In the name of Allah

The All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful

4th Ramadan 1445 (15th March 2024)

Islamic Universal Association

20 Penzance Place, Holland Park

London, W11 4 PG


Imam Ali (a.s.)’s advice in the Nahjal-Balagha – Part 18

Further to last week’s discussion on the first two paragraphs of Sermon 86, I quote below its final part:

“He put forth to you His promises and warned you of severe retribution. You should therefore make full atonement during your remaining days and practice endurance in these days. These days are fewer as against the many days during which you have shown obliviousness and heedlessness towards admonition. Do not waste time because it will put you on the path of wrong-doers and do not be easy-going because this will push you towards sinfulness.

O creatures of Allah!  The best adviser is he who is the most obedient to Allah, and the most deceiving is he who is the most disobedient to Allah’s commands. Deceived is one who deceives himself. Enviable is he whose faith is safe. Fortunate is he who takes lessons from others, while unfortunate is he who falls victim to his desires. You should know that even the smallest hypocrisy is believing in more than one God, and keeping company of people who follow their desires is the key to obliviousness from religion and is the seat of Satan.

Be on your guard against falsehood because it is contrary to faith. A truthful person is on the height of salvation and dignity, while a liar is on the edge of ignominy and degradation. Do not be jealous because jealousy eats away faith like fire eats away dried wood. Do not bear malice because, it is a scraper of virtues. And know that desires make the mind forgetful and obliterates memory. You should refrain from false desire because it is a deception, and he who has such desires is in deceit.”

Valuable points

  • Allah (s.w.t.) has shown us the right way and He has put forward His promises and warned us of severe retribution if we follow the path of the evil-doers. We should therefore not be heedless to Allah (s.w.t.)’s command and spend our time by making amends for our sinful acts during these few days we have left on earth.
  • We should seek to please Allah (s.w.t.) by being obedient to Him and not deceive ourselves by ignoring His call and disobeying Him.
  • Fortunate are those who have strong belief and who takes lessons from the pious and unfortunate are those who are obsessed with worldly desires.
  • The Imam warns us about the effects of hypocrisy. In Islam it is a serious sickness and a great crime and more dangerous than disbelief.
  • We should avoid the company of people who follow their frivolous desires.
  • False desires and high hopes are to be avoided at all cost as it makes us oblivious and forgetful of our time on earth.
  • The Imam emphasizes the importance of truthfulness as it leads to salvation and prohibits us from lying as it leads towards ignominy. To be continued
  • He also discourages us from jealousy and malice as it eats away our faith and obliterates virtues.


Second Sermon

Virtues of the holy month of Ramadan – Part 3

After highlighting the merits of Ramadan, the Holy Prophet (s.a.) in his sermon which I had quoted last week, enjoined fasting and recitation of the Holy Quran during Ramadan in order to keep the spirit of jihad alive in Muslims and to prepare them for the performance of their basic duty of establishing Islam as a system of life in this world. He further stated: O People! Indeed your souls are dependent on your deeds, free it with istighfar (repentance) lighten its loads by long prostrations and know that Allah swears by His might that there is no punishment for the one who prays with sincerity. He shall have no fear of the fire on the day when man stands before the Lord of the worlds.

O People! One who gives Iftar to a fasting person during this month will be like one who has freed someone and his past sins will be forgiven. Allah will give this reward even if the Iftar is a drink of water. One who has good morals (akhlaq) during this month will be able to pass through the Bridge of Siraat on the Day of Judgement with ease. One who covers the faults of others will benefit as Allah will curb His anger on the Day of Judgement. As for one who honours an orphan, Allah will honour him on that Day.”


The salient features of the Holy Prophet (s.a.)’s advice are as follows:

  1. Ramadan is the month of patience, endurance and perseverance and the reward for these is paradise. It is also the month of kindness and compassion, helping the poor and the needy, the wayfarers, honouring the old and supporting the young, especially taking care of orphans. Caring for orphans is a cause particularly dear to the Holy Prophet (s.a.)’s heart. He was himself an orphan and he has said: “The one who cares for an orphan and myself will be together in paradise like this”, and he held his two fingers together to illustrate the proximity. (Safinat Al-Bihar V: 2 P: 731)
  2. Good morals (akhlaq) and deeds are better during this month than other months. This is so because Allah (s.w.t) wishes to bestow His favours, provisions and blessings on His creation at this time.
  3. Those who cover faults of others, curb their anger, spread kindness and treat their kindred well, Allah (s.w.t) will bestow His mercy upon them. However, those who sever ties of kinship will be deprived of His mercy.
  4. One should visualize the hunger and thirst on the Day of Resurrection and remind oneself of the sufferings of the deprived and sympathize with those who are hungry.
  5. According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.) whoever provides iftar to a fasting individual even if it is as little as half a date or a glass of water, will be compensated with forgiveness for his sins and salvation of his soul. He will also receive a reward equal to freeing a slave. When someone remarked that everyone is not in a position to provide iftar, the Holy Prophet (s.a) explained that even a glass of water would suffice in such a case and the doer would receive his reward.
  6. During this month, Allah (s.w.t.) forgives His servants and obliterates sins, dismisses shortcomings/lapses, exalts stations, multiplies good deeds, answers prayers and liberates the soul from the fire of hell. Moreover, He bestows those who fasts with His bounties, pleasure and gifts. We should therefore supplicate Him with sincerity and perform long prostrations and seek forgiveness for our sins and transgressions.
  7. The great benefits and advantages of fasting can accrue only if it is observed consciously and if one refrains from all undesirable deeds which render it ineffective, such us hearing and seeing things that are not permissible. One should therefore safeguard the mind and body from disobedience. According to Imam Ali (a.s.)There are people who fast, but their fast is nothing but just hunger and thirst, and their prayer is no better than wakefulness and hardship. The sleep as well as the eating and drinking of the righteous individual is far better.” (Nahjul Balagha, Short saying 145)

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