Ramadan is a month of blessings and multiplying of rewards. There are many hadiths of Prophet Muhammed (SAW) that highlight these attributes in the holy month of Ramadan. In one of the popular hadiths, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “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 the hellfire.” [Bukhari]
This division of the month of Ramadan period doesn’t mean that these attributes are non-existent in the rest of the month but it just acts as a guide as to how muslims should divide Ramadan and what prayers they should be invoking their Lord with. In fact, Abu Huraira reports that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “When it is the month of Ramadan, the gates of mercy are opened, the gates of Hell are locked, and the devils are chained.” [Muslim]
Therefore, Ramadan is full of mercy, and particularly in the first 10 days. The Almighty awaits our duas (supplications) and just wants us sinful servants of his, to turn back to Him, so that we may be pure again. Muslims are enjoined to purify their deeds with sincere repentance to Allah (SWT). Part of the blessings and mercy of Allah bestowed upon Muslims in this month, is that He Allah has made the voluntary act equivalent in reward to that of obligatory worship and obligatory worship is multiplied by 70 times, to however many multiples Allah wishes.
Some of the acts that are among the voluntary ones, that muslims can make the most of include Taraweeh prayer and feeding the fasting. These acts are both exclusive to Ramadan, so it is vital that muslims endeavour to make the most of these opportunities, especially with the manifold increase in reward.
Zaid ibn Khalid reports: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever feeds a person breaking their fast will earn the same reward as them, without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person.” [Al-Tirmidhi]
One way you can share in this kind of reward that Muslims have been privileged with, is by engaging in this voluntary act of feeding or assisting in breaking the fast of those in dire need of our help to do so.
There is no better time to seek the love of Allah (Swt) than during this month of Ramadan
The first 10 days are the days of Mercy. The following are 10 easy steps in seeking Allah’s mercy on these days.
(1) PLENTY OF DHIKR (REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH) AND DU’A
Reciting Subhan-Allahiwabihamdihi (Allah is free from imperfection and His is the praise) one hundred times a day will wipe away sins even if they are equal to the extent of the ocean. 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) RECITING THE HOLY QUR’AN
Completing the recitation of Qur’an might seem overwhelming at the beginning but breaking it down can really help. Reading about 4 to 5 pages after every prayer will not be too much to achieve and by the end of Ramadan, one would have completed the whole Qur’an.
(3) RENEW INTENTIONS
Fasting is a 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 and not simply starving yourself. In Sha’ Allah this should keep you steadfast.
(4) PRACTICE BEING MERCIFUL
Allah(SWT) says that those who are merciful will be shown mercy. Muslims are enjoined to go that extra mile for their families, neighbours and friends during this month. Be extra patient with your siblings and carry out simple acts of kindness to people whether solicited or unsolicited.
(5) GIVING CHARITY
A lot of people wait for the reward of the last ten days of Ramadan but it is better not to delay charity even if that means giving less then you intended. Allah (SWT) loves those who help the ones in need and in giving charity you help your brother and yourself. There is more reward in giving charity secretly but there is still plenty of reward in giving it openly, ‘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) PRACTISING THE SUNNAH
Plan your Sahur meal(early meal taken before fasting) to encourage yourself to wake up in the early hours of the morning, even if it is just to have an odd number of dates and some 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) LOOKING AFTER YOUR NEIGHBOURS
The last ten days are mostly spent in seclusion as people try to get closer to Allah during these days. Spending time with your fellow brothers and sisters is more convenient during the beginning of Ramadan. Volunteering to do some work for the benefit of others is very rewarding. One can assist his or her mother cook the Iftar meal is a great way of showing kindness to others. Remember, Sadaqah starts in the home and with family and friends.
Ramadan is one of the biggest iman (faith) 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. This is the ideal time for repairing and strengthening relationships. Allah loves those who love each other for His sake.
(9) VOLUNTARY PRAYERS
Ramadan is an ideal time to start adding the voluntary nafl prayers. It is also a great practice for endurance when it comes to the night (Tahajjud) and Taraweeh prayers.
(10) PRAYING 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 done alone by twenty-seven degrees”’. (Muslim)
This means men should endeavour to attend the mosque for the five obligatory prayers as well as Taraweeh during Ramadan. With Covid-19 pandemic, Muslims all over the world have been advised to avoid congregational prayers as such could lead to contact and touching which have been reported as the easiest means of spreading the virus. Whichever one we are able to do, may Allah (SWT) accept it as an act of ibadah.