It has been narrated from the Commander of the Faithful Imam 'Ali (A) that:
“Don't say Ramadhan because, you don't know what Ramadhan is. Whoever says so must pay charity and must offer an atonement fast, instead of saying Ramadhan, say the way Allah has called it “the Month of Ramadhan.”
The most important duty of a devoted wayfarer in this great month is to understand the right of this Holy Month in which Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), has invited the wayfarers of His path for a feast. Also he must understand the correct meanings of fasting and its relevance with Allah's invitation. Having discovered this reality he must endeavour that all his actions and deeds are accompanied with required devotion and sincerity in order to earn the pleasure of his host Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted).
Regarding special distinctions of the Holy Month of Ramadhan and spread of Allah's blessings during this month, a lot of important points have been mentioned in narrations; following is a brief description of those narrations:
1. Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), pardons seventy million people, who are being punished in the Hell, at the time of Fast-breaking (iftar) during each night of the Holy Month of Ramadhan, and at the end of the Holy Month forgives an additional number of sinners equivalent to the total sum of those pardoned during the entire month.
2. On the first night of the Holy Month of Ramadhan, Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), pardons whoever he pleases, and during each night pardons twice the number pardoned in the previous night, and on the last night, forgives twice the number of sinners pardon during entire month.
3. In this regard, the most famous tradition is the sermon of the Holy Prophet (SAW) which has been reported by Sayyid Ibn Taoos in his book Iqbal, quoted from Imam al-Ridha (A) who heard from his father, who quoted from the Commander of the Faithful Imam 'Ali (A) who said:
"One day the Holy Prophet (SAW) delivered the following sermon about the Holy Month of Ramadhan: O' people! The Month of Allah with blessing mercy and pardon has came to you, a month which is the best month among all months before Allah; its days are the best days; its nights are the best nights and its hours are the best hours. It is the month in which you have been invited by the Lord for a feast, and have been selected as the recipient of this special favour. Your breathing merits the reward of praise, while your sleeping in this month earns the reward of worship. In this month your deeds are accepted and prayers are granted.
Therefore, with true intention and pure hearts beseech the Lord to bestow upon you His special favour to be able to observe fasting and recite the Holy Qur'an. Because the most unfortunate and wretched one is the one who remains deprived from Allah's pardon during this great month. With your thirst and hunger remind yourself about the thirst and hunger of the Day of Judgement; pay charity to poor and destitute people, pay respect to elders; be kind towards youngsters, and observe the bonds of relationship with your kith and kin.
"Watch your tongues, cover your eyes from seeing forbidden objects and prevent your ears from hearing forbidden affairs. Be kind to the orphans of the people so that the others are kind towards your orphans. Repent for your sins and at the time of prayer raise your hands upward, because these hours are the best hours in which Allah looks towards mankind with mercy and compassion. Their hymns are granted, their cries are heard. Whatever they ask is bestowed upon them and their prayers are fulfilled.
"O' people! Your selves are mortgaged against your deeds and therefore, by means of repentance make yourself free. Your back has become much too heavy due to sins; by prolongation of your prostration make yourself light-burdened. Know that Allah has taken the oath of his Majesty and Splendour that he will not punish those who offer prayers and bow down in prostration, and on the Day of Judgement will not scare them through Hell's fire.
"O' people! Whoever in this month will make arrangements for the fast-breaking (iftar) of a believer will be bestowed upon the reward equal to freeing of a slave and all of his past sins shall be pardoned. He was asked: 'O' Prophet of Allah! But all of us are not in a position to arrange the fast-breaking of a fast observer.' The Prophet replied: 'Protect yourself from Hell-Fire and offer fast-breaking even if it happens to be a piece of date with a glass of sherbet.'
"O' people! Whoever makes his conduct better in this month on the Judgement Day will be bestowed upon the permit for crossing over the Serat. Whoever will open the knots of difficulties of people's affairs in this month, the Lord on the Judgement Day will make the accounting of his deeds easier.
"Whoever makes people immune from his mischief, Allah on the Judgement Day will make him immune from his wrath. Whoever treats an orphan with respect, on the Judgement Day Allah will treat him with honour. Whoever takes care to strengthen family bonds with relatives, Allah will extend His blessings upon him on the Judgement Day, and whoever will cut off his family ties, Allah too will deprive him from His blessings on the Judgement Day.
"Whoever offers supererogatory prayers in this month, Allah will register for him immunity from the fire. Whoever performs a compulsory deed in this month, will be bestowed the reward of seventy compulsory deeds performed in other months. Whoever offers a lot of salutations upon me in this month, on the Judgement Day, Allah will make the balance of his righteous deeds heavier. Whoever recites one single verse of the Holy Qur'an during this month will be bestowed the reward of finishing the entire Holy Qur'an in other months.
"O' people! The gates of Paradise are opened in this month, beseech Allah that it should not be closed upon you. The doors of Hell are closed, and ask Allah that they are not opened upon you. The devils are chained in this month, ask Allah not to allow them to take over your control.
Imam 'Ali (A) said: 'O' Prophet of Allah which one is the best deed during this month?' The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied: 'O' Abul Hasan! The most supreme deed in this month is piety and renunciation of divine forbidden acts', then the Holy Prophet [s] cried. 'O' Prophet of Allah! What has caused you to cry?' Asked Imam 'Ali (A). 'O' 'Ali! What would happen to you during this month. As I can see you standing in prayer whispering with your Lord, the most wretched person comes and with a heavy blow of his sword makes your beard coloured with your blood.'
'O' Prophet of Allah! Would I be steadfast upon my religion on that day?' Asked Imam 'Ali (A) 'Yes! You would be steadfast on your faith' said the Holy Prophet (SAW). Then he said: 'O' 'Ali! Whoever would kill you, would kill me; whoever would engage in ill-speaking against you would vilify me, because, you are from me; your soul is my soul; your nature is my nature; Allah has created, me and you; He has bestowed exaltedness upon me and you - prophethood (nabuwwat) for me, and vicegerency (imamat) for you; whoever has not accepted your vicegerency has not believed in my prophethood either; O' 'Ali you are my executor and successor, you are the father of my children, you are the husband of my daughter; you are the caliph of my community (ummah)during my lifetime as well as after my demise; your orders are my orders; your prohibition is my prohibition; I swear to Allah who has bestowed upon me prophethood and made me His most distinguished servant that you are Allah's proof upon His creatures; you are the trustee of His secrets; Allah's vicegerent (caliph) upon His bondsman."
4. The most important and explicit tradition about this month is prophet's displeasure for someone who did nothing for his own forgiveness while the entire Holy Month passed away. The Holy Prophet has said:
"May Allah never forgive someone who spent the entire Holy Month without being able to receive forgiveness."
5. There are plenty of narrations about chaining of devils, closing of Hell's doors, opening of Paradise gates and Allah's proclaimer announcing the open invitation for the people from the beginning till the end of month. Such special distinctions from the beginning till the end of month have not been mentioned for any other month.
6. Some narrations about this month are those which indicate the special merit of this month is the acceptance of prayers by Allah (the Glorious, the Exalted), as the Holy Qur'an says:
"Beseech Me so that I may grant your wishes." Holy Qur'an (15:60)
Spiritual Journey of the Mystics - Etiquette of the Holy Month of Ramadhan (A comprehensive Commentary About the Esoteric Essence of the Holy Month of Ramadhan) Writings of Haj Mirza Javad Agha Maliki Tabrizi (RA) Translated from Persian by Sayyid Hussein Alamdar