By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: Ghassan RimlawiImam Ali bin Al-Hussein (a.s.) welcomes the month of Ramadan by a supplication that stresses the spiritual significance of this month in which man can rise spiritually to Allah, and upholds his responsibility towards Allah, and himself. Islam should not be a superficial state that deals with words or acts of worship that do not penetrate to his soul and become mere movements of the body or readings that he does not understand. The Imam has described this month as the month of Islam, meaning that man should retrieve in this month what he had lost of his Islam, since the months in which man has been preoccupied with his other errands might have diminished the impact of the spirit of Islam in him. Thus, the month of Ramadan comes to enable man to retrieve what he had lost of his Islam, renew the spiritual virtues and straighten all deviations in his relations with himself and others.
And because this month is the month of Islam, we should review the position of Islam in the world because this is what Allah wants us to do, since He sent His Messenger (p.) to have Islam as our greatest concern in life, especially in the struggle it leads with the unbelievers .
When man opens up on this Islamic spirit especially in the month of Islam he has to study the affairs and struggles of all Muslims, since they are a part of the nation You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah. Any Muslim is a part of this nation; his feelings motives and concerns are not different than that of others regardless of his race.
A white Muslim is the same as a black one. The Muslim in the East is the same as the Muslim in the West. He does not feel lonely in any Muslim country nor does he feel neutral in any struggle the Muslims engage in against the arrogant.
The Prophetic tradition has emphasized this fact when he said: Believers in their shared compassion, love and sympathy, are as one body: when one organ complains the rest of the body suffers sleepless and fever
He also said that who becomes uncaring about Muslim affairs is not a Muslim.
Some people say: what concerns us in the problems of Palestine, Afghanistan, India, Iraq or any other place? We are Lebanese and we are supposed to care about Lebanese Muslims only. Others say we are Shiites and we are not concerned with Sunni problems, But this is not correct. It is true that we differ in our sects but we are the one nation. And hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and be not disunited, and remember the favor of Allah on you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts so by His favor you became brethren; and you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it, thus does Allah make clear to you His communications that you may follow the right way.
This kind of thinking is a kind of fanaticism, and fanaticism is a trait of the age of ignorance (pre-Islamic Jahiliya), as Allah has defined it in the Holy Quran “When those who disbelieve had set up in their hearts zealotry, the zealotry of the Age of Ignorance|. Thus every fanaticism whether partisan, national, tribal or … is a form of pre-Islamic zoolatry even if those who feel it fast, pray and perform pilgrimage.
When we enter the month of Ramadan we should feel that we have entered into Islam and fill our hearts, minds, feelings and life with Islam. We should read the Quran with the aim of understanding and applying it. We should stand before God to tell Him about our sufferings and needs, so that our fasting will be a symbol of our will to obey God. When we add up all these elements, we find that they educate us on the knowledge of God, to become near him and be friends with Him, because, He knows all our secrets and He is our only helper. We can tell Him what we cannot tell others, admit our sins, and ask Him to liberate us from them. Revealing our secrets to others might humiliate us and may not lead to forgiveness, God is the only one capable of doing that He is the One that accepts repentance from His Servants and forgives sins: and He knows all that ye do.
Admit your sins to Allah and ask Him for His forgiveness. He is the Most Merciful and He forgives His servants. That is why Imam Zein Al-Abidien says in the opening supplication: “O Allah, indeed Your forgiveness of my sins and Your overlooking my faults. You are pardoning my oppression and You are forbearing my many wrongs done intentionally or unintentionally tempted me to ask from You what I did not deserve from You which You (still) gave me out of Your Mercy provided me by Your Power and made known to me from Your answers. So I became habituated to call You trustingly and ask You familiarly neither fearing nor scared but with confidence in You for what I intended. Then if there was a delay (in Your answer) I would blame You, due to my ignorance and perhaps the delay was best for me for You know the outcome of all affairs. I have not seen a more generous master patient with a wretched slave than You are with me.”
I have always said that our relation with God is not formal. It is that of a creator with his creations. We do not need any body to act as an intermediary between Allah and us. It is true that the Prophets and Imams can intercede , but He said: : And your Lord says: Call upon Me, I will answer you; and when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me. Some might say that I am illiterate how can I supplicate? Don't worry; use your own words to express your needs. Say for example: I am hungry feed me, and Allah will respond to you.
The love of Allah is not equal to any love. It is above all love, but the expression of this love is by submitting to and obeying His orders. This is the way that renders this love real and mutual And there are some among men who take for themselves objects of worship besides Allah, whom they love as they love Allah, and those who believe are stronger in love for Allah and If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
One of those who loved this love was the Commander of the faithful, Imam Ali bin AbiTalib, whom the Prophet (p.) described as a man who loves Allah and His Messenger and who is loved by Allah and His Messenger.
Dear beloved, let us learn to love Allah and obey Him; to befriend Allah and feel our responsibilities towards Him in our house, markets and societies. Let us seek to be near Allah, to let Him see that we have lived our days and nights in obeying them.
Then when the month of Ramadan ends we will have two Eids: The first is that our bodies that will be relieved from the needs of fasting and the second is the Eid of God's satisfaction.
Imam Ali used to say: It is an Eid for those whom Allah accepts their fasting and acknowledges their praying. And every day that in which Allah is not disobeyed is anEid.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.