We are all guilty of setting ambitious Ramadan goals at the beginning of the month and then not following through. Ramadan is a marathon and not a sprint, and it is important to create a realistic plan and maintain a steady pace to help you get the most out of this blessed month.
Start as you mean and go on.
Here are 10 simple ways that you can start seeking Allah SWT's mercy during the first ten days of Ramadan.
1. Renew your intentions
Fasting is an act of mercy. Think carefully about your intentions and renew them regularly to maintain high morale and motivation. Remember that you are not starving yourself, but you are fasting for the sake of Allah (swt).
2. Make plenty of Dhikr and Du’a
Reciting Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi (Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise) one hundred times a day wipes away sins equal to the magnitude of the ocean. Break the amount down into manageable chunks by reciting the words ten times before and after each of the five daily prayers.
3. Recite the holy Qur’an
Plan to sit down and recite between 4-5 pages of the after each of the five daily prayer. This will ensure that you complete the entire Qur’an by the end of Ramadan, without getting tired or overwhelmed.
4. Practice being merciful
In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) said that those who are merciful will be shown mercy. Think about how you can go the extra mile for your family, neighbours, and friends, in order to be merciful. Perhaps you need to be extra patient with your siblings or carry out simple acts of kindness such as offering your seat on the bus.
5. Practice the Sunnah
Plan your Suhoor meals in advance so that you can spend more time praying and less time cooking in the morning. The Prophet (saw) said, 'there are blessings in this meal.'
6. Check in on your neighbours
Spend time with your family, friends and neighbours is more convenient during the beginning of Ramadan than at towards the end, which are mostly spent in seclusion and personal Ibadaah. Spend the first half of the month wisely – consider olunteering at your local mosque, or helping at an orphanage or soup kitchen. Remember, Sadaqah starts in the home and something as simple as helping your mother cook is a great way of showing kindness to others.
7. Seek forgiveness
Allah (swt) showers his mercy during Ramadan so this is the best time to seek forgiveness from the Almighty and from brothers and sisters who we may have wronged in the past. Repair broken ties and strengthen relationships, as Allah loves those who love each other, for his sake.
8. Volunteer additional prayers
Use any free time to start performing additional voluntary nafl prayers. It is also great practive for endurance when it comes to the night (Tahajjud) and Taraweeh prayers.
9. Pray in congregation
'It was narrated by Ibn Umar (saw), that the Prophet (saw) said, "Prayer in congregation is superior to prayer alone by twenty-seven degrees" ' (Muslim)
Where possible, men should try to attend the masjid for the five obligatory prayers as well as Taraweeh. Remaining consistent with your prayers and praying in congregation will become a habit even after Ramadan. Women can attend the masjid too if facilities are available or could form a congregation with family and friends at home.
10. Give to Charity
Many Muslims wait to make their charitable donations during the last ten days of Ramadan. However, it is better to not delay giving charity even if that means giving less than you intended at the beginning. Allah loves those who help the ones in need at any time of the year and there is more reward when charity is given in secret, 'If you disclose your Sadaqah, it is well; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, that is better for you." (Quran 2:271).
We know that this Ramadan will be uniquely challenging because of the pandemic. This fact is even more true for those in vulnerable communities who will experience insurmountable hardships amidst the pandemic. Here are the ways you can help those who need it the most this Ramadan.