One of the missing components of this Ramadān that is dear to many is I’tikāf – finding seclusion in the masjid during the last ten nights of Ramadān. From the secrets and gems of I’tikāf is that even if a person is sleeping, they will attain reward on Laylat al-Qadr simply for being in a state of worship for the remaining nights! With the opportunity for such a noble deed not being available, how can we attain an opportunity like it, if not better?
Watch Your Diet
Preparing to worship Allāh through the night with focus and attention requires preparation, discipline, and commitment. The majority of us are in lockdown and thus do not need of as much food. Reducing the food consumed over the next few days will not harm any of us.
In fact, reducing the portions we consume will help us avoid feeling bloated or lethargic when it comes to performing Qiyām later on. One great practical way to help reduce portions is to simply reduce your plate size – it works! This reduction in food also unloads pressure off family members busy in the kitchen, who can often find the activity draining and tiresome.
The remaining Ramadān nights are slipping away from us as we speak. If we do not take advantage of them now, we may never get such a chance again. To be able to stand through the night, try to take naps during the day. You may feel zealous in the first two to three days, but as soon as your body is deprived of sleep, you will become fatigued and lose out on the following nights! Sleeping can be a rewardable act. You are resting in order to better stand in worship, so each minute of rest is benefiting you. Try to set up a routine for other family members and children too. There aren’t that many days, and making a few uncomfortable tweaks to benefit from what could possibly be the Night of Decree is a fruitful transaction.
Another point to note is to be prepared spiritually – from the core. One way to aid this is by performing wudū and then making a conscious effort to actually prepare for worship. Even though we are not leaving our homes, to stand in prayer is to stand in front of Allāh, so meet Him looking and smelling good. One of my teachers had an amazing impact on my life- when he would teach us he would be very well prepared, dressed in a pristine suit. As soon as it came to the time of Salāh, we would find him in the congregation dressed in a beautiful thobe. For him, there was a time for this and a time for that, and in each he exhibited particular attention and care.
As you stand for prayer, prepare yourself and observe how that standing compares to any other you previously had.
Whatever amount of money you are able to sacrifice during this month, split it over the ten days. We do not know when the Night of Decree is, so donating regularly guarantees a donation being made on that specific night. Giving charity purifies and increases our wealth as well as cleansing our sins. There are many areas you can donate to, but take your time to consider specific efforts and how they weigh out.
Organisations like CAGE and MRDF are prime examples of where we should focus some of our donations. This is due to the nature of their work and how they fall within the lofty objectives of this divine way of life (Islām).
This month is the month in which the Qur’ān was revealed. Increasing your recitation of the Holy Book will help to diversify your deeds and actions during the night. It will also aid in bonding directly with Allāh with something of His essence. We explored some benefits of the Qur’ān in another article (5 benefits of the Khatm of Qur’ān in different modes), which can be referred to for extra benefit.
If you find yourself becoming tired, you can also listen to the Qur’ān or read translations of verses you wish to recite in Salāh. We lose so much time scrolling social media or watching videos. This lost time will be a really significant loss if it happens to be during the Night of Decree. For a few days, put your socials on pause. Each second is greater than 33-hours worth of good performed on that night! It is not worth losing out on.
Make Your Du’ā List
This special night is sought after because of what it promises YOU. To feel the depth and emotion of Ramadān, you have to make it personal to YOU. This begins by going to Allāh directly and speaking to Him about everything. What are the mistakes that you want to beg forgiveness for? What are the areas you need guidance in? What are the sorrows you want relieved? What are the openings you are searching for? What are the matters you are confused about? Bring these all to YOUR Rabb and ask.
Read about the stories of Ibrāhīm, Yūsuf, Ya’qūb, Maryam, Zakariyyā, Yūnus, Ayyūb, and our Final Prophet, and you will find yourself walking in their footsteps. You are dear to Allāh. Had He not loved you and had you not mattered to Him, you would not have been cared for in the subtle ways you have experienced throughout your life. Just take a step towards Him so He can rush to give you in abundance.
Stand in Qiyām
With the Masājid closed, we are being forced to uphold the Sunnah of our Messenger ﷺ of performing the night prayer alone. Even if you have not memorised much, or you are holding the Mushaf to recite, read over passages that allow you to consciously be present in Qiyām. It is sound etiquette to devote oneself to Allāh in worship before asking Him, so lengthen your standing before Him, reciting His words with beauty and awe, but most importantly, with love. As you bow down in Rukū’, once again lengthen it out of manners and etiquette simply to repeat your praise of Allāh. You will find it was from the nature of the Prophets to work righteousness before they would ask.
As you fall in Sujūd, let your heart pour out. Speak in any language that you can express yourself in. Say whatever you wish to say. Converse with Allāh from this close and intimate position. Enough is enough. We have wronged ourselves enough. We have been let off too many times by His mercy. We must return back to Him.
Realise where you are, and realise Who it is you are asking from. Do not be shy in your asking. Do not let a night go by except that you plead your Rabb.
Ultimately, whatever we do within these nights, these are YOUR secrets. Keep them yours so that you can refer back to them throughout the years and be reminded. The head of all matters is intention, so keeping these moments as a secret ensures the purity and sincerity within.
Make this Ramadān, YOUR Ramadān.
O Allāh, You are the Most Loving, the Creator of love. Love us and place in our hearts love for You and love for all that which You love.
Allāh, grant us Your love. Ya Rabb, we have no-one but You.
Note: These six keys have been summarised in an infographic shown above. Please share it with others so they benefit and appreciate every moment of these last few nights.