In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate * * * Salaam everybody and welcome to our special series on the Month of God in which the Divine Banquet is spread out for the faithful. Let us start with the special supplication for the first day of blessed Ramadhan:
“O Allah, make my fast on this day be like the fast of the (true) fasters, and let my devotions therein be as devotions of the (truly) devout! Awaken me in it from the slumber of the negligent and absolve me in it of my guilt, O Lord of all the worlds, and pardon me, O Forgiver of the guilty!”
The month of fasting has come with its glories. It is the month in which the Almighty Creator descended on the heart of His Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), the final heavenly scripture for all mankind, the Holy Qur’an. It is the month striving towards the proximity of the Lord Most High with special supplications. It is indeed the season of the spiritual spring. Here we recited to you the translation of a supplication that the faithful recite after every prayer in this blessed month:
“O High, O Great, O Forgiver, 0 Merciful, You are the Great Lord, Whom nothing can resemble, and is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. And this is the month which You have honoured, exalted, glorified and excelled over other months. And it is the month in which You prescribed fasting for me. And it is the month of Ramadhan, in which You sent down the Qur’an, as a guidance to people, and clear signs of guidance and distinction between right and wrong. And You have made in it the Night of Qadr, and made it better than a thousand months. O the One Who favours all and is favoured by none; favour me by saving me from Hell as You have favoured others. Admit me into Paradise through Your Mercy. O Most-Merciful of the merciful.”
A Gnostic says: fortunate is the flower that blossoms besides water, for it retains its freshness, while the flower that grows in a dry place soon withers and fades. Human could be likened to a flower. What places the human being on the path towards the proximity of God is unconditional servitude that builds proper cognizance and certitude. It is piety that protects us from deviation and drifting away from the path of God. Piety means care and precaution and being mindful of our duties. In Ayah 2 of Surah Talaq, the holy Qur’an says:
“Whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet.”
This outlet does not mean that the pious or the one who is mindful of his/her duty towards God will not face hardships. It means that such a person will never feel awed in the face of hardships, and will overcome them with ease, like the equestrian rider who loves to leap his horse with ease over the obstacles. One night a young religious scholar was engaged in study in his room when suddenly a girl stricken with fear entered his room. She was apparently of noble birth, an aristocrat, or perhaps a princess. She closed the door behind her and made a sign in a threatening manner to the flabbergasted scholar to keep silent. She then asked him: What do you have for dinner? He got up and placed before her whatever meagre food he had prepared. She seemed to be hungry. She ate, and stretched herself in a corner of the room and fell asleep, while the young scholar continued his study without feeling the least perturbed by the presence of an unwanted visitor, and that too a female.
Meanwhile, since the absconding girl was a princess, the whole court was looking for her on the orders of the king. When in the morning, the girl came out of the scholar’s room the guards took her and arrested the young scholar. The two were taken before the king, who angrily told the scholar: why did you not inform us that the princess was in your room. The young scholar answered: She threatened to kill me if I did. After investigation, the king realized that the young scholar was engaged in study till the morning and he did not do anything wrong. He asked the scholar about resisting his natural desire when a lone young female entered his room. The young scholar showed him his 10 fingers which were all burnt. The king asked the reason and was answered: When the princess slept, I was tempted to get close to her; but each time I put my finger on the candle flame to feel its heat I realized the blaze of the fire of hell; and thus the whole night I fought my desire and with God’s favour the devil could not deviate me from the right path. The king, pleased with the young scholar’s piety ordered that he marry the princess.
Whether or not the story of the king and the scholar is true, it teaches us the benefit of piety and self-control, which becomes fully manifest in the blessed fasting month of Ramadhan. It is a good opportunity for reciting special supplications to reform our selves as taught to us by Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and his Infallible Successors. The Prophet’s 4th Infallible Heir, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) has bequeathed to us interesting supplications. One of his companions named Tawous Yamani says: I saw the praying and supplicating to God while circumambulating the holy Ka’ba in Mecca. He said: My Lord the stars have disappeared from the sky, and all eyes have fallen asleep, but Your court is prepared for the entrance of the poor. A beggar like me has come to You hopeful of Your forgiveness and hopeful that on the Day of Resurrection You will not deprive him of meeting Your holy Prophet.
Then the Imam start weeping and said: My God You are pure; people embark on doing sins in a manner that they think they are away from Your sight, and You are so patient with them as if they have done no sin. You are so kind to Your servants that it looks You are in need of them, whereas You are needless of all of the creation.
Here is part of the supplication on the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadhan, by Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS):
“Praise belongs to God who showed favor to us through His religion, singled us out for His creed, and directed us onto the roads of His beneficence, in order that through His kindness we might travel upon them to His good pleasure. And praise belongs to God who appointed among those roads His month, the month of Ramadhan, the month of fasting, the month of submission, the month of purity, the month of putting to test, the month of standing in prayer, in which the Qur’an was sent down as guidance to the people.”