Some believe Ramadan is special simply because it contains a night that is greater than 1,000 months, but what makes that night so great? The truth is, during that night the qadar (decree) for the coming year is sent down from the preserved tablet. As Allah says what can be translated as: “On that night is made distinct every precise matter” [Qur’an: Chapter 44, Verse 4], and more famously: “The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter.” [Qur’an: Chapter 97, Verse 4].
Did you know that there is something you can do to change that qadar in its vulnerable state as it descends from the heavens?
And in another hadith, he said: “Dua benefits in the things that have happened as well as the things that have not happened yet. The calamity comes down, but the Dua confronts it and they may continuously wrestle until the Day of Resurrection” [Reported by Al-Hakim].
This makes the month of Ramadan and especially the last ten nights, an exceptionally powerful time to make dua [Sunan Ibn Majah].
As we aim for a remarkably productive Ramadan, In sha Allah, it makes sense for us to prepare with deliberation and careful thought the duas we will focus on throughout the month. So ask yourself: “What are the duas that will change my life in the coming year?” and be absolutely certain that Allah will answer them In sha Allah! In the rest of this article, I will share my best tips for preparing these duas.
The 8 Duas You Must Make This Ramadan
Every Ramadan for the past several years, I decide in advance which eight duas I will focus on. I pick two duas from each of the four categories listed below. Why 8? Most masjids pray 8 raka’ahs of taraweeh (at least), so I repeat only one dua consistently in each raka’ah of taraweeh (during sujood, etc.). That way, I always remember which raka’ah I am on, which helps me focus and stay alert during the late night taraweeh of these long summer days. It doesn’t need to be specifically 8 duas, though. It could be 17 — one for every raka’ah in the fardh salah — for example, but since we are talking about Ramadan (and it is easier to remember 8 than 17) let’s just stick to the 8.
There is something more important than the number, and that is the effort you put in. Imagine the dedication and consistency you are showing to Allah by making the same duas every night for 29 or 30 nights throughout each raka’ah of taraweeh! In addition, if you are indeed that consistent, you will surely catch Laylatul Qadr! You would be displaying a level of dedication that few do: showing to Allah that you are desperate for His help. How could He possibly turn you away empty-handed?
The more thought you put into this activity, the better. However, be careful not to over think it. It is possible to complete the activity in five minutes if you are pressed for time, so complete it as quickly as you can.
Note that this list of dua does not necessarily need to match the goals we discussed in the previous articles [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3], as they are goals for Ramadan. The dua list you are creating now is for your life in general.
While there is no guarantee your dua will come true, you must pray as if it will. Your dua might avert a calamity, an illness or some other difficulty that was destined for you, so in that sense your dua would still be answered and accepted without necessarily coming true. We never truly know what is best for us, but Allah certainly does — and He always delivers [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 216].
The Four Categories
1. Deen: Since Ramadan is all about taqwa and improvement, pray and beg Allah to improve you. Pick two aspects of your deen that you would like to improve and pray earnestly that Allah helps you with them. Maybe you have not done hajj or umrah yet? Make dua that you can do so before next Ramadan! Does that sound ridiculous? It is not difficult for Allah ! Want to memorize the whole Qur’an? Or part of it? It is easy for Allah . Want to shed a bad habit? Or build a new one like praying in the masjid? This is your chance to ask Allah to your heart’s content!
2. Dunya: One of the first dua we come across during taraweeh is “rabbana aatina fil dunya hasanah” or “Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good…” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 201]. Allah teaches us to pray for the life of this world. That sounds good to me. As long as I am here, I want to get as much out of it as I can! So ask for Allah’s help from the bottom of your heart. Do you need help with marriage? Job? House? Car? Health? This is the time to ask Allah without limiting His ability .
3. Akhira: The next part of that dua is “wafee al akhirati hasanah” – ” … and in the Hereafter [that which is] good …” Since our ultimate destination is the next life, we ought to dedicate part of our prayers to having an enjoyable afterlife too! Note: putting the dua in this order does not mean one is more important than the other, but you knew that. I personally like to pray for some specific aspect of Paradise and for protection from Hellfire. Do you want to sit with the Prophet in Paradise? Or maybe see and speak to your Creator ? Is there an aspect of Hellfire that you find particularly terrifying? Seek Allah’s protection from it.
4. Others: Ramadan is not a time to be selfish. This is why Allah requires us to give zakat al-fitr and helps us unite our community during taraweeh and Eid. So when you are planning your dua for Ramadan, it is critical you remember others. There are so many causes, so many people going through difficulty: Make a conscious effort to keep their plight on your mind. Think of your family and friends, the community and our ummah at large. By praying for them, we will also get the added blessings of having the angels say ‘ameen’ to those duas and praying for us as well. [Sunan Abi Dawud]
With so much to pray for, how do you possibly select only two duas per category? Again, try to make your list as simple and comprehensive as possible. And remember, you can always make more duas outside this list!
- Write down your 8 duas on this worksheet along with your Ramadan goals and keep them in your pocket or wallet at all times.
- If you are the digital type, put them in your note-taking app or create an image of both lists and put the image as the background for your smart phone and computer’s desktop as a consistent reminder.
- Refer to this document/image every day, especially between taraweeh prayers.
Now, please share with us your thoughts on this action plan, and what dua you recommend for your brothers and sisters.
This article was originally published on Jun 9, 2014