Spiritual Corner

Month of Ramadān

The Holy Prophet's sermon in Ramadān
Shaykh al-Sadūq has narrated on the authority of Imam al-Ridā (a) on the authority of his immaculate fathers on the authority of Imam Alī Amir al-Mu'minīn (a) who said that the Holy Prophet (s), once, delivered a speech to the community, saying,

O people, the month of Allāh has come upon you with blessings, mercy, and forgiveness. This month is the most favorable month in the view of Almighty Allāh. Its days are the best days. Its nights are the best nights. Its hours are the best hours. In this month, you have been invited to the hospitality of Almighty Allāh and you have been chosen to be within the people of Almighty Allāh's honoring. Your breaths in this month are (considered) glorification (of Almighty Allāh). Your sleep in this month is (considered) an act of worship. Your deeds are accepted in this month. Your prayers are responded in this month. You may thus pray Almighty Allāh with sincere intentions and pure hearts that He will guide you to observing fasting (properly) and to reciting His Book in this month. Verily, the true miserable is he whom is deprived of Almighty Allāh's forgiveness in this magnificent month.

As you feel hunger and thirst in this month, you should remember the hunger and thirst of the Resurrection Day. Give alms to the poor and the needy among you. Respect those who are older than you are. Have mercy upon those who are younger than you are. Esteem your ties with your relatives. Keep your tongues from obscenity. Cast down your looks from all that which is unlawful for you to gaze and close your hearings against all that which is unlawful for you to hear. Treat kindly the orphans among you so that your orphans will be treated kindly. Repent from your sins. Raise your hands towards Him (i.e. Almighty Allāh) with supplications at the times of your prayers, for these times are the best hours at which Almighty Allāh looks at His servants with mercy-He will respond to their prayers, answer their calls, and receive their supplications.

O people, truly, your souls are dependent upon your deeds; therefore, try to free them by means of imploring for forgiveness. Likewise, your backs are heavily burdened by your sins; therefore, try to lighten the burdens on your backs by means of long prostration (before your Lord). Let it be known to you that Almighty Allāh has sworn by His Mighty that He shall not chastise the performers of prayers and those who prostrate before Him and that He shall not frighten them with Hellfire on that day when all humankind will stand before the Lord of the Worlds.

O people, if anyone of you gives food to a faster (i.e. an observer of fasting) to break his fast(1) in this month, he shall be awarded by Almighty Allāh the reward of manumitting a bond Muslim as well as a forgiveness of all his past sins."

The attendants asked, "O Allāh's Messenger, not all of us can do this!"

The Holy Prophet (s) answered, "Show fearfulness of Almighty Allāh even by a half of a date. Show fearfulness of Almighty Allāh even by a single drink of water. Verily, Almighty Allāh shall give this great reward to those who do the least of their capability if they cannot do the much.

O people, as to those among you who behave politely in this month, they shall be permitted to pass the Discriminating Bridge (sirāt) on the day when many feet will slip (i.e. the Resurrection Day). As to those among you who relieve their servants from a part of their jobs, Almighty Allāh shall make easy for them the interrogation on the Resurrection Day. As to those who stop bothering the others, Almighty Allāh shall save them from His ire on the day when they shall meet Him. As to those who honor an orphan in this month, Almighty Allāh shall honor them on the day when they will meet Him. As to those who keep good ties with their relatives in this month, Almighty Allāh will keep good ties with them through His mercy on the day when they will meet Him. On the other hand, as to those who rupture their relations with their relatives in this month, Almighty Allāh will prevent them from receiving His mercy on the day when they will meet Him. As to those who voluntarily offer a prayer in this month, Almighty Allāh will release them from Hellfire. As to those who perform a religious rite in this month, they shall be given the reward of performing seventy religious rites in other months. As to those who very frequently invoke Almighty Allāh's blessings upon me in this month, Almighty Allāh shall make their scales heavy (i.e. full of good deeds) when the others' scales will be light (i.e. lacking good deeds). As to those who recite a single verse of the Qur'ān in this month, they shall have the reward of one who has recited the whole Qur'ān in other months.

O people, certainly, the gates of Paradise are open wide in this month; therefore, pray your Lord not to close them before you. Similarly, the gates of Hellfire are close in this month; therefore, pray your Lord not to open them for you. Devils are tied up in this month; therefore, pray your Lord not to set them up over you..."

Shaykh al-Sadūq has also narrated that the Holy Prophet (s) used to release all prisoners and give all beggars when the month of Ramadān comes upon him.

To sum it up, the month of Ramadān is the month of Allāh. It is the most honorable of all months. In this month, the doors of heavens, gardens of Paradise, and mercy are opened while the doors of Hellfire are closed. In this month too, there is a night at which the acts of worship are more favorable than the worship of one thousand months. In view of that, you are advised to take notice of this and consider how to spend the nights and days of this month and how to keep your organs and senses against committing any act of disobedience to Almighty Allāh.

Beware of being one of those who spend the nights of Ramadān with sleeping and its days with negligence of mentioning your Lord. In this respect, a Hadith reads, "Verily, Almighty Allāh releases one million persons from Hellfire at the last of each day in Ramadān and, more specifically, at the hour of breaking the fasting. At the last night and on the last day of Ramadān, He releases from Hellfire as same as the number of all those whom He has released all over the month of Ramadān."

Imam Ja'far al-Sādiq (a) is reported to have said, "Verily, one whom is not forgiven in Ramadān will not be forgiven up to the next Ramadān unless (he participates in the season of the Hajj and thus) he witnesses the ritual of the Halting at Mount 'Arafāh (al-wuqūf 'ala 'arafāh)."

Moreover, try to keep yourself against all that which is deemed forbidden by Almighty Allāh and try your best not to break your fasting with a forbidden thing. Finally, you should act upon the following recommendation of our master, Imam Ja'far al-Sādiq (a)

"When you begin your day observing fasting, you should make sure that your hearing, your sight, your hair, your sink, and all your organs are also observing fasting, that is abstaining from not only the forbidden acts but also the discommended ones."

Imam al-Sādiq (a) has also said, "Do not allow the day on which you observe fasting to be like your other days."

He has also said, "Verily, fasting is not the abstinence from food and drink; rather, when you observe fasting, you should keep your tongues from uttering falsehood, keep your sights from seeing forbidden views, do not engage yourselves in disputes, do not envy each other, do not backbite each other, do not quarrel with each other, do not swear, whether falsely or truly, do not insult each other, do not revile at each other, do not wrong each other, do not engage yourselves in shameless disputes, do not be bored, do not be careless of mentioning Almighty Allāh or of prayers, abide by silence, quietness, patience, truthfulness, and avoidance of the evildoers, avoid perjury, lie, slander, contention, evil thinking, backbiting, and tale bearing, ready yourselves for the Next World and for your happy days; that is the Advent of the Rising Imam from the Household of Muhammad-peace be upon them all-expecting that which Almighty Allāh has promised you, preparing yourselves for meeting Almighty Allāh with tranquility, solemnity, piety, submission, and humiliation of the slaves who fear and hope for their masters. O observer of fasting, purify your heart from defects, clean your inner self from filth, wash your body from dirt, disavow the enemies of Almighty Allāh, act sincerely in His presence, abstain from all that which He has deemed unlawful for you to do in secret and in public, fear Almighty Allāh as exactly as He deserves in secret and in Public, dedicate yourself to Almighty Allāh during the days of your fasting, empty your heart from all things save Him, and ready yourself to do whatever is commanded by Him and to do whatever He has ordered you to do. After you do all these, only then you are considered fasting for the sake of Almighty Allāh as truly as it should be. Carry out all that which He has ordered you to do. But if you violate any of these matters, this will decline the degree of your fasting. My father-peace be upon him-narrated that when the Holy Messenger of Allāh-peace be upon him and his Household-heard a woman, who claimed observing fasting, insulting one of her bondwomen, he summoned her, brought her some food, and ordered her to eat. 'I am observing fasting!' she stated. But the Holy Prophet-peace be upon him and his Household-answered, 'How can you be fasting while you have insulted your bondwoman?' Verily, fasting is not to abstain from eating and drinking; rather, Almighty Allāh has decided fasting to be screen from all spoken and done evildoings. Too little is the fasting and too much is the feeling of hunger!"

Imam 'Alī Amīr al-Mu'minīn (a) has said, "Too many are the fasting ones who suffer nothing but thirst. Likewise, too many are the worshippers who suffer nothing but fatigue. How wonderful the sleeping and eating of the courteous ones are!"

It has been narrated on the authority of Jābir ibn Yazīd that Imam Muhammad al-Bāqir (a) narrated that the Holy Prophet (s) said to Jābir ibn Abdullāh al-Ansārī, "Listen, Jābir! This is the month of Ramadān. If one observes fasting on the days of this month, spends a part of its nights with acts of worship, wards off his stomach and private parts, and suppresses his tongue-if one does all these things, he will dispose of all his sins in the same way as the month ends." Jābir commented, "O Allāh's Messenger, what wonderful these words are!" The Holy Prophet (s) answered, "But how difficult these terms are!"

Imam Sajjad (A) Welcomes The Month Of Ramadhan

The recommended rites of the month of Ramadān:

General rites of the days and nights of Ramadān
Sayyid Ibn Tāwūs has narrated that Imam al-Sādiq and Imam al-Kazim (a) instructed to say the following supplicatory prayer after each and every obligatory prayer all over the month of Ramadān:

You may also say the following supplicatory after all obligatory prayers in Ramadān:

In al-Misbāh and in al-Balad al-Amīn, Shaykh al-Kaf'ami, as well as Shaykh al-Shahīd in al-Majmū'ah, have narrated that the Holy Prophet (s) said that one who says the following supplicatory prayer after each obligatory prayer in Ramadān will have all his sins forgiven up to the Resurrection Day:

Du'ā al-Hajj
In al-Kāfī, al-Kulayni has narrated on the authority of Abu-Basir that Imam al-Sādiq (a) used to say the following supplicatory prayer in Ramadān:

This supplication is called Du'a al-Hajj. It has been narrated by Sayyid Ibn Tāwūs in al-Iqbāl who said that Imam al-Sādiq (a) used to say this supplicatory prayer after the Maghrib (sunset) Prayers in Ramadān. Moreover, Shaykh al-Kaf'amī, in al-Balad al-Amīn, has narrated that it is recommended to say this supplicatory prayer every day in Ramadān and especially at the first night of it. As to Shaykh al-Mufid, he, in his book of al-Muqni'ah, has mentioned that this supplicatory prayer is exclusively said at the first night of Ramadān after the Maghrib Prayer.

Recitation of the Holy Qur'ān in Ramadān
In fact, the best of deeds at the nights and on the days of Ramadān is the recitation of the Holy Qur'ān. It is thus highly advisable to recite it in this month in a way different from reciting it in the other months, since its revelation was in Ramadān. A Hadith reads that everything has a springtime; and the springtime of the Holy Qur'ān is the month of Ramadān. It is recommended to recite the whole Qur'ān once a month or once each six days in the other months, according to some narrations. As to the month of Ramadān, it is required to recite it wholly once every three days. If possible, it will be better if it is recited wholly every day. Allamah al-Majlisi has narrated that some of the Holy Imams ( a) used to recite the whole Qur'ān forty times, or even more, in Ramadān. The reward of reciting the whole Qur'ān is doubled when its recitation is dedicated to the souls of the holy fourteen Infallibles (a) by dedicating each recitation to each one of them respectively. According to some narrations, the reward of one who dedicates the recitation of the Holy Qur'ān to the Holy Infallibles (a) is that one shall be included with them on the Resurrection Day.

It is also advisable to say supplications, offer prayers, implore for Almighty Allāh's forgiveness, and confess His Oneness (by repeating the phrase of lā-ilāha illal-lāhu -there is no god save Allāh-) as much as possible in Ramadān. In this regard, Imam 'Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-' Abidin (a) used to stop talking in Ramadān except with phrases of prayers, glorification of Almighty Allāh, implorations of His forgiveness, and phrases of confessing of His magnificence (i.e. takbir-saying: Allāhu-akbar).

It is finally recommended to pay a great interest to the reported acts of worship as well as the supererogatory prayers at nights and days.

The rites of Ramadān nights
The recommended rites that are dedicated to the nights of Ramadān are as follows:

First: It is recommended to postpone breaking one's fast later than the 'Isha' Prayer unless one is too weak to keep fasting or one is being waited by people to break the fasting altogether, in an invitation for example.

Second: It is recommended to begin breaking the fast with utterly legally gotten food, especially dates. This act doubles the reward of the prayer to four hundred folds. It is also advisable to break the fast with dates, ripe dates, candy, sugar-candy, and cool water.

Third: It is recommended to say the familiar supplicatory prayers of breaking the fast, such as the following:

اَللّـهُمَّ لَكَ صُمْتُ، وَعَلى رِزْقِكَ اَفْطَرْتُ، وَعَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْتُ،

allāhumma laka sumtu ' alā rizqika aftartu wa ' alayka tawakkaltu
O Allāh, for the sake of You have I fasted, with Your sustenance have I broken my fast, and in You have I trusted.

One who says this supplicatory prayer will be awarded, by Almighty Allāh, the rewards of all those who observe fasting on that day.

Sayyid ibn Tāwūs and al-Kaf'amī have narrated the supplicatory prayer that begins with: See below

This supplicatory prayer also brings about a great merit. It has been narrated that Imam 'Alī (a) used to say the following supplicatory prayer when he would break his fasting:

بِسْمِ اللهِ اَللّـهُمَّ لَكَ صُمْنا وَعَلى رِزْقِكَ اَفْطَرْنا فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنّا اِنَّكَ اَنْتَ السَّميعُ الْعَليمُ

bismillāhi allāhumma laka sumnā wa ' alā rizqika aftarnā fataqabbal minnā innaka anta alssamī' u al' alimu
In the Name of Allāh. O Allāh, for You have we fasted and with Your sustenance have we broken our fasting; so (please) accept from us. You are surely the All-hearing, the All-knower.

Fourth: It is recommended to say the following imploration for forgiveness at the first bite of the food with which the fasting is broken:

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمـنِ الرّحَيـمِ، يا واسِعَ الْمَغْفِرَةُ اِغْفِرْ لي،

bismillā alrrahmāni alrrahīmi yā wāsi' a almaghfirati ighfir lī
In the name of Allāh the Beneficent, the Merciful. O Liberal in forgiving! (Please do) forgive me.

Forgiveness of Almighty Allāh is the reward of those who say this imploration.

A Hadith reads: Almighty Allāh releases from Hellfire one million persons at the last hour of every day in Ramadān; therefore, pray Him to include you with these released ones.

Fifth: It is recommended to recite Surah al-Qadr at breaking the fast.

Sixth: It is recommended to give alms at the time of breaking the fast and to offer food to the other fasters even if with a single date and a drink of water. Concerning this, the Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said, "Verily, any one who offers food for a faster in Ramadan will have the same reward that is decided for the faster without having any amount of his reward reduced and will have the same reward of acting good deeds according to the power of that food."

Allāmah al-Hillī, in al-Risālah al-Sa'diyyah, has narrated that Imam Ja'far al-Sādiq (a) said, "As for any believer who feeds another believer with a single bite of food in Ramadān, Almighty Allāh will decide for him the reward of manumitting thirty believing slaves and will decide to respond to his prayers."

Seventh: Narrations have confirmed that it is advisable to recite Surah al-Qadr one thousand times a night.

Eighth: When possible, it is recommended to recite Surah al-Dukhan (No. 44) one hundred times a night.

Ninth: Sayyid ibn Tāwūs has mentioned that if one says the following supplicatory prayer each night in Ramadān, his sins of forty years will be forgiven:

Tenth: It is recommended to say the previously prayer known as Du'a al-Hajj after the Maghrib Prayer.

Eleventh: It is recommended to say the following supplicatory prayer known as Du'a al-Iftitah every night in Ramadan:

Twelfth: It is recommended to say the following night in Ramadan:

Thirteenth: Imam Ja'far al-Sādiq (a) is reported to have instructed to say the following supplicatory prayer every night in Ramadan:

Fourteenth: According to the book of Anīs al-Sālihīn, it is recommended to say the following supplicatory prayer every night in Ramadān:

[The author of the book has added the following statements in the margin of the book]

Fifteenth: In the margin of al-Balad al-Amin, al-Kaf' ami has reported on the authority of Sayyid Ibn Bāqi that it is recommended to offer a two unit prayer every night in Ramadān, reciting in the first unit Sūrah al-Fatihah once and repeating Sūrah al-Tawhid three times. After accomplishment, it is recommended to say the following litany:

سُبْحانَ مَنْ هُوَ حَفيظٌ لا يَغْفُل،

subhāna man huwa hafizun lā yaghfulu
Glory be to Him Who watches over, never leaves anything undone, or is neglectful.

سُبحانَ مَنْ هُوَ رَحيمٌ لا يَعْجَلُ،

subhāna man huwa rahīmun lā yā jalu
Glory be to Him Who is Merciful, never does a thing in haste.

سُبْحانَ مَنْ هُوَ قا ئِمٌ لا يَسْهُو،

subhāna man huwa qa'imun lā yas-hū
Glory be to Him Who is vigilant, never forgets one thing over another.

سُبْحانَ مَنْ هُوَ دائِمٌ لا يَلْهُو،

subhāna man huwa dā'imun lā yalhū
Glory be to Him Who is alert and steady, never is engrossed with a thing so as to overlook another.

After that, it is recommended to say the al-Tasbihat al-Arba'ah (the Four Statements of Glorification):

سُبْحانَ اللهَ

subhāna allāhi
All glory be to Allāh,

وَالْحَمْدُ للهِ

walhamdu lillāhi
all praise be to Allāh,

وَلا اِلهَ اِلاَّ اللهُ

wa lā ilāha illā allāhu
there is no god save Allāh,

وَاللهُ اَكْبَرُ

wallāhu akbaru
and Allāh is the Greatest

Then, it is recommended to say the following imploration for forgiveness:
سُبْحانَكَ سُبْحانَكَ سُبْحانَكَ،

subhānaka, subhānaka, subhānaka
Glory be to You, Glory be to You, Glory be to You.

يا عَظيمُ اغْفِرْ لِيَ الذَّنْبَ الْعَظيمَ

yā azīmu ighfir liya aldhdhanba al' azīma
O All-great, forgive my grave sins.

Then, it is recommended to invoke blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household ten times:

اَللّـهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّد وَآلِ مُحَمَّد

allāhumma salli alā muhammadin wa alī muhammadin
O Allāh, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.

1. Of course, this means that one provides food for a faster who wants food to break his fasting with at the legal time of breaking the fasting (iftar).