Self-restraint, the Purpose of the Holy Month of Ramadhan
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn self-restraint.” Qur’an 2:183
Al-Shaikh As-Saduq in an authentic Hadith quoted from Imam Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) from his fathers up to Imam Ali (a.s.) that: On the last Friday of Sha’ban the Prophet of Islam (S) ascended the pulpit and delivered a lecture to the Muslims. He said:
"O you people, verily the month of Allah is approaching you with blessings, mercy and forgiveness, a month which is the best month in Allah’s view. Its days are the best days and its nights are the best nights and its hours are the best hours. It is a month in which you are invited to be Allah’s guests and chosen to be of those with Divine honour. Your breathing in this month is counted as Tasbeeh and your sleep as worshipping. Your rituals are accepted and your prayers are granted. So, ask Allah, your Lord, with a sincere intention and a purified heart, to give you good luck for fasting and reciting His Book. Since, unlucky is the one who misses God’s forgiveness in such a great month.
Remember, while you are hungry and thirsty the hunger and the thirst of the Hereafter. Pay charity to the poor and the needy. Respect your elders and be kind to the younger. Visit your relatives. Save your tongue from what you are not supposed to say, your eyes from what you are not supposed to look at, and your ears from what you are not supposed to listen to.
Be humble to the orphans of other people so that your orphans would be humbled. Repent to Allah from your sins and raise your hands to Him for praying in your prayers time. Since, it’s the best time that Allah will be looking at His servants with mercy. He answers when He is whispered to, and grants when He is called upon, and responds when He is requested for.
O you people, verily, your spirit is held in pledge for your deeds, release it then by asking for forgiveness. Your back is heavy from your sins, lighten it by your long prostrations. Acknowledge that Allah the Almighty promised in the name of His Majesty that He would not punish those who pray and prostrate, nor does He frighten them by the Fire of Hell in the Hereafter.
O you people, whoever gives breakfast to a fasting believer in this month, s/he will be having the reward of freeing a slave as well as forgiveness for his/her previous sins. The prophet by then was asked, ‘what if someone was not able to invite people for breakfast?’ The prophet replied: ‘Safeguard yourselves from the Fire even with half a date or a glass of drink. Surely Allah will be giving the same reward to those who can not afford more than this.
O you people, whoever makes his/her behaviour better s/he will be proceeding easily on the Path (Serat) when many feet will tend to slip. Whoever reduces the chores of those who are working for him/her, Allah will be lightening his/her sinful account. Whoever restrains his/her devil from others, Allah will restrain His anger from him/her in the Hereafter. Whosoever cuts off his/her relations with his/her relatives Allah will cut off His blessings from him/her in the Hereafter.
Whoever performs recommended prayers, Allah will prescribe for him/her a discharge from the Fire. Whoever performs a daily Salat, s/he is going to have the equal reward of seventy Salat in other months. Whoever sends frequently, Salawat on me, Allah will make his/her positive account increased when it’s going to be decreased. Whoever recites an Aya from the Holy Qur’an, s/he will be rewarded the equal reward of reciting the whole Qur’an in other months.
O people, verily, the gates of Paradise are open in this month. Ask your Lord not to close them to you. And the gates of Hell are closed in this month. Ask your Lord not to open them to you. Devils are handcuffed. Ask your Lord not to give them a free hand to you...” When the sermon was over, Imam Ali (a.s.) stood up and asked the Prophet, what was the best action in that month? The Prophet of Islam (S) replied:
‘The best action in this month is to restrain from whatever Allah has forbidden.’”