case the obligatory precaution is to perform qaḍā of the fast.”
Does this ruling include a person who hears the clock alarm and since they are in deep sleep just wake up, turn the alarm off and go back to sleep?
It does not; for that ruling to apply, the individual should become fully awake.
A Commentary on the Supplicatory Prayer of Ramadan 25th
Thesupplicatory prayer of Ramadan 25th is as follows:
اللهُمَّ اجْعَلْنى فيهِ مُحِبَّاً لِأَوْلِيآئِكَ، وَمُعادِياً لِأَعْدآئِكَ، مُسْتَنّاً بِسُنَّةِ خاتَمِ انْبِيآئِكَ، يا عاصِمَ قُلُوبِ النَّبِيّينَ
“O’ Lord! Make me affectionate toward Your Righteous Servants and an enemy of Your enemies and an adherent of the tradition of the Seal of Your Prophets, O’ Guardian of the hearts of the prophets!”
The most important points of the supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 25th are as follows:
Characteristics of the Awliyā’ [i.e. the most righteous servants] of Allah and their role in assessing people’s deeds; outlining the borders of who is considered a friend of Allah and who is considered His enemy; and the importance of following the example of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ).
* Awliyā’ of Allah set the Standard for the Assessment of People’s Deeds
Mankind is going to be compared to the most righteous servants of Allah in order for their deeds to be assessed and recompensed with the due reward. This means that the more one’s convictions, character qualities, and deeds resemble those of these chosen servants of Allah, the weightier their record of good deeds will be in the Hereafter.
These great Godly figures set an example for the people and also the standard for the assessment of their deeds; therefore, the more the people’s words and deeds resemble these exemplary individuals, the more chance they stand to be accepted and rewarded by Allah in the Hereafter.
Though the greatest manifestation of their example will be in the Hereafter, the most righteous servants of Allah are examples in this world as well because the people’s deeds are frequently compared to those of such righteous.
* Who are the true Awliyā’ [i.e. most righteous servants] of Allah?
One of the most important characteristics of these chosen servants of Allah is that they know for certain that this world is a transitory one and that it should be viewed only as a place to do good deeds for the eternal life of the Hereafter.
They are also constantly on their guard because they know how dangerous the temptations and the complicated evil plots of Satan and his evil accomplices are. This is because these righteous servants of Allah take sides with the truth and are enemies of wrongdoing, oppression, and injustice.
Their hearts are filled with a sense of fear of Allah’s retribution and also hope in His mercy. This is why they neither feel any attachment to anyone other than Him nor do they consider anyone else to have any power over their destiny, nor do they fear anyone except Him.
The righteous servants of Allah know that all worldly positions and wealth will be taken away from them one day and they will have to set out on their journey toward the Hereafter with a simple white shroud. So they never develop any attachment to the transitory glitters of this world.
These true friends of Allah never consider the glitters of this world, whether its wealth, power, or important positions, to be an honor to have. In fact, they consider having these things the reason behind losing the opportunities to work toward pleasing Allah.
These chosen servants of Allah are the ones who teach the people the true understanding of the Quran because the source of their vast knowledge is the Quran itself. The great rank and standing of these righteous individuals with the people is made known by the Quran itself.
The Awliyā’ of Allah derive their knowledge from the infinite Knowledge of Allah and then they go on to spread their knowledge to the entire human world through their teachings.
Due to their unique role in spreading knowledge in the human world and raising the awareness of people, the holy Quran has greatly praised them and has made their significance clear to everyone.
* Tawallī and Tabarrī [Associating oneself with the Friends of Allah and Dissociating Oneself from the Enemies of Allah] and the Logic of being Friends or Enemies with others
By pondering the sacred supplicatory prayer of Ramadan 25th, one realizes that loving the friends of Allah and associating with them and hating the enemies of Allah and dissociating oneself from them constitute two basic principles which must be adhered to by all Muslims.
This is because it is logically impossible for one to love both Allah and His enemies and one needs to choose only one of them to associate oneself with. Therefore, if we are truly believers, we must avoid befriending the enemies of Allah otherwise we are not only not considered believers, we cannot even be considered Muslims.
There are some people who claim to be the proponents of a theory of being friends with everyone under all conditions! These people, however, need to answer this question first: can we love just everyone in a world where there are both oppressors and oppressed, imperialists and imperialized, usurper and freedom fighter, and pure and wicked?!
What sound mind would accept befriending and loving the oppressor and the oppressed at the same time to be logical and permissible?! How can human emotions accept such an unfair and unacceptable compromise between the oppressed and the oppressor?!
If, instead of the logical act of befriending the good people and hating the bad ones, a spirit of indifference and unreasonable compromise with just anyone is cultivated in a society, that society will slide swiftly in to destruction and ruin.
* The Great Prophet of Islam (ṣ), the Perfect Role Model for the Whole of Mankind
We should all follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (ṣ) as he did everything based on the orders of Allah. The Prophet (ṣ) was ordered to treat the believers with humbleness along with compassion and affection; he was also ordered by Allah to treat the hypocrites and the enemies of Islam harshly and to fight them.
This example set by the Prophet (ṣ) clarifies the duty of the Muslim Ummah; he is the example and the role model for the entire Muslim Ummah and they must follow him closely in every aspect of their lives. This is why in a part of this prayer we pray to Allah to grant us the opportunity to act in accordance with the tradition of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ).
In the end, one thing needs to be made clear: as long as we do not take practical steps to follow the example of the Prophet of Islam (ṣ), though the corrupt world powers might dislike and fight it, we will never be able to have a society which is based on virtues and sublime human values.
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.
قَال الامام عَلِی بنُ مُوسَی الرِّضا(علیه السلام): «... مَنْ حَاسَبَ نَفْسَهُ رَبِحَ وَ مَنْ غَفَلَ عَنْهَا خَسِرَ وَ مِنْ خَافَ أَمِنَ»
It has been narrated that Imam al-Rīḍā (Ýa) said: ‘He who engages in self-inspection will profit [from it], while the one who remains negligent of it will incur a loss, and he who fears danger will remain safe from it.’
This tradition contains three brief yet profound sentences. There are many traditions on the importance of engaging in self-inspection in this world, which means that we should account for our every deed. According to the traditions, just as the angels record our good and bad deeds, we should also look over our deeds as well.
According to some verses of the Quran concerning the Day of Judgment, every human being will account for his deeds on the Day of Judgment. One verse states: ‘(It will be said to him:) "Read your (own) record: Sufficient is your soul this day to make out an account against you."’ Another verse states: ‘And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed (before you); and you will see the sinful in great terror because of what is (recorded) therein; they will say, "Ah! Woe to us! What a Book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account thereof!"’ Yet another verse states: ‘Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it!’
In this manner, we will have to account for our actions on the Day of Judgment, and so it is better for us to account for our actions in this world where it is possible to change course for the better. Based on the above-mentioned tradition, just as we account for our financial matters, we should account for our beliefs, our actions, and our sense of morality. We should scrutinize our actions on a daily basis and see whether we are a better person today or if we have regressed. We should see whether we have become purer in the heart or have plunged even deeper in to darkness .
When it comes to personal accounting, we find that it is much harder to perform than financial accounting for instance. In financial accounting one only needs to examine the financial records where everything has been carefully recorded. Yet, when it comes to accounting for our actions, we are faced with three major problems:
The First Problem
The first problem is that when dealing with one’s own defects, one has a tendency to overlook many of them due to the self-love inherent within man. As a result, we may incorrectly view our defects as being neutral or even positive points. The Quran has warned against such embellishment of evil characteristics and deeds, because it would prevent man from viewing himself the way he truly is.
The Second Problem
The second problem is that we rarely keep a record of our deeds, particularly the evil ones such as small sins, mistakes, and duplicitous behavior. Yet, when it comes to financial matters, we tend to keep a careful record of every transaction. Who can possibly remember all of the things they have done throughout the day, the week, the month, or even the year.
The Third Problem
The third problem is that we are unable to perceive some of our apparently small sins. According to a tradition, committing Shirk [the sin of associating partners with Allah] in our actions is something harder to discern than an ant moving on a black rock in the night.
Irregardless of the difficulties or anything related to the other two factors, it is necessary that we perform this accounting. When it comes to financial matters, we account for everything since we know that if we don’t account, we will end up losing. In this same way, if we account for our actions every day, we will be able to fix any weaknesses which we have and continue to improve on the good aspects.
A glance at the life of the great scholars of the past shows that they had self-inspection as one of the routines of their daily lives; they considered the spiritual journey towards Allah to consist of the following successive steps: self-vigilance, self-inspection, Mushāriṭah, and finally self-punishment. The Imam ('a) ends the aforementioned tradition by saying that those who are afraid of something will remain safe from it. If the fear of Allah is truly reflected in our deeds, we will remain safe from Allah’s punishment.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 816.
 “Indeed Amir al-Mu’minīn [i.e. Imam Ali (‘a)] and the Infallible Imams from his lineage are the standards.” [Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 7, p. 251; Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 27, p. 264].
 The Message of the Quran, vol. 6, p. 135.
 Ibid, p. 125.
 Ibid, p. 456.
 Ibid, p. 458.
 Ibid, p. 457.
 Ibid, p. 458.
 Ibid, p. 459.
 Ibid, p. 460.
 The Message of Imam Amir al-Mu’minīn (‘a), vol. 14, p. 265.
 Tafsīr-i Nemūneh, vol. 23, p. 468.
 Ibid, p. 433.
 Ethics in the Quran, vol. 2, p. 73.
 The New Mafātīḥ, p. 816.
 Ibid, vol. 12, p. 422.