Thursday, May 17, 2018

10 Spiritual Things To Do In Ramadan (Ramadan Series-3)

Ramadan Mubarak!
Nowadays people are becoming very health-conscious. Everyone wants to eat only healthy and organic food. We watch our cholesterol, our sugar intake and avoid fried and junk food.
We spend hours and hours in gyms working out to make sure that our physical forms are fit and In shape.
 But what about our spiritual form? If our spirituality had a shape, would we be able to face ourselves in a mirror?

We spend 11 months of the year feeding our bodies and quenching the thirsts of our desires, this one month lets focus on feeding our Souls.

Every day of Ramadan we hungrily and anxiously watch the clock every hour.  We fast just to tick off another day from our Ramadan calendars. We recite Juz’ upon Juz’ simply to satisfy a sense of obligation that we have to complete the recitation of the Qur’an by the end of these 30 days. And we stand for Taraweeh just to please the community and our families.

 But what about pleasing Allah?
Let's use the Holy month of Ramadan to recharge our Iman (faith) for the entire year.

This Ramadan lets focus on feeding our soul with the love and sincere worship of Allah SWT.
(Scroll to the end of the post for THREE BONUS Ramadan Checklists)

Here are 10 things you can do this Ramadan to boost your Iman:

GAIN KNOWLEDGE :
Like you read a manual of an appliance before using it, It's important to learn about Ramadan before getting into it.
  • Learn about Allah- the one who prescribed Ramadan to us as a Holy Month- Who is HE? What are His Names and Attributes? What does He want from us?
  • Learn about Ramadan - its significance, its greatness, its virtues, its rewards, about the fasts and how to do them.
  • Attend lectures and events in Masjids and Islamic Centers

“Whoever goes to the mosque not desiring except to learn or teach what is good has the reward of a pilgrim who completed his Hajj”.[Tabarani]

  • Read books on the Prophet and on the Sahabahs and how they behaved in Ramadan.

MAKE DUA
“There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.’” [Jami` at-Tirmidhee]

The best gift you can give someone is to pray for them - pray for yourself, your family, friends and the Whole Muslim Ummah (nation)

Abud-Darda’ raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “The supplication of a Muslim for his (Muslim) brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: ‘Ameen! May it be for you, too’.” [Sahih Muslim]

  •  Ask Allah for forgiveness in this month - for sins you've done knowingly and unknowingly
  • Make Dua for our brothers and sisters suffering all over the world
  • Make Dua to Allah to reunite our Ummah
  • Ask Allah to increase your Iman and help you stay steadfast on the same path even after Ramadan
  • Pray to Allah to accept your fasts and any other good deeds you do this month
  • Ask Allah to forgive ALL Muslims

There are many times in a day when the Dua is accepted, sit with your Dua List and Pray to Allah during these blessed times such as - During the last third of the night, right before breaking your fast, between the Adhan and Iqamah, From the Jumu'ah prayer to Asr prayer on Friday, while travelling etc.

QURAN
"The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion……"(2:185)

Ramadan is the month of Quran. Use it to build a friendship with the word of Allah - The Quran. Make it your companion who will not only be your source of strength and support but will mend your broken heart, heal your wounds, boost your Iman and provide you with tranquillity, peace, joy and happiness. Make it a lifelong relationship

Don’t focus on finishing the Quran a specific number of times this month, rather focus on understanding it and acting upon it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t finish the Quran even once in the whole month if you learn even one thing from it and act upon it.

It's also not important to recite it in the best tune with the best voice and the best pronunciations. Don’t let the fear of not being perfect stop you:

‘Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah said, “The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur’an will be with the honorable and obedient scribes (angels) and he who recites the Qur’an and finds it difficult to recite, doing his best to recite it in the best way possible, will have a double reward.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim || Book 9, Hadith 994]

  • Read the Quran daily - it could be one Juz, one page, or even ONE LINE  - what's important is that you remain consistent.
  • Try to complete reading it with the meaning at least once
  • Develop a routine for reading - usually after the Fajr Prayer is the best time - you will be rewarded with 10  good deeds for every letter you read, so make it a part of your daily life.
  • Find/Make a Quran Buddy - it could be a friend/sibling/cousin/family member/child or anyone with whom you can memorize or discuss the Quran every day. This way you both can keep each other accountable and also keep your interest intact
  • Reflect and ponder upon what you're reading. Write down the lessons you learnt and how you can implement what you learnt in your daily life
  • Take out a little bit of time and hold discussions or talks with family members. What better way to spend time than learning Allah's deen together while the angels surround you and pray for you?

Reading Quran is more effective in Ramadan because as we fast, we strengthen our consciousness of Allah which allows us to better internalize the teachings of the Quran and align our behaviour with these teachings.

DHIKR:

“Do You who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance”
{Surat Al-‘Aĥzāb33: Verse 41}

Keep your tongue busy with the constant remembrance of Allah. Recite the morning and evening Duas, praise Allah, send Blessings and salutations on the Prophet SAW. BY keeping your tongue busy, you're not only preventing it from uttering wrong and bad things, but it also prevents you from useless chatter and talks. Constant Dhikr of Allah will also help you become more aware of Him and His blessings and increase your level of Taqwa (God Consciousness)

  •  Spend your day solely in remembrance of Allah. Find a quiet place (your room, the masjid, sitting under a tree, etc.) and remember Allah and all He has done for you.

“So remember Me, and I shall remember you; and be grateful unto Me, and deny Me not.” — The Holy Qur’an [2:152]

  • Learn one name of Allah every day, memorize it, its impacts - get to know your Lord- and invoke Allah with it ( Ya Rahman, have Rahm (mercy) upon me, Ya Ghaffar forgive me)

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah has ninety-nine Names, i.e., one hundred minus one, and whoever believes in their meanings and acts accordingly, will enter Paradise; and Allah is witr (one) and loves 'the witr' (i.e., odd numbers).

  • Constantly keep the remembrance of Allah on your tongue -
while you’re in the car going to work, or in the check-out line at the grocery. Any and all free time could be the vehicle you use to develop your dikhr of Allah.

A few common things you can say are:
–         Subhan Allah or Subhan Allah wa bi hamdihi (“I praise Allah (or All praise is to Allah) above all attributes that do not suit His Majesty.”)
–         Alhamdulillah (“All praise is for Allah.”)
–         La hawlawa la quwwataillabillah (“There is no power or might except (by) Allah.”)
–          SubhanAllah (x33), Alhamdulillah (x33), Allahuakbar (x34) “I praise Allah (or All praise if to Allah) above all attributes that do not suit His Majesty.  All praise is to Allah.  Allah is Great.”)

IMPROVE YOUR PRAYERS:
 Salah/Prayer is the most important pillar of Islam. It is the time when you have a direct connection to Allah SWT, A time where you get to talk to Him, and when you're the closest to Him.
Most of us rush through our prayers, not realizing what we're reading. We're eager to get back to our daily life and away from Allah.
Imagine if you had the King of the country come to visit you five times a day - where he listens to all your troubles and complaints. Will you not be in your best attire and on your best behaviour?
Allah is the King of Kings. And He is offering you a direct connection to Him. Let's use this month to fix that relationship and that connection.

  • The most beloved place to Allah is the mosque - make sure to offer as many prayers there as you can
  • Offer the Taraweeh and the Qiyam prayers at the mosque and encourage your children to do the same - this will help you build a bond with Allah as well as the community and help your child start early.
  • Make sure that you understand the importance of the obligatory prayers and don't miss your Fajr prayer and pray all the other prayers on time.
  • Take a friend along with you to the Masjid for prayer. Ramadan is the month where those who never prayed may start praying; however, they may fear ridicule and be labelled as a ‘Ramadan Muslim.’ Take them along and be kind.
  • Work on improving your Khushoo(concentration) in Salah. Leave your worries for later and focus on the One you are going to be starting in front of- your Lord.
  •  In every Salah, make it one of your main intentions to remember death. Use this painful reminder as a steering wheel to do more good deeds and to remind yourself that this life and its glamour and its troubles are temporary.
  • When you're in Sujood(prostration), you're the Closest to Allah. Use this time to Ask Allah whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be in Arabic, whatever your language is, use this time to thank Allah, to complain to Him, Ask Him and talk to Him.
  • Make sure to wear clean clothes while praying. You're going to be standing in front of you Lord - you need to make an effort. Put some light perfume and clean clothes. Your physical attire will also help you keep your focus
  • Make sure to read the meanings of the Surahs you will be reciting in your prayer. Pray slowly with an understanding of what you're reciting - may it be the Duas or the Surahs

SUNNAHS:

Umm Habiba narrated that Allah's Messenger (S) said:
"Whoever prays twelve Rak'ah in a day and night, a house will be built from him in Paradise: Four Rak'ah before Dhuhr, two Rak'ah after it, two Rak'ah after Maghrib, two Rak'ah after Ishaa, and two Rak'ah before Fajr in the morning Salat." [Tirmidhee]

Imagine the obligatory acts like a bare house with pillars and voluntary acts like its decorations.
There are so many extra blessings that we can attain during this month by performing a few Sunnahs/voluntary actions of the Prophet SAW.
This will not only help us gain more rewards but also help us increase our love for the Prophet Muhammad SAW.

It was narrated from Qatadah that:
He heard Anas say: "The Messenger of Allah [SAW] said: 'None of you has believed until I am dearer to him than his son, his father and all the people.'"

  • Revive a Sunnah
  • Pray Sunnah prayers before and/or after Fard Salat (Rawaatib)
  • Use Miswak
  • Pray Salatul-Dhuha

NIGHT PRAYERS:

“Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Decree) is better than a thousand months.” — The Holy Qur’an [97:3]

There is ONE night in the last ten days of Ramadan which is more powerful than a THOUSAND months!
That’s almost 83/84 years!
Allah has given us such a beautiful opportunity to seek the best of the nights in the best of the months. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that you can use to get your sins of a lifetime forgiven, and gain a lot of rewards!

Allah comes down to the seventh heaven and waits for His slaves to ask Him for forgiveness and for anything else- He waits for us to ask Him so HE can grant us.
DO we want to waste such a huge opportunity?
It has been reported that one of the odd nights in the last ten days could be Laylatul Qadr.
So seek the Night of Power (Laylat al-Qadr) in the last ten days of the month and spend it religiously: perform voluntary prayers, read the Qur'an, and supplicate. This night can be a turning point of your Ramadhan experience and of your life.

  • Stand for prayer at the last third of the night - perform long voluntary prayers and build your spirituality
  • Spend some time in seclusion at night asking and praying to the Almighty
  • Do Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah at this time
  • Sit with the Quran- recite, read, ponder and understand it. The Quran is the word of Allah- and was sent down on this night. What better way to spend it?

This is a powerful way to make the best out of our Ramadan.

I'TIKAF
Perform I'tikaf. It can be done by both men (at the Masjid) and women (at home). It is a state of isolation where one devotes all his/her time to solely worshipping Allah. It is usually done in the last ten days of Ramadan.

Narrated by Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (SallAllahu alayhi wa Sallam): “The Prophet (SallAllahu alayhi wa Sallam) used to practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practice Itikaf after him.”
[Hadith No. 2026, Book of Itikaf, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3]

The main purpose of Itikaf is to remove yourself from distractions and focus solely on the worship of Allah, as Allah created us to do.

Itikaf is a time to renew your relationship with Allah without the distractions of daily life. It is like a spiritual retreat to renew and energize your soul. In fact, another purpose of Itikaf is so that you may fall in love with worshipping Allah that you will carry that feeling with you once your Itikaf is over. In other words, it helps to strengthen your faith in Allah and helps to further perfect your worship of Him.

  • Perform your five daily prayers with Khushoo and Taqwa
  • Perform Nafl(voluntary) prayers such as Taraweeh and Qiyam
  • Read and Memorize Quran
  • Read, memorize and understand Hadith
  • Make lots of Dua
  • Do Dhikr
  • Teach, learn and discuss Islam (conversations relating to this world are not allowed)
  • DO Taubah(repentance)
  • Reflect on your life

ZAKAT
 Pay your Zakat al-Fitr on time - before the Eid prayers. Zakat ul Fitr is one of the pillars of Islam and refers to obligatory alms on a person's earning, property and belongings. Every adult Muslim has to take out 2.5% of his yearly earnings and give them as charity to people in need.
Fasting in the month of Ramadan makes us aware of the troubles and difficulties faced by the ones that are less fortunate/poor. Zakat is obligatory on every Muslim. It makes us humble and is helpful to those who are in need.

Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Messenger ordered them to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr before the people went out to perform the' 'Eid prayer. Nafi‘ reported that `Umar used to pay it a day or two before the end of Ramadan.

Let us try to offer Zakat ul Fitr ahead of Eid prayers so that the poor and the needy can make use of it in an appropriate manner to buy their food/ sustenance of Eid gifts or clothes.

GIVE EXTRA CHARITY

“Spend (in charity) out of We have bestowed for their sustenance secretly and openly; and turn off evil with good: for such there is the final attainment of the (Eternal) Home.” — The Holy Qur’an [13:22]

In Addition to Zakat (obligatory Arms) find a way to give some extra charity every day. This will help you be more humble and help those in need. It doesn’t have to be in monetary means; Even smiling at your fellow brother/sister is considered charity in Islam!

Jabir bin Abdullah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“Every good is charity. Indeed, among the good is to meet your brother with a smiling face…” [At Tirmidhee]

  • Feed a hungry child or family or a labourer working around you
  • Feed a homeless animal
  • Donate some of your clothes
  • Help an elderly person cross the road
  • Donate to a charity of your choice or to a worthy cause
  • Donate at least one book on Islam to a local library
  • Donate a Quran to a friend/Mosque (every time someone reads from it, you will gain a reward)
  • Buy an Eid gift for a poor child/family - you will make their day
  • Sponsor a family for their Ramadan groceries
  • Make a meal and send it out to your neighbours

Abu Dhar narrated that the Messenger of Allah said :
"Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you." (Tirmidhee)

BONUS:
 I HAVE MADE THREE RAMADAN LISTS AVAILABLE FOR YOU TO DOWNLOAD TO HELP YOU KEEP ACCOUNTABLE OF YOUR DEEDS IN THIS BLESSED MONTH IN SHA ALLAH.
List ONE - Ramadan Daily Checklist: This list contains a number of tasks that you can do this month and check off once you're done. It also includes points for each task to help you be motivated to complete each task. You can set a goal of a specific number of points to achieve and reward yourself once you reach the goal!
List TWO - Daily Gratitude Challenge: This List contains 30 prompts - one for each day of Ramadan- that will help you count the blessings that Allah has given you and be grateful for them. You can cut out these boxes, fold them into chits and pick one out every day and journal about what you are grateful for!
List THREE - DAILY Good Deeds List - This list contains a number of good deeds that you can do every day of Ramadan. Make it into chits, pick one out every day and complete the deed/task before the end of the day. In Ramadan, your good deeds are multiplied so put this opportunity to good use!
Download these THREE lists for FREE from the Resource Library -

Join the Fun!
Get Access to the AC Resource Library with just one click!


  
May Allah make this month a turning point in our lives where we change for the better and become better Muslims and Human Beings.
I hope these few tips helped you!
Ramadan Mubarak!

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