The Ima`m spent most his lifetime fasting. When his slave-girl was asked about his worship, she said: "I never brought him food by day." He loved fast and urged (people) to fast. Hence he said: "Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, entrusted the fasting to His angels.( Al-Rawandi, Da'awat, p. 4). " He, peace be on him, did not break his fast except on the day of the two Eidds and other than them when he had an excuse. We will talk briefly about some of his affairs in the blessed month of Ramada`n, which is the month of Allah and of obedience (to Him).
In the Month of Ramada`n
The Ima`m had special affairs in the blessed month of Ramada`n. In it he did all things that drew him near to Allah. The narrators said: "He did all kinds of charity and good. He never said any word except saying: 'Glory belongs to Allah, I ask Allah's forgiveness, and Allah is Great.' When he broke his fast, he said: 'O Allah, if You will do, You do.'(Furu' al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 88).
His Supplication for seeing the Crescent of the Month Ramadan
He, peace be on him, received the month of Ramada`n with eagerness and desire, for it is the spring of the obedient. When he saw its crescent, he supplicated with this holy supplication, which represents the spirituality of Islam and the guidance of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them. This supplication is as follows:
"Praise belongs to Allah Who guided us to His praise and placed us among the people of his praise, that we might be among the thankful for His beneficence and that He might recompense us for that with the reompense of the good-doers! And praise belongs to Allah 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, a praise which He will accept from us and through which He will be pleased with us!
And praise belongs to Allah Who appointed among those roads His month, the month of Ramada`n, the month of fasting, the month of submission, the month of purity2, 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, and as clear signs of the Guidance and the Separator! He clarified its excellence over other months by the many sacred things and well-known excellencies which He placed therein, for He made unlawful in it what He declared lawful in others to magnify it, He prohibited foods and drinks in it to honor it, and He appointed for it a clear time which He (majestic and mighty is He) allows not to be set forward and accepts not to be placed behind.
Then He made one of its nights surpass the nights of a thousand months and named it the Night of Decree; in it the angels and the Spirit descend by the leave of their Lord upon every command, a peace constant in blessings until the rising of the dawn upon whomever He will of His servants according to the decision He has made firm."`
These brilliant words contain magnifying and honoring the month of Ramada`n and depicting it with the best qualities of which is the following:
1. It is the month of Islam, Hence whoever fasts in it enters the frame of Islam; whoever does not fast in it with knowledge and deliberation does not belong to Islam.
2. It is the month of purity, for therein is the purity of the soul from sins and offenses.
3. It is the month of test; in it the Muslims are tested; in it the obedient are distinguished from the disobedient.
4. It is the month of standing in prayer; this month is the spring of the obedient and the good, for they spend its nights in worship and obedience to Allah.
5. Among the characteristics of this month is that the Holy Qur'a`n was sent down in it, for It was sent down on the Night of Decree, which is the greatest of all its nights, and in which the angels and the Spirit descend by the leave of their Lord upon every command, a peace until the rising of the dawn.
6. Among the characteristics of this holy month is that Allah, the Most High, makes it prohibited for the fasting to have foods and drinks to magnify and honor it. Now, let's listen to another part of this supplication:
"O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, inspire us with knowledge of its excellence, veneration of its inviolability, and caution against what You have forbidden within it, and help us to fast in it by our restraining our limbs from acts of disobedience toward You and our employing them in that which pleases You, Hence that we lend not our ears to idle talk and hurry not with our eyes to diversion, we stretch not our hands toward the forbidden and stride not with our feet toward the prohibited, our bellies hold only what You have made lawful and our tongues speak only what You have exemplified, we undertake nothing but what brings close to Your reward and pursue nothing but what protects from Your punishment! Then rid all of that from the false show of the false showers and the fame seeking of the fame seekers, lest we associate therein anything with You or seek therein any object of desire but You!"
The Ima`m, peace be on him, presented the precepts which the fasting should follow in this great month. They are as follows: The fasting should restrain their limbs from what Allah has made unlawful, such as holding back their tongues from lying, backbiting, and slander; holding back their ears from idle talk and falsehood; preventing their hands from theft, aggression against people, and the prohibited. He, peace be on him, also mentioned that the fasting should do good to please Allah, and that their acts should be free from hypocrisy and seeking fame among people, for such acts lead to nothing except the punishment of Allah. After this, let's listen to another part of this holy supplication:
"O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, in it make us attend to the appointed moments of the five prayers within the bounds You have set, the obligations You have decreed, the duties You have assigned, and the times You have specified; and in the prayers make us alight in the station of the keepers of their stations, the guardians of their pillars, their performers in their times, as Your servant and Your messenger set down in his Sunna (Your blessings be upon him and his Household) in their bowings, their prostrations, and all their excellent acts, with the most complete and ample ritual purity and the most evident and intense humility!
Give us success in this month to tighten our bonds of kin with devotion and gifts, attend to our neighbors with bestowal and giving, rid our possessions from claims, purify them through paying the alms, go back to him who has gone far from us, treat justly him who has wronged us, make peace with him who shows enmity toward us (except him who is regarded as an enemy in You and for You, for he is the enemy whom we will not befriend, the party whom we will not hold dear), and seek nearness to You through blameless works which will purify us from sins and preserve us from renewing faults, Hence that none of Your angels will bring for You the kinds of obedience and sorts of nearness-seeking unless they be less than what we bring!"
This paragraph presents important affairs which the fasting should follow:
1. They should attend to the appointed moments of the five prayers, which are the pillar of the religion, within the bounds Allah has set, accompanied by what the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, practiced such as manners, invocations of Allah in their bowing and prostration; rather in all their affairs. In other word they should perform the five prayers in complete manners such as humility and submission to Allah, the Exalted, only.
2. They should tighten their bonds of kin with devotion and gifts, for this is one the best acts of obedience to Allah.
3. They should attend to their neighbors with bestowal and giving.
4. They should purify their possessions through paying Kums (one-fifth) and Zakat (the alms), which are obligatory.
5. They should go back to him who has gone far from them, from among their friends and brothers.
6. They should treat justly him who has wronged them and should not aggress against him with word or action, for this is among the noble moral traits.
7. They should make peace with him who shows enmity toward them (except him who is regarded as an enemy in Allah and for Him, for he is the enemy whom they will not befriend, the party whom they will not hold dear.
8. They should seek nearness to Allah through blameless works which are certainly desirable in the blessed month of Ramada`n.
After this, let's listen to the last paragraphs of this holy supplication:
"O Allah, I ask You by the right of this month and by the right of him who worships You within it from its beginning to the time of its passing, whether angel You have brought nigh to You, prophet You have sent, or righteous servant You have singled out, that You bless Mohammed and his Household, make us worthy of the generosity You have promised Your friends, make incumbent for us what You have made incumbent for those who go to great lengths in obeying You, and place us in the ranks of those who deserve through Your mercy the highest elevation!
"O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, turn us aside from deviation in professing Your Unity, falling short in magnifying You, in Your religion, blindness toward Your path, heedlessness of Your inviolability, and being deceived by Your enemy, the accursed Satan!
"O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, and when in every night of this month's nights You have necks which Your pardon will release and Your forgiveness disregard, place our necks among those necks and place us among the best folk and companions of this our month!
"O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, efface our sins along with the effacing of its crescent moon, and make us pass forth from the ill effects of our acts with the passing of its days, until it leaves us behind, while within it You have purified us of offenses and rid us of evil deeds!
"O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, and should we go off to one side in this month, set us aright; should we swerve, point us straight; and should Your enemy Satan enwrap us, rescue us from him!
"O Allah, fill this month with our worship of You, adorn its time with our obedience toward You, help us during its daytime with its fast, and in its night with prayer and pleading toward You, humility toward You, and lowliness before You, Hence that its daytime may not bear witness against our heedlessness, nor its night against our neglect!
"O Allah, make us like this in the other months and days as long as You give us life, and place us among Your righteous servants, those who shall inherit Paradise, therein dwelling forever, those who are given what they give, while their hearts quake, that they are returning to their Lord, those who vie in good works, outracing to them!
"O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household in every time, in all moments, and in every state, to the number that You have blessed whomever You have blessed and to multiples of all that, through multiples which none can count but You! Surely You are Accomplisher of what You desire."(Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no. 44).
Indeed, the supplications of the Ima`m are a school for religious awareness, for they are full of faith in Allah and sincerity to Him. These brilliant paragraphs of his supplication contain the following:
He asked Allah by the right of the month of Ramada`n and by the right of him who worshipped within it from among His righteous servants:
1. To place him among those who were worthy of the high position with Him.
2. To make his good deeds for the pleasure of Him, the Exalted; to make them free from hypocrisy and others which corrupt works.
3. To turn him aside from doubt and corrupt imaginations in the affairs of the religion.
4. To help him not to follow a way other than the way He has made lawful and to help him not to be heedless of the things He has made unlawful.
5. To help him not to follow the way of the accursed Satan.
6. To do him a favor through placing him among those whom He released in this great month.
7. To grant him a success in this month to worship Him and to show obedience, pleading, humility, and lowliness toward Him, the Exalted.
These are some important matters which these words of his supplication contain.
His good Acts in the Month of Ramada`n
He, peace be on him, did many good acts in the Month of Ramada`n. The following is some of them:
A. Giving Food
Islam urges (Muslims) to give food to the fasting and makes it desirable for them. Every day in the Month of Ramada`n, Ima`m Zayn al-'Abidin ordered a sheep to be slaughtered and cooked. When the food was ready, he said: "Bring the bowls." He ordered the food to be divided among the poor, the widows, and the orphans to the extent that there was nothing left for him, Hence he broke his fast with bread and dates.(Al-Mahasin, p. 396. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46. p. 72).
B. His Freeing Salves
Among his good deeds in the blessed month of Ramada`n was that he freed many of his slaves. It is worth mentioning that he respected his slaves, treated them as he treated his children, and forgave them when they misbehaved toward him. The narrators said:
"'Ali b. al-Husayn did not punish a female slave nor did he punish a male salve when they committed a sin; rather he recorded the day when they committed sins. When the month of Ramada`n was about to end, he gathered them and brought the book where he had written their sins and said to them: Raise your voices and say:
O 'Ali b. al-Husayn, your Lord has counted against you all what you have done, as you have counted against us all what we have done. He has a book which speaks the truth and does not leave a small one nor a great one of what you have done, but numbers them all, and you will find present with Him all what you had done, as we have found present with you all what we had done.
Hence pardon and forgive (us), as you want the most powerful King (Allah) to pardon and forgive you. Hence forgive us, and He will forgive you and have mercy on you, and Your Lord never wrongs anyone. As you have a book which speaks the truth against us and does not leave a small one nor a great one, but numbers them all against us, Hence 'Ali b. al-Husayn, remember the abasement of your standing place before your Lord, the Just King, Who does not wrong (anyone) to the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and Allah is sufficient to take account and to be a witness. Hence pardon and forgive (us), and the most Powerful King will pardon and forgive you, for He says: They should pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? "
He (Zayn al-'Abidin) dictated to them these words which represent his absolute devotion and clinging to Allah. He stood, wept and said: "Our Lord, You have commanded us to pardon him who wrongs us. We have pardoned him who has wronged us, as You have commanded, Hence pardon us, for You are worthier of that than us and the commanded ones. You have commanded us not to dismiss any beggar from our doors.
Now, we have come to You as beggars and miserable. We have sat at Your courtyard and Your door seeking bounty and favor and giving, Hence do us a favor through it and disappoint us not, for You are more worthier of that than us and the commanded ones.
"My Lord, I have entertained (Your servants), Hence entertain me if I am of Your beggars. I have done (Your servants) a lot of good, Hence place me among the people of Your giving, O Generous!"
Then he turned his holy face, which became wet with the tears of his eyes, to his slaves and said to them with kindness and affection: "I have forgiven you! Have you forgiven me my evil (acts)? I am full of evil, meanness, and oppression! I am the slave of the One Who is Powerful, Generous, Just, Beneficent, and Good-doer!"
What an angelic this soul is! Indeed, it represented the spirituality, beauties, qualities, and morals of the prophets! The slaves interrupted him, saying: "We have pardoned you, O Our master!" Hence he said to them: "Say: O Allah, pardon 'Ali b. al-Husayn as he has pardoned us! Release him from the Fire, as he has released our necks from slavery!"
They said that, and he said after them: "Amen, O Allah, Lord of the world's inhabitants! Go, surely I have pardoned you and released your necks, asking (Allah) to pardon me and release my neck!" When the day of Eid al-Fitr came, he gave them excellent gifts to make them in no need of what was in the people's hands.(Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, pp. 103-104). In the world of the pious there is no person like Ima`m Zayn al-'Abidin, peace be on him, in piety, loyalty, and obedience to Allah, for he filled his holy heart with faith and knowledge of Allah.
Any how, in the month of Ramada`n, the Ima`m, peace be on him, did a lot of good to the weak, entertained the miserable refreshed the deprived, freed slaves, and other good deeds that brought him near to Allah.
His Supplication in the Early Morning
Ima`m Zayn al-'Abidin, peace be on him, whispered to his Lord and prayed Him humbly and sincerely on every night in the Month of Ramada`n with this great supplication, which is better known as the Supplication of Abi Hamza al-Thuma`li, for it was he who reported it on the Ima`m's authority. The supplication is among the outstanding supplications of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them. It represents the absolute return and devotion to Allah. It contains exhortations that prevent the soul from clinging to haughtiness and desires and, in addition, it is distinguished by beautiful style, wonderful words, and eloquent performance. Moreover, it displays lowliness, humility, and submission to Allah, the Glorified. The other supplications do not contain such matters. We will quote some brilliant paragraphs of it, for it is well-known and widespread in supplication books.
Before mentioning some paragraphs of this supplication, we'd like to say that this supplication has occupied an important position in the hearts of the good and the righteous from among the Muslims, Hence they recite it in the early morning of every night in the month of Ramada`n, to the extent that they have memorized it by heart. The following is some paragraphs of it:
"My Allah, educate me not with Your punishment, and scheme not against me with Your power! How can I find good, My Lord, and it cannot be found but through You? How can I find salvation, and it cannot be found but through You? Good-doers cannot do without Your help and Your mercy, nor can evil-doers! Those who misbehave before You, show audaciousness toward and, do not make You Pleased are unable to dissent from Your power! O my Lord, through You I have recognized You. It was You who guided me to Yourself and summoned me to Yourself! Were it not for You, I would not know what You were."
Have you noticed how the Monk of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them, whispered to his Lord, pleaded to Him, and argued with Him in this manner full of faith and knowledge? Let's listen to another part of this holy supplication: "O Lover of him who loves You, O Delight of the eye of him who seeks refuge in You and devotes himself to You! You are the Benefactor, and we are the evil-doers!
Hence, my Lord, forgive us our ugly acts through the beautiful things You have! Which ignorance, my Lord, Your magnificence does not embrace? Which time is longer than Your slowness? What is the worth of our deeds in comparison with Your favors? How can we regard our works as may and compare them to Your generosity? How do the sinners regard Your ample mercy as narrow? O All-forgiving! O All-merciful! Hence, by Your might, if You rebuked me, I would not leave Your door, nor would I refrain from praising You because I have knowledge of Your magnificence and generosity!"
In this manner the Ima`m, peace be on him, continued praising and pleading to the Great Creator, asking Him for forgiveness and good pleasure. Listen how he whispers to Him:
"O Allah, whenever I say: I have prepared myself, worn the cloak, stood in prayer before You, and whispered to You, You make me sleepy when I pray, and deprive me of whispering to You when I whisper (to You)! Why whenever I say: I have set right my inner self and my assembly has come close to the assembly of the repenters, a tribulation befalls me, slip my foot, and prevents me from serving You?
My Master, You may have dismissed me from Your door and put me aside from serving You, or You may have seen me disdaining Your Sacredness, Hence You have removed me, or You may have seen me turning back on You, Hence You have detested me, or You may have found me in the standing place of the liars, Hence You have rejected me, or You may have seen that I am ungrateful (to You) for Your favors, Hence You have deprived me (of them), or You may have missed me among the assemblies, Hence You have deserted me, or You may have seen me among the heedless, Hence You have disappointed me of Your mercy, or You may have seen that I get along with the assemblies of the unemployed, Hence You have placed me among them, or You may do not like listening to my supplication, Hence You have driven me away from You, or You may have punished me because of my sin and crime, or You may have punished me on account of my little modesty! Hence if You pardon (me), my Lord, You have often pardoned those sinners before me, for Your generosity, my Lord, is far above punishing the neglectful!"
The Ima`m, peace be on him, presented those affairs which prevent man from clinging to Allah during his prayers and whispered prayers. The following is some of them:
1. Disdaining Allah's rights, that is when man makes little of them.
2. Turning away from Allah.
3. Telling lies which is the junction of vices and grave sins.
4. Ungratefulness for graces which Allah bestows upon His servant.
5. Turning away from sitting with the true religious scholars who remind men of the hereafter and urge them to do good deeds.
6. Forgetting the remembrance of Allah and of death lead man to misery and ruin.
7. Sitting with the unemployed who spend their times in playing and lose their life spans in trivial affairs, Hence sitting with them leads to turning away from Allah.
These are some affairs which send man far from Allah and turn him away from doing good, may Allah protect us from them. Now, let's listen to another paragraph of this supplication: "O My Allah and my Master! If You demanded my sins, I would demand Your pardon! If You demanded my meanness, I would demand Your generosity! If You made me enter the Fire, I would tell the people of the Fire about my love for You! O My Allah and my Master! If You forgive only Your friends and those who obey You, then to whom shall the sinners go? If You show generosity only to those who are sincere to You, then whom the evildoers seek for help! My Allah! If You made me enter the Fire, then Your enemy (the accursed Satan) would be pleased with this! If You made me enter the Garden, then this would please Your Prophet! I, by Allah, know that the pleasure of Your Prophet is more lovable for You than that of Your enemy!"
The Master of the pious and Ima`m of the knowers (Zayn al-'Abidin), peace be on him, asked the sympathy of the Great Creator, whose mercy embraces all things. He asked Him to pardon His disobedient servants and to show good pleasure toward them, for His munificence is not confined to the believers and the obedient. With these little paragraphs we will end our speech about the supplication of the Ima`m in the early morning of the blessed month of Ramada`n.
His Supplication in Bidding Farewell to the Month of Ramadan
Ima`m Zayn al-'Abidin, peace be on him, felt pain when the days of the Month of Ramada`n came to an end, for this month is the spring of the obedient, and he used to recite this great supplication:
"O Allah, O He who desires no repayment! O He who shows no remorse at bestowal! O He who rewards not His servant tit for tat! Your kindness is a new beginning, Your pardon gratuitous bounty, Your punishment justice, Your decree a choice for the best! If You bestow, You stain not Your bestowal with obligation, and if you withhold, You withhold not in transgression. You show gratitude to him who thanks You while You have inspired him to thank You.
You reward him who praises You while though You have taught him Your praise. You cover him whom, if You willed, You would expose, and You are generous toward him from whom, if You willed, You would withhold. Both are worth of Your exposure and with holding, but You have founded Your acts upon gratuitous bounty, channeled Your power into forbearance, received him who disobeyed You with clemency, and disregarded him who intended wrongdoing against himself.
You await their turning back without haste and refrain from rushing them toward repentance, Hence that the perisher among them may not perish because of You and the wretched may not wretched through Your favor, but only after Your prolonged excusing him and successive arguments against him, as an act of generosity through Your pardon, O Generous, and an act of kindliness through Your tenderness, O Clement!" It is necessary for us to considered carefully this brilliant paragraph of the supplication of the Ima`m, peace be on him. It contains the following:
1. The Generosity of Allah
As for the generosity and munificence of Allah, toward servants, as the Ima`m mentioned it, it is distinguished by the following:
A. Allah, the Most High, bestows on His creatures while He does not desire any repayment, for He, the Exalted, is in no need of His servants, who are in need of Him.
B. When He, the Exalted, bestows a grace upon a servant, He does not show any remorse at his bestowal, as the creatures show remorse at their bestowals when they get no benefit from them.
C. Allah does not stain his bestowal with obligation, for He, the Most High, bestows gratuitously.
D. It is He, the Exalted, who starts His servants with kindness and generosity.
2. The Pardon and Punishment of Allah
As for the pardon of Allah toward the sinners is gratuitous bounty, and as for His punishment toward them is justice, for He punishes them according to their sins.
3. The Decree of Allah
As for the decree of Allah and issuing the acts from Him, they are choice for the best, and He is not forced to issue them, as some philosophers said.
4. His Gratitude to those who thank Him
Indeed, Allah, the Glorified, show gratitude to those who thank Him, that is when He increases His favors and blessings to them. He, the Most High reward those who praise Him and increases His favors and blessings to them.
5. His Covering the Servants
Among the favors of Allah for the servant is that He covers him when he commits sins. If he willed, he would expose him and make the people degrade him. Also among His favors for the sinner is that He is generous toward him. If He willed, He would withhold him His livelihood and make him die of hunger. However, He channeled His power and will into forbearance, received those who disobeyed Him with clemency, and disregarded those who intended wrongdoing against themselves.
He awaits their turning back without haste and refrain from rushing them toward repentance, Hence that the perisher among them may not perish because of Him and the wretched may not be wretched through His favor, but only after His prolonged excusing them and successive arguments against them, as an act of generosity through His pardon. Now, let's listen to another paragraph of this holy supplication:
"It is You who have opened for Your servants a door to Your pardon, which You have named 'repentance'. You have placed upon that door a pointer from Your revelation, lest they stray from it: You have said (blessed are Your names), Repent toward Allah with unswerving repentance! It may be that your Lord will acquit you of your evil deeds and will admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, upon the day when Allah will not degrade the Prophet and those who have faith along with him, their light running before them and on their right hands, and they say: 'Our Lord, complete for us our light, and forgive us! Surely You are powerful over everything.'
What is the excuse of him who remain heedless of entering that house after the opening of the door and the setting up of the pointer? It is You who have raised the price against Yourself to the advantage of Your servants, desiring their profit in their trade with You, their triumph through reaching You, and their increase on account of You, for You have said (blessed is Your Name and high are You exalted), those brings a good deed shall have ten the like of it, and whosoever brings an evil deed shall only be recompensed the like of it.
You have said, the likeness of those who expend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain of corn that sprouts seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains; Hence Allah multiplies unto whom He wills.
You have said, Who is he that will lend to Allah a good loan, and He will multiply it for him manifold, and You have send down in the Qur'a`n similar verses on the multiplying of good deeds. It is You who have pointed them through Your speech from Your unseen and Your encouragement in which lies their good fortune toward that which -had You cover it from them- their eyes would not have perceived, their ears would not have heard, and their imaginations would not have grasped, for You have said, Remember me and I will remember you, be thankful to Me and be you not thankless towards Me!
You have said, If you are thankful, surely I will increase you, but if you are thankless, My chastisement is surely terrible. And You have said, Supplicate Me and I will respond to you; surely those who wax too proud to worship Me shall enter Gehennam utterly abject. Hence You have named supplicating You 'worship' and refraining from it 'waxing proud', and You have threatened that the refraining from it would lead entrance into Gehannam in utter abjection. Hence they remember You for Your kindness, they thank You for Your bounty, they supplicate You by Your command, and they donate for You in order to seek Your increase; in all this lies their deliverance from Your wrath and their triumph through Your good pleasure.
Were any creature himself to direct another creature to the like of that to which You Yourself have directed Your servants, he would be described by beneficence, qualified by kindness, and praised by every tongue. Hence to You belong Praise as long as there is found a way to praise You and as long as there remains for praising words by which You may be praised and meanings which may be spent in praise.
O He who shows Himself praiseworthy to His servants through beneficence and bounty, flooding them with kindness and graciousness! How much Your favor has been spread about among us, Your kindness lavished upon us, and Your goodness singled out for us! You have guided us to Your religion which You have chosen, Your creed with which You art pleased, and Your path which You have made smooth, and You have shown us proximity to You and arrival at Your generosity!"
In this paragraph the Ima`m talked about the great kindness of Allah to the disobedient from among His creatures when He opened for them the door of repentance and of asking forgiveness Hence that He may save them from ruin and misery in the next world. Repentance erases sins and save man from the awful situations provided that he should show remorse at the sins he has committed, and that he should not commit a sin again.
The Ima`m, peace be on him, talked about one of Allah's favors toward His servants, that was when He (Allah) urged them to be kind to people, to do good for them, and to give alms to the poor and the weak. In the meantime He promised to reward them in the Abode of Subsistence and Perpetuity, Hence that they would be successful and happy there. Hence what ample are His blessings! What great is His bounty toward His servants! In his speech, the Ima`m, peace be on him, dealt with gratitude to Allah for His graces, for such gratitude would lead to an increase in graces. He also dealt with supplication to Allah and pleading to Him, for He has named supplicating Him 'worship' and refraining from it 'waxing proud', as the Holy Qur'a`n has stated. After this, let's listen to another paragraph of this supplication:
"O Allah, among the choicest of those duties and the most special of those obligations You have appointed the month of Ramada`n, which You have singled out from other months, chosen from among all periods and eras, and preferred over all times of the year through the Qur'a`n and the Light which You sent down within it, the faith which You multiplied by means of it, the fasting which You obligated therein, the standing in prayer which You encouraged at its time, and the Night of Decree which You magnified therein, the night which is better than a thousand months. Through it You have preferred us over the other communities and through its excellence You have chosen us to the exclusion of the people of the creeds. We fasted by Your command in its daylight, we stood in prayer with Your help in its night, presenting ourselves by its fasting and its standing to the mercy which You have held up before us, and we found through it the means to Your reward. And You are full of what is sought from You, munificent what is asked of Your bounty, and near to him who strives for Your nearness.
This month stood among us in a standing place of praise, accompanied us with the companionship of one approved, and profited us with the most excellent profit of the world's creatures. Then it parted from us at the completion of its time, the end of its term, and the fulfillment of its number.
Hence we bid farewell to it with the farewell of one whose parting pains us, whose leaving fills us with gloom and loneliness, and to whom we have come to owe a safeguarded claim, an observed inviolability, and a discharged right." In these words, the Ima`m, peace be on him, praised the bounty of the blessed month of Ramada`n, which Allah singled out from other months, and endowed it with ample bounty when He obligated the fasting in it and multiplied the reward of the good deeds in it. He also singled it out with the Night of Decree, which is better than a thousand months.
Through it He preferred the Muslims over the other communities Hence that they might attain the highest degrees and the most honorable position with Him. Then the Ima`m, peace be on him, mentioned his grief for leaving this great month when he gained rewards through doing a lot of good deeds that brought him near to Allah. Now, let's listen to another part of this blessed month: "Hence we say: Peace be upon you, O greatest month of Allah! O festival of His friends! Peace be upon you, O most noble of accompanying times! O best of months in days and hours!
Peace be upon you, month in which expectations come near and good works are scattered about! Peace be upon you, comrade who is great in worth when found and who torments through absence when lost, anticipated friend whose parting gives pain! Peace be upon you, familiar who brought comfort in coming, thus making happy, who left loneliness in going, thus giving anguish! Peace be upon you, neighbor in whom hearts became tender and sins became few!
Peace be upon you, helper who aided against Satan, companion who made easy the paths of good-doing! Peace be upon you-How many became freedmen of Allah within you! How happy those who observed the respect due to you! Peace be upon you-How many the sins you erased! How many the kinds of faults you covered over! Peace be upon you-How drawn out were you for the sinners! How awesome were you in the hearts of the faithful!
Peace be upon you, month with which no days compete! Peace be upon you, month which is peace in all affairs! Peace be upon you, you whose companionship is not disliked, you whose friendly mixing is not blamed! Peace be upon you, just as you have entered upon us with blessings and cleansed us of the defilement of offenses! Peace be upon you. You are not bid farewell in annoyance nor is your fasting in weariness!
Peace be upon you, object of seeking before your time, object of sorrow before your passing! Peace be upon you- How much evil was turned away from us through you! How much good flowed upon us because of you! Peace be upon you and upon the Night of Decree which is better than a thousand months! Peace be upon you- How much we craved you yesterday! How intensely we shall yearn for you tomorrow! Peace be upon you and upon the bounty which has now been made unlawful to us and upon your blessings gone by which have now been stripped away from us!"
The Ima`m, peace be on him, bid farewell to the blessed month of Ramada`n with these warm greetings accompanied by bitterness and sorrow for parting it, for it was a field for his good works that brought him near to Allah, the Exalted. He, peace be on him, mentioned the qualities of this great month and explained its excellencies over the other months. Now, let's listen to another part of this great supplication:
"O Allah, we are the people of this month. Through it You have ennobled us and given us success because of Your kindness, while the wretched are ignorant of its time. Made unlawful to them is its bounty because of their wretchedness. You are the patron of the knowledge of it by which You have preferred us, and its prescribed practices to which You have guided us. We have undertaken, through Your giving success, its fasting and its standing in prayer, but with shortcomings, and we have performed little of much.
"O Allah, Hence to You belongs praise, in admission of evil doing and confession of negligence,1 and to You belongs remorse firmly knitted in our hearts and seeking of pardon sincerely uttered by our tongues. Reward us, in spite of the neglect that befell us in this month, with a reward through which we may reach the bounty desired from it and win the varieties of its craved stores!
Make incumbent upon us Your pardon for our falling short of Your right in this month and make our lives which lie before us reach the coming month of Ramada`n! Once You have made us reach it, help us perform the worship of which You are worth, cause us to undertake the obedience which You deserve, and grant us righteous works that we may fulfill Your right in these two months of the months of time. "O Allah, as for the small and large sins which we have committed in this our month, the misdeeds into which we have fallen, and the offenses which we have earned purposefully or in forgetfulness wronging ourselves thereby or violating the respect due to others, bless Mohammed and his Household, cover us over with Your covering, pardon us thorough Your pardoning, place us not before the eyes of the gloaters because of that, stretch not toward us the tongues of the defamers, and employ us in that which will alleviate and expiate whatever You disapprove from us within it through Your clemency which does not run out.
O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, redress our being afflicted by our moth, bless us in this day of our festival and our fast - breaking, make it one of the best of days that have passed over us, the greatest in attracting Your pardon, and the most effacing toward sins, and forgive us our sins, both the concealed and the public."
Have you noticed this submission and humility before the Great Creator? The Ima`m asked Allah for pardon and forgiveness. He confessed before Him his falling short of performing worship and the acts of obedience in the blessed month of Ramada`n. This is Zayn al-'Abidin, who is the greatest summoner to Allah! Now, let's read on the last paragraphs of this supplication:
"O Allah, with the passing of this month, make us pass forth from our offenses, with its departure make us depart from our evil deeds, and appoint us thereby among its most felicitous people, the most plentiful of them in portion, and the fullest of them in share!
O Allah, when any person observes this month as it should be observed, safeguards its inviolability as it should be safeguarded, attends to its bounds as they should be attended to, fears its misdeeds as they should be feared, or seeks nearness to You with any act of nearness-seeking which makes incumbent upon him Your good pleasure and bends toward him Your mercy, give to us the like (of that) from Your wealth and bestow it upon us in multiples through Your bounty, for Your bounty does not diminish, Your treasuries do not decrease but overflow, the mines of Your beneficence are not exhausted, and Your bestowal is the bestowal full of delight.
"O Allah, bless Mohammed and his Household, and write for us the like of the wages of him who fasted in it or worshipped You within it until the Day of Resurrection! O Allah, we repent to You in our day of fast-breaking, which You have appointed for the faithful a festival and a joy and for the people of Your creed a time of assembly and gathering, from every misdeed we did, ill work we sent ahead, or evil thought we secretly conceived, the repentance of one who does not harbor a return to sin and who afterwards will not go back to offense, an unswerving repentance rid of doubt and wavering. Hence accept it from us, and fix us within it!
"O Allah, provide us with fear of the threatened punishment and yearning for the promised reward, Hence that we may find the pleasure of that for which we supplicate You and the sorrow of that from which we seek sanctuary in You! And place us with among the repenters, those upon whom You have made Your love obligatory and from whom You have accepted the return to obeying You!
O Most Just of the just! O Allah, show forbearance toward our fathers and our mothers and all the people of our religion, those who have gone and those who will pass by, until the Day of Resurrection! O Allah, bless our prophet Mohammed and his Household, as You have blessed Your angels brought nigh, bless him and his Household, as You have blessed Your prophets sent out, bless him and his Household, as You have blessed Your righteous servants-and better than that, O Lord of the worlds!- a blessing whose benediction will reach us, whose benefit will attain to us, and through which our supplication may be granted! You are the most generous of those who are beseeched, the most sufficient of those in whom confidence is had, the most bestowing of those from whom bounty is asked, and You are powerful over everything!"(Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, Supplication no 45).
This holy supplication; rather all the supplications of the Ima`m, peace be on him, urge man to cling to Allah-fearingness and faith in Him, they also urge him to show remorse at his neglect before Allah in this month.
On the Day of Fast-Breaking
Ima`m Zayn al-'Abidin, peace be on him, received the Day of Fast-Breaking with supplication to Allah, asking Him to accept his fast, his acts of worship, and his good works in the month of Ramada`n, and to grant him pardon and good pleasure. In the early morning, he gave on his behalf and of his family the Zakat of al-Fitra (alms of fast-breaking). He also performed the prayer of the Eid. When he had finished his prayer, he faced the qibla (the direction of Kaaba) and supplicated Allah with this great supplication:
"O He who has mercy upon him toward whom the servants show no mercy! O He who accepts him whom the cities will not accept! O He who looks not down upon those who have need of Him! O He who disappoints not those who implore Him! O He who slaps not the brow of the people of boldness toward Him with rejection!
O He who collects the little that is given to Him and He shows gratitude for the paltry that is done for Him! O He who shows gratitude for the small and rewards with the great! O He who comes close to him who comes close to Him! O He who invites to Himself him who turns his back on Him! O He who changes not favor and rushes not to vengeance!
O He who causes the good deed to bear fruit Hence that he may make it grow, and overlooks the evil deed Hence that he may efface it! Hopes turn back with needs fulfilled short of the extent of Your generosity, the cups of requests fill up with the overflow of Your munificence, and attributes fall apart without reaching Your description. For to You belongs the highest highness above everything high, and the most glorious majesty beyond every majesty! Every majestic before You is small everything eminent beside Your eminence vile!
Those who reach other than You are disappointed, those who present themselves to other than You have lost, those who stay with other than You have perished, and those who retreat -except those who retreat to Your bounty- are desolate! Your door is open to the beseechers, Your munificence free to the askers, Your help near to the help-seeker!
The expectant are not disappointed by You, those who present themselves despair not of Your bestowal, the forgiveness-seekers become not wretched through Your vengeance! Your provision is spread among those who disobey You, Your clemency presents itself to those hostile toward You, Your habit is beneficence toward the evildoers, and Your wont is to spare the transgressors, Hence much Hence that Your lack of haste deludes them from returning, and Your disregard bars them from desisting!
You act without haste toward them Hence that they will come back to Your command and You disregard them confident in the permanence of Your kingdom, Hence You seal him who is worthy of it with felicity, and You abandon him who is worthy of it to wretchedness!" The greatest Ima`m, peace be on him, presented in this masterpiece Allah's kindness to His servants, for He is Compassionate and Merciful to him toward whom the servants show no mercy. His mercy also includes him whom the governments chase and he escapes to unknown places because of fear. An example of the kindness of Him, the Exalted, is that He does not look down upon those who have need of Him. An example of the mercy of Him, the Exalted, is that He does not disappoint those who implore Him.
An example of the great bounty and ample mercy of Him, the Most High, is that He shows gratitude for the small and rewards with the great. He shows affection to His servants , Hence He comes close to those who come close to Him and invites to Himself those who turn back on Him Hence that He may grant them the highest position in the next world and save them from ruin.
An example of the favor of Allah, the Glorified, to His servants is that He does not change the blessing which He bestows upon them until they change what is there in themselves. He, the Exalted, also makes the good deed grow for its owner in the Next Abode. Indeed the generosity and munificence of Allah cannot be limited. Attributes fall short of describing Him, for to Him belongs the highest highness above everything high, and the most glorious majesty beyond every majesty.
The Ima`m, peace be on him, blamed in his supplication those who presented themselves to other than Allah, Hence they lost good and expectations, while those who presented themselves to Allah attained a great success. Then the Ima`m, peace be on him, mentioned the clemency of Allah, the Exalted, and His disregard toward the aggressors; He did not hurry to punish them Hence that they would come back to His command and understand the truth. These are some affairs which this part of the supplication of the Ima`m, peace be on him, contains. Now, let's read on the last paragraphs of this supplication:
"All of them come home to Your decree, their affairs revert to Your command; Your authority grows not feeble through their drawn out term, Your proof is not refuted by the failure to hurry after them. Your argument is established, never refuted, Your authority fixed, never removed. Permanent woe belongs to him who inclines away from You, forsaking disappointment to him who is disappointed by You, and the most wretched wretchedness to him who is deluded about You!
How much he will move about in Your chastisement! How long he will frequent Your punishment! How far his utmost end from relief! How he will despair of an easy exit! (All of this) as justice from Your decree (You are not unjust in it , and equity from Your judgment (You do not act wrongfully against him . You supported the arguments, tested the excuses, began with threats, showed gentleness with encouragement, struck similitudes, made long the respite, delayed, while You are able to hurry, and acted without haste, while You are full of quick accomplishment!
"Not because of incapacity is Your slowness, feebleness Your giving respite, heedlessness Your showing restraint, dissemblance Your waiting! But that Your argument be more conclusive, Your generosity more perfect, Your beneficence more exhaustive, Your favor more complete! All of this has been and always was, is and ever will be. Your argument is greater than that its totality be described, Your glory more elevated than it be limited in its core, Your favor more abundant than that its entirety be counted, Your beneficence more abundant than that thanks be given for its least amount!
Speechlessness has made me fall short of praising You, restraint has made me powerless to glorify You, and the most I can do is admit to inability, not out of desire, my Allah, but out of incapacity. Hence here I am: I repair to You by coming forward, and I ask from You good support. Hence bless Mohammed and his Household, hear my whispered words, grant my supplication, seal not my day with disappointment, slap not my brow by rejecting my request, and make noble my coming from You and going back to You! Surely You are not constrained by what You desire, nor incapable of what You are asked! You are powerful over everything, and there is no force and no strength save in Allah, the All-high, the All-mighty!"
In these words, the Ima`m, peace be on him, has mentioned all the creatures, whether believers or sinners, monotheists or atheists; they are all in the hand of Allah, the Most High, subjected to His decree, coming home to His command. Only the disobedient are stubborn; they continue aggression, mutiny, and disobedience. With this, they are unable to make feeble the authority of Allah.
Woe unto them from His permanent punishment and His everlasting chastisement. Allah gives them respite in this world and does not hurry to punish them because of His mercy and gentleness toward them, Hence that they will come back to the truth and turn to Allah in repentance. With this the generosity of Allah, the Exalted, is ample and His favor for His servants is perfect. With this we will end our speech about the fast of the Ima`m, peace be on him, in the month of Ramada`n, which was full of all acts of worship, good works, and acts of obedience.