إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنْفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً يَرْجُونَ تِجَارَةً لَنْ تَبُورَ
Innal-ladhīna yatlūna kitābal-lāhi -aqāmus-salāta -anfaqū mimmā razaqnāhum -‘alāniyatan yarjūna tijāratan tabūr
Indeed those who recite the Book of Allah and maintain the prayer, and spend secretly and openly out of what We have provided them, hope for a gain that will never perish.
(Sūratul Fātir, No.35, Āyat 29)
This verse mentions three different actions that will bring huge profit for the doer. The profit is indestructible and will have no loss. It gives hope to the believer who performs these actions.
The three actions mentioned are the foundation of religious practices:
Reciting the Book of Allah. The word ‘yatlūna’ comes from tilāwah, to recite the Quran – the Book of Allah. The guidance derived from this recitation is then manifested in the other two actions – worship of Allah and fulfillment of the rights of others. Believers recite the Quran as it should be recited (Q 2:121). The Ādāb of tilāwah include doing wudhu before reciting, reciting in a beautiful voice, reflecting on the verses and interacting with them. These and other etiquettes make the Quran recitation a memorable experience.
Maintaining Prayer. Salāt is the pillar of Islam through which the soul ascends to Allah. It is the prerequisite for all good deeds. The Holy Prophet (s) said: For everything there is a face and the face of your religion is prayers. So see to it that none from amongst you damages and disfigures the face of his religion (Bihārul Anwār, v. 82, p. 209).
Giving charity. The verse defines charity as giving from that which Allah has granted. It is a trust given to human beings and others have a right in it. The verse also describes the way the charity is given, both openly and secretly. In another verse of the Quran, Allah also describes the open and secret ways of giving charity. He says: If you disclose your charities, that is well, but if you hide them and give them to the poor, that is better for you, and it will atone for some of your misdeeds, and Allah is well aware of what you do (Q 2:271).
The holy month of Ramadan is a time when each of these three qualities mentioned in the verse is enhanced and perfected. It is the best time for reciting the Quran. The reward for reciting one verse of the Quran in this month equals the reward for reciting the whole Quran in other months. Imam Muhammad al-Bāqir (a) has said: Everything has a spring and the spring of the Quran is the month of Ramadan (Bihārul Anwār, v. 96, p.386).
Salāt is beautified in the month of Ramadan. Imam Zaynul Ābidīn (a) says in the Du‘ā to welcome this month: O Allah bless Muhammad and his family, and give us grace to perform punctually the five prayers with due regard to their limits which You have defined, and duties which You have enjoined . . . And in this respect, raise us to the rank of those who performed them with success . . . in most perfect and complete parity and most evident and touching humility (Du‘ā 44, Sahīfa Sajjādiyya).
The month of Ramadan is also a time to give to the needy. Fasting makes the believers acutely aware of the misery of the needy and thus an extra effort is made to provide for them. Imam Ja‘far al-Sādiq (a) has said: Allah shall ward off seventy kinds of calamities from one who gives charity in the month of Ramadan (Wasā’il al-Shī’ah, v. 9, p. 404).
In the month of Ramadan, which will inshāAllah begin after a few days, work at enhancing and perfecting the good deeds you do, especially the three mentioned in this verse. It is not just a matter of performing them, but performing them in the best possible manner. That is what the holy month should do for us, bring out the best in us. The ultimate goal is the pleasure of Allah, a profit beyond which there can be nothing else.
Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh;