We can make the most of our time in Ramadan (in sha Allah), if we manage our time properly. Here is a checklist that will help you accumulate as many blessings in these days as possible.
Deed # 1 Waking Up
Set your alarm at least one and a half hour prior to the Fajr adhan time. When you wake up recite the following du’a:
الْحَمْدُ للهِ الَّذِي أَحْيَانَا بَعْدَ مَا أَمَاتَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ النُّشُورُ
“Praise is to Allah Who gives us life after He has caused us to die and to Him is the return.” (Al-Bukhari, cf. Al-Asqalani, Fathul-Bari 11/113; Muslim 4/2083)
الْحَمْدُ للهِ الَّذِي عَافَانِي فِي جَسَدِي، وَرَدَّ عَلَيَّ رُوحِي، وَأَذِنَ لِي بِذِكْرِهِ
“Praise is to Allah Who gave strength to my body and returned my soul to me and permitted me to remember Him.” (At-Tirmidhi 5/473. See Al-Albani’s Sahih Tirmiihi 3/144)
Deed # 2 Offer Tahajhud
Tahajhud time has a special kind of serenity and tranquility about it. It is one of the best times to make your really important du’as. Narrated Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes down every night on the nearest Heaven to us, when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” (Saheeh Bukhari, Book # 21, Hadith # 246)
Tahajhud prayer can be performed between 2 to 8 rakahs depending on one’s capability. Remember, khushu is more important than the quantity.
Deed # 3 Recite the Qur’an
After you have offered the tahajhud prayer, recite a part of the Qur’an no matter how much it is. Abu Umamah radhiAllahu ‘anhu reported that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Recite the Qur’an for indeed it will come on the Day of Judgment as an intercessor for its Ashaab (those who read, memorize and implement it).” (Saheeh Muslim).
This hadeeth indicates the virtues of reciting the Qur’an, the greatness of its reward and that it will intercede for its holders on the Day of Judgment towards their entrance into Paradise. Reflect on the ayaat, and make du’a to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to give you understanding of the Qur’an, ameen.
Deed # 4 Thikr
Thikr is the easiest and lightest form of Ibadaah yet has a lot of weight in front of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for it enables us to come closer to our Rabb. Keep your tongue moist with thikr whether you are preparing Sahoor in the kitchen or waiting for your wife/mom to set the Sahoor for you.
Deed # 5 Eat Sahoor, It’s a Sunnah!
Never miss Sahoor, not only is it a Sunnah because it is also going to keep you energized throughout the day. It is your shield against laziness and a bad mood.
Amr Ibn al-Aas reported that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “The distinguishing feature between our fast and the fast of the People of the Book is in the eating at the time just before dawn.” (Muslim)
Deed # 6 Offer Fajr
Offer Fajr in the congregation to accumulate as many hasanahs as you can. Do not eat too much at Sahoor that it becomes difficult for you to perform Salah. After Salah, stay at the prayer rug and do athkar.
If you have not recited the Qur’an at tahajhud time, recite it now. If you have already recited, recite some more. Because our minds are relatively free and not pre-occupied Fajr is considered a good time to memorize the Qur’an. Select a few ayaat and memorize them. Practice memorization by reciting the ayaat in your Salah. This way by the end of Ramadan you will have learned some part of the Qur’an, in sha Allah.
Deed # 7 Offer Ishraq
In Ramadan, the reward for voluntary acts equals that of fard on an ordinary day. So do not waste this time in procrastination or laziness, pray instead. By the time you will be done with your athkar and Qur’an recitation, it will be Ishraq time.
According to majority of scholars of Hadeeth and Fiqh, Duha Prayer, Al-Ishraq Prayer, and Al-Awwabin Prayer are all names of the same Salah. It is a recommended prayer without any fixed number of rak`ahs; its time starts a little after sun rise (approximately twenty minutes after sunrise when the sun is visible like a ball) and extends up to the time of the declining of the sun from the meridian.
Deed # 8 Athkar
Whether you are getting ready for work or are a housewife just beginning her day, keep reciting the atkhar during the house chores. Do a lot of astaghfar.
Deed # 9 Attend a Qur’an Study Circle or Listen to a Lecture
After you are done with house chores, don’t sit in front of the television watching soap operas and morning shows rather utilize this opportunity to get connected to the Qur’an. Attend a Qur’an study circle [dawrah Qur’an]. Always make du’a after studying the Qur’an because it has a high chance of being accepted.
If you cannot attend a study circle, designate time to listen to at least one Islamic lecture every day. There are alhumdulillah many scholars out there sharing their knowledge with us, take benefit of these resources.
Deed # 10 Offer Du’hr at Its Appointed Time
Do not wait for the adhan to go on till you shut down whatever you are doing rather prepare for the Salah. This is going to be a big help in terms of khushu. Preparing in advance helps us get rid of distractions as well as saves time. Perform ablution before the adhan.
Deed # 11 Read Masnoon Du’as
Read the authentic du’as made by the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from a du’a book. duas.com is a great resource to find them. Try reading each du’a in Arabic at least thrice. This will help you in memorizing the du’a without depending on the text again. Always recite along with the meaning as it strengthens spirituality.
Deed # 12 Do Astaghfar
Now whether you are driving back home from work or already home keep doing astaghfar as it wipes off sins. Think about the reality of life, akhirah, etc.
Deed # 13 Power Nap
Take a 30 minutes power nap after Du’hr prayer as it will give you energy to stay awake and energized during qiyam ul layl (Taraweeh prayer).
Deed # 14 Recite the Qur’an
Wake up, take shower or perform ablution and recite the Qur’an. This time study its tafseer as well. If you could not attend the Qur’an Study Circle in the morning this is a good time to attend it. You can also listen to a lecture that charges up your emaan.
Deed # 15 Offer Asr
Offer Asr Salah at its time, recite the next 10 – 15 masnoon du’as. Help your family with iftaar meal. While you may love to eat a lot of goodies after a long day of fasting, let’s remember Ramadan is not a month of feasting. The best strategy to prevent our minds from being occupied with food is remembering our siblings in Islam going through a tough time today. Our siblings around the world who are oppressed; whose bread earners are being mercilessly killed and their children massacred. Make a lot of du’a for them.
This iftaar instead of inviting your well-to-do relatives for iftaar or hanging out with friends at all-you-can-eat deals invite your maid’s family over. Give a chance to someone underprivileged to eat a decent meal. The food that you feed them will give them the energy to stand in prayer and also be a source of mercy for you from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
If you can’t invite them to your house send them some nutritious home cooked food.
Deed # 16 Du’a List
A little before iftaar take out your du’a list and pour out your heart to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas related that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Indeed the fasting person has at the time of breaking fast, a supplication which is not rejected.”
Deed # 17 Break Your Fast with a Light Meal
Start iftaar with dates, water, and some fruit. Offer Maghraib Salah at its time then return to eat a proper meal that is both nutritious and healthy. Your stomach may look like a sac but actually, it’s not. Don’t fill it too much. The only purpose of eating food is to derive energy and nutrition from it do not be tempted to over eat. Keep the meal simple and nutritious.
Deed # 18 Family Time
During the day everyone has been busy collecting their hasanahs and attending to their respective responsibilities. Now is a good time to sit with family and share day’s events. This is also a good time to share a hadeeth or a Qur’anic ayah that you studied at the Qur’an circle. If each member shares one ayah or a hadeeth with other imagine how much you will be learning? You can also take a pledge as a team to implement what you learn. Each member of the family will be the coach of another to encourage them to practice and to keep a check when they fail.
Deed # 19 Qiyam ul Layl
After a good family time, rush to the masjid to perform the Taraweeh prayers. Try concentrating on the words of the Qur’an. Immerse yourself in the moment. Keep a water bottle next to you to take ‘small’ sips after salaam. Do not look here and there staring at other people, focus on your prayer. You are in conversation with your Rabb, it is the most important conversation of the day.
Deed # 20 Thkir
Return home, change, set your alarm for Tahajhud time and go to bed while doing Thkir. Reflect on your day’s achievements and your shortfalls. Think about how you can improve further. Ponder upon the reality of life and fall asleep.
When your entire day is filled around Ibadaah imagine the state of emaan you will be in. In the rest of the months, we are chasing dunya and are discontent internally. During Ramadan we are chasing hasanahs.
Seeing everyone immersed in Eid-craze you may be tempted by your nafs to join the race. But think about it, Ramadan is a guest that is only here for limited days. This Ramadan you should be racing with everyone to collect hasanahs and not material goods. We can shop all that we want in any other month, but we can’t waste a moment of Ramadan.
During Ramadan think more of Allah and the Hereafter then the pomp and glitter of dunya will seem meaningless. Share this post with others and help them accumulate hasanahs.