HOLY RAMADAN GIFT FOR YOU ALL; read below.
وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ إِنَّ صَلَاتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَّهُمْ
Wasalli ‘alayhim, inna salātaka sakanun lahum
And bless them. Indeed, your blessing is a comfort to them.
(Sūrat al-Tawbah, No 9, Āyat 103)
When accepting charity from the people, the Prophet sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallam
is told by Allah to bless them. This blessing is a prayer for them, asking Allah to have mercy on them and to grant them good. It is interesting to note that this is obligatory charity being discussed. It was the duty of people to give that from their wealth. Even then, in return, Allah ‘azza wajall asks the Prophet (s) to thank them by blessing them. This was a spiritual reward they received in this world. They gave something worldly and in return received a spiritual gift from the Prophet which was priceless. History narrates that whenever the Prophet accepted charity from someone, he would say: O Allah, bless him.
This prayer of the Prophet for the people was a source of comfort to them. It would bring down God’s mercy on them and would also positively affect their families and wealth. Sometimes the Prophet would specifically pray for their families and for their wealth to increase. The hearts of the people would be at peace, knowing that the Prophet had prayed for them. They would feel good that their leader appreciated their deed and prayed for them. Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā would accept the prayers of His beloved Prophet for them. It strengthened the bond with the Prophet and made them inclined to give more.
Agha Muhsin Qarā’atī in Tafsīr Nūr gives the following points about this verse:
- When the Prophet himself would send blessings on ordinary people it would increase their confidence and stature and encourage them to do better.
- The relationship between the giver and the receiver should be warm and spiritual.
- The prayer of the Prophet for the people would be accepted by Allah.
- Thank and show appreciation even for what is rightfully yours when it is given to you.
- Encouragement and reward need not always be material. It can even be spiritual.
- Encouragement and appreciation make a difficult duty light and easy.
It is a recommended practice in Islam that leaders who accept dues from people thank them. One form of this appreciation is a prayer for them. In fact, it is the right of one who does good to you that you pray for them. Imam Zayn al-Ābidīn (a) says: The right of him who does a kindly act (dhū l-ma‘rūf) toward you is that you thank him and mention his kindness; you reward him with beautiful words and you supplicate for him sincerely in that which is between you and God (Risālat al-Huqūq).
Praying for others is a highly recommended act. It reflects selflessness and virtue. It increases kindness and compassion for others and keeps away negativity, jealousy, hatred, etc. A believer sometimes prays just for himself, sometimes for himself and others, and at times just for others. The latter was the practice of the Ma‘sūmīn ‘alayhimus-salām, as is evident in the story of Sayyid Fātima (a) when she prays through the night for others. When asked by her son Imam al-Hasan (a) why she didn’t pray for herself and her family, she replied with the famous words: AL-JĀR THUMMAD-DĀR – the neighbour, then the home. Those who pray for others receive God’s mercy on themselves too. Imam al-Bāqir (a) says: The supplication that is quickest to receive an answer is the supplication of a brother [believer] for his brother [another believer]. He begins the prayer, and an appointed angel says ‘Ameen, and for you is the same. (Al-Kāfī, v.2, p. 507).
Let this verse remind us of the importance of praying for others, which was a practice of the Prophet himself. As the holy month of Ramadan approaches and we spend time in worship and supplication, let us not forget to pray for others, especially at the time of iftār, and be a source of spiritual comfort for them.
Sources: Ayatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh;
Agha Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr Nūr
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