This post was supposed to be somewhere in the middle of Ramadan, but it’s been a bit of a whirlwind what with packing and travelling and settling – not the best time to be doing that..! Every single thing is from Allah though, so the key is how we cope with it. I would have liked to have done more, and I definitely feel – looking back – that I should have been more productive and pushed myself more. But of course, that’s always easier to say from the endpoint. When you’re in the middle of it, it seems like there is no other way to do it!
That being said, we’re in the last ten days and the sadness is starting to creep in, that this amazing month is ending. If you’re one of those thinking, “I haven’t done enough! I wish I had more time to do more!”, do not despair. It is a sign of a believer and one who loves Ramadan that you understand whatever you do is never enough. May Allah accept all our striving and efforts, and make us live to see more Ramadans that only get better each year, Ameen!
I was more active on Instagram regarding the tips, so I’m just going to make a nice compilation of them here.
1) Fake it till you make it.
As we hit the two week mark in Ramadan, this is when our eman starts to dip. We started with fervour and we want to end strong but what do we do about this middle part?
Continue on. Do your ‘ibadah like you have the utmost khushoo‘ – Allah knows your intentions are sincere – and just push through.
2) Strive. Try. Endure. Persevere. And ask Allah.
Don’t let the down days make you give up, and don’t despair if your eman isn’t where you want it to be.
This was such a beautiful and much-needed post, Alhamdulillah! Such is the mercy of Allah, that He sends hope at exactly the right moment!
3) Be socially productive.
Ramadan is not a month to hole ourselves up and only focus on ‘ibadah. Rather, part of our ‘ibadah is to be a Muslim in the community: giving, helping, being socially active.
So you have all those iftar invitations that you don’t want to attend because it will take time off your salah and Qur’an? Just fix your intentions.
Spread knowledge, give advice, lend a helping hand.
Be a Muslim.
4) The Ayah Journal.
Abu Productive of ProductiveMuslim.com shared a really great idea to help each individual get closer to the Qur’an and improve their relationship with it.
- Open the Qur’an and pick one ayah.
- Read the translation, understand the meaning and APPLY it to your own life: (To your problems. To your social circle.)
- Jot down the ayah in your journal and state in keywords; a) the theme of the ayah b) your personal action point. E.g. 65:3 a = Reliance on Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He); b = Increase my du’a & complain less to friends as soon as I feel down.
- Make acting on the ayah your mission for the day.
- Share the ayah and your personal lessons with someone else.
The Qur’an is meant as a personal message for each of us, not simply as a revelation of what happened thousands of years ago.
Start with du’a. Benefit from it. Get closer to Allah.
The following tips to make the best of the last ten days and nights are from a webinar by ProductiveMuslim.com:
1) Plan plan plan.
What are you going to do differently these last ten days to step up your game? How will you make them better than the rest of the month?
Push yourself more in these last few days because the reward is so much greater.
Plan so you don’t stumble over the last ten. Plan your days so that it doesn’t affect your night.
Have an hour to hour schedule, even though you’re not one of those who can follow them. It’s always better to have a plan than no plan at all. Tweak that schedule in the next few days based on how the first few days have gone.
2) Plan a special deed.
What will you do that’s special to make it better than the rest of the month? How are these days going to be different? It could be something big or small, something just for you or something for the community.
It could be a social act – feeding people, sponsoring an orphan, visiting an old age home or an orphanage, organizing a fund raiser or creating awareness. It could be on all ten days or just one day. It could be something you’ve been thinking about or talking about for some time but never got round to doing it.
It could be for yourself – proper seclusion in i’tikaf, staying away from all social media in the last ten nights, if not the whole ten days AND nights. It could be forgiving someone that has hurt you all that time ago, rekindling ties, strengthening the family bond.
It should be something you will look back from later on and say ‘Alhamdulillah!’
3) Du’a is your conversation with Allah.
Prepare YOUR du’a list. It should be short and concise, and what you ask Allah for daily and sincerely. Do not copy paste others’ lists, no matter how beautiful they are. Make them a part of your general du’as, but make sure you have your special list too, where you ask Allah for things that you really really want, sincerely from the bottom of your heart.
Remember the du’a to be asked in these last ten nights as per the sunnah.
اللهم إِنَّكَ عَفُوُّ تُحِبُّ العَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي “O Allāh, You are pardoning, and You love to pardon, so pardon me.”
‘Afuw is when you ask Allah not only for His forgiveness, but that He also makes you forget that you have ever done the sin on the Day of Judgment. What a beautiful du’a!
Keep a du’a journal so that you can tick off du’as as they get answered, it connects us to Allah and shows us how great His mercy is for us. Also keep in mind how much He gives you without having asked!
Allah is the only One Who gets angry if you don’t ask Him so ask, ask, ask!
4) Prepare for i’tikaf.
If you’re going to be spending it at the masjid, pack the essentials, and pack light. These are meant to be spiritual days, so there is little that you need.
Do NOT pack any electronics, even if you mean to do good with them and listen to lectures or the Qur’an. Our nafs gives in too easily and gets distracted. The key is to minimize distractions as much as possible, so even downgrade to a basic phone with no social media or data if possible. I’tikaf is not camping, so pick a spot where you won’t be distracted.
Even if you can’t spend the whole night in i’tikaf, give whatever part of it that you can whole heartedly. Don’t check your phone even if you are tempted to. Make the most of these precious nights, so try to eliminate time wasters.
5) Prepare your family.
Stress the importance of the last ten nights. Prepare them that of the slight difference in schedule. If you are planning on going for i’tikaf, even for part of the night, prepare them that you won’t be available then. The ideal place for that is the masjid, but you can apply the same concepts at home.
Get the kids excited. Have an i’tikaf tent at home where they can recite the Qur’an or do their adhkar. Maybe do your special project together as a family. Don’t be selfish in these nights. Be charitable.
6) ★ “It’s better than a 1000 months”, which we can never attain otherwise. This should be our slogan and motivation.
★ Keep going with “just one more night”, one more step, when you think you can’t do it.
★ Take brief naps in the day to help you through.
★ Vary acts of worship so that you don’t get bored – and that WILL happen! Don’t be tempted to check your phone. Recite Qur’an, read the translation, contemplate, do wudhu, revise your hifdh, pray a couple of rak’ahs, ask du’a, write in your journal.
★ Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Just try to be better than you were last year.
7) Don’t let your performance up until now affect your last ten nights.
If, for whatever reason, you haven’t been having the best Ramadan so far, don’t let that get you down. Take the blessing of being able to witness this last part of the month as a fresh start, and push through. Don’t just wait until the 27th night either. Ramadan started on different days in different parts of the world, so who knows which night it really is!
If you haven’t quite felt the “Ramadan mood” yet, don’t wait for it. It’s a catch-22 situation: we wait for the right mood to do good, but forcing ourselves to do more good is what will get us in the mood! It’s like forcing yourself to smile when you’re grumpy will make you feel better..! Take the action and Allah swt will open your heart and make you feel closer to Him, bi idhnillah. It’s all about the intention!
8) Four things you can do every night to guarantee a chunk of reward on Laylatul Qadr:
1) Recite a portion of the Qur’an
2) Keep a lot of dhikr, and ask du’a
3) Pray tahajjud
4) Give a portion of sadaqah every night, however much you can afford. Break down a big note into ten equal parts to give each night. That small note will be worth unimaginable amounts in the akhirah!
9) The du’a, as reported by Muslim, that, if said three times, is equivalent to remembering Allah constantly from Fajr to Dhuhr.
Multiply that by the reward of Laylatul Qadr and you’ve got a jackpot. “It’s better than a 1000 months” means that any act you do is like doing it every single moment for more than 83 years. Most of us don’t live up to the age of 83, and we definitely don’t spend every single moment of our lives in worship.
This is such an AMAZING opportunity to get what we would never be able to get otherwise. #dontslack #makeitworthit #WhatsYourRamadanPlan #MakeYourLastTenYourBestTen
Those are the hashtags used, so feel free to look up other tips on Instagram. May Allah help us finish strong, and make the most of Laylatul Qadr!
اللّهُمَّ بلّْغنا لَيْلَةُ القَدْر !