The Holy Month of Ramazan: Return to Allah the Glorious
O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed to those before you, so that you may ward off (evil).
(Fasting) for a certain number of days; but whoever among you is sick or on a journey, then (he will fast (the same) number of other days; and for those who can afford it there is a ransom; the feeding of a man in need, so whoever does good spontaneously it is better for him; and that you fast is better for you if you know.
The month of Ramazan in which was revealed the Quran, guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, let him fast the same number of other days. Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty, and He desires that you should completed the number and that you should exalt the greatness of Allah for His having guided you and that you may give thanks.
And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near, I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me, in order that they may be led aright. [The cow]
The holy month of Ramazan, among other months, is special. For, therein man self-purifies himself, does good to other people, and strengthens his direct ties with Allah the Exalted and Great, by the Quran, which is that extended rope/bond between the Creator and creature. In addition, this holy month is special for the abundance of prayers, which are the etiquette of dialogue with The All-Merciful Lord.
All aforementioned terms refer to a unique truth, that is, continuity with Allah, being devoted to Him in order to get close to and know Him, with such a good-fellowship that man becomes not among the inattentive. This truth is embodied in the text of the supplication A-Sha'ban, and is among those actions which one has to practice in order to preface his entrance into the blessed month of Ramazan. One place the supplicaion reads: O, Lord! Bestow on me utter devotion to You, enlighten our internal visions with Your light when they behold you, so that they pierce through veils against light and then arrive at the origin of Magnitude, thus our souls becoming attached to the magnificence of Your sanctity.
When man reaches Allah by devoting himself to Him, he feels that all things beyond Allah had been a veil, dust, and error. Imam Hussain stresses this truth, where in the Arafa Prayer he says: What loses he who finds You? What finds there he who loses You?
The primary Goal in Fasting
Fasting with the right method, practicing benevolence a lot, standing and prostration are all considered stage goals toward a higher and more sublime goal, setting a direct relationship with Allah by seeking Him in the private even for just one minute, in turn, by reading and embracing the special supplication special for this purpose, like Arafa Night prayer desirable to be read every Friday night, starting with these words: O you who witness every whispering and who are the one to whom all complains are put, followed by these great part saying: … by that supplication between you and Moses, the son of Imran, in Mount of Sinai, where there is a mention of the greatness and truth of that supplication. For, when Allah, the Patron of Glory says: 16.
And We called him from the right side of the Mount, and We brought him nigh in communion [Mary]. He refers to Moses' arrival and progression up to where he became in communion with Him. That is, he became so close that he needed not to shout or cry, with his existence being filled with faith and surrender by the greatness and dominance of the Creator's whole existence.
How Should We Supplicate to Our Lord in Ramazan?
First of all, we should recognize and know those veils that separate us from our Exalted and Glorious Lord. Then, we begin to fight, tear and discard those veils, until we get to the origin of greatness and our souls become attached to Allah's sanctity.
Who knows not disbelief does not know monotheism. That who does not purify his heart from disbelief, can not build his heart with faith. This religious truth is echoing in Allah's words on understanding the visions within his Holy Book: Only the pure touch it. For, the light of knowing Allah and surrendering to Him enters not the hearts of those who do not purify themselves by recognizing disbelief and refutation, and it does not enter the hearts of those who do not know tyranny and cruelty to overcome them.
But, those veils that separate man from his Lord are quite a lot, headed by the veil of ego and dark selfishness. The selfish man's nature and conduct is that he thinks not but of himself every moment of his life. He even looks into every thing namely, Allah, monotheism, and justice's truth form the standpoint of his ego and I. He eats, drinks, works, marries, and seeks fame from the ditch egoism, and does not bother exiting it, or even looking at other ditches.
Since the self-conceited, self-centered man is gradual in his selfishness. He is suddenly then seen, with no pre-announcement to decide and claim divinity, whether hiding or declaring it. By Allah's words: Did you see not that one who took up his lust god?! He denies and ignores Allah in his satanic code of conduct. Lust is his totality, religion, life, and after-life exactly the reverse of what Imam Zayn Al-Abedin used to say when he supplicated to his Lord: O You! My after life and life! While he believed in what he said. That is because he had pierced out of the veil of the self by his knowledge, abstinence, and prolonged acts of devotion.
But, you, believing brother. You can manage getting to Allah in a single moment, even faster and closer. But, you should know that your way to that is crashing your lusts and suppressing them. So, work all your best so that you do not say: I am I, and keep on saying one Allah after the other.
There are people who say in their prayers Praise be to My Exalted Lord, but then exalt, sanctify, and worship themselves when they face the meanest thing or state that might harm their personal interests. There are people who use Allah for their oaths upon the most trivial issues. Qurious enough is what has been said about those two men who quarreled over their houses' sewer, going to the scholar, Ayatollah A-Sayed Al-Milani, then in Karbala, to judge between them. He passed his judgement according to legal and lawful principles, to the benefit of one party, then, the condemned party went away angrily saying: I will not believe in a religion that judges not a sewer to my benefit. He declared disbelief only because his rival, in this simple case, has been rendered righteous.
Most people swear by Allah, not knowing who Allah is, that He is the Lord of the heavens and Earth. However, they do not bother themselves with thinking into Allah's creation. Has that oath taker, at least, thought over Allah's greatness and might in His picturing and creation? Then he knows that the Creator has created over 15 million galaxies, according to the current discoveries by the observatories with their simple ability, equipment and range of discovery against the greatness and extensiveness of the Universe. Every galaxy contains others including hundreds of millions of suns. Our Earth is only like a ring which if cast into it… So, how worthless man is! When he knows or ignores that, and then exposes the Lord open to his false or true oath to prove that he deserves this or that trivial thing. This only proves that selfishness has dominated and pierced into that ignorant or fearing person, and that he holds no importance for his Creator and His Sanctity.
There is another example in this regard showing the danger of egoism and ignorance toward the truths of worshiping and contacting Allah. There are those who pray but do not know the path and secret behind the necessity of their prayers. Is he disregarding or does he not care to know the dimensions of these words and movements in the prayers, which is the basis and pillar of religion. Does this egoist know the meaning of Takbira-tol-ihram? Or the meaning of raising the hands to the ears at this Takbira, knowing that it represents the first movement in the prayers meaning that it is the entering bridge toward Allah's Open space? Does he know that if this bridge is not repaired, he can not reach Allah's Open space and his goal in the prayers, and as a result the units he is performing will not be but a vain effort?!
When the informed prayer glorifies his Lord, he means that the Lord is far greater to be described, and that He is the Pure Sacred who is pure form any fault and shortcoming. When he raises his hands for Takbir, he means by this that he is leaving back life and purely proceeds to his Lord who is the only one that deserves worship and humbleness aginst all other targets.
But, that prayer who is ignorant of his Lord, who pays no attention to setting up a direct relationship and strengthening it. He is seen to think of just anything except Allah the Great and Glorious, thus, proving that he is ignorant of or disregarding the value of his very few moments in life. Those moments that should be spent in the way of reaching Allah and nothing else.
And, I am calling you, believers, the same way I call myself to try hard to exceed the self to get at the origin of light and wisdom. For, just one single look from Allah the Glorious can change our destiny in life and after-life. Then, we know the joy of obedience, worship, supplications, prayers, and vicinity to Allah.
We have seen those who stand up to perform their prayers at the bite of a snake. We have also seen those believers who shed tears in fear and love for Allah. Why should we not be among them? Or, do we prefer to be at the bottom of the list?
A Dangerous Veil
There is a dangerous veil separating man from his Lord. It is the quality of his affiliations. He might be affiliated with land, a party, a leader, a race, or the like of things and people. However, when these inclinations exceed limits and criteria they become a burden to their owners.
Those who worshiped Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, instead of Allah and said about him what they were not ordered to say. Their affiliation was a veil that led to their loss and delusion.
This great prophet was only one of Allah's righteous subjects sent for man's guidance. Except that following him as target of worship was a manifest deviation. Those who worshiped Imam Ali were ruined by the veil they had forced on themselves. Here, Imam Ali had commented: Two groups ruined themselves in me: The lying enemy and the exaggerating lover. This Imam was the best worshiper and the first Moslem and believer after the holy prophet. He was most protective, cautious, and lover of and for Islam. But, he was transformed to a veil in the way of Allah by the actions of those who were ignorant of his stature and rank, and thus was wrongly worshiped instead of Allah.
The quality of man's affiliation with parties and currents has caused him a lot of risky problems and afflictions. The party may be moving in Allah's and the right path, but it is that follower who by his misconceptions is making his party a veil in the way of Allah. He strictly follows such concepts as the party, mosque or community disregarding the fact that these terms are not Allah and that they are only a useful way for His attainment.
When a Muslim confesses that Allah is unique and peerless, he knows that Allah is above every thing else. His belief and conduct can not at all be for any one save Allah. If he, for instance, works for Allah and his homeland, he should count and recount until his work is only for Allah's sake.
In a divine saying we read: I am the best partner. Whoever works for Me and another. I make him the other's. That is, Allah rejects that action which conceives partners for Him. Instead, He welcomes that work purely done for His sake. But, what had been said before and that is still being said in some of the Islamic countries as a national slogan: Allah, the country, the king; or Allah, the king, the nation, are all nothing but some kind of internal disbelief, which aim at fooling the simple-minded among the Muslims to divert them toward wrong and Satan's way.
In the Imams', the prophets progeny, some of our scholars' and religious authorities' conduct, there is for us the best example in total devotion to Allah the Peerless.
There is Imam Ali who had an arrow in his leg in the Sefain War. The doctors had been unable to get it out. Then, Imam Hassan had told them that they should have tried when he had been in his prayers not feeling the severest pain.
And, there is Imam Hussain in one of the darkest and most severe hours, when he was sacrificing his holy self. He only could translate this great connection to his Lord by the following words:
I abandoned men unexpectedly for the sake of You.
I orphaned my children to see You.
If I be sword-cut into pieces by You,
I should never incline to any one but You!
Among our scholars, the late Ayatollah Al-Khansari, refused an anesthetic injection under his surgical operation, so that he may not become unconscious and lose trace of Allah's remembrance.
Fasting the month of Ramazan, praying, reciting the Quran and performing one's prayers therein are among the ways to get close to Allah. Whoever fasts should fix his intentions and body parts and make them focus attention on the purification journey they had taken to the Creator.
However, reciting the Quran in this month should reach man's heart, after when all veils had been removed off it. Among the most important ways to achieve this sacred objective is using the month of Ramazan as an opportunity. If it be usefully used, this month of fasting would be a virtual one
The fasting man then would be much closer to his Lord then those who get nothing but hunger and thirst from their fasting.
Removing the veils means that man rejects any delusive words, gets possession of what distinguish right from wrong for him. This tornado of dominating culture and media attacking the contemporary Muslim man's brains has to be encountered by a criterion and divine light to refute them. These criterion and light are not but the will of the believing Muslim man to take refuge with Allah and get close to Him.
Being committed to the details of Quranic fasting, related to us by the opening verses, lifts up man to the level of the guardians, prophets, righteous and martyrs, indeed the best of friends and companions.
Whoever gets an inch close to Allah, He gets a mile close to him. Then, Satan's veils and means will not affect him, for, he has cut this distance. In other words, the distance between this believer and Allah has been wiped out and he has attained perfection.
We ask Allah the Glorious and Exalted to make us successful in fasting this holy month, rise during its days and nights, bestow on us supplication to Him, getting close to Him and humbly praying to Him, recite the Quran with pondering, and make use of its true guidance, clear signs, and criterion. We also ask Him the Glorious to make us among the righteous. He is indeed the patron of all success.
And Allah's Salutes to Mohammad and His Pure Progeny