When we find ourselves suffering from just one day of fasting in hope for some reward from the Almighty, we should remember the three consecutive fasts which the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) observed when they gave their meal to the poor, the needy, and the orphan – without seeking any reward – as cited in Sura Insaan.
1. Whenever we feel thirsty due to the scorching sun of a long summer day of fasting, we should remember the thirst of Imam Hussain and his family (peace be upon them all) on the day of Ashura and ask Allah to remove His blessings and mercy from the killers! Who knows – perhaps one of the reasons that the holy month of Ramadan was created was so that we taste an iota of what our Imam tasted on that day, and thus remember his sacrifice for the sake of Islam.
2. Whenever we feel hungry after 16 hours of fasting, we should remember the starvation of Imam Hussain – that starvation of which the exact number of hours he spent without food is unknown to us! Most narrations only speak to us about “Hussain the thirsty” and fail to emphasize the tragedy of “Hussain the hungry”. Because the pangs of thirst are typically more painful and unbearable than those of hunger, we fail to remember the extreme state of starvation which also accompanied his thirst.
3. When we find ourselves suffering from just one day of fasting in hope for some reward from the Almighty, we should remember the three consecutive fasts which the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) observed when they gave their meal to the poor, the needy, and the orphan – without seeking any reward – as cited in Sura Insaan.
4. When we wake up in time to recite Du’a Sahar, we should remember the buzz in the tents as the companions and family of Imam Hussain were busy spending their last night in prayer and supplication.
5. When reciting Du’a Sahar during Suhur time, we should remember that it is the exact same supplication which we recite on the occasion of Mubahala when the five Chosen Ones were honored by the Creator!
6. When receiving a plate of food during Iftar time, we should remember the plate which Ruqayyah daughter of Hussain (peace be upon her) received from the oppressor of her time.
7. When it is time to break our fast and we rush to let that first sip of cool water down our throats, we should pause to share a moment of silence in remembrance of the Imam’s thirst. We should particularly remember the example of his brother Abbas who threw the water away, even though he had an opportunity to drink some.
8. When our patience is being tested in fasting, we should remember that there is no bigger test of patience than that which Imam Hussain faced in the ultimate tragedy of mankind!
9. When we attempt to appreciate Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power), we should remember that one cannot even begin to fathom the essence of this powerful night without entering the door of Lady Fatima al-Zahra (peace be upon her).
10. When breaking our fast – perhaps with a cup of milk – we should remember that last cup of milk which the orphans offered to Imam Ali (peace be upon him) to drink after he was struck by the sword during the Fajr prayer of the 19th of Ramadan!
11. When we celebrate the descent of the Physical Qur’an to mankind in this month on Laylatul Qadr, we are also saddened in this very night by the ascent of the Living Qur’an: Imam al-Muttaqeen. May Allah give us good fortune to benefit from the Living Qur’an, without which we can never benefit from the Physical Qur’an. After all, the narration of the two weighty things reminds us that neither of them can be separated from each other!
12. When Eid al-Fitr approaches we start thinking of how to celebrate, we should keep in mind that gloomy Eid which the family of Imam Ali spent after the loss of our beloved master!