Believe it or not, almost two-thirds of the month of Ramadan has already gone. It seems like yesterday when we were all preparing for this month, and now, it will soon leave us. It is important to make the best of the whole month, but if you feel like you haven’t done enough, there’s still hope as Allah is incredibly Merciful. The last 10 days of Ramadan are here, and have an extra layer of importance because Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree) is in one of those nights. This is the time to start making better plans for the remaining days of Ramadan to maximize the rewards, in sha Allah. Here are seven tips on how to ensure we receive rewards on a night where worship is like that done for 83 years, as Allah says,
The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. [Qur’an: Chapter 97, Verse 3]
So, what are the best ways to maximise these blessed nights?
1. Purify your intentions
The Messenger of Allah said,
“The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended…” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Since actions are judged by the intentions, the first step to doing anything is to make sure the intentions are pure. Getting the rewards of good deeds that we do depend on the reasons for doing them. Ask Allah to make this month beneficial for you (and others), and make sure you do everything good only for His sake. Do not forget to ask Allah to help you be of those who are successful in catching Laylatul Qadr in the best of ways. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a night that is better than a thousand months.
2. Better your five daily prayers
“… And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined (obligatory) upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him…” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Often time, people focus more on the voluntary acts of worship during Ramadan and pay less attention to the faraa’idh (obligatory) ones. This is a grave mistake because, no matter the month, the faraa’idh are superior to voluntary worship, and we get closer to Allah first through the faraa’idh. So, don’t miss your five daily prayers to stand all night in tahajjud. Pray on time, increase your khushu (concentration) in salah, and slowly add more voluntary rak’ah (units of prayers).
3. Increase your connection with the Qur’an
The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion… [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 185]
Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an, and because rewards are multiplied during this month, it is the perfect time to practice having a stronger relationship with the Qur’an. Reading the Qur’an isn’t just limited to the month of Ramadan, but Ramadan is when good deeds are done abundantly. This doesn’t mean that you should be in a race to finish the entire Qur’an without taking the time to reflect. If your goal was to finish reading the Qur’an, keep it up, but leave some time for reflection. If you don’t fully understand the meaning of the verses, read the translation, and even better, the tafsir. You don’t have to do that for the entire Qur’an. The words of Allah are so deep and magnificent that one or few verses would be enough to reflect on the whole night.
4. Repent and stay away from ill speech
“And he who repents and does righteousness does indeed turn to Allah with [accepted] repentance. And [they are] those who do not testify to falsehood, and when they pass near ill speech, they pass by with dignity.” [Qur’an: Chapter 25, Verses 71-72]
Like everything else, this isn’t limited to the last 10 days of Ramadan, but it is especially important in maximizing the rewards now. We all sin and make mistakes, but the best of sinners are those who repent sincerely after committing a sin. If you are a person who usually finds it difficult to control his/her speech, try staying away from idle talk or speech that have little to no benefits. Keep yourself busy by always doing something productive. Listen to the Qur’an while you’re cooking/cleaning, listen to a lecture about important reminders or something inspirational, learn something new, and/or read beneficial books that remind you of Allah . If someone angers you, strive to ignore it. It’s easier said than done, but the key here is ‘strive.’
5. Make lots of dua and dhikr
And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So, let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided. [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 186]
Du’a is the strongest weapon of a believer, so use it; especially this month. If you must, write down everything you wanted to ask Allah to avoid forgetting any of it. Allah is the One who loves answering the du’a of His servants, so don’t shy away from asking whatever you want. Make du’a for yourself, your family, and everyone else. You can be as specific or general as you want. Pour all your emotions out while asking Allah , cry, and be sincere. But as you do so, remember to strive to avoid that which is haram and work on pleasing Allah by obeying Him. Also, remember and mention Allah throughout the day and night; whenever possible. Salah is not the only way to remember Allah . Dhikr can be in the form of being grateful and thanking Him, glorifying Him, or pondering on His Words.
Even looking at the creation of Allah in amazement and saying “Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah)” or “Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest)” is a form of dhikr, as Allah says,
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” [Qur’an: Chapter 13, Verse 28]
6. Pray Night Prayers
If you’re able to go for taraweeh at the masjid, do so. If you are a mother like me with younger children and find that you focus better at home, then feel free to pray at home with as little distraction as possible, when the kids are asleep. Do whatever works best for you! Don’t let all your focus be on praying as many rak’ah as possible. Leave room for concentration. When it comes to salah, quality is definitely better than quantity. If possible, you can even stay in i’tikaf at the masjid by focusing all your time and energy on worship and staying away from unnecessary worldly talks. If you’re interested in doing this, consider learning the fiqh rulings by asking people of knowledge with evidence to make sure you’re doing it right.
7. Give charity
“O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned and from that which We have produced for you from the earth. And do not aim toward the defective therefrom…” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 267]
Give as much charity as you can; for the sake of Allah . Don’t look at it as you helping others, see it as you doing yourself a very big favor because that’s exactly what it is. You don’t have to be rich to give charity, and it doesn’t have to be in the form of money. It can be feeding someone, helping, and/or giving away something dear to you. Charity is not giving away your unwanted and destroyed belongings, so be sincere and give the best of what you can. If you are unable to give anything, just be kind to other and help in whatever way you can, in sha Allah. These are only some tips, encouragement, and reminders for myself as well as for you. I’m sure there are many other ways and even better ways to maximize the rewards of the remaining of the month of Ramadan. Since a believer is a mirror to another believer, we should share whatever reminder (however little the knowledge is) we have, while trying to benefit from it ourselves, in sha Allah.
May Allah make us all successful and finish Ramadan forgiven, and in the best and highest state of emaan, ameen!
What do you suggest to maximize ibadah and rewards during the last 10 days of Ramadan? Share with us in the comments to benefit others.