In the previous post I mentioned the minimum level of worship one should carry out in the month of Ramadhan and points that people should always keep in mind during this month. In this post a few acts will be mentioned that, although not complete, can be used as a guideline and indication towards those acts which can be performed in this month.
Acts that can be Performed
In the month of Ramadhan there is no amount of worship that be classified as the ‘maximum’ level of worship. However, there are worships which have been mentioned in the Ahadeeth that are specific for this month and others which are generally rewarding. Following is a selection of a few acts that one can perform during this month to reap the benefits of this month as well as these acts. May Allah give us all the strength to perform worship to the maximum of our ability in this blessed month. Aameen.
Acts of Worship Directly Related to Ramadhan
1. Worshipping on Laylatul Qadr – The Night of Power
شَهْرٌ فِيْهِ لَيْلَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ
A month within which lies a night greater (in virtue) than a thousand months (of worship)
There are many differences of opinions as to when the Night of Power actually occurs. However, the majority of Scholars believe its presence to be in the month of Ramadhan due to the following verses:
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ
[Surah al-Baqarah 2:185]
The month of Ramadhan is that within which the Qur’an was sent down, (it is) a guide for mankind and (contains) clear signs of guidance and differentiating (between right and wrong).
إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرَِ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرَِ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍَ تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ َ سَلامٌ هِيَ حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرَِ
[Surah al-Qadr 97:1-5]
Indeed We revealed it (the Qur’an) in the Night of Power. And do you know what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is more rewarding than a thousand months (of worship). The Angels and Jibraeel عليه السلام descend in that night with regards to all matters. It is blessed until the rise of dawn.
From the above two verses it can be deduced that the Qur’an was revealed in Ramadhan and on the Night of Qadr; therefore, this night occurs in Ramadhan. This night is better and holds more weight than worship of a thousand months (eighty three years and four months). Many Scholars have emphasised the fact that this night can occur any time during the month of Ramdhan. However, its occurrence in the last ten days of Ramadhan is most likely and from the last ten days it is most likely to occur on the odd nights, and from the odd nights, most likely on the 27th night.
However, one should ensure worship on every night of Ramdadhan so that the blessing and rewards of such a night is not lost, for it can occur at any time during this blessed month.
The Prophet of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم has said:
تَحرُّوْا لَيْلَةَ القَدْرِ فِي العَشَرِ الأَوَاخِرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ
Look for the Night of Power in the last ten nights of Ramadan
Keeping this Hadeeth in mind, every person should make an effort to spend the nights of Ramadhan in worship as much as possible. For it is most likely that this month contains the Night of Power. If one is unable to worship every night in this month then one should not miss the opportunity to perform worship on at least the 27th night.
2. Fardh (obligatory) & Nafl (optional) Acts
مَنْ تَقَرَّبَ فِيْهِ بِخَصْلَةٍ كَانَ كَمَنْ اَدَّي فَرِيْضَةً فِي مَا سِوَاهُ وَ مَنْ اَدَّي فَرِيْضَةً فِيْهِ كَانَ كَمَنْ اَدَّي سَبْعِيْنَ فَرِيْضَةً فِيْمَا سِوَاهُ
Whosoever intends drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for such person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a Fardh in any other month. And whoever performs a Fardh shall be blessed with the reward equivalent to seventy Faraidh in any other month.
In this month Allah multiplies the rewards for every act we carry out; a person who performs a Nafl (optional) act in this month will be given the reward of a Fardh (obligatory) act performed in any other month; and the person who perform a Fardh act in this month is given the reward of seventy Fardh acts performed in any other month.
Therefore, one should discharge all the Faraidh duties and thereafter make an effort to perform as many Nafl (optional) acts of worship. Thus, ensuring that one has acquired this great ‘sale’ and ‘offer’ that Allah Ta’ala is providing during this month.
3. Observing Patience.
وَهُوَ شَهْرُ الصَّبْرِ، وَالصَّبْرُ ثَوَابُهُ الجَنَّة
And it is the month of patience, and the reward for patience is Jannah (Paradise).
This is the month within which a person’s patience is tested and put at trial. The nature of man is such that if something occurs against his habit then he will feel uneasy and restless to such an extent that the person can become ill.
Therefore, during this month a person’s habits will change significantly; he will leave his food and drink during the day and perform the fast and at night he will reduce his sleeping hours by perform the Taraweeh prayers and waking up for Sehri (morning meal).
This change, along with the extra level of worship and the abstention from sins, will make a person less patient. Therefore, patience will be a great act of worship for which the reward can be no less than Jannah itself.
Furthermore, it should be remembered that there are three levels of patience that one can exercise; the first being the most common, to have patience on a calamity or disliked occurrence that befalls us. Thereafter, the second form of patience is to persevere and exercise patience for the performance of good deeds. When a person finds it difficult to perform a deed then he should be patient and hope for the reward that lies in this patience. Finally, patience in the abstention from sinning is also amongst the types of patience. When one feels a struggle in abstaining from sin then he should be patient and again hope for the reward from Allah.
One should have a firm intention to be patient on all the difficulties he faces, whether is be in the form of sorrow, grief and trials, or merely the difficulties one faces when performing deeds and abstaining from sins.
4. Sympathy and Huqooqul ‘Ibaad (rights of fellow beings).
It is the month of sympathy with one’s fellow beings.
Within this month, great emphasis is placed on direct worship; worship which is directed related to Allah. However, this should not deceive us from the rights that are attached to people. It is vital that we ensure we do not unjustly disregard the rights of others whilst trying to offer optional acts of worship as well as obligatory acts.
It is essential to keep in mind that upholding the rights of others is also Fardh and obligatory. A person who disregards the rights of others will not be forgiven by Allah for that sin and only the person whose rights have been disregarded can forgive us.
Many times we see in the month of Ramadhan that due to the increased level of worshippers in the mosque there is a difficulty in finding parking; in such a case, it would wrong to cause someone inconvenience by parking inconsiderately or even blocking a car. It would in actual fact better to reach the prayers late and have not caused any inconvenience to others.
In short, as well as upholding the rights of Allah, it is necessary that a person keeps in mind the rights of fellow beings and does not disregard their rights whilst having the notion in his mind that he is receiving reward for the act he is doing.
5. Work & Worship.
وَ شَهْرٌ يُزَادُ فِي رِزْقِ المُؤْمِنِ فِيْهِ
It is the month wherein a believer’s sustenance is increased.
There are a very few fortunate people who can leave their work for this month and dedicate themselves entirely to worship in this month. However, Islam does not necessitate the leaving of one’s job; in fact, Islam would not allow a person to leave working if his family are depending on him for financial support and food. Therefore, though one does not have to leave work to dedicate himself to worship it is advised that each person makes an effort to decrease the amount of work he is doing and spend a greater portion of his time in worship. It should also be noted that working and earning an honest and Halaal livelihood for one’s family is also an act of worship and bears great reward.
However, one should keep in mind that this is the month within which one’s sustenance is increased; this is an indication from Allah to the believers to notify them that do not be heedless towards worship by becoming engrossed in business and work; for Allah has increased the sustenance of a believer in this month so that he can freely worship Allah and not have major concern regarding his sustenance.
6. Feeding the Fasting & the Poor.
مَنْ فَطَّرَ فِيْهِ صَائِمًا كَانَ مَغْفِرَةً لِذُنُوْبِهِ وَعِتْقَ رَقَبَتِهِ مِنَ النَّارِ وَكَانَ لَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِهِ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَن يَّنْقُصَ مِنْ أَجْرِهِ شَئٌ …
وَ مَنْ سَقي صَائِمًا سَقَاهُ اللهُ مِنْ حَوْضِيْ شَرْبَةً لَا يَضْمَأ حَتَّي يَدْخُلُ الجَنَّةَ
Whosoever feeds another fasting person, then it shall become a source of forgiveness for his sins and freedom from the Fire of Jahannam (hell), and for such a person shall be the same reward as the one who fasted (who he fed) without that person’s reward being decreased… And whoever gave fasting person water to drink, Allah shall grant him a drink from my fountain, such a drink where after that person shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah.
Abdullah ibn ‘Amr رضي الله عنه narrates:
أَنَّ رَجُلًا سَأَلَ النَّبِيَّ صَلى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَيُّ الإِسْلَامِ خَيْرٌ قَالَ تُطْعِمُ الطَّعَامَ وَتَقْرَأُ السَّلاَمَ عَلى مَنْ عَرَفْتَ وَمَنَ لَمْ تَعْرِفْ
A man asked the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم, what sort of deeds (or qualities) of Islam are good? He صلي الله عليه و سلم replied, to feed (the poor) and greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know
Feeding people in any month is classified as one of the greatest acts and qualities of Islam. However, in the month of Ramadhan this deed becomes more valuable and precious. The person who feeds a fasting person, or gives him water to break his fast, will receive the reward of that person’s fast without that person’s reward being decreased. Furthermore, Allah will make this act a means of that person’s sins being forgiven and will safeguard him from the Hell Fire.
Taking this into consideration one should make an effort to feed the poor. If this is difficult to achieve, then one should take every opportunity to feed the fasting and provide them with the food to break their fast. In this manner, we will receive the reward of a fast every time we make an effort to feed the fasting persona or to quench his thirst.
7. Lessening the Burden of Others.
مَنْ خَفَّفَ عَنْ مَمْلُوْكِهِ فِيْهِ غَفَرَ اللهُ لَهُ وَ اَعْتَقَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ
Whosoever lessens the burden of his servants (bonds-men) in this month Allah will forgive him and free him from the Fire of Jahannam
In this month, employers should make an effort to reduce the strain on their employees; just as anyone in charge should reduce the level of work and burden on those under their charge. It is a month where a person should show care and consideration towards others as much as possible.
Similarly, any person who has charge and authority should make an effort to reduce the strain and work upon those whom they have charge of; a mother should reduce the work load from her children and daughter-in-law; a father should reduce the strain from his sons and children; a husband should reduce the work load from his wife and so forth.
One should make the utmost effort not to cause any difficulty to anyone in this month and to try and lessen the burden off as many people as he can. Insha Allah, by easing the matters from other people, Allah will ease our matters both in this world and the hereafter.
8. Supplicating to Allah.
اَلدُّعَاءُ مُخُّ العِبَادَةِ
Supplication is the essence of worship.
Ramadhan is the month within which one tries to excel in worship. It is a month where a servant, through the medium of worship, draws closer to his beloved, Allah. Though we perform many acts of worship during this month, we should keep in mind that the core and essence of worship lies in supplication. A person who does not supplicate to Allah gives out an image of being haughty, proud and independent; and these qualities are not liked by Allah.
In this month the mercy and blessing of Allah descend upon the earth all those people who are within. Allah calls out within this month to His believers asking whether there is anyone that is supplicating so that he can accept his supplication.
Therefore, one should make an utmost effort to supplicate as much as possible in this month and ask Allah for forgiveness, steadfastness, a place in Jannah, freedom from Hell and all whatever needs a person has.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم states in a Hadeeth:
فَأَمّا الخَصْلَتَانِ اللَّتَانِ لاَ غِنَاءَ بِكُمْ عَنْهُمَا، فَتَسْأَلُوْنَ اللهَ الجَنَّةَ وَ تَعَوَّذُوْنَ بِهِ مِنَ النَّارِ
And in regards to those two matters which you cannot do without, (they are that) you ask Allah for Jannah and seek His refuge from the Hell Fire.
9. Dhikr & Remembrance of Allah.
مَثَلُ الَّذِيْ يَذْكُرُ رَبَّهُ وَ الَّذِيْ لاَ يَذْكُرُ مَثَلُ الحَيِّ وَ المَيِّتِ
The example of one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not is like the living and the dead
The month of Ramadhan is a month where man excels in the remembrance of Allah; the level of worship increases in this month and therefore the remembrance of presence of Allah is felt more. The more we remember our Lord the more He remembers us and the more Allah remembers us the more likely we are to receive His mercy and forgiveness.
[Surah al-Baqarah – 2:152]
Therefore remember Me and I shall remember you
Therefore, in the month of Ramadhan we should increase the Dhikr and remembrance of Allah by trying to recite as much Tasbeeh (glorification) of Allah as possible. If there is one thing that a person will regret and have remorse for in Paradise it will be that time which was not spent in the remembrance of his Lord.
10. Sunnah & Nafl I’tikaaf.
اَلنَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ يَعْتَكِفُ فِي العَشَرِ الأَوَاخِرِ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ
The Messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم used to perform I’tikaaf (retire in the mosque for devotion) in the last ten days of Ramadan
I’tikaaf is the name given to the retreat inside a mosque that one practices in the month of Ramdhan. When one retreats and secludes himself to worship Allah in the month of Ramadhan he is in actual fact offering his entirety to his Lord and trying to achieve a maximum level of worship and closeness to Allah.
There are two forms of I’tikaaf:
The first type of I’tikaaf Sunnah which is performed during the last ten days of Ramadhan and has been mentioned in many Ahadeeth and it holds great merits as it has also been mentioned that that Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr) occurs during this time.
The second type is Nafl (optional) and can be performed at any time during the month of Ramadhan for any duration. This method is also meritorious and commendable; however it does not hold the same reward as the Sunnah I’tikaaf.
A person should try and perform the Sunnah I’tikaaf during the month of Ramadhan. If this is not possible due to commitments or other reasons then everyone should perform Nafl I’tikaaf for as much time as he can. A person can make the intention of Nafl I’tikaaf every time he enters the mosque, even if it is for prayer. This way he will receive the reward of I’tikaaf as long as he remains within the mosque boundaries and upholds the requirements of I’tikaaf.
11. Sehri / Suhur.
تَسَحَّرُوْا فَإِنَّ فِي السُّحُوْرِ بَرَكَةٌ
Take Suhur (meal before dawn); for in Suhur there is a blessing.
Suhur or Sehri is the meal that is taken by the person intending to fast before dawn and in the last portion of the night. Suhur is the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم and we have also been encouraged to make Suhur as it contains blessings and is a medium for Allah’s mercy.
During Ramadhan, one should avoid missing Suhur without a valid excuse. Even though one may not feel hungry it is advised that one performs this Sunnah and reap the rewards, blessings and mercy of Allah contained within the time and the act.
إِذَا أَقْبَلَ اللَّيْلُ وَأَدْبَرَ النَّهَارُ وَغَابَتِ الشَّمْسُ فَقْدْ أَفَطَرَ الصَّائِمُ
When the night approaches and the day retreats and the sun sinks down, then the observer of the Fast should break his fast
It is Sunnah to make Iftaar [break one’s fast] immediately after sunset. One should not delay the Iftaar as this is undesired and disliked.
One should indulge himself in seeking Du’a (supplicating) to Allah during the time of Iftaar. To do this, one should try and commit himself to sit down at least ten minutes before the time of Iftaar and supplicate to Allah for all his needs until the Adhan is called. Furthermore, one should make a habit of making Iftaar at the Masjid and not at home.
13. Taraweeh Prayers
شَهْرٌ جَعَلَ اللهُ صِيَامَهُ فَرِيْضَةً وَقِيَامَ لَيْلِهِ تَطَوُّعًا
It is a month in which Allah has made fasting compulsory by day. And has made Sunnah the (Taraweeh) prayer by night.
The nights of Ramadhan are blessed with the recitation of the Qur’an through the prayers of Taraweeh. The scholars class the Taraweeh prayers as Sunnah and that it consists of twenty Rak’ats (cycles) in total.
One should make an effort to attend the Taraweeh prayers in the mosque and ensure that one completes the Qur’an in this manner. If one follows the Taraweeh within one mosque only then Insha Allah he will have heard the entire Qur’an.
However, one should not restrict the completion of the Qur’an to Taraweeh only; instead, every effort should be made by an individual to complete the recitation of the Qur’an on his own accord also.
14. Nafl (optional) and recommended Salaah.
During this month, one should make an effort to perform optional and recommended prayers. It is a month where even recommended acts receive the rewards of Fardh (obligatory) acts in another month and additional rewards and benefits will be gained from the reading of the optional prayer.
Some prayers that can be performed are:
a) Ishraaq (begins roughly 15 minutes after Dawn – Consists of 2 – 4 Rak’ats)
b) Duha / Chast (offered after sunrise until midday – Consists of 2 – 12 Rak’ats)
c) Awabeen (After Maghrib Salaah – Consists of 6 – 20 Rak’ats)
d) Tahajjud (offered in the last portion of the night before dawn – Consists of 2 – 12 Rak’ats)
e) Tahiyyatul Masjid / Tahiyyatul Wudhu (when entering the Masjid / after performing Wudhu – Consists of 2 Rak’ats)
f) Salaat-ut Tasbeeh (anytime – Recommended once daily or at least once in a lifetime – Consists of 4 Rak’ats)
g) Salaat-ut Tawbah (anytime – Performed with the intention of seeking forgiveness from Allah – Consists of 2 Rak’ats)
h) Salaat-us Shukr (anytime – Performed with the intention of thanking Allah)
i) General Nafl (optional) prayers can be performed also.
14. Praying the Qur’an.
وَكَانَ جِبْرِيْلُ يَلْقَاهُ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ فَيُدَارِسُهُ القُرْآنَ
And Jibreel عليه السلام would meet him (the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم) every night in the month of Ramadhan and rehearse with him صلي الله عليه و سلم the Holy Qur’an
The Holy Qur’an has an immense connection with the month of Ramadhan; it was in this month that the Qur’an was revealed and it was in this month the angel Jibreel عليه السلام would come to rehearse the Qur’an with our beloved Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم the most.
In this month one should make an effort to recite the Qur’an daily as much as possible. In actual fact, one should reduce his other forms of optional worship to accommodate the recitation of the Qur’an if he has limited time. It is also vital to recite the Qur’an correctly and accurately without making mistakes or reading too fast.
If one is able to then he should complete the Qur’an by recitation in this month and make an effort to hear the entire Qur’an in the Taraweeh prayers.
15. Excellence of Durood / Salaah Alan Nabi.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
Indeed Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet (Muhammad صلي الله عليه و سلم). O you who believe! (Ask Allah to) send blessings upon him (صلي الله عليه و سلم) and (ask Allah to) send salutations upon him (صلي الله عليه و سلم).
The act of sending blessings on the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم is an act that carries endless rewards and merits whilst its benefits are infinite and cannot be encompassed. A person who sends blessings on the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم is blessed ten times in return and it is through sending constant blessings on the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم will one receive his intercession and favours on the Day of Judgment.
One should never fall short on sending blessings upon the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم during any month of the year. However, it is vital that this act of worship is increased in the month of Ramadhan so that one can reap the benefits contained within its recitation as well as seek the mercy of Allah and His Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم in both worlds.
اللهُمَّ صَلِّيْ وَسَلِّمْ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ كُلَّمَا ذَكَرَهُ الذَّاكِرُوْنَ َ و صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّم كُلَّمَا غَفَلَ عَنْ ذِكْرِهِ الْغَافِلُوْنَ
O Allah, send blessings and salutations upon our Beloved Prophet Muhammad صلي الله عليه و سلم the amount of every person that remembers (to send salutations upon) him; and send blessing and salutations upon him صلي الله عليه و سلم the amount of every person who is ignorant of sending blessings upon him صلي الله عليه و سلم.
May Allah give us all the inclination to perform these acts, those that follow and many more during this blessed month of Ramadhan and thereafter also. Aameen.