Another month of Ramadan is upon us and Muslims prepare themselves much before the month starts to make the best of this blessed month. It is true that we try to start Ramadan with a bang but some of us lose the spark after a week or so. This is a month when the mercy of Allah showers upon us boundlessly and this mercy offers us the strength to abstain from food and water throughout the day. Ramadan gives you a chance to strengthen your relationship with Allah and come closer to Allah (SWT). There will be times when we feel a disconnection with Him whether we have been born and raised in Islam or accepted this faith later in life. This disconnect is not because of Allah (SWT) but usually due to a lack of diligence on our part. Allah has given us the Quran as guidance and divine instruction so that we never stray from the right path. To strengthen and increase our Eman (Faith) in Allah (SWT) this Ramadhan, we must stick to the Quran, purify our heart and mind, and obtain Taqwa (God-consciousness).
Here is a list of things you should do during Ramadan to get closer to Allah (SWT):
1. Prepare Yourself for Ramadan and Set Goals
The key to a successful Ramadan is to plan in advance and execute it accordingly. Make a list of all the goals that you want to achieve in this sacred month and decide what steps you are going to take to accomplish it. Ensure that you are ready for Ramadan both physically and mentally. People with medical conditions should seek both medical and religious consultation before stepping up for fasting.
Make a timetable regarding all the prayers, zikir and supplications you are going to perform during the day. Those who are working during this month should make a separate schedule for working days and holidays. There are enough hours in the day to accommodate work, rest, prayers and recitation of the allocated portion of the Quran.
Read Also: Spiritual Purpose of Fasting in Ramadhan
2. Perform Obligatory Prayers and Follow the Sunnah
Gain the maximum rewards by performing not only obligatory prayers but also the ‘Mustahab’ (recommended) and ‘nafl’ (voluntary) units of prayers. There are also specific prayers in the night during Ramadan called Taraweeh or Qiyaam-ul-layl that are full of rewards and should be offered with Jamaat.
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Whoever prays Qiyaam with the Imam until he finishes, it will be recorded for him that he spent the whole night in prayer.”
A way to please Allah (SWT) is by following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Adopt his ways and work towards becoming a better Muslim to show love for the Almighty.
If you do not perform obligatory prayers regularly then it is a great time to start. Ramadan is the perfect time for a fresh beginning and commitment to start praying five times a day. If you can practice this in Ramadan, you can surely make it a habit. Many Muslims who did not pray regularly started in Ramadan and kept practicing it ever since.
3. Recite the Quran and Understand its Meaning
Ramadan is the month of the Quran, the time when Allah (SWT) revealed this holy book as guidance for the whole of mankind. We should aim to complete the entire Quran in these thirty days which could be easily done by reading a chapter in a day or splitting it up to read at Suhoor and Iftar. Also, try to understand the meaning of the Surahs you recite by reading its translation.
Those who cannot recite the Quran should start to learn it. It is your duty to recite Quran fluently and you should find someone to teach you how to do that.
Read Also: How to Prepare Yourself for Hajj?
4. Make Supplications and Ask for Forgiveness
Ramadan is the time that we should be supplicating to Allah (SWT) more than ever. Allah has promised to accept all the prayers and Dua of a believer in this sacred month.
The Prophet (PBUH) says,
“In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted.”
(Ahmad and Ibn Majah)
“Indeed there is for the fasting person, when he breaks his fast, a supplication which is not rejected”.
(Ibn Majah, al-Hakim)
Oftentimes, people struggle to find what to make Dua for. However, there should never be a shortage of reasons to put your hands up in Dua to Allah. There is enough to thank Him every day for the blessings we have and to seek His forgiveness for the sins or mistakes we commit. There is always a reason to make Dua. Allocate time to make supplications especially before Iftar and the last third part of the night, which is the best time to make Dua.
Read Also: Blessings of Performing Umrah in Ramadan
5. Give Charity to the Needy
This is one of the most important deeds in Islam that has been mentioned by the Prophet (PBUH) several times. Giving Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam and giving it in the month of Ramadan is considered even more virtuous because the rewards for good deeds are multiplied in this month.
The Prophet (PBUH) says,
“Shield yourselves from Hell-fire even by giving half a date in charity”
If you want to give Zakat then Ramadan is a great time to do so. Schools, Charities, Muslim organizations and Madrasas are always in need of funds, so this month start contributing to these organizations regularly or donate one-time large amount yearly.
Read Also: Three Ashras of Ramadan and their Importance
6. Step up for the Last Ten Days of Ramadan
Finally, step up for the last Ashra of Ramadan and seek the night of power, Laylat-ul-Qadr which is greater in reward than 1000 months of worshipping. It is a blessing on believers and we should make great efforts to increase our Ibadah on the odd number of nights during the last Ashra of Ramadan.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah [SAW] said:
“Whoever stands (in the voluntary night prayer of) Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. And whoever spends the night of Lailat Al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”
(Sunan an-Nasa’i 5027 Book 47, Hadith 43)
Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) and his companions used to commit themselves in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than any other time. Most of them also used to spend the last ten days and nights in mosque practicing ‘Itikaaf’.
Make a list of all the Dua’s that you want to ask Allah (SWT). Engage in Qiyaam, give Sadaqah and do lots of Zikir and supplications to reap the maximum benefits of this blessed night.