Imam Khamenei

The month of Ramadan is the month for promoting piety

With the coming of the blessed month of Ramadan, Khameneir.ir is publishing an excerpt of the Supreme Leader’s statements about the importance of the month of Ramadan in promoting piety as well as the definition, importance and effects of piety on one’s individual and social life

The month of Ramadan is the month for promoting piety

The month of Ramadan is the month of piety. We who are officials – all of us – need piety more than others. I would like to say certain things on this matter for a few minutes. Well, there is a holy ayah which says, “Oh you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may become pious” [The Holy Quran, 2: 183]. “That you may become pious” means hope. It means that there is hope that this will happen.

Well, in the case of Allah the Exalted, hope does not make sense because He is aware of all the secrets and everything in this world. Hope does not make sense. Therefore, the ayah means that God has created the month of Ramadan – this divine sharia – to prepare the ground for the promotion of piety. And it is addressed to everyone. Piety should be promoted among all people. Therefore, the month of Ramadan is the month of promoting piety.

 

Piety means fearing Allah, the Exalted

What does piety mean? According to the translations, which are correct, piety means showing fear or in common language, showing consideration. For example, they say that such and such a person shows consideration for another person. It means that you show consideration for such and such a person. “Fear” means this. Showing fear and showing consideration are the meanings of piety. “And fear Allah” [The Holy Quran, 2: 189]. It means that you should show consideration for God and fear Allah the Exalted.

In the great movement of human life, you have been shown a straight path which is filled with problems. Take the case of a piece of land which is filled with mines here and there. Then, they open a path and say that this is the safe path and that you should take it. This is the straight path. Showing consideration for God - “and fear Allah” - means taking care not to deviate from this straight path. You should not deviate from it lest you get stuck and face serious problems.

 

The outcome of piety is mercy, salvation and guidance

If you take this path, then you will reach good results. God has specified what these results are in numerous ayahs in the Holy Quran: “And fear Allah, that you may receive mercy” [49: 10]. This is about divine mercy. “And fear Allah. That you may prosper” [2: 189]. The Arabic word “falah” means salvation. If there is piety, one will achieve salvation. “That you may be guided aright” [2: 53]. This has been repeated in certain ayahs. Piety leads to guidance. When you show piety, problems and dead ends will clear in front of you and the correct path will be shown to you.

 

Piety gives us the power of discernment

If you show piety, you will achieve furqan: “He will grant you a criterion to judge between right and wrong” [8: 29]. “Furqan” means the power to distinguish and to make decisions. This is very important. In all affairs of life, we need the power to distinguish the correct path from the incorrect one and the truth from evil. With piety, we can achieve furqan and the power to distinguish.

 

Piety helps us overcome dead-ends

There is another point: “And for those who fear Allah, He prepares a way out” [65: 2]. The Arabic word “makhraj” means breaking dead ends. If there is piety, there will be no dead ends in your affairs. In all aspects of life, if you have piety, show consideration to and fear Allah in the same way that has been mentioned, there will be no dead ends ahead of you. Piety leads to insight as well. These are Quranic promises in the case of piety. “And whose word can be truer than Allah’s?” [4: 122]. No one can give promises as genuinely as Allah the Exalted. When Allah the Exalted promises something, it will definitely happen and there is no doubt about this.

 

Piety means not fearing powers other than God

In the Quran, after inviting people to show piety – from start to finish, we have been invited to show piety time and time again: we have been invited to this efficient and helpful truth – there is talk of piety for those other than God as well.

I think this is in Sura al-Nahl: “And to Him is duty due always, then will you fear other than Allah” [16: 52]. It asks if we fear other than God. Well, what does “other than God” mean? Does it mean our fathers, our mothers? But piety for these individuals is good. Piety in the face of one’s religious brother is very good. This is not what it means by “other than God.” It means powers other than God and powers working against God.  

So, when we are committed to piety, we fear God’s power, but we do not fear powers other than God. “Not showing fear” means not showing consideration to them. This does not mean that we should not be careful about them. We should be careful, but we should not fear them. We should not think that our lives, our happiness and bliss, our future and our destiny are in their hands. This is a requirement for piety.

Notice that all these are ways for the victory of a nation. When there is piety in an Islamic Ummah and when they think and act like this, there will naturally be blossoming, progress, advancement, transcendence and improvement. In such circumstances, the ayah “to proclaim it over all religion” [48: 28] will materialize. Allah the Exalted has repeated this many times in the Quran.

 

The month of Ramadan is an opportunity for avoiding all forms of lust.

Piety is vast in scope. In other words, deep in your hearts, you can show piety by not allowing various forms of lust and doubt about the truth to dominate you and by drifting away from selfish desires. These are the problems that we are faced with. Last night, there was a program on television about Imam (may God bestow paradise on him). Well, Imam was a hakim in the true sense of the word. When he would talk, wisdom would emanate from his heart in a continuous manner. Of course, we were present in that meeting, but it is necessary to advise anyway. In that meeting, he said, “The month of Ramadan helps us distance ourselves from different kinds of lust, in particular spiritual lust.”

Spiritual lusts are more difficult. Seeking power and pursuing ambitions are samples of spiritual lust. When we try to impose ourselves and have authority in all arenas of life, this is an example of spiritual lust. As for worldly, materialistic and moral forms of lust, they are important in their own right. Piety begins from this point and it is extended to social affairs. In war, there is piety. In political activities, piety exists and makes sense as well. The same is true of economic activities. In these circumstances, the moves, words, actions, intentions and decisions of us officials of the country – who are in charge of different managerial positions – affect the fate of the people.

This is where piety matters! That is why I said that piety for us is more important than ordinary people. We should be careful and show piety. Government officials are subject to close relations with the people’s rights. So, if they are impious, their rights will be trampled upon and then, there will be no time to make up for it. When we commit a personal wrongdoing and an act of oppression against ourselves, we repent, this way we make up for it, but when the people’s rights are trampled upon, how can you compensate for that?

You should consider this as a managerial criterion. When you want to appoint someone for a particular position and when you want to entrust them with a task, you should consider this characteristic – having piety and commitment regarding the affairs of the people – as part of managerial competence. A criterion for managerial competence is to see if they are pious or not – that is to say, if they are trustworthy or not when you entrust them with a task. If this happens, then God will be the most important criterion in all our decisions. When we work for God, this is what will happen.

In this condition, all your actions will become an act of worship. One of the advantages of working for the Islamic government and the Islamic administration is that if you work for God, your work will turn into an act of worship. The things that you sign, the piece of paper on which you write and the words that you say will turn into an act of worship.

There is a sentence in Dua Makarem al-Akhlaq which says, “And help me when you ask me questions tomorrow.” This is the twentieth dua in Sahifa al-Sajjadiyyah, which is a very good dua. I advise you to read it more. Of course, the friends in the meeting read it, but they should read it even more. They will criticize us on Judgement Day, asking why we did not do such and such a thing. We do certain things that we should not – well, all of us know this – and we should do certain other things, but we ignore it and show laziness. We show consideration for this and that person and we do not do it. They will ask us on these matters on Judgement Day.

This is one of the areas where piety should show itself. One is the issue of observing public funds. Another is self-edification in the face of personal chaos and tumult. Accumulating wealth, moral problems, and inclination towards a luxurious and aristocratic lifestyle are the other things that we officials of the Islamic Republic should be very careful about: “And you dwelt in the dwellings of men who wronged their own souls” [The Holy Quran, 14: 45]. Well, if we rule in the same building that taghuti powers used to rule and if we act in the same way as them, this cannot be done. Under these circumstances, we are not different from them. Our methodology should be different from that of the servants and followers of Satan.

Therefore, one of the things that those who have certain responsibilities in the Islamic Republic should be committed to – as it is one of the requirements for piety – is to avoid pursuing a luxurious and lavish life. They should live an ordinary life and they should not be extravagant and the like. Of course, many things can be said about piety, but this is the main thing that I wanted to discuss. Of course, I myself am addressed by these statements more than everyone else and I need this more than you. We should consider piety as our main goal, our main path and our main instrument and we should pursue it. This was the main thing that I wanted to discuss.

May 14, 2019