‘This is a month, the first part of which brings Allah’s Mercy, the middle of which brings Allah’s forgiveness, and the last part of which brings emancipation from hellfire’. (Bukhari)
Realizing that Ramadan is a marathon, rather than a sprint, will allow us to prepare accordingly, and get the most out of this blessed month. We’re all too familiar with diving headfirst into the swing of Ramadan at the beginning, losing momentum during the middle, and battling to keep up towards the end. Here’s a quick guide to maintain a strong and steady pace to help us through Ramadan.
The first ten days are the days of mercy. Below are ten ways to seek Allah (swt's) mercy during Ramadan.
1. Perform Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and duas for Ramadan
Reciting Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi (Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise) a hundred times a day will wipe away sins. This can easily be broken down to fit our busy Ramadan schedules by reciting it ten times before and after our five daily prayers.
2. Recite the Holy Qur’an
Completing the Qur’an might seem overwhelming at the beginning, but breaking it down can really help. Try reading four and a half pages after every prayer. By the end of Ramadan, you will have completed the whole Qur’an!
3. Renew Intentions
Fasting is mercy in itself. Constantly renewing your intentions will keep up morale and motivation. Don’t forget to remind yourself that you are fasting for the sake of Allah (swt), and not starving yourself. Insha’Allah, this should keep you steadfast.
4. Practice being Merciful
Allah (swt) says that those who are merciful will be shown mercy, so go that extra mile to show compassion to your family members, neighbors, and friends this month. Be patient with them, and carry out simple acts of kindness such as offering to help your neighbor or a person in need.
5. Give Charity
A lot of people wait for the reward of the last ten days, but it is better not to delay giving charity even if that means giving less than you intended at the beginning. Allah loves those who help others. In giving charity, you not only assist others, but also help yourself. Try to offer Sadaqah, without disclosing how much you give. ‘If you disclose your Sadaqah, it is well; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, that is better for you.” (Qur’an 2:271)
6. Practice the Sunnah
Preplan your suhoor meal to encourage yourself to wake up in the early hours of the morning, even if it is just to have some dates and milk. The Prophet (saw) said, ‘There are blessings in this meal’. It is what distinguishes our fasts from those of the People of the Book.'
7. Look after your Neighbours
The last ten days are mostly spent in seclusion as people try to get closer to Allah (swt), but don’t forget to be there for friends and loved ones. Volunteering at your local mosque or helping family members prepare iftar, are great ways of showing kindness to others. Remember, Sadaqah starts at home.
8. Seek Forgiveness
Ramadan is one of the biggest iman boosters of the year. It’s the perfect time for seeking forgiveness from Allah and also from our brothers and sisters who we may have wronged. Ramadan is the ideal time for repairing and strengthening relationships. Allah (swt) loves those who love each other for his sake.
9. Pray Voluntarily
Ramadan is an ideal time to start praying the voluntary nafl prayers. It is also great practice for endurance when it comes to the night (Tahajjud) and Taraweeh prayers.
10. Pray in Congregation
It was narrated by Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet (saw) said, “Prayer in congregation is superior to prayer alone by twenty-seven degrees” (Muslim). This means men should endeavor to attend the masjid for the five obligatory prayers as well as Taraweeh. Insha’Allah, if we remain consistent, praying in congregation will become a habit even after Ramadan. As for women, it is fine to pray at home, but they can always pray together with family and friends.
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May your families remain steadfast in their prayers and charity, and May Allah ( swt) grant His immense mercy and Bakarah as we move forward into the next few days of this divine month.