There are some matters that have a special importance in your relationship with Allah Almighty, in correcting your personalities and determining your identities:
(1) Upholding obligations: One who abandons them perishes due to their Sharia-imposed significance, especially prayers which are the pillars of the creed and Islam's greatest ritual, so much so that Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) has said, as recorded in the aforementioned authenticated narration of Ubayd ibn Zurarah, "One who abandons the performance of the prayers is a non-believer.”[i] This is so especially after prayer does not part from one at any time, being a cause for continuing his link with Allah Almighty, training him on self-restraint and commitment and to distance himself from inattention and negligence. It would be great if prayer services are held at public places such as mosques, Husainiyyas and the like where they are observed in the best manner. They will also be a reason for the Muslims to get to know each other, to forge strong ties among them, so each will ask about the other and get to know his conditions, and thus community members will help one another.
(2) Upholding the Great Qur'an which Allah Almighty entrusted to His creation. It is His Holy Book which He describes as: "No falsehood can approach it from before or behind: It is sent down by the All-Wise and the Praised.” (Qur'an, 41:42). It is regarded as Islam's eternal miracle and clear subduing argument which Muslims have the right to raise their heads and be proud of. Also, all people should lower their heads in submission to it especially when compared with books of other religions. The difference will then be clear. Allah, the most Exalted One, the most Great, has said: "… If all mankind and jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they will not be able to produce the like of it, even if they back each other with help and support” (Qur'an, 17:88). A Muslim should commit himself to reciting it with a keen interest to comprehend and to contemplate on it and must try to act according to it and seek admonishment from it. Allah Almighty has said, “Truly this Qur'an guides to what is most right, and it gives glad tidings to the believers who do deeds of righteousness that they shall have a magnificent reward” (Qur'an, 17:9) and also: "We send down (stage by stage) in the Qur'an that in which there is a healing and mercy to those who believe: To the unjust ones it causes nothing but loss after loss” (Qur'an, 17:82). The Commander of the Faithful (peace be upon him) has said, "Be informed that this Qur'an is the advisor that does not cheat, the guide that does not mislead and the narrator that does not tell a lie. Anyone who keeps this Qur'an company leaves it with either an increase or a decrease: an increase in guidance or a decrease in blindness; so, seek its healing from your ailments and seek help from it during your hardships, for in it there is healing from the most serious of all ailments: disbelief, hypocrisy, misguidance and straying. Allah, the most Praised One, did not admonish anyone as He did through this Qur'an, for it is Allah's strong bond, His secure cause. In it there is the spring of the heart, the wells of knowledge, and the heart cannot be polished any other way."[ii]
(3) Adhere to the admonishments and directives reported from the Prophet and his pure Progeny (peace be upon them all), which are included in their traditions, sermons and biographies, as we pointed out above. Perhaps Nahjul-Balagha is distinctive in this regard due to its comprehensiveness, as brief as it is, its ease of handling, the loftiness of its contexts and wisdom, so much so that it is regarded as the greatest Islamic book next only to the Holy Qur'an. You should become familiar with it, study it, contemplate on its contents and interact with them, for it is the best helper for you in the foreign lands; rather, it is a source of pride for you to boast of before others and the strongest in supporting your argument.
(4) Always remember Allah Almighty, supplicate to Him, resort to him, plead to him to forgive your sins and to conceal your faults, reform your souls, make up your shortcoming, assist you in your affairs, in attaining your public and private needs; to grant you victory over your enemies and repel affliction from you. Surely He is the Master of the believers and He is Merciful unto them. Qur'anic verses and narratives have been consistent in urging the faithful to do the above: The Almighty has said, "… Remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not be ungrateful.” (Qur'an, 2:152). He, the most Praised One, has also said, "Their limbs forsake their beds of sleep while they call upon their Lord, in fear and in hope, and they spend (in charity) out of the sustenance which We have bestowed upon them. Now no person knows what delights of the eye are kept hidden (in store) for him as a reward for their (good) deeds” (Qur'an, 32:16-17). He, the most Exalted One, the most Great, also says, "Say (to the rejecters): 'My Lord would not have cared about you had you not supplicated to Him'“(Qur'an, 25:77) and also "And your Lord says, 'Call upon Me, I will respond to you; But those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell in humiliation!'” (Qur'an, 40:60).
In a letter by Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) to the Shi’ites, who used to post it at their mosques and study it, he says, "Take to supplication, for the Muslims did not attain their needs with their Lord through any method better than supplication. They plead to Allah whenever they are in need; so, desire what Allah would like to see you desiring, and respond to Allah's call so you may achieve success and be saved from Allah's punishment."[iii]
In a tradition, al-Fudhayl asked the Imam (peace be upon him) to advise him, so he said, "I advise you to fear Allah, to say what is true, to give the entrusted items back, to be a good companion to those who accompany you. When the sun is about to rise or about to set, supplicate to Allah and be diligent about it; nothing prohibits you from asking your Lord for anything at all, and you should not say that you will not be granted this or that. Instead, plead, for Allah does whatever He pleases."[iv]
There are many such texts which collectively inform us that supplication changes destiny and affliction in a firm and ascertained way.[v]
You, therefore, must not neglect this great aspect which Allah Almighty bestowed on His servants out of His mercy towards them: It increases your connection with Allah Almighty, strengthens your relationship with Him, making you apt to receive His mercy and kindness. It also raises your morale, makes you feel strong and elevated, and increases your comfort, strength, determination and firmness. The Commander of the Faithful (Allah's peace and blessings with him) said the following in his will to his son Imam al-Hassan (peace with him): "What tie is stronger, if you adhere to it, than one between yourself and Allah?"[vi]
Do not be inattentive to doing so in your nights and mornings especially during the well-known times and customary places such as after the prayers, during Fridays’ days and nights, during the blessed month of Ramadan, during the religious festivals, in the night of mid-Sha'ban, etc.
The Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) have precious treasures, invaluable jewels and arranged precious stones which their Shi’ites have quoted, kept, preserved and with which they are familiar, so much so that they are identified by them, becoming a source of pride for them, a medal of honor which testifies to their truly belonging to the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), to boarding their ark, to sticking to them, to submitting to them and to being specifically known through them. Hence, the Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) chose these followers to bestow on them the divine sciences which Allah Almighty entrusted to them, giving them their keys. Indeed, "Praise to Allah Who has guided us to this (felicity): We could never have found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah” (Qur'an, 7:43).
What emphasizes this relationship with Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) is the fact that you are living in lands in which Allah Almighty is not known nor mentioned; so, exert yourselves in remembering Him so you may become the light in that darkness, the lanterns of Allah Almighty in these lands. The Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) had advised Abu Tharr (may Allah be pleased with him), "O Abu Tharr! One who mentions My Name among indifferent ones is like one who fights in the cause of Allah while others flee away."[vii] Such texts are numerous.
It is recorded in the narrative of the Mu'ta military campaign that when Abdullah ibn Ruwahah bade the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) farewell, he said to him, "Command me to do something which I memorize about you.” The Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) said, "You are going to a country where few people prostrate [to Allah]; therefore, increase your prostrations.” Abdullah ibn Ruwahah said, "Give me more [advice], O Messenger of Allah!” He said, "Remember Allah, for He then shall assist you in whatever you pursue…"[viii]
[i] Wasaail Al-Shi'a, Vol. 11, p. 254.
[ii]Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 2, pp. 91-95, and the wording is its own. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 89, p. 24.
[iii]Wasaail Al-Shi'a, Vol. 4, p. 1089.
[iv]Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 1091.
[v]Refer to Wasaail Al-Shi'a, Vol. 4, p. 1093.
[vi]Nahjul-Balagha, Vol. 3, p. 38, and the wording is the same. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 74, p. 199.
[vii]Wasaail Al-Shi'a, Vol. 4, p. 1190.
[viii]Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 21, p. 60.