In the path of the Imam (97)
Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul) was a religious scholar and a true worshipper and servant of God. If you remember the previous episode, it was said that Imam Khomeini was very heedful of doing mostahabb (recommended) acts although they are not religiously obligatory. You also heard that he was very careful not to do makrouh (disapproved) acts; the acts that are not haram (forbidden) but have been emphasized to refrain from.
Nafelah in Arabic means additional. According to the Islamic jurisprudence, it means the daily prayers that are not obligatory and just recommended. These prayers have a lot of reward. There are 34 rak’at of recommended prayers which are performed with daily ritual obligatory ones. But on Friday, 4 rak’at are added to this number. These prayers are highly emphasized to recite as God will give ample rewards for them. However, the midnight prayer is the most important recommended prayer and has a lot of effects in both material and spiritual aspects of human life. According to the statements of the Prophet and the Infallible Imams, recommended prayers somehow compensate for the shortcomings of obligatory ones. Imam Mohammad Baqer (AS) says in this regard, “Indeed we have been ordered to perform recommended prayers in order to compensate for the defects of obligatory prayers.” Imam Sadeq (AS) also says, “God said, ‘Indeed my servant seeks proximity to Me by recommended prayer and deeds; and once I like him, I will be his ear that he hears with it, his eye that sees with it, and his tongue that speaks with it.”
Hojjat-ol-Eslam Rasouli Mahallati said, “As far as I remember and I have heard from the relatives and companions of Imam Khomeini, he would not give up performing recommended prayers as much as he could.” Dear listeners, Imam Khomeini didn’t give up performing recommended prayers even when the security forces of the Pahlavi regime (SAVAK) intruded into his house. Late Ayatollah Tavassoli also mentioned an interesting memory, “In the evening of the day in which the tragedy of Feizieh School happened we were at the Imam’s home. We heard that the seminary students had been beaten and the regime forces intended to come there. Late Seyed Mohammad Sadeq stood up and closed the door of the house. But Imam Khomeini immediately stood up and opened the door, saying, ‘Shall I close the door of my house while they are beating my children?’ Then he stood up for prayer and, like other nights, performed midnight prayer while every moment his house would likely be attacked.”
Imam Khomeini would not leave performing of recommended prayers even at the times that he was exhausted. Late Ayatollah Bani Fazil related a memory on this, “In the first days after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Qom, Imam Khomeini had public meetings from 8.5 a.m. till midday during which he would deliver detailed speeches. So, he had to go up stairs to the roof several times. One day, a few minutes before noon, the Imam’s face was very tired as he was going into the room. I said t myself that this time he would have a rest. But when I followed him I saw him performing recommended prayer of midday obligatory prayer.”
Imam Khomeini would observe little points even in recommended prayers. For instance, he would not forget saying, “A’uzo bellahe mina-sShaytan ar-Rajim” which means, “I seek refuge with God from the outcast Satan.” Imam’s companions also say that he used to recite surah Tawhid in both his obligatory and recommended prayers; although it can be dropped in recommended ones. Imam Khomeini would not give up performing of recommended prayers even in hot summer. Ayatollah Qadiri says, “In the blessed month of Najaf, when the Imam would come to the school of late Ayatollah Borujerdi in Najaf for midday and afternoon prayers, he used to first perform the 8 rak’at recommended prayers of midday prayer and then perform the midday prayer itself. This was not an easy job for a fasting person of that age and in such a hot weather. Even the youth would fail to do it but the Imam was so serious in worships.” Hojjat-ol-Eslam Seyyed Mojtaba Roudbari relates a memory, “In such an old age, and during the hot days of Ramazan in Najaf, Imam Khomeini would observe the recommended prayers of the Maghreb (dusk) and Eshā’ (night) obligatory prayers; whereas we as young people were expecting to finish prayer to go to Eftar (breaking the fast).”