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Importance of the Month of Ramaḍān

HOLY PROPHET’S SERMON IN THE HOLY MONTH OF RAMADHAN

Shaykh al-Saduq has narrated on the authority of Imam al-Rida(عليه السلام) on the authority of his immaculate fathers on the authority of Imam Ali Ameer al-Momineen (عليه السلام) who said that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم), once, delivered a speech to the community, saying,

O people, the month of Allah has come upon you with blessings, mercy, and forgiveness. This month is the most favorable month in the view of Almighty Allah. 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 Allah and you have been chosen to be within the people of Almighty Allah’s honoring. Your breaths in this month are (considered) glorification (of Almighty Allah). 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 Allah 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 Allah’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 Allah) with supplications at the times of your prayers, for these times are the best hours at which Almighty Allah 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 Allah 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 fastin this month, he shall be awarded by Almighty Allah the reward of manumitting a bond Muslim as well as a forgiveness of all his past sins.”

The attendants asked, “O Allah’s Messenger, not all of us can do this!”

The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) answered, “Show fearfulness of Almighty Allah even by a half of a date. Show fearfulness of Almighty Allah even by a single drink of water. Verily, Almighty Allah 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 (sirat) 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 Allah shall make easy for them the interrogation on the Resurrection Day. As to those who stop bothering the others, Almighty Allah 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 Allah 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 Allah 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 Allah 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 Allah 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 Allah’s blessings upon me in this month, Almighty Allah 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’an in this month, they shall have the reward of one who has recited the whole Qur’an 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-Saduq has also narrated that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) used to release all prisoners and give all beggars when the month of Ramaḍān comes upon him.

To sum it up, the month of Ramaḍān is the month of Allah. 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 Allah.

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

Dear reader: Beware lest the holy month of Ramaḍān comes upon you and ends while you have still had some sins owing to which you will be punished. Beware lest you are included with the sinners whom are deprived of imploring for the forgiveness of their sins and praying Almighty Allah for granting your desires.

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq(عليه السلام) is reported to have said, “Verily, one whom is not forgiven in Ramaḍān will not be forgiven up to the next Ramaḍān unless (he participates in the season of the Hajj and thus) he witnesses the ritual of the Halting at Mount ‘Arafat (al-wuquf ‘ala‘arafah).”

Moreover, try to keep yourself against all that which is deemed forbidden by Almighty Allah 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-Sadiq(عليه السلام):

“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-Sadiq (عليه السلام) 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 Allah or of prayers, abide by silence, quietness, patience, truthfulness, and avoidance of the evildoers, avoid perjury, lie, slander, contention, evil thinking, backbiting, and talebearing, 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 Allah has promised you, preparing yourselves for meeting Almighty Allah 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 Allah, 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 Allah as exactly as He deserves in secret and in public, dedicate yourself to Almighty Allah 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 Allah 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 Allah – 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 Allah 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 Ali Ameer al-Momineen (عليه السلام) 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 Jabir ibn Yazid that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (عليه السلام) narrated that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) said to Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari, “Listen, Jabir! This is the month of Ramaḍān. 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.” Jabir commented, “O Allah’s Messenger, what wonderful these words are!” The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم) answered, “But how difficult these terms are!”