When Ramadan starts, we are all filled with incomparable enthusiasm. However, as the days pass us by and our eagerness dies down, we lose our drive to accomplish the many goals we have set ourselves. When the last ten days do approach, it is a great time to remind ourselves of its blessings and to revive our Ramadan intentions.
Why the last 10 days are so important?
The last ten days of Ramadan hold great importance, as it is when our Prophet (saw) exerted himself the most in devotion. It is therefore highly advised we follow in his example. Another significance of the last ten days is the presence of the night of power (Laylatul Qadr) which is described in the Quran as, 'better than a thousand months' (97:3). It should be noted that the exact date of Laylatul Qadr is unknown, except that it is on an odd night in the last ten days, and so we should therefore make the most of every night. Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger (saw) said: 'Whoever stands (in prayer) during Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation and whilst expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven' (Bukhari).
Now that you know why it’s so important, here are five things you can do to maximise the benefits of these blessed days:
1. Perform i’tikaf
Many people carry out i’tikaf, a spiritual retreat that requires total devotion to Allah (swt). It is performed in a masjid where there is little distraction. Time spent in i’tikaf is used worshiping, performing extra prayers, reciting Qur’an and making supplications. Even if you are unable perform this ritual for the whole ten days, you can try a shorter length of time, such as one or two nights.
2. Ask for forgiveness
It is narrated that Aisha (ra) s asked the Messenger of Allah: 'O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?' and he replied that you should say: 'O Allah, you are pardoning and you love to pardon, so pardon me.' This transliterates to 'Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee' (Ahmad).
Therefore, it is recommended that we say this du'a as much as possible during the last ten days, as we do not know which of these days the night of power falls on.
3. Increasing in the remembrance of Allah
It’s easy to forget to make some extra dhikr (supplications) after prayer. Now that it’s Ramadan an easy way to gain extra reward is by doing making these supplications. Unfortunately, a lot of us find it hard to make time because of work or school, but the most practical way to include these important supplications in our busy schedule is by using wasted time. So, instead of looking at your phone, reading the news or staring blankly around you whilst on the train or in the car, you can do some dhikr and attain reward in the hereafter for time that would have otherwise been wasted.
4. Make a list of du'a
We often have so many goals or wishes we need Allah’s help with, and what better time to make du'a than the last ten days of Ramadan? One helpful way to ensure that you don’t forget to ask for what you want or need is to make a list. However, it is essential that we don’t become idle waiting for Allah’s provision without making any effort on our part. This importance is illustrated in the hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik:
'A man had asked the Prophet: "O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I untie her and trust in Allah?" The Messenger of Allah (saw), said, "Tie her and trust in Allah."' (Tirmidhi)
5. Memorise a new surah
Try memorising a surah - even a small one - and read the English translation alongside it to get the full benefits. Another way to reap more benefits is to teach the surah you’ve learnt to a friend or a family member. This is because our Prophet (saw) said: 'The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Quran and teach it.' (Narrated 'Uthman in Bukhari)
Let’s all plan a productive last ten days and insha’Allah this Ramadan can be our most productive one yet!