One of the blessings of the auspicious month of Ramadan is the prayers of this month. These prayers teach us how to speak to God, how to ask Him for help, and how to pay attention to Him.
Moreover, they teach us many lessons for which we cannot find an equal to, even in common moral narrations.
The month of Ramadan has been described as “auspicious.” The reason why this month is auspicious is that it is a way to liberate oneself from the fire of hell and to achieve paradise.
As we read in the prayers of Ramadan: “This is the month of liberation from hell and achieving paradise,” [Iqbal al-A’mal, Volume 1, page 90].
Divine paradise and the fire of divine hell exist in this world too. What happens in the hereafter is the manifestation of this world: “Indeed, hell surrounds the unbelievers on all sides,” [The Holy Quran, 9: 49].
Hell has surrounded unbelievers, oppressors, enemies and opponents, in this world and in this life.
It is in our own hands to go from hell to paradise. This happens in this world and its concrete, hidden, and a real manifestation will be witnessed in the hereafter.
We can take this journey or a path from the hell of misconduct, misgivings, and doubts to the paradise of good deeds, good thoughts, good behavior and good conduct.
This path is called “penitence” and “repentance”. It has been said in a prayer that “[T]his is the month of penitence and this is the month of repentance,” [Iqbal al-A’mal, Volume 1, page 25]. It is with penitence and repentance that one is liberated from hell and achieves paradise.
Today, we — as officials of our dear country and the Islamic Republic —urgently need to carry out serious and diligent work accompanied by purity and sincerity.
I have chosen this part from this prayer: “Oh God, place us among those who do something while they have willed it. Do not place us among those poor people who suffer from indolence and among those who rely on things other than action,” [Iqbal al-A’mal, Volume 1, page 23].
The first sentence says, “Oh God, place us among those who do something while they have willed it.” —This action should be purposeful, one that enjoys intention and one that is clear in advance where it is leading to.
The second sentence is “Do not place us among those poor people who suffer from indolence.” “Kisalat” means laziness and idleness. This is what the prayer teaches us.
The third sentence is: “And among those who rely on things other than action.” It says, “Do not place us among those who day dream, rant, and fabricate issues in a meeting without taking any action.”
On the first day of the month of Ramadan, believers enter the divine feast with this spirit. This is one of the great servings of this feast: this is one prayer.
The second prayer is one that is said on each day of this auspicious month. It says, “And save me from drowsiness, laziness, exhaustion, carelessness, inflexibility, ignorance and deception,” [Iqbal al-A’mal, Volume 1, page 26].
It asks God to save us from these characteristics: the first is drowsiness; the second is laziness; the third is exhaustion.—It means getting sick and tired of something.
The next one is carelessness: it means doing things in a careless way and ignoring precision. The next one is hardness of heart, fossilization and inflexibility.
The next one is ignorance and confusion about our position and about what is happening and what is ahead of us. And the last one is deception and arrogance.
Well, the function of these concepts — which are lofty and outstanding concepts — is much more important for officials in charge of public affairs than for ordinary individuals.
When we say, “Oh God, do not make us suffer from laziness, inflexibility and ignorance,” we are making this request from two perspectives: one is from a personal perspective. We make this personal request so that we do not make a mistake and we do not have to face problems.
Another is from the perspective of our responsibilities. You are like a captain who is steering a ship. You are like a pilot who is flying a plane.
The issue is not only the issue of your lives. You are different from a person who is driving his car on a road alone; his responsibility is to protect his own life; but you are not like him.
A group of people are with you. These are the things that make your responsibilities and commitments — on the issues that were discussed — heavier.
In our religious literature, the month of Ramadan is the month of confronting shaitan and satanic behavior on the one hand and behaving in a kind way, obeying God and worshiping Him on the other hand.
it is said that shaitan is tethered in the month of Ramadan and that the month of Ramadan is the month of obeying and worshiping God.
The shortest and most meaningful word to describe this month is the word “piety”: “Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may show piety,” [The Holy Quran, 2: 183]
So, our responsibility is to work hard, to avoid sins and to show piety. Piety, which has been considered as the main philosophy and goal of fasting in the month of Ramadan involves In the dua.
One of the things that we ask God for, in this dua, is liberation from a number of things: liberation from lack of motivation and the disease of indifference, liberation from lack of enthusiasm for work – notice that it does not occur to us that these things are a disease or a malady.
We should ask Allah the Exalted to save us from these maladies and to give us the cure for them – liberation from ignorance and liberation from the hardness of one’s heart.
The last one occurs when one’s heart becomes hard in the face of divine dhikrs and sympathetic advice.
The exact sentence is this, “And save me from laziness, exhaustion and tiredness, from lack of motivation, from hard-heartedness, from indifference and negligence, and from arrogance.” In this dua, we ask God to save us from these things.
Now, what are the consequences of these sins?One of the consequences is that when we commit a sin, we lose our power and energy at a sensitive time.
The Holy Quran, 3: 15 states: “Those of you who turned back on the day the two hosts met, it was Satan who caused them to fail, because of some evil they had done.”
In the Battle of Uhud, those who could not tolerate and whose hearts beat quickly for the desire of war spoils, forgot about their sensitive responsibility; thus, they turned a winning war into a losing one: “It was Satan who caused them to fail, because of some evil they had done.”
Well, we are the officials of the country. All of us – ranging from this humble person to executive, judiciary, and legislative officials, and other individuals are in this chain of responsibilities.
If we act in a way that we become the embodiment of this ayah, “It was Satan who caused them to fail.” If our legs tremble or if we fail to show steadfastness at a time when steadfastness is necessary, then we will be exposed to a very grave danger.
The cure for this is self-care. We should watch and supervise ourselves. We should increase motivation in our organization, and we should work harder. So, our responsibility is to work hard, to avoid sins and – to put it briefly – to show piety. Piety, which has been considered as the main philosophy and goal of fasting in the month of Ramadan, involves this.
The writer is the Supreme leader of Iran
BY AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMANEI