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 a few ways we can maximize each precious day in Ramadan:
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.
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.
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.
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.
RECITE THR 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.”
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 a quarter of the Qur’an. Whoever recited Surah al Ikhlas (112) would get a reward as if reading one third of the Qur’an’.