Before the beginning of Ramadan, my children made Ramadan cards for friends and family. I asked them to make their best card yet for ‘the most special person. They eagerly asked ‘who’ that person was, and I told them the most special person is “yourself”! They had to write a ‘letter’ to themselves with three things they wish to become by the end of the month. I also did this task myself, as I firmly believe that change happens in the presence of deep self-reflection, not from any external factors.
Ramadan is not over: in fact the best is yet to come. Although it’s hard to believe that the last 10 days of Ramadan are already here, I’ve been hearing many say “Ramadan ‘flew’ by!” and every year it seems to pass by faster than the previous one. This is the reality of our time on earth as well. It will ‘fly’ by until the unexpected day of our ‘departure’ to eternity comes. On our final day, we will feel like we lived in this dunya for a couple of hours. We must therefore take the last days of Ramadan very seriously: a night in these last ten days is better than a thousand months – that’s equivalent to 83 years – more than the average of a person’s lifetime! Who would let such a night just pass by like every other night?! Who can afford it? Not you or I.
So here are 10 personal reminders I’d like to share with you for these special last 10 days:
1. Motto for the Countdown
“The Night of Power is better than a thousand months”. [Qur’an: Chapter 97, Verse 3]
This is a verse we must live by until Eid. Remember this verse every time you feel sleepy to get up and pray qiyam (voluntary night prayer), or when you feel too tired to recite Qur’an, or when you are too busy to make dua. Step up and challenge yourself; make everything else in your life ‘items on hold’. Refocus, pull your sleeves up, pack away your comfortable blankets and temporarily turn off your digital world. Aim for the highest of all aims: to worship your Creator like you never did before! Make this goal your only option and beautify it with a pure intention.
2. Know the Deal and Seal It
Imagine how you would feel when the worries that keep you up at night are finally resolved: the illnesses cured, the children well-disciplined, the spouse transformed, abundance of sustenance in all forms delivered, that specific sin forgiven, inner peace established, exams passed with excellence, goals achieved, guidance from the Lord given, victory for the Ummah witnessed. If you name it you get it. That’s the deal offered to those who ‘ask’ their Generous Lord on Laylatul Qadr. Ask for whatever you want with certainty that Allah answers everything. Suffice is this verse as a reminder – a Promise by Allah – in the Qur’an:
“Call upon me, and I will respond to you.” [Qur’an: Chapter 40, Verse 60]
Just ‘call’ Him and say ‘Ya Allah’ and He WILL respond!
3. The Special Dua for the Night of Power
There are differing reports in regards to when exactly Laylatul Qadr is. But what we are certain is that it falls in the last 10 days of Ramadan according to authentic ahadith. So look out for this night every single night of the last 10 days and make this dua whenever possible:
Allahuma iinaka ‘afuwwun tuhibul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee (O Allah, you are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me) [Tirmidhi]
This is the dua that the Prophet taught our mother Aisha to say if she witnesses this night.
4. Make Smart Investments
Invest in the best three hours of the day by leveraging worship in these times as recommended by the prophet :
- The hour before Maghrib (before the sun sets)
- The hour before Fajr (before dawn – the last third of the night specifically)
- The hour after Fajr until sunrise
5. Self-Checks Lead to Taqwa
We fast so that we can attain and increase our taqwa (consciousness of Allah), according to the verses on fasting mentioned in the Qur’an. Intensify whatever you do in Ramadan to increase your taqwa. The key for this is watching your thoughts and words. Calm yourself down as soon as you feel your temper rising. Stop your tongue as soon as an evil thought seeks to become an evil word. Do not complain about those mundane little things. Purify your soul through constant dhikr.
6. Plan for the Year Ahead
Why wait until New Year’s Eve to set your goals? Nothing is special about the New Year, except the year change and fireworks. Set the goals you wish to accomplish before next Ramadan now – everything is special about this time! Imagine if you set goals with good intentions on the Night of Power when angels are filling the heavens and earth!
7. Hunt for the Good
Be ready to catch a good deed before anyone else does. Competition for good is encouraged in our deen (religion). Read that extra page from the Qur’an, make dhikr as much as you can, say Bismillah before any activity, help someone with their work or send a friend a dua message. All of these may seem minor as they consume little time, but nothing goes unnoticed by Allah , especially in the last days of Ramadan where the reward of every good deed is multiplied manifold.
8. Aim for a Sin-Free ‘You’ on Eid
YOU can be the one whom the Prophet described as having all their previous sins wiped out!
“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.” [An Nasa’i]
What more motivation do we need Subhan Allah!? May Allah make me and you one of these people, Ameen! A better question to ask ourselves is: what is holding us back? Stand in prayer for as long as you can. We have all stood for long periods of time preparing meals for guests, shopping for hours, or playing sports until our bodies ache. So why not do it this time for the sake of Allah ? Make your prayers longer, deeper and more meaningful. Remember: you may never, ever get this chance again.
9. Do a Special Secret Deed
Last Ramadan, I was heading home just before Iftar when I saw a Muslim lady walking with a big bag. She suddenly went under a small a bridge and since I was curious to see what she was doing, I slowed down. To my surprise, around 5-6 stray cats came out of nowhere when they saw her and she sat down and fed them from containers she had packed in her bag. I will never forget that scene. One of my favourite duas is asking Allah to grant me the ability to perform a unique deed that gets me closer to Him without anyone knowing what that deed is. A lot of what we do is seen by others, doing things that only Allah knows about is special in so many ways. Try to do at least 1-3 kinds of secret good deeds in these last 10 days that are just between you and Allah .
10. Remember the Ummah
The Muslim Ummah is witnessing one of the most difficult periods in our history. The unrest and suffering present as we speak is paramount. Please do not get up from sujood in every prayer unless you make heartfelt duas for the less fortunate and our brothers and sisters – both in Islam and in humanity – who are living under injustice, war, ignorance and poverty. We are all responsible and this is the least we can do; not doing it simply means we don’t care. I urge you to make this an essential act you place upon yourself especially in these last blessed days, in the hope that a sincere dua from you may be the one dua that changes our condition.
Nine Ramadans was the number of Ramadans the Prophet Muhammad fasted in his lifetime. We don’t know how many we will witness. The Ramadan 30-day ‘marathon’ is nearing its end and the finish line determines the winners. May Allah make us all among the winners and accept our fasts and prayers and guarantee us all entry into Jannat Al Firdous; Ameen!
About the Author:
Dalya Ayoub has a BA in political science, is a life coach and is currently completing her Masters in Islamic studies. Dalya hopes to see the glorious revival of the Ummah in her lifetime. She is married and has three young children and lives in Sydney, Australia. Dalya shares her thoughts and personal development ideas from an Islamic perspective on her facebook page, Life Matters.