And all praise to Allah, who made one of the paths [to attain his pleasure and closeness] His month, the month of Ramadaan: the month of fasting, the month of Islam, the month of purification, the month of cleansing, the month of standing up in prayer, the month in which the Quran was revealed”
((Imam Ali Zainul Aabedin SA)
As per the guidance of our Hudaat Kiraam, every morning after Fajr Namaaz in Shehrullah al-Mu’azzam we recite the remarkable doa composed by Imam Ali Zainul Aabedin SA. This doa is part of the collection of doas composed by Imam Ali Zainul Aabedin known as the Sahifa Sajjadiyyah. The grace of the language and the depth of meaning in the Saheefa Sajjadiyya is said to be on a similar level as the Zaboor (the Holy Book revealed to Nabi Dawood AS).
This doa is a priceless treasure. It frames the right approach to Shehrullah and prioritizes what our focus should be in this holy month by beseeching Allah Ta’ala’s aid in fulfilling each of the priorities. Below is a humble attempt to highlight the deeds and actions that Imam Zainul Aabedin focuses on (the audio of Syedna Fakhruddin’s TUS recitation of this doa is published here).
Imam AS begins the doa with hamd and praise of Allah Ta’ala for His guidance and for creating paths to attain His pleasure, “and all praise to Allah, who made one of the paths His month, the month of Ramadaan: the month of fasting, the month of Islam, the month of purification, the month of cleansing, the month of standing up in prayer, the month in which the Quran was revealed”. It is the month of Laylatul Qadar. These phrases define the essence of Shehrullah in summary.
After introducing the holy month, throughout the doa, Imam AS recites salawaat and then beseeches a prayer. Each prayer identifies what a Mumin must look to accomplish in Shehrullah and sets a clear schedule of priorities.
1. Prayer for inspiration
After the first salawaat, Imam AS beseeches Allah Ta’ala to “inspire us to recognize the merit of this month, glorify its sanctity.” He emphasizes that Shehrullah is a specific time – thirty days – that cannot be brought forward nor moved later. It is by following our Hudaat Kiraam, our Dai-z-zamaan, that we begin Shehrullah on the first of Ramadaan al-Mua’zzam and end it on Eid, the thirtieth of Ramadaan al Mua’zzam.
2. The importance of roza
Imam SA then centers on the importance of roza in Shehrullah. He seeks help from Allah for fasting – not just refraining from eating and drinking, but also preventing our limbs from sinning, our ears from listening to frivolity, our eyes from hastening to nonsense. He prays that we do so purely for Allah’s pleasure and not for the approval of society (log dekhaai).
3. Observing the five namaaz times
After the second salawaat, Imam SA stresses on the importance of namaaz, especially in Shehrullah and beseeches Allah’s aid for observing each of the five namaaz times, preserving their fundamentals and undertaking to performing them punctually with the “fullest and most complete purity” and the “deepest and clearest humility.”
Imam AS then focuses on strengthening our bonds with family and friends (silat-ur-rahim). He beseeches tawfeeq from Allah Ta’ala so that we may “strengthen bonds of affection with our family, be generous and kind to our neighbors.” Imam AS prays for strength to reconcile with those we have deserted and make peace with all those have borne enmity towards us – all except those who enemies who are enemies of Allah and His Da’wat. That adversary, the Imam says, is one “whose hand we will never clasp."
Imam AS also highlights zakaat, the fourth pillar of Islam. He prays for tawfeeq for cleansing our wealth by offering zakaat. As Syedna al-Qadi al-Nu’man clarifies in Da’aimul Islam, this farizat is complete only by offering zakaat to Rasulullah’s SA successor, Imam-uz-zaman SA or his Dai in seclusion. Zakaat is a yearly obligation which our Hudaat encourage us to fulfill in Shehrullah so as to earn the greatest reward. Rasulullah SA has said that each hasanat in Shehrullah is multiplied 70-fold.
6. Good Deeds
Imam AS then draws attention to the importance of good deeds by associating them with closeness to Allah Ta’ala. He prays to Allah Ta’ala, “give us tawfeeq to come closer to You in this month by performing good deeds, which cleanse us of our sins, and protect us from further sin.” He prays that all our deeds are aimed to garner closeness to Allah Ta’ala. It is for this reason that our Hudaat Kiraam have encouraged us to do good deeds in Shehrullah including iftaar and muwasaat.
7. Forgiveness from sins
Imam SA prays salawaat and seeks protection from heresy, from doubt, from blindness of the mind and from the deceptions of Shaytan. Imam SA again prays salawaat and seeks freedom from enslavement in this world and the liberty of the Hereafter, “if in each of the nights of this month of ours, there are necks that Your forgiveness frees and Your clemency liberates, then make our necks among those. And make us the best of companions for this month of ours.” Praying salawaat yet again, towards the end of the doa, Imam AS seeks forgiveness from our sins “efface our sins alongside the effacement of its moon.” Our Hudaat Kiraam show us how to seek forgiveness in doa-s and especially in their munajaats in Shehrullah, especially in the darkness of its nights.
After the final salawaat, Imam AS beseeches Allah Ta’ala, “if we bend in it straighten us…load this month with the cargo of our worship of You, adorn its moments with our obedience to you. Help us to perform roza in its days and help us to pray namaaz and do bandagi in its nights with utmost humility. Such that its days do not testify against us, calling us heedless, nor its nights, calling us negligent.” Imam AS ends the doa beseeching Allah Ta’ala: “make us do all this in all the months and days of the year, as long as you keep us alive.”
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the tawfeeq and strength to take utmost barakaat of Shehrullah by following the guidance and example of our Awliyaa’ Tahereen, especially Dai-z-Zamaan Syedna Taher Fakhruddin. We begin this mubarak month following Rasulullah’s instructions and observing roza by seeing “him” - Tayyib Imam SA’s Dai Syedna Taher Fakhruddin - and we will insha’allah complete the thirty days with him and celebrate Eid by seeing “him.” May Allah Ta’ala grant Syedna longest life in sehhat and aafiyat so he may continue to guide us, lead us in namaaz, roza and iftaar, and pray for us, one Ramadaan after another. It is because of his valaayat and mohabbat that our deeds are accepted.