Many of us struggle to make time in our schedules for maximum worship in Ramadan. Being busy with work and family can leave a person feeling disappointed for not finding enough time to develop spiritually. We may feel like we are not taking advantage of this blessed month, simply because of being overwhelmed with our day to day activities.
However, there are many easy and simple acts that we can do throughout the day, even at work, that will allow us to reap major rewards no matter how busy we are. Instead of feeling upset over lack of time, following precious Sunnah acts taught by the Prophet will bring you barakah, allow you to gain major rewards this Ramadan, as well as, boost your spirituality and overall performance.
So, here are 12 super Sunnahs that you can do even if you’re busy.
1. Renewing your intention daily
There are two major hadiths that we need to be reminded of here. First, the beloved Prophet said:
“(Allah said), ‘every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’ Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Also, the Prophet says:
“He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with faith while seeking its reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
So, by looking at the first hadith, remember that in your long hours of fasting, you are engaged in worship for the sake of Allah . So, be filled with gratitude that He enabled you to witness this month and do this major act of worship for His sake. Those long hours of fasting are hours of devotion, gratitude and spirituality. If you’re busy or at work or serving your family during those hours, this actually brings you even more rewards- if you remain steadfast for the sake of Allah .
So renew your intentions daily. Remember that fasting is an act that can omit your past sins, as well as bring you special major rewards from Allah . Do not take your fasting for granted.
Additionally, the state of mindfulness of the intentions behind actions is the essence of taqwa (God-consciousness) which we are supposed to develop in Ramadan. Taqwa is one of the most essential qualities that Allah wants us to develop, and if you take steps to increase taqwa in Ramadan, then this will be a great step towards your overall development as a human being. So make sure to remain conscious and renew your intentions. You will get the rewards of what you intended, so make your intentions sincere and beautiful, as the Prophet says:
“Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended.” [Sahih al Bukhari]
2. Making dua for others
The prophet said,
“When a Muslim supplicates for his absent brother the angels say: Ameen, and may you receive the like.” [Abu Dawud]
For those with busy schedules, you may find that you are unable to spend time with friends and loved ones. So, whenever you remember any person you love – or even those you’re in disagreement with- make sure you make dua (supplication) for them. Be generous in what you ask for because the angels will make the same dua for you!
Making dua for loved ones is easy, yet a major gift that we can grant them; and making dua for people we’re in disagreement with helps soften our hearts towards them and melts down any ill feelings we have. This is a beautiful way to gain spiritual peace, serenity and aim for a sound heart.
So whenever you’re at work, at home or on your commute, remember the people in your life, and make dua for them.
3. Getting the blessing of eating suhoor
The prophet said, “Take suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.” [An nasai]
Many people miss the suhoor meal because it can be difficult to wake up before dawn and eat. However, this time and this meal have many benefits. If you wake up in this blessed time, you can make dua, pray a few units of prayer and/or make istighfar. This is an optimal time for worship, and you’re not busy at this time. This blessed time can give you energy and nourish you spiritually and give you peace ahead of your busy, hectic working day.
Also, when you intend to eat the suhoor meal, you’re actually in a state of obedience to Allah and His Messenger because it is following the Sunnah of the Prophet . Not only that, it allows you to have energy throughout the day to enable you to maximize your productivity and focus. So, opt for healthy options, you can also opt for dates because it is also sunnah and has many nutritional benefits.
Narrated Abu Hurairah:
The Prophet as saying: “How good is the believers meal of dates shortly before dawn.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
4. Feeding people
One of the highly rewarded and most recommended acts by the Prophet is feeding people. The verses and hadiths that encourage feeding people are plenty.
For example, the Messenger said:
“Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for him is the same reward as his (the fasting person’s), without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person.” [At Tirmidhi]
And in another hadith, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:
A man asked Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), “Which act in Islam is the best?” He (ﷺ) replied, “To feed (the poor and the needy) and to greet those whom you know and those you do not know.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
This is a beautiful sunnah to follow. It is an act of worship wherein by serving others, you get nourished. It increases humility and selflessness and softens one’s heart.
It could be done in a variety of ways. You can prepare the food yourself, or buy it or donate the money to someone who is engaged in projects of feeding those in need. By doing so, you also follow this verse:
“And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, [Saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude.” [Qur’an, Chapter 76: 8-9]
So, plan to feed people, especially those in need, this Ramadan. The fulfillment of seeing others in need eating from what you cooked or bought will increase you in gratitude to Allah and enrich your own soul.
5. Engaging in dhikr & tasbeeh
One of the most highly rewarding acts one can do is to engage in the remembrance of Allah . Even though it’s effortless, but it shows sincerity, mindfulness and desire to remain in connection with Allah .
The reward of this act is major, Abu Ad-Darda [may Allah be pleased with him] narrated that:
The Prophet said: “Should I not inform you of the best of your deed, and the purest of them with your Master, and the highest of them in your ranks, and what is better for you than spending gold and silver, and better for you than meeting your enemy and striking their necks, and they strike your necks?” They said: “Of course.” He said, “The remembrance of Allah [Most High].” [Then] Mu’adh bin Jabal [may Allah be pleased with him] said: “There is nothing that brings more salvation from the punishment of Allah than the remembrance of Allah.” [At-Tirmidhi]
So, while working or commuting, you can easily make dhikr, and remember that even though in normal days the reward of this act is big, it is even bigger in Ramadan.
“A Tasbeehah in Ramadan is better than a thousand Tasbeehah in other that it.” [At Tirmidhi]
6. Setting a realistic Qur’an memorization target
Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an. It is the month when the Qur’an was sent down. Not progressing with our Qur’an relationship during this month might leave us feeling at loss by the end of the month.
So, plan realistically, but remember Allah’s generosity and help. Don’t overwhelm yourself, but also don’t give up entirely. Set a realistic target for reading as well as memorizing something of the Qur’an this Ramadan.
It could be a few verses only that you memorize, understand and apply, it could be a page or a Surah.
Seek Allah’s Help, and add something to your heart from the Book of Allah this month. This will make you feel more accomplished by the end of the month.
The Prophet and his companions used to engage with Qur’an like no other time during this month. So, make this month’s relationship with the Qur’an special too.
7. Treating parents beautifully
Regardless of where you’re at in your relationship with your parents, try to make it better this month. If you are in disagreement with them for any reason, try your best to reconnect with them. If you are already connected, try to beautify and perfect your treatment and manners.
Abu Huraira reported that a person came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said:
Who among the people is most deserving of a fine treatment from my hand? He said: Your mother. He again said: Then who (is the next one)? He said: Again it is your mother (who deserves the best treatment from you). He said: Then who (is the next one)? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Again, it is your mother. He (again) said: Then who? Thereupon he said: Then it is your father. [Sahih Muslim]
Being dutiful to parents is a major act of excellence instructed by Allah and His Messenger and it is majorly rewarded as well.
The Messenger of Allah said,
“A parent is the best of the gates of Jannah; so if you wish, take advantage of that gate, or lose it.”[At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah].
So, again, regardless of where we’re at, we can try to do a bit more this month. Maybe by visiting, calling, gifting, helping…etc., there are plenty of ways. Seek Allah’s Help for direction and inspiration, and do as much as you can.
8. Praying the night prayer
Standing up to pray at night for the sake of Allah while sacrificing your comfort and/or sleep, is an act of devotion and major spiritual fulfillment.
Abu Hurairah narrated that The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Whoever prays during the night in Ramadan out of sincere faith and seeking its reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” [Agreed upon]
If you are able to join a congregational night prayer in the masjid, do that. If for some reason you are incapable of doing that, then you still don’t have to waste the opportunity. Pray wherever you are or at home.
The night prayer could be done any time after the Isha prayer. You can do it right after the Isha prayer, or you can pray Isha, sleep then wake up for the night prayer, or you can pray when you wake up before dawn, in the last third of the night. All of this counts as night prayer. So, there is plenty of time.
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: If anyone prays at night reciting regularly ten verses, he will not be recorded among the negligent; if anyone prays at night and recites a hundred verses, he will be recorded among those who are obedient to Allah; and if anyone prays at night reciting one thousand verses, he will be recorded among those who receive huge rewards. [Sunan Abi Dawud]
If you’re a busy mother, don’t think that if you don’t join the prayer in the mosque that you miss the rewards. On the contrary, your prayer at home could be even more rewarded than praying in the mosque. The Prophet did not forbid women from praying in the mosque, but he also didn’t burden or obligate them to go, and informed that a woman’s prayer at home is heavily rewarded.
Ibn ‘Umar reported the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying; “Do not prevent your women from visiting the mosque, but their houses are better for them (for praying).” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
So, in all conditions, make sure you pray the night prayers regularly this Ramadan. You can do as much as you can in light of your circumstances, and in everything we do, there is khair (goodness and rewards) as long as we are sincere and putting due effort.
9. Mastering your anger
Ramadan is an opportunity to practice more God-consciousness, and this should lead to more self-mastery or self-control.
The Prophet taught us:
“Fasting is a protection for you, so when you are fasting, do not behave obscenely or foolishly, and if anyone argues with you or abuses you, say, ‘I am fasting. I am fasting.’ “[Muwatta Malik]
Whenever you’re put in a situation that forces you to be angry or upset or inclined to quarrel, utilize this opportunity instead to calm yourself down and practice discipline. The reward for practicing discipline is far greater and more lasting and more fulfilling in this life and the next.
10. Giving charity
This is a very beautiful and powerful hadith about the Prophet’s manners and acts in Ramadan.
Narrated Ibn `Abbas:
The Prophet (ﷺ) was the most generous of all the people and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) then used to be more generous than the fast wind. [Sahih Al Bukhari]
So, seek every opportunity to increase in charity in Ramadan. There are plenty of online and offline opportunities.
You can also watch our webinar on how to start becoming more socially active this Ramadan.
11. Doing Hajj & Umrah every week!
No, we don’t mean actually traveling to do Umrah or Hajj, we mean the act mentioned in the following hadith.
Anas bin Malik narrated that:
The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever prays Fajr in the congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun has risen, then he prays two Rak’ah, then for him is the reward like that of a Hajj and Umrah.” [Da’if. Jami` at-Tirmidhi]
Disclaimer: scholars have differed regarding the authenticity of this hadith; some found it weak and others ‘hassan’ (good). But, as long as it’s not a matter of belief or creed, we can follow virtuous acts, and hope for rewards from Allah .
This act of praying Fajr, then remaining in the same place to remember Allah until sunrise, then praying two units of prayer is no doubt a virtuous act that Allah will reward for. It is also good because if you are busy during the week, you can aim to do this once every weekend, for example, when you don’t have work the next day.
12. Smiling & forgiving
These are two simple but powerful acts.
For some reason, some of us look or act grumpy when we’re fasting.
Fasting should make us humble, peaceful, and easy going, not moody or angry. One way to remind oneself of that is to consciously put a smile on your face when you meet other. It is great when people associate your fasting days with your easy going and optimistic nature, and it is sunnah for us to do so.
The Messenger said:
“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity…” [At Tirmidhi]
Last, but definitely not least, forgive those who wronged you!
This hadith is very motivating:
Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Sadaqah does not decrease property and Allah increases the honor of him who forgives and no one will humble himself for Allah’s sake except that Allah raises his status.” [Related by Muslim]
Imagine that by forgiving, you are increasing in honor, not just in the sight of people, but in the sight of Allah !
Also, one of the recommended dua to make in Laylatul Qadr is this, ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:
I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He (ﷺ) replied, “You should supplicate: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).”[At-Tirmidhi]
So imagine in laylatul qadr you’re asking Allah to forgive you, while you are holding grudges against someone else and refusing to forgive him/her!
Ramadan is major door and major opportunity to reconcile relationships and forgive others for the sake of Allah and in hopes of His own forgiveness for our countless mistakes and shortcomings. As Allah says:
“…and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Qur’an: Chapter 24, Verse 22]
So, let this month increase you in strength spiritually, personally and socially by increasing in spiritual acts and also making real changes in one’s relationship with others. This is how we can have a transformational Ramadan, insha’Allah.
What other sunnahs are you practicing this Ramadan and how are they boosting your spiritual, social and personal productivity? Let us know in the comments.