Spiritual tips for Ramadan

Ramadan is a great opportunity to attend to our souls: Imam Khamenei

If we do not take care of our souls, it leads to misery, shame, deprivation, being degraded in the eyes of God, and missing on moral ranks and eternal divine blessings. So we need to take care of our souls. The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity.

The month of Ramadan offers a great setting and God has provided us with the opportunity for self-edification in this month. Not only every moment of this month is blessed and God has naturally made them so, but these hours also offer a great opportunity. One rak’at of prayer, one word of Dhikr of "Subhanallah", a small donation, and a short visit to the family in this month are much more advantageous than the same acts performed outside the month of Ramadan. This is a great opportunity. It is a great setting for man to reach out to oneself. Imagine a doctor trying to treat a patient with multiple illnesses: Diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, osteoporosis, rheumatism, gastrointestinal problems, and so on. What would an expert doctor who knows these illnesses and the cure to them do? First, the doctor would try and list the illnesses. If the doctor does not know some of these illnesses, the doctor might hurt the patient instead of helping, giving the patients treatments that might worsen some of the other diseases. So, the doctor needs to study intently first, then find the illnesses and list them. The doctor then needs to prioritize and treat the illnesses that are more urgent and fundamental. Imagine someone with gastric problems. The stomach would not be able to digest any medication, nor can the intestines benefit from any good meal. The solution is to treat the disease with the most negative effects first, as that disease if treated, would have the most positive impact on health.


You should become your own doctors, my dear brothers! No one could know your illnesses better than yourselves. A human may have a number of illnesses. If for example, you tell me: "you have this or that illness;" I might become angry and annoyed. One might say: "You are saying this out of jealousy." Does anyone accept being treated as jealous? The other would reply: "You are the one who is jealous. Why are you insulting me? Why are you talking nonsense?" Sometimes we are not ready to accept it from someone else. But if we search deep inside, we would find out that we are ill indeed. One might be able to deceive anyone, but oneself. So, the best doctors to diagnose our illnesses are ourselves. Write them [the illnesses] down on paper. Write: envy. Write: greed. Write: malice: When someone gains, it bothers me. Write: sloth. Write: pessimism towards the good and the righteous. Write: irresponsibility. Write self-absorption: we are so fond of ourselves!


If these are our illnesses, then let's write them down. The month of Ramadan is an opportunity to treat these illnesses one by one as much as possible. If we do not treat them, then they would become life-threatening, leading to spiritual and real death. Physical death is nothing in comparison. If we have a life-threatening illness or there is the possibility of having one, how much would that make us panic? We would lose sleep over it. We would seek the best doctors. We would think of the worst: "could this tumor in my body, hand or under my skin, be malignant." The mere thought of it is frightening. But in the end, the worst that could happen is death. One way or another, if not now, in a year, in 2 years, or in 10 years death is certain. As Nizami Ganjavi composed: "If you live for a hundred years, or just for a day, you will have to leave this joyful palace nonetheless."

We are not going to stay here forever. There is a time, more or less, and then it is over. This is just physical death and yet, we are so scared of it. Spiritual death means being condemned to divine punishment forever. It means deprivation from every blessing, pleasure, and gift that God has declared for us in the afterlife. One could foresee the hereafter where God will give high ranks to some of his servants, some of the people we meet every day—our colleagues, our friends, or schoolmates—for their works and endeavors in this life. He will take them to Paradise.

He will save them from punishment and the difficulties of the hereafter. And we would be deprived of all this out of laziness, negligence, and ignoring to take care of our souls. At that moment one would be consumed by regret: "And warn them of the day of intense regret, when the matter shall have been decided" [Quran 19:39]. But it would be too late, and regret would be useless. This is what spiritual death is.

Brothers and sisters! If we do not take care of our souls, it leads to misery, shame, deprivation, being degraded in the eyes of God, and missing on moral ranks and eternal divine blessings. So we need to take care of our souls. The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity. Fortunately, there are books on ethics available. But what is understood in summary, and what is important, is for one to be able to control their ego and self. This is the main idea.

February 23, 1993


  • Ramadan