Written by Azmia Ricchuito
Before Ramadan came, I was super hyped about how I would make this year so much better than last year. I set goals. I got a special planner just for Ramadan. I cleaned house from top to bottom, and tried to automate as much of my workload as possible so I could free myself up for worship.
But we plan, and Allah plans, and Allah is the best of planners...and virtually nothing went according to my plan.
First, there was a pressing personal issue that sent my world into a complete and total tailspin, and led me into one of the darkest times of my life. I fell into a depression, and even getting up to pray was a struggle, let alone reading Quran or any other acts of worship. There were some days that the only time I got up was to shower and pray.
Then came medical issues, which made fasting impossible for a few days, due to my medication.
Needless to say, the majority of my Ramadan thus far was spent guiltily thinking about how about I should be doing more, and doing better.
At one point, I found myself in tears during sujood, begging Allah to accept what little I had to give, and apologizing that it wasn't "enough." Then I remembered that Allah rewards patience, and that I needed to be patient with myself. Allah rewards struggle, and what I gave, although it was far less than what I wanted, it was everything I had in me at the time.
I remembered the hadith from the Prophet, narrated by Aisha, where he said, "Verily the one who recites the Qur'an beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have TWICE that reward."
Ramadan is almost over now; we're in the last ten nights. But it ain't over til it's over, and it's not too late to make the most of this blessed month. The Prophet used to exert himself during the last ten nights of Ramadan, "...to a greater extent than at any other time." (Sahih Muslim)
The last ten nights of Ramadan hold in them the most blessing for us as Muslims, as Laylatul Qadr falls during these nights.
Aisha related that the Prophet said, "Look for Laylatul Qadr on an odd-numbered night during the last ten nights of Ramadan." (Bukhari)
Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Power) is described in the Quran as being "better than a thousand months." (97:3). Any action done on this night--praying, reciting Quran, zhikr, giving of charity--has more blessing in it than doing these same things for a thousand months, subhan'Allah! That's 83 years; literally a lifetime!
Productive Muslim did a great job of putting this in perspective for us. One thousand months of worship would be equal to 147,654 fard salat, 2,450 days of fasting in the month of Ramadan, 166 days of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, 4,333 Jum'a prayers, and 83 years worth of Zaka'at.
We can literally earn rewards for a lifetime of worship in one night.
To make sure we don't miss this blessed night, here are some ways we can follow the example of our Prophet, and make the most of these last ten nights of Ramadan--and make sure that we are maximizing our worship for Laylatul Qadr.
1. Don't beat yourself up over your past performance.
2. Don't wait until the 27th night to give it your all.
3. If you can't manage all 10 nights, focus on the odd-numbered nights.
If you can't manage to do all 10 nights, do as much as you can. Focus on the odd-numbered nights--the 21st, 25th, 27th, and 29th--as this is when the Prophet reported Laylatul Qadr falls on.
4. Memorize this short dua.
5. Make a list of duas to make.
6. Make dua, especially for forgiveness, in the last third of the night. (Tahajjud/Qiyaam)
Wake up an hour before suhoor to ask Allah for anything and everything you want--especially forgiveness--and to thank him for everything you have. Supplicate with sincerity.
7. Give charity nightly, even if it's only $1.
8. Read Surat Al-Ikhlas three times nightly.
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: The Prophet said to his companions, "Is it difficult for any of you to recite one third of the Qur'an in one night?" This suggestion was difficult for them so they said, "Who among us has the power to do so, O Allah's Apostle?" Allah Apostle replied: " Allah (the) One, the Self-Sufficient Master Whom all creatures need.' (Surat Al-Ikhlas 112.1-to the End) is equal to one third of the Qur'an." (Bukhari)
Reading three times on Laylatul Qadr would be like reading the Quran daily for 83 years, subhan'Allah!
9. Pray two extra ra'kaat nightly.
In shaa Allah you find this beneficial, and may Allah accept all of our efforts.