The messages start flooding your inbox and phone before the last ten days of Ramadan begins, but especially on the day of the 20th fast: Let’s make the most of it! Or, say these du’as in the last ten days. Or, it’s the last push! Make your fasts and ibadat (worship) count!
Maybe you are ready and revved up to really dig deep and reach out to Allah (S), to pray your most fervent prayers and join late-night qiyams and get up for tahajjud prayers. Maybe you’re just worn out and don’t even have the words in you to beseech to Allah (S). Maybe your heart is in a jumble and you’re overwhelmed by whatever your life and world is, and the constant messaging to make the last ten days meaningful is something that just isn’t landing with you.
That’s ok – sometimes it helps to divide or parse down our worship into bite-sized, digestible pieces of just a few things we are capable of doing – that we can push ourselves to do – to accept the blessings that the last ten days has to offer us.
“If you’re feeling overwhelmed, if you’re drowning in the abundance of reminders, lectures, books, saved posts being forwarded to you, then refer back to the basics. Wherever you are in that journey, it always leads back to the One who crafted our souls.
Abdullah ibn Busr reported: A man said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, the laws of Islam are too many for me, so tell me something I can hold onto.’
Prophet Muhammed (saw) said, ‘Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah.’
So let’s hold onto that.”
Image source: Pexel
I have a lot on my plate right now, which I’m pretty sure is the same for so many of us. Little sleep, work during the day, kids still in school (virtual at that) and, as always, autism living with my eldest son. I want to stay up late into the night in worship, but my body and mind betrays me with sleep and fatigue at times with the alarms buzzing for suhoor and then a brief few hours later again to start the day, wake the kids and get going with work.
Maybe we all are running on fumes. But I’m encouraging myself to keep pushing in however ways I can. To worship just that much more. Why? Because in these last 10 nights lies a beautiful treasure: Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power, when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (saw). On Laylatul Qadr, any act of worship you perform on this night is equal to performing it for about 83 years, or 1,000 months! Allah (S) says in the Quran,
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ * تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ مِنْ كُلِّ أَمْرٍ * سَلَامٌ هِيَ حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ
The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. [Qur’an: 97:3-5
So – and there are a million posts out there advising similar things – I’ve broken it down into what I can hold onto; what I can push myself to do. How can I try my best to focus on Allah (S) while attending to my family and responsibilities? This is, after all, a push. We need to be kind to ourselves, but we also need to push ourselves. You don’t need me to tell you this. I know you know. The blessings of these last 10 days, especially the odd nights, are in abundance. They are low-hanging fruit for our easy picking. Here’s the five fruits I’m going for:
1. Dhikr, dhikr, dhikr.
Grab yourself a tasbih
and get to doing dhikr
, wherever you have a moment to snatch. You can keep it as simple as repeating Alhamdulillah
and Allahu Akbar
. You can recite the Durood Sharif.
You can do what I do and repeat this du’a, which is a great one to recite on endless loop in the last ten days:
Allahumma innaka afuwwun tuhibbul afwa fa’fu annee
“O Allah, You are Forgiving and love forgiveness, so forgive me.”
2. Du’a. So much du’a. I often feel like my mind is a jumble, and that I have so many things I want to pray for, so many people asking me to pray for them, that it’s just muddled up. But I know that Allah knows what is in my heart. A common suggestion is to write out your du’as. It’s common because it is truly helpful. Grab a notebook, a notecard even, and write out your heart’s desires. Write the names of those who have requested you to make du’a for them. Write the Arabic du’as you want to remind yourself to recite. And then read out these du’as on repeat.
3. Stand up in prayer.
Maybe you can only manage two rakat. Maybe you can complete your own tarawih
prayer at home (here’s how to do it
). Just push yourself. Pray your fard
and then keep praying extra rakat. Also, you know you’ll be up for suhoor (Insha’Allah), so just set the alarm 15 minutes earlier and pray tahajjud prayer
. If you’ve not done it all yet this Ramadan (Me. I am guilty.), now is the time.
4. Give charity.
My mom-in-law has sent me the same WhatsApp message year after year in Ramadan: Put a dollar (or whatever amount) every night on the last ten nights of Ramadan in a sadaqa
jar and donate it all to charity. You can make this easier by automating your Ramadan giving with LaunchGood
, which is what I did near the start of the month by designating them to donate a certain amount each day of Ramadan from my account to various charities.
5. Make intentions with everything you do. You may be caring for other people right now, be it kids, elders, friends, parents, a spouse, whomever. Everything you do, do it for the sake of Allah (S). I cook dinner and make iftar for my family nightly. Why not gain blessings in whatever I do by making my intentions for my caregiving to, Insha’Allah, please Allah (S)?
Now’s the time, my dear sisters. I know it’s hard. I know you may, like me, be tired. But every single act of worship and charity we engage in will, Insha’Allah, be rewarded immensely. That’s the beauty and power of the last ten days and nights of Ramadan. So go on and pursue Laylatul Qadr. Seek refuge in these last moments of Ramadan – refuge from bad things, refuge from being led astray, refuge from succumbing to harmful choices, refuge from that which tempts us and ultimately, refuge from Jahannam (the hellfire).
May these last 10 days and nights bring you closer to Allah (S).