The Last 10 Days of Ramadan The Final Stretch -Fahmida Mehreen
Ramadan is a blessed month for all Muslims. It is that time of the year when every act of goodness is rewarded in multiple times, sins are forgiven and prayers to escape the punishment after death and the wrath of the hellfire is accepted. The month does not only comprise of Muslims abstaining from food and drink from dawn to dusk, but also aims to purify the souls and inner conscience of each individual observing this month. As quoted in Sahih Al Bukhari 2014, Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Whoever fasted the month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stood for the prayers in the night of Qadr out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all of his previous sins will be forgiven.”
The month of Ramadan is divided into three parts. The first days 10 days are the days of mercy from Allah (Rahma), the second 10 days are the days of forgiveness of Allah (Magfirah) and the last 10 days are the days of seeking protection from the hellfire (Nijat). Additionally, the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr) falls within the last 10 days of Ramadan, increasing the magnificence of this time. In Holy Quran, it clearly states, “Verily! We have sent it (this Quran) down in the night of Al-Qadr. (Al Quran; 97:1)
Hence, in order to make the best out of this precious time a proper plan should be made in advance so that one may keep up with the everyday tasks and responsibilities while keeping the fasts, as well as get enough time devoted for the purpose of Allah. Just like any project we have done at schools and universities and continue to do at workplaces, this noteworthy mission calls for an elaborate preparation.
For a start, think of this time as a break taken for Allah. We all need breaks in our lives from our daily errands like going to work, managing households, taking care of families and so much more. Therefore, we go on holidays for a change and refresh our mind and souls. This time, consider taking a holiday for Allah to thank Him and worship Him in the best of manner. Take out some time within the last 10 days and dedicate it in worshipping Allah. It may not be possible for everyone to pull out for all 10 days, but that is alright. Reserve your nights for extra prayer time. Keep work, studies, grocery list absolutely out of mind and focus in attaining Allah’s mercy and forgiveness through earnest prayers. Indeed, Allah loves nothing more than the call of a devoted servant.
Another common practice which is seen particularly during the last 10 days of Ramadan is I’tikaf. It is the act of staying in the masque and performing zikhr (remembrance) of Allah, praying additional non-obligatory salah and reciting and studying the Quran. During this time, people stay at the mosque except in case of any emergencies, and do not leave until they wrap up their I’tikaf session. The administration of the mosques usually takes part in taking care of people in I’tikaf. Women interested to sit for I’tikaf can do at the comfort of their home. They need to find a quiet, secluded corner of their house where they will not be disturbed and perform the acts of I’tikaf. Some people tend to plan I’tikaf for a longer duration, like all throughout the last 10 days of Ramadan, while others choose to do it for a shorter period of time like one to three days.
During this time, there are several supplications (Dua) which are advised to be recited, the most powerful of which is, “O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.’ ”(Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi). Recite this supplication as much as possible. It is not necessary that you recite this by wearing proper attire ideally put on during salah or sit on the prayer mat to recite it. You can recite it, softly and silently, even while working around the house. While preparing Iftar or folding the laundered clothes, keep reciting it. But, without practise this may not happen overnight. So, start doing it before Ramadan. Instead of keeping the TV turned on while working, make a habit of reciting Dua. This will definitely come in use in Ramadan.
Since the Holy Quran was revealed in this month, it is glorifying to read, understand and reflect upon the sayings of the holy book during this month. While searching for the Night of Decree, recite the Quran and concentrate on understanding its meaning. If you can manage to implement even one take-away from Quran during the Ramadan, imagine the immensity of the reward that will be added to your book of deeds!
The target should be to wipe out sins. Thus, as Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that the Messenger (PHUB) said: Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven. (Bukhari and Muslim). Do not constrict your prayers within the obligatory and Sunnah prayers only which we usually tend to pray throughout the year. Go an extra mile and make as much non-obligatory (nafl) salah as possible. Take short breaks in between to hydrate yourself and revitalize your concertation. Moreover, make an attempt to learn new Surah which you can add in your salah. This will help to keep focus while praying and not get distracted or fidgety as when reciting something thoroughly memorized. If you understand the meaning of the Surah that you already know or have recently learnt, try to reflect upon it during salah.
There are so many things that our heart desires for. Ramadan is the ideal time to place the application before Allah. Make a personal list of Dua. Recite them after each prayer, especially during the nighttime prayers. Pour out your heart before the Majesty and keep your faith that Allah is All-Knowing and the Best of Planner. He will bestow upon you that which is best at the right time. While making Dua, think of the actions that you have done to attain Allah’s mercy. Try to extend it so that it only pleases Allah more.
Amidst everything, evaluate yourself. Try to identify where you stand and where you want to reach. Remember and realize the past mistakes in repentance. Ask for Allah’s guidance so that the same wrongs are not repeated and you are forgiven by the Most Merciful. Let this evaluation bring a feeling of joy and calm for all the good deeds that we have done and remorse for the bad ones. This should help us blot out the black from our hearts and sanctify it.
These are some of the fundamental activities that one should plan to execute during the last 10 days and nights of Ramadan. In addition to these, there are many other activities that will bring in good tidings during this time. Take your family out on Taraweeh and engage them in Allah’s remembrance too. Finish reading a book on our prophets. Regardless of what you do, prioritize Allah. Remember, this is the time when Allah is willing to hear you out, and this may be any of our last chance to call Him. Next time is never a promise. So, if you have gotten this Ramadan, believe yourself to be privileged and make the intention of getting the best harvest. May Allah shower His ample mercy and upon all mankind.
Fahmida Mehreen is a young aspiring writer.