The Divine Invitation (27)
In the name of God. Imam Sajjad (AS), the fourth infallible successor of the Prophet of Islam, says in the supplications of the blessed month of Ramazan.
"O God! Help us in this month to do good to our relatives, to visit them, to spend to our neighbors, to purify our property from what we have added to it wrongly, and link with those who have parted from us."
Among the benefits of fasting is that all people, rich and poor, are present at the divine court and the rich sense the hunger of the poor. In fact, fasting is a kind of social participation. The rich set up relations with the poor.
Once a man came to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and said, "O Messenger of God! I have relatives whom I treat well but they disturb me. I have decided to leave them."
Hearing these words, the Prophet said, "Then God will leave you."
He asked, "What should I do then?"
The Prophet said, "Give to he who has deprived you. Link with he who has severed ties with you and forgive he who has wronged you. Then God will be your supporter."
As a matter of fact, helping others and spending the divine bounties for assisting fellow humans is one of the best acts of worship. Imam Ja'afar Sadeq (AS), the sixth infallible successor of the Prophet, said, "He who removes a straw from the face of his faithful brother, God will grant him 10 rewards; and he who smiles to his faithful brother a good work will be registered for him."
Zakat and acts of charity are very prevalent in Ramazan. The noble Qur'an in many ayahs has mentioned the importance of zakat and spending in the way of God. Of course, there is a kind of zakat which is obligatory but other acts of charity are also considered as zakat. Ayah 12 of surah Ma'idah says, "And Allah said, 'I am with you!' Surely, if you maintain prayer and give zakat and have faith in My apostles and support them and lend Allah a good loan, I will surely absolve you of your misdeeds, and I will surely admit you into gardens with streams running beneath them."
Elsewhere in the Qur'an, zakat has been mentioned as the means of gaining the divine mercy. Ayah 71 of surah Tawba reads, "But the faithful men and women are comrades of one another: they bid what is right and forbid what is wrong and maintain the prayer and give zakat and obey Allah and His Apostle. It is they to whom Allah will soon grant His mercy. Indeed, Allah is all-Mighty, all-Wise."
The obligatory zakat is determined for 9 things: wheat, barley, date, raisin, gold, silver, camel, cow and sheep. If a person has any of these 9 items, he must pay a portion of it with the conditions that have been detailed in jurisprudential books. The fact of the matter is that zakat purifies the property. It means pruning the property and removing the surplus.
Another kind of zakat is zakat Fitre (Fitriya). This kind of zakat is paid annually at the end of the blessed month of Ramazan. It is obligatory for those who are financially able to pay it. To put it in simple words, this zakat is 3 kilograms of wheat, rice or whatever things like it for every person. The equal of this amount can also be paid in money. This zakat must be given to the poor. God says in ayah 156 of surah A'raf, "My mercy embraces everything. Soon I shall appoint it for those who are Godwary and give zakat and those who believe in Our signs."
Imam Sadeq (AS) says, "The most loved person by God is the most generous of them; and the most generous of the people is the one who gives the zakat of his property."
The blessed month of Ramazan sets the ground for formation of relations and paying more attention to others and catering to their needs. Islam stresses that the relations of human beings should be based on dignity, compassion and respect. Giving simple foods for Iftar (breaking the fast) is one of the ways to cement social bonds and amicable relations among people. The Prophet of Islam would urge Muslims to give Iftar even if with a piece of date or a sip of water.
In view of this simple tables of Iftar are spread across Iran, like other Islamic countries.