The most beautiful month has come upon us. Almighty Allah says:
“The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for mankind, clear proofs for the guidance, the Criterion; so whoever amongst you witnesses this month, let him fast it.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:185)
In this blessed month good deeds are multiplied:
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Whoever draws near to Allah during it (Ramadan) with a single characteristic from the characteristics of (voluntary) goodness, he is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.” (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1887)
We should thank Allah abundantly for giving us the opportunity to be able to benefit from such a blessed month. But as we all know life is very uncertain & unfortunately many will have passed away before the coming of this blessed month & so it may well be our very last Ramadan as we may not be alive to see the next.
Therefore we should treat this Ramadan as our last and do our utmost to ensure that we maximize each precious second in this blessed month to ensure that we gain maximum benefit from it.
The following are 12 ways we can maximize each precious day in Ramadan:
1. Purifying our intentions
“Verily actions are judged by intention.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
It is crucial that we purify & correct our intentions before doing any acts of worship. This is because we may have other underlying intentions in our hearts without even realizing it. Like for e.g. we may have in our hearts that we fast because we don’t want to look bad in front of our family or friends or because others fast etc.
So before doing any good deed we need to align & focus our intention to ONLY pleasing Allah. By doing this we will increase the sincerity in our worship & acts of virtues & by having better intentions when doing any good act is a means of earning greater rewards for whatever good deed we are doing.
Ibn Al-Mubaarak said: “Maybe a small action is made great by its intention, and maybe a great action is made small by its intention.”
Even daily routines like eating, drinking, sleeping, waking up, traveling etc can be a source of great reward by having the right intentions. Having good Intentions is easy & great rewards can be gained without making any hard physical effort. By just spending a couple of seconds having the right intention in our hearts we can turn a whole day to a day of worship. It is like turning dust into gold.
2. Schedule & Monitor Daily Worship
One of the best ways that we can maximize each day in Ramadan is to plan & schedule our time effectively. By doing so we will have clearly defined goals and targets which we can strive towards achieving each day. In this way we can also check & monitor our daily progress & make adjustments & improvements accordingly.
The following two downloads will help us to plan, check & monitor our daily worship throughout Ramadan:
1. Daily Ramadan Worship check
3. Avoiding distractions
There will be many things getting in our way & distracting us from our worship. But we must take all necessary precautions & measures in order to avoid any possible distractions.
The first thing we must do is to avoid major distractions like TV for a month or at least as much as possible. Putting away games consoles. If we meet with friends then not getting into useless & idle discussions. Not going to places like the mall or high street’s unless it is absolutely necessary.
We must also not spend hours on end cooking a table full of food every single day for Iftaar for this is contrary to the purpose of Ramadan. We should spend as little time as possible on things other than worship. We should fulfill our daily duties as quickly as possible & spend as much time as possible in worshiping Allah.
4. Avoid eating excessively
Al-Hassan Al-Basri (RA): “The test of Adam (AS) was food and it is your test until Qiyamah.
Al-Miqdaam ibn Maadiy-Karib (RA) said: I heard the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying: “No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaa’I, Ibn Majah )
There is no doubt that excessive eating is not only a cause of many diseases but is also a major factor in stopping us from maximizing our daily worship.
Ibrahim al-Nakha’i (RA), one of the teachers of Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) mentioned: “The people ruined before you were done in by three characteristics: too much talking, too much eating, and too much sleeping.”
There is nothing worse than fasting the whole day & when time comes to open our fast we end up over eating until we can’t move. Surely this will make us feel heavy & lazy in worship & make it harder for us to pray & to get up for Sehri.
Ash-Shafi’I (RA) said: I have not filled myself in sixteen years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clear understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worship.
It used to be said: Whoever takes control of his stomach gets control of all good deeds.
Over eating goes against the very purpose of Ramadan which is to be moderate in eating & to remember those who have less than us. How can we remember the unfortunate if we constantly over eat before and after fasting?
One day, Al-Hassan (RA) offered some food to his companion who said: I have eaten until I am no longer able to eat.
To which Al-Hassan (RA) said: Subhaana Allah! Does a Muslim eat until he is no longer able to eat?
So let us control the amount we eat & instead have smaller meals. Have some fruit & dates for Iftaar then pray Maghrib & then have a small meal until we are satisfied. After Tarawee we can have another small bite to eat. In this way we are not over eating but spreading out what we eat. So we will not feel heavy or lazy but satisfied & full of energy which we can utilize for worship.
5. Recite the Qur’an abundantly
Ramadan is the month the Qur’an was revealed:
“The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for mankind, clear proofs for the guidance, the Criterion..(Surah al-Baqarah 2:185)
It is the month of the Qur’an so it should be recited in abundance:
Az-Zuhri used to say upon the coming of Ramadan, “It is only about reciting the Qur’an & feeding the poor.”
Abdur-Raziq said, “When Ramadan came, Sufyan Ath-Thawri would give up all acts of (voluntary) worship & devote himself to the recitation of the Qur’an.”
Outside of Ramadan there are 10 rewards for reciting each letter of the Qur’an:
Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) says: “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah will receive a hasanah (good deed) from it (i.e. his recitation), and the hasanah is multiplied by ten. I do not say that Alif-Laam-Meem is (considered as) a letter, rather Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter, and Meem is a letter.” [At-Tirmidhi, Ad-Darimi]
But in Ramadan ALL good deeds are multiplied by 70 or more. So for each letter of the Qur’an we recite we will gain 70 rewards or more. Can you imagine how much reward we would gain for reciting the entire Qur’an just once? How about twice? Subhaanallah!
Therefore we should concentrate most of our efforts this Ramadan in reciting the Qur’an. We should make a target of how much Qur’an we will recite each day. For e.g. 1 Juz (chapter) half a juz, 4 pages etc. We should aim to complete the Qur’an at least once by the end of Ramadan or as many times as we can.
Along with recitation we should also learn the meanings of what we are reciting & contemplate over the verses. We must try & implement what we learn into our daily lives. That is where the true reward is of reciting the Qur’an.
Note: We should try & recite Surah Ya-sin everyday particularly after Fajr time. We should also recite Surah Mulk before we go to sleep & Surah Kahf every Jumma. Other Surahs we should recite much of are Surah’s Zilzalah, Al Kaafirun & Al Ikhlas
Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas & Anas Ibn Malik (RA) reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, ‘Whoever recited Surah Zilzilah (99) would get the reward of reciting half the Qur’an. Whoever recited Surah al Kaafirun (109) would get a reward as if reading aquarter of the Qur’an. Whoever recited Surah al Ikhlas (112) would get a reward as if reading one third of the Qur’an’. (At-Tirmidhi 2818/A)
6. Implementing the Sunnah into daily life
Following the Sunnah is a command from Allah:
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Quran: 3:31)
Almighty Allah says: “There certainly is an excellent example in Allah’s messenger for he who fears Allah and the last day and remembers Allah abundantly” (al-Ahzaab 21)
By following the Sunnah in every aspect of our daily lives, everything we do will become worship, even going to the toilet, having a bath, dressing & undressing etc.
Annas (RA) reports Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) advised, “Whoever cherishes my Sunnah, indeed he cherishes me & whoever loves me will be with me in Jannah.” (Tirmidhi: 2678: Ibid)
So let us cherish & revive the Sunnah this Ramadan:
Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.” (Tirmidhi)
The following free E book contains daily Sunnah’s & dua’s we can do from awakening in the morning up until going to sleep at night:
Download Beautiful Daily Sunnah’s
7. Nafil (Voluntary) prayers
What better way of drawing closer to Allah this Ramadan than by doing voluntary prayers:
Allah says in Hadith Qudsi:
….and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nafil (voluntary deeds) until I love him, [Bukhari]
Want the company of Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in Jannah? Then increase in Nafil prayers:
Rabi’ah Ibn Malik al-Aslami reported that the Prophet Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam said: “Ask (anything).” Rabi’ah said: “I ask of you to be your companion in paradise.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Or anything else?” Rabi’ah said: “That is it.” The Prophet Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam said to him: “Then help me by making many prostrations (i.e., Nafil prayers).” (Muslim)
The reward for fard prayers outside of Ramadan is the greatest a Muslim can gain but in Ramadan we get the same reward for praying a Nafil prayer. Subhaanallah! What other time of the year are Nafil prayers rewarded equal to that of a fard prayer?
Therefore we should strive to pray as many Nafils as we can in order to get closer to Allah, gain the company of Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in Jannah & gain the rewards of a fard prayer! So we should set ourselves daily targets of praying as many Nafils as we can.
The following are Sunnah & Nafil prayers we can pray everyday in Ramadan & throughout our lives:
1. Pray 12 Raka’ahs of Sunnah daily: – 2 Sunnah of Fajr, 4 Sunnah & 2 Sunnah of Dhuhr and 2 Sunnah of Maghrib
Umm Habibah Ramilah bint Abu Sufyan (RA) narrated she heard the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying: “A house will be built in Paradise for every Muslim who offers twelve units of Prayers other than the obligatory ones in day and night, to seek pleasure of Allah.” (Muslim)
2. Salaatul Duhaa (Can be prayed from 20 mins after sunrise up until 20 minutes before Dhuhr begins)
So we should remain seated after Fajr prayer & recite the Qur’an or do Dhikr up until 20 minutes after Sunrise and pray Salaatul Duhaa. If not then we can pray it anytime before midday.
‘Salat al-Dhuhaa consists of 2 – 12 Rakaats and it is preferable to perform 8 Rakaats.’ (Raddul Mukhtaar vol.1 pg.505)
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said: Whoever prayed twelve rakaats (before midday), then Allah will, as a reward, prepare a palace of gold for him in Paradise. (Mishkat, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
3. 4 Sunnah, 2 Sunnah & 2 Nafil of Dhuhr
Umm Habibah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Whoever sticks to the habit of offering four rak`ahs before Noon Prayer and four rak`ahs after it, Allah will shield him against the Hell-Fire.” (Abu Dawud & At-Tirmidhi)
4. 4 Raka’ahs Sunnah of Asr
The Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi wa sallam) said: “May Allaah have Mercy on the one who offers four (Raka’ahs) before ‘Asr prayer.”(Abu Dawud)
5. Two Raka’ahs Sunnah after entering Masjid
Abu Qatadah (RA) narrated the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as saying: “If any one of you enters a mosque, he should pray two rak`ahs before sitting.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
6. Tahiyyatul Wudu – 2 Raka’ahs Sunnah after doing Wudu (Ablution)
Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying to Bilal (RA): “Tell me about the best of your deeds (i.e. one which you deem the most rewarding) since your embracing Islam because I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal (RA) replied: “I do not consider any act of mine more rewarding than that whenever I make ablution at any time of night or day, I perform Prayer for as much as was destined for me to do.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)”
7. The MOST REWARDING Nafil Prayer of all is Tahajjud
Allah Most High said: “Establish worship at the going down of the sun until the dark of the night, and (the recital of) the Qur’an at dawn. Lo! (the recital of) the Qur’an at dawn is ever witnessed. And some part of the night awake for its recital, as voluntary worship for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to a praised estate.” (Qur’an, 17: 78-79)
Imam Abu Sa’id al-Khadimi said,
“There is scholarly consensus (ijma`) that among the best of virtuous acts is the night vigil prayer.” [al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya]
The scholars derived the following in regards to Tahajjud from the Qur’an and prophetic Hadiths:
1. The minimal night vigil prayer is 2 Rakaats. [Hindiyya, quoting Fath al-Qadir]
2. Its optimal recommended amount is 8 Rakaats, because this was the general practice of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) [Hindiyya, quoting Fath al-Qadir]
3. Lengthier recitation of Qur’an is superior to a larger number of Rakaats prayed. [Durr al-Mukhtaar, Radd al-Muhtar]
If one has not memorized much of the Qur’an then one should recite whatever they know or recite Surah Ikhlas 3 times after Surah Faathiha in each rakah to gain reward of reciting entire Qur’an.
4. It is recommended to start the night vigil with two short Rakaats, because of the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (RA) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “If you get up for night prayer, start with two short Rakaats.” [Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud]
During Ramadan we should aim to pray Tahajjud every night. We can do so by awakening a little earlier for Sehri, making Wudu & praying a minimum of 2 Raka’ahs, but best to pray 8 Raka’ahs.
Abu Hurayrah (RA), related that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: When the last one-third of the night remains, our Lord, the Glorious One descends towards the heaven of the earth and proclaims: Who is that who supplicates for Me, and I grant his supplication? Who is that who begs Me for anything and I grant it to him? And who is that who seeks My forgiveness, and I forgive him?(Bukhari, Muslim).
So the last third part of the night is the most blessed & dua’s are readily accepted at this time. Therefore by praying Tahajjud it gives us the best opportunity to get closer to Allah & to make sincere dua, repenting for our sins past and present & to crying & asking of Allah for whatever we want.
If we cannot cry due to the hardness of our hearts then we should at least make the face as if we are crying. Just as a mother tends to her baby quicker & more promptly when it is crying in the same way Allah tends to his servants quicker when they are crying.
Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) was asked, “I cannot pray at night.” He said, “Your sins have prevented you.”
8. Doing excessive Dhikr (Remembrance) of Allah
Utter regret for each second wasted without remembering Allah:
Mu`adh Ibn Jabal (RA) said that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “The People of Paradise will not regret anything except one thing alone: the hour that passed them by in which they made no remembrance of Allah.” Narrated Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (1:392 #512-513)
The highest rank in Jannah are for those who remembered Allah the most:
Abu Sa`id (RA) narrates the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was asked, “Which of the servants of Allah is best in rank before Allah on the Day of resurrection?” He said: “The ones who remember him much.”I said: “O Messenger of Allah, what about the fighter in the way of Allah?” He answered: “Even if he strikes the unbelievers and mushrikin with his sword until it broke, and becomes red with their blood, truly those who do Dhikr are better than him in rank.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, & Bayhaqi)
Therefore we should remember Allah as much as we can & glorify him night & day, not just in Ramadan but until our very last breath. What better time to start remembering Allah more than in this most blessed month.
So we should set ourselves daily targets of doing as much Dhikr as we can. We can remember & glorify Allah whatever we are doing throughout the day. At work, whilst cooking, shopping & even whilst relaxing. We should remember Allah in our heart’s & not just by our tongues. We should also contemplate over his magnificence & his creations & imagine him in front of us as we glorify & remember him.
The following are 10 Dhikr, supported by Hadith that we can recite throughout the day & night in Ramadan until our last breath:
Note: We should try & aim to recite each of these 10 Dhikr a 100 times each which makes a total of 1000 a day minimum.
1. Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee – Recite this abundantly during the last ten nights of Ramadan.
4. Allahu Akbar
5. Laa ilaaha illallah
6. LA HAWLA WA LA QUWWATA ILLA BILLAH-HIL ALIYYIL ADHEEM
7. Asthaghfirullah-halladhee Laa ilaaha illa-huwal Hayyul Qayyuumu Wa athoobu Ilay
Or short version: Asthaghfirullah
8. SUB-HAAN’ALLAAHi WA BI-HAM’DIHI SUB-HAAN’ALLAH-IL ADHEEM
Or short version: SUB-HAAN’ALLAAHi WA BI-HAM’DIHI
9. Subhāna-llāhi, wa-l-hamdu li-llāhi, wa lā ilāha illā-llāhu, wa-llāhu akbar. Wa lā hawla wa lā quwwata illā bi-llāhi-l-aliyyi-l-azīm
10. Lā ilāha illā-llāhu waḥdahu lā sharīka lahu lahu-l-mulku wa lahu-l-ḥamdu yuhyi wa yumītu wa huwa ḥayyu-llā yamūtu abadan abada, ḏū-l-jalāli wa-l-ikrām, biyadihi-l-khayr, wa huwa alā kulli Shay-in qadīr
Or the shortened version:
Laa ilaaha illal-laahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu wa huwa ‘alaa kulli shay-in qadeer
We should also recite much of durood e Ibrahim which is the durood that is recited towards the end of Salaah.
Or the shortest durood is: Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallim
9. Dua & Repentance
Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an:
“When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on me.” [2:186]
The place of Dua is so high in front of Allah, that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallim) has said: “Nothing is more honourable to Allah the Most High than Dua.” [Sahih al-Jami` no.5268].
Allah loves repentance & loves those who turn to him in sincere repentance:
Truly Allah loves those who turn [to Him] in repentance… (Qur’an 2:222)
Many of us rush our Dua’s & quite often our hearts are not present whilst we are making dua to Allah. That is why we lose out on much of the benefits & blessings of Dua. Therefore we should not let our minds wonder whilst in Dua & we should concentrate more, making sure our hearts are present whilst asking of Allah. Whilst we are in dua we should imagine Almighty Allah in front of us & so we should humble ourselves in front of him in a state of meekness & humility.
It may also help if we made a list of what we want to ask Allah during our dua’s. We can then refer to this list as a reminder so that we can cover everything we need to ask him, which may help in making our Dua’s longer & more sincere. This is because we will not always remember everything we want to ask Allah unless we note it down & refer back to it when we need to.
The times when Dua’s are most accepted during Ramadan are:
1. The third portion of the night shortly before sehri ends. 2. Whilst fasting. 3. Between Asr & Maghrib. 4. Just before fast opens. 5. On Jumma before & after khutba. 6. Between Adhan & Iqamah. 7. Whilst raining. 8. After Qur’an recitation. 9. The Night of Qadr
Let us not be of those who pass by Ramadan without gaining any forgiveness:
Rasullullah (sallahu’ ‘alaihi wasallam) said: …the angel Jibra’il appeared before me and said: Destruction to him who found the blessed month of Ramadan and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness…’ Upon that I said: ‘Amin.’ (Al-Bukhari, Al-Tabrani)
We should ask of Allah to accept all of our good deeds & efforts throughout Ramadan & be hopeful that Allah will accept it from us. We should also have FULL hope that Allah will accept our Dua’s if not in this world then in the hereafter. We should accept his decree for he knows best in all matters.
10. Behaving in the best of ways & controlling our tongues
Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alahi Wasallam) used to say: “The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character.” (al-Bukhari)
Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had exemplery manners & was the best towards others. Surely he is the best example for us to follow & so we should also do our utmost to behave in the best of ways towards others and show exemplery manners like he did.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “There is none heavier in the scales of the Hereafter than good character (Tirmidhi & Abu Dawud).
Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) also said: “The best loved by me and the nearest to me on the seats on the Day of Resurrection are those who have the best manners and conduct amongst you, who are intimate, are on good terms with others and are humble, and the most hated by me and who will be on the furthest seats from me are those who are talkative and arrogant.” (Tirmidhi)
So if good character & manners are the heaviest on the scales in normal times then can you imagine how much more heavier they will be if we behave with good character and manners during the blessed month of Ramadan?
So let us be the best towards our parents & family, towards our friends & those we know & don’t know. Let us be the best towards all Muslims and non Muslims alike.
Controlling our tongues
Ramadan is a time where we must control our desires (nafs) as well as our tongues:
Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Fasting is not (abstaining) from eating and drinking only, but also from vain speech and foul language. If one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say: ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.” (Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban)
Therefore we must protect our tongues at all times from vain speech and foul language. Protecting the tongue is preventing it from lying, back-biting, slander, tale-carrying, false speech and other things that have been forbidden in the Qur’an & Sunnah.
Those who control their tongues are of the best of Muslims:
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was asked: “Which Muslim is best?” He responded, “One who the other Muslims are safe from his tongue and his hand.” (Tirmidhi, #2504)
So how can we begin to control our tongues? This can be done by “THINKING BEFORE SPEAKING”.
We must not talk without even thinking about what we are going to say. Therefore before we saying anything we should always think whether or not what we are going to say is going to please or displease Allah.
If in doubt whether or not what were about to say will anger or displease Allah then we should just refrain from saying it altogether. If we have nothing good to say then surely it is better NOT to say anything at all.
Remember: We WILL be accountable for everything we said in our lives & so we MUST start taking responsiblity for what comes out of our mouths NOW otherwise we will regret it later when it is too late.
Therefore we must get into the habit of: “Thinking before speaking”.
REMEMBER: If we do not control our tongues then our fasts will be in vain:
Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Allah does not need the fast of one who does not abandon false speech or acting according to his false speech.” (Sahih Bukhari)
11. Worship the last 10 nights of Ramadan & I’thiqaaf
Increasing worship in the last ten days of Ramadan:
Allah’s Messenger used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time.” (Muslim).
Aisha (RA) reported: With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work harder) and used to pray all the night, & used to keep his family awake for the prayers. (Bukhari)
The Night of Qadr
So valuable is the Night of Qadr that the Quran devotes a special surah to it: “Lailatul Qadr is better than a thousand months” [97:3]
This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights. The most authentic account of the occurrence of the Night indicates that it can occur on any one of the last ten, odd numbered nights of Ramadan, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29. It may also occur on any of the even nights.
Therefore we should strive to stay up on all of the last 10 nights of Ramadan. If we can’t do that then at least on the odd numbered nights of the last ten days. If we still can’t manage that then let us pray on whatever nights we can, at least on the 27th night.
If we pray on all of the last ten nights then we have a far better chance of catching this most powerful night & gain the rewards of over 83 YEARS OF WORSHIP! Subhaanallah! Most of us will not even live upto such an age!
Aisha (RA) said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam): ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said Say:
“Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee
Trans: ‘Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.’ ” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi).
Therefore we should increase our worship on the last ten days and nights of Ramadan & recite even more Qur’an, pray more Nafils, do more dhikr and make longer & more sincere dua’s to Allah repenting remorsefully for our past & present sins, hopeful for mercy & forgiveness. We should also thank Allah abundantely.
Performing I’tikaf on the last 10 days of Ramadan
Aishah (RA) reported that the Prophet (Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam): “Used to perform i’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan until Allah the Mighty and Majestic, took him.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Abu Said reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Whoever makes I`tikaf with me is to make I’tikaf during the last ten [nights].” (Bukhari)
I`tikaf is worshipping Allah in seclusion in the Masjid or for women in her designated place at home. It is done with the intention of becoming closer to Allah. If we cannot manage all 10 days then we can do I’tikaf for however many days we can manage. The more the better.
Each time we are in the Masjid or for a women in her designated place at home, then we can make intention of Nafil I’thikaf and gain reward for the duration of our stay in the Masjid or for women in her designated place at home even if it is for a very short while. A woman can also do I’tikaf whilst she is on her menses by remaining at her designated place at home doing dhikr etc
12. Charity & Generosity
Ramadan is a time of generosity, giving & remembering those who have less than us. Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) became even more generous in Ramadan than he already was:
Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was the most generous of the men; and he was the most generous during the month of Ramadan when Jibril visited him every night and recited the Qur’an to him. During this period, the generosity of Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) waxed faster than the rain bearing wind. (Al-Bukhari & Muslim).
Ramadan is also time where we appreciate what Allah has given us so that we may be thankful to him. Ramadan is an Honorable and blessed month, & the rewards for generosity are multiplied in it.
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallam) said, “The best charity is that given in Ramadan.” (At-Tirmithi).
Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wassallam) said, “He who feeds a fasting person will gain the same reward as he will, without decreasing from the fasting person’s rewards.” (Ahmad).
We should strive to feed as many fasting people as possible especially those less off than us & those in poorer countries.
Charity should be paid secretly: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Righteous deeds protect a person from an evil end; a charity spent in secret extinguishes Allah’s wrath; and maintaining good ties of kinship increases ones lifespan.” (Tabaraani)
Removing harmful objects from people’s way is also a charity: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said: “I saw a man enjoying himself in Paradise (simply) because he removed from a road a tree that used to harm people.” (Muslim)
Note: We should also give our Zakat in the month of Ramadan each year so that we can gain the huge rewards of giving Zakat in the most rewarding of months.
Therefore during Ramadan let us give as much as we can in the path of Allah & know that we will get SO much more in return in this world & the Hereafter. Surely in there hereafter we will regret that which we did not spend in the path of Allah.
My brothers and sisters what an amazing opportunity we have in this blessed month to gain such closeness to Allah as well as his mercy & forgiveness of our past & present sins.
There are immense rewards available for us in this blessed month if only we make the little effort required to gain them. Surely on the day of judgment we will BEG each other for just one good deed but we will not be able to get anything as we will all be in desperate need on that day.
Therefore the time to prepare for the Hereafter is NOW as we may not have a tomorrow. What better time to make lifetime changes than to do so in the most blessed of months – Ramadan.
May Allah enable us to maximize each & every precious second of Ramadan & may he make it a salvation for us in the Hereafter. Ameen
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Dua to be Recited at the Approach of Ramadhaan
Hadhrat Ubaadah bin Saamit (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) used to teach the Sahaabah (Radi Allahu Anhum) the following Dua at the approach of the Month of Ramadhaan:
Allahumma Sallimnee Liramadaana Wa Sallim Ramadaana Lee Wa Sallimhu Mutaqabbila
“O Allah! Safeguard me for the Month of Ramadhaan (by making me see the Month of Ramadhaan healthy and fit so that I can take maximum benefit from it), and safeguard the Month of Ramadhaan for me (by making the conditions in it such that I can take maximum benefit from it) and accept it from me.”
(Kanz-ul-ummal, Vol.8, Pg. 584 Hadith 24277)
Every Muslim should endeavor to memorize this dua and recite it in abundance in these few days before Ramadhaan.
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By Khalid Baig
Fasting during Ramadan was ordained during the second year of Hijrah. Why not earlier? In Makkah the economic conditions of the Muslims were bad. They were being persecuted. Often days would go by before they had anything to eat. It is easy to skip meals if you don’t have any. Obviously fasting would have been easier under the circumstances. So why not then?
The answer may be that Ramadan is not only about skipping meals. While fasting is an integral and paramount part of it, Ramadan offers a comprehensive program for our spiritual overhaul. The entire program required the peace and security that was offered by Madinah.
Yes, Ramadan is the most important month of the year. It is the month that the believers await with eagerness. At the beginning of Rajab — two full months before Ramadan — the Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to supplicate thus: “O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Sha’ban, and let us reach Ramadan (in good health).”
During Ramadan the believers get busy seeking Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, and protection from Hellfire. This is the month for renewing our commitment and re-establishing our relationship with our Creator. It is the spring season for goodness and virtues when righteousness blossoms throughout the Muslim communities. “If we combine all the blessings of the other eleven months, they would not add up to the blessings of Ramadan,” said the great scholar and reformer Shaikh Ahmed Farooqi (Mujaddad Alif Thani). It offers every Muslim an opportunity to strengthen his Iman, purify his heart and soul, and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him.
“Anyone who fasts during this month with purity of belief and with expectation of a good reward (from his Creator), will have his previous sins forgiven,” said Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. “Anyone who stands in prayers during its nights with purity of belief and expectation of a reward, will have his previous sins forgiven.” As other ahadith tell us, the rewards for good deeds are multiplied manifold during Ramadan.
Along with the possibility of a great reward, there is the risk of a terrible loss. If we let any other month pass by carelessly, we just lost a month. If we do the same during Ramadan, we have lost everything. The person who misses just one day’s fast without a legitimate reason, cannot really make up for it even if he were to fast everyday for the rest of his life. And of the three persons that Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam cursed, one is the unfortunate Muslim who finds Ramadan in good health but does not use the opportunity to seek Allah’s mercy.
One who does not fast is obviously in this category, but so also is the person who fasts and prays but makes no effort to stay away from sins or attain purity of the heart through the numerous opportunities offered by Ramadan. The Prophet,Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, warned us: “There are those who get nothing from their fast but hunger and thirst. There are those who get nothing from their nightly prayers but loss of sleep.”
Those who understood this, for them Ramadan was indeed a very special month. In addition to fasting, mandatory Salat, and extra Travih Salat, they spent the whole month in acts of worship like voluntary Salat, Tilawa (recitation of Qur’an),Dhikr etc. After mentioning that this has been the tradition of the pious people of this Ummah throughout the centuries, Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi notes: ” I have seen with my own eyes suchulema and mashaikh who used to finish recitation of the entire Qur’an everyday during Ramadan. They spent almost the entire night in prayers. They used to eat so little that one wondered how they could endure all this. These greats valued every moment of Ramadan and would not waste any of it in any other pursuit…Watching them made one believe the astounding stories of Ibada and devotion of our elders recorded by history.”
This emphasis on these acts of worship may sound strange — even misplaced — to some. It requires some explanation. We know that the term Ibada (worship and obedience) in Islam applies not only to the formal acts of worship and devotion likeSalat , Tilawa, and Dhikr, but it also applies to worldly acts when performed in obedience to Shariah and with the intention of pleasing Allah. Thus a believer going to work is performingIbada when he seeks Halal income to discharge his responsibility as a bread-winner for the family. However a distinction must be made between the two. The first category consists of direct Ibada, acts that are required for their own sake. The second category consists of indirect Ibada — worldly acts that become Ibada through proper intention and observation of Shariah. While the second category is important for it extends the idea of Ibada to our entire life, there is also a danger because by their very nature these acts can camouflage other motives. (Is my going to work really Ibada or am I actually in the rat race?). Here the direct Ibada comes to the rescue. Through them we can purify our motives, and re-establish our relationship with Allah.
Islam does not approve of monasticism. It does not ask us to permanently isolate ourselves from this world, since our test is in living here according to the Commands of our Creator. But it does ask us to take periodic breaks from it. The mandatorySalat (five daily prayers) is one example. For a few minutes every so many hours throughout the day, we leave the affairs of this world and appear before Allah to remind ourselves that none but He is worthy of worship and of our unfaltering obedience. Ramadan takes this to the next higher plane, providing intense training for a whole month.
This spirit is captured in I’tikaf, a unique Ibada associated with Ramadan, in which a person gives up all his normal activities and enters a mosque for a specific period. There is great merit in it and every Muslim community is encouraged to provide at least one person who will perform I’tikaf for the last ten days of Ramadan. But even those who cannot spare ten days are encouraged to spend as much time in the mosque as possible.
Through direct Ibada we “charge our batteries”; the indirect ones allow us to use the power so accumulated in driving the vehicle of our life. Ramadan is the month for rebuilding our spiritual strength. How much we benefit from it is up to us.
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The righteous predecessors were very attentive to the worship to Almighty Allah, including paying great attention to the holy month of Ramadan.
So it is known that many of them used to pray to Allah during 6 months after the end of Ramadan to accept their fasting, and then in 6 months they would ask Allah to allow to see the next Ramadan, so that they have another opportunity to make this great worship, which is the fasting in this holy month.
In other words, we can see how the pious predecessors of this Ummah (community of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh) were prepared to meet the Ramadan.
So Abu Bakr al-Balkhi, may Allah bless him with mercy, said:
“Rajab is the month to sow the seeds; Shaban is the month to irrigate the crop; and Ramadan is the month to reap the harvest”.
And he also said:
“Rajab is like the wind; Shaban is like the water-laden clouds; and Ramadan is like the rain”.
– Here a question arose: how do we need to prepare for Ramadan?
1. Sincere repentance
Repentance is demanded to be performed continuously, at any time. But it would be better for you with the approach of the blessed month to hurry up with repentance for all the sins you committed against Allah, and also against His creations.
So with the advent of the Blessed Ramadan, you could proceed to the commission of worship with pure and quiet heart. Almighty Allah says in the Quran:
“And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed”.
Al-Agharr ibn Yasar al-Muzani, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
“O people! Turn in repentance towards Allah and ask His forgiveness. I turn towards Him a hundred times a day”.
2. Dua (supplication)
It is reported from some of the righteous predecessors that they used to ask Allah for the six months to extend their lives to see Ramadan in good health. Then, they used to ask Allah for five months after Ramadan to accept their good deeds committed in it. Therefore, you, by following their example, pray Allah that He gives you an opportunity to celebrate Ramadan in good health and with a strong faith, and ask Him for the help in worshiping Him, and for acceptance of good deeds.
3. Joy in light of the coming of the Holy month of Ramadan
The approach of this blessed month is a great boon for every believer after all, because this month is a period of blessing. It is a month when the gates of Paradise are open and the gates of Hell are closed. It is a month when the Holy Quran was sent down.
“Say, In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate”.
4. Replenishment of the left obligatory fastings
It is reported from Abu Salama, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said:
“I heard Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, as saying: “Sometimes I missed some days of Ramadan, but could not fast instead of them except in the month of Shaban”.”
Ibn Hajar, may Allah bless him with mercy, said:
“It can be drawn from the desire of Aisha to make up the missed days of Ramadan in the month of Shaban that any missed fasts to make up have to be made up before the next Ramadan comes”.
5. Acquisition of knowledge related to the dignity of the month of Ramadan, and with certain provisions of the fast.
6. The coming completion of all deeds that can distract you from worship in the month of Ramadan.
7. Explanation to the household, relatives and friends of the basic provisions of the fast. Motivation to “little ones” to participate in the fast, so that they could become accustomed to the basic kinds of worship in Islam from their childhood.
8. Fasting in the month of Shaban, in order to prepare for the month of Ramadan.
It is reported in an authentic hadith from Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said:
“Sometimes the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, fasted so much that he even thought he did not break his fast in that month, and sometimes he broke his fast so much that we would say he did not fast. I did not see the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) fast in the whole month except Ramadan. I never saw him fast in any month more than he did in Shaban”.
It is also reported from Osama Bin Zeid, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said:
“O Messenger of Allah! I did not see you fasting in any month as you do in the month of Shaban”.
The Prophet said:
“People neglect this month which is between Rajab and Ramadan, in this month the deeds of the people are presented to Allah; so I like my deeds to be presented while I am fasting”.
This hadith explains the wisdom of fasting in the month of Shaban, namely the fact that deeds or actions are presented to Allah. Also, some scholars have pointed out other wisdom of the fasting in the month of Shaban, which lies in the fact that this fasting is like a sunna-prayer committed before the obligatory farz-prayer. Thus, a man prepares himself, a sort of warm-up before the fulfillment of the obligatory form of worship.
9. Reading the Quran
Salamah Ibn Suhayl, may Allah be pleased with him, used to say:
“The month of Shaban is the month of reciters of the Quran”.
When Shaban came, Amr Ibn Qays al-Malai, may Allah be pleased with him, used to close his store and devote his time to reading the Quran.
Now, having said all this, let’s look at our situation, and answer ourselves, being honest, how we prepare for this blessed month, and how we are going to meet it?
We ask Almighty Allah for help and assistance in preparing for the fasting, and for a worthy meeting of the Holy month of Ramadan!
Prepared according to materials of Islamic internet media outlets