farewell to month of fasting
The blessed month of Ramadhan is coming to its end although its fragrance will continue to keep our souls and hearts fresh. The month of fasting, when the Divine Banquet was spread out for the spiritual feast of believers, was undoubtedly a unique annual opportunity to charge our inner batteries. As we approach the final hours of this blessed month, we reflect upon its beautiful hours, the things we learned as well as the opportunities we missed by not doing enough to deserve more blissful rewards from the Divine Court. Fortunate are those who availed its spiritual glories to adorn themselves with piety and morals that would certainly serve them during the journey of the soul in the Hereafter. As for those who failed to comprehend these glorious days and nights, we are hopeful of the generosity of the All-Merciful and All-Compassionate God to provide another opportunity next year to relish those memorable moments of Sahar or the early hours before dawn and after late midnight, as well as those sweet and savoury moments of Iftaar when families and friends gather together for breaking the day’s fast. We beseech God to guide us towards His proximity by enabling us to pray and supplicate to him in the prescribed manner and to abstain from what He has forbidden. Now, since Ramadhan has come or is coming to its end, it would be better for us to reflect and take stocks of our life including the valuable lessons we learned during this month. We ought to reflect on the wisdom of the words of the Prophet’s 4th infallible successor Imam Zain ol-Abedin (PBUH) who says: "On the last night of the blessed month of Ramadhan, God forgives people as many as those who were forgiven during the entire month and delivers them from hell." Certainly, Ramadhan has filled us with hope and remove all sorts of despair and disappointment from the faithful. In verse 87 of Surah Yusuf of the Holy Qur’an, we read: “And despair not of Allah’s mercy; surely none despairs of Allah’s mercy except the faithless people.” These divine words of God Almighty, in fact, strengthen and rejuvenate our faith. The Almighty Who saved Prophet Jonah from the dark depths of the sea and from the belly of whale that had swallowed him, is near to us than our own jugular vein, and eager to answer the prayers of the faithful. Now we read an interesting story: A person called Labib says: “When I was young I was stung by a snake. As a result of the poisonous bite, my hand was crippled. After a while my other hand started feeling numb as well. Soon I turned blind and dumb and consequently I became bedridden. All my senses were paralyzed except my hearing. Most of the time I felt thirsty but no one provided me with water and no one was aware of my needs and pains. A year passed in this way. Life was much worse than death for me. One day a woman came to my wife and asked: How is Labib? My wife began to complain and uttered some hopeless words from which I understood that she has become tired of living with me. My heart was broken at this, but I did not lose my hope in God and I prayed to God humbly to save me. Suddenly I felt a deep pain over all of my body and fell asleep. When I woke up after an hour, I felt that movement in my hand. I felt strength in my legs and miraculously got up from my bed. I looked at the sky and saw the stars after a year. I almost fainted with happiness. The power of speech returned and I earnestly thanked God for having saved me." Now we read some phrases from a beautiful supplication on farewell to the fasting month of Ramadhan. These are the words of Imam Zain ol-Abedin (PBUH) which form part of the 45th supplication of Sahifat as-Sajjadiyya: “So we bid farewell to it with the farewell of one whose parting pains us, whose leaving fills us with gloom and loneliness, We say: Peace be upon thee, O’ greatest month of God! O’ festival of His friends! Peace be upon thee, O’ most noble of accompanying times! O’ the best of months in days and hours! Peace be upon thee, O’ month in which expectations come near and good works are spread! Peace be upon thee, just as thou hast entered upon us with blessings and cleansed us of the defilement of offenses! Peace be upon thee, Thou are not bid farewell in annoyance nor is thy fasting left in weariness.