The Prophet’s Sermon Welcoming the Month of Ramadhan
(Translated by SM Rizvi from Shaykh as-Saduq’s ‘Uyun Akhbari ’r-Rida, vol. 2, p. 265.)
“O people, indeed the month of Allah has approached you with blessings, mercy and forgiveness. In the eyes of Allah, it is the best of all months, its days are best of all days, its nights are best of all nights, and it hours are best of all hours.
“It is a month in which you have been invited to be guests of Allah, and you have been made in it the people who have honour of Allah. Your breathing in it is tasbiḥ (singing the praise of God), your sleep in it is an act of ‘ibadat (worship), your deeds are accepted, and your prayers are answered to. Therefore, ask your Lord with sincere intentions and pure hearts to help you in fasting during this month and in reciting His Book, for the most unfortunate is one who is deprived of Allah’s forgiveness in this great month.
“By your thirst and hunger, remember the hunger of the day of judgement and its thirst. Give charity to the poor and needy among you; lower your glances from what is not permissible for you to see, and refrain [from hearing] what is not permissible for you to hear. Show sympathy to the orphans of the people, and sympathy will be shown to your orphans. Repent for your sins, and raise your hands in supplications at the time of your prayers for that is the best of times in which Allah looks towards His servants with mercy, answers them what they whisper to Him, responds to them when they call upon Him, gives to them when they ask Him, and accepts their prayers when they pray to Him.
“O people, your souls are dependent on your deeds, therefore release them [from Hell-Fire] by asking for forgiveness. Your backs are burdened with your weight [of sins], so lighten their burden by lengthening the sajdahs (prostrations); and He shall not threaten with Fire when people will stand [in prayers] for the Lord of the Universe.
“O people, whosoever among you gives iftar (meal to break the fast) to a believer who is fasting during this month, his rewards with Allah will be the releasing of his neck [from the Hell-Fire] and forgiveness for his past sins.”
Someone asked, “O Messenger of Allah, not all of us have the ability to do that.” He said, “Fear the Fire! Even by breaking a date. Fear the Fire! Even by drink of a water!”
“O people, whosoever among you improves his character (khulq) during this month, he shall have the pass for going over the sirat (the bridge) on the day (of judgment) when the feet shall slip. Whosoever lessens the burden [of work] from his slave (and subordinates), Allah shall lessen his reckoning (of his deeds) for him. Whoso-ever prevents his evil (from people), Allah shall prevent His anger from him on the day he shall meet Him. Whosoever severs the link with his relations in this month, Allah shall sever His mercy from him on the day he shall meet Him.
“Whosoever fulfills a duty in this month, his rewards will be multiplied seventy times compared to the same deed done during other months. Whosoever increases the salawat on me during this month, Allah shall lighten his burden [of sins] on the day when He shall be lightening the burdens [of other good doers]. Whosoever recites a verse of the Qur’an during this month, he shall have the reward of one who has completed the recitation of the entire Qur’an during the other months.
“O people, the doors of Paradise are open during this month, so ask your Lord not to close them on you; and the doors of Hell are closed, so ask your Lord not to open them up for you. The satans are in chains, so ask Allah not to impose them upon you.”
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Imam ‘Ali stood up and said, “O the Messenger of Allah, what is the best of deeds during this month?” The Prophet said, “O Abu ’l-Hasan! The best of deeds during this month is to refrain from what Allah has prohibited.”
Then the Prophet cried. ‘Ali asked, “O messenger of Allah, what made you cry?”
The Prophet said, “O ‘Ali, I am crying for the injustice that will be done against you in this month. It is as if I see you that while you are praying to your Lord, the most wretched of the mankind...struck you [with his sword] on your head so that its blood coloured your beard.” ‘Ali asked, “O Messenger of Allah, will this happen while I am at peace with my faith?”
The Prophet replied, “You will be at peace with your faith. O ‘Ali, whoever kills you is as if he has killed me, whoever hates you is as if he hates me, whoever curses you is as if he has cursed me because you are to me like my own soul, your soul is from my soul and your nature is from my nature. Verily Almighty Allah created me and you, then He selected me and you, and chose me for prophethood and chose you for imamat; so whoever rejects your imamat, he has indeed rejected my prophethood. O ‘Ali, you are my heir, the father of my descendants, the husband of my daughter, and my successor to my community in my life as well as in my death; your command is my command and your prohibition is my prohibition. I swear by the One who raised me as the Prophet and made me the best of creation, you indeed are the proof of Allah upon His creation, trustee of His secret and His vicegerent towards His servants.”