How to Spend Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is the season of divine blessings. It is the onth of purification. It is meant for annual renovation of the inner spiritual qualities. It is a golden opportunity for every Muslim to strengthen his 'Iman, to purify his heart and soul and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him.

This month invites a Muslim to minimize his other mundane involvements and maximize the acts of worship. One should plan his schedule for this month, before-hand, so as to spare maximum time for 'ibadah. Here is a brief list of the acts which should be carried out in Ramadan with due care:

1.     To offer every prayer with jama'ah [in congregation] in a masjid;
2.     To rise up a little earlier than the exact time of suhoor [time before Fajr spent having breakfast] and to offer the salah of tahajjud. There is no prescribed number of the tahajjud prayer; yet, it is better to pray 8 rak'at;
3.     To offer the nafl [voluntary] prayers of Ishraq (two rak'at after sunrise), Duha (four rak'at which may be performed at anytime after Ishraq before noon) and Awwabin (six rak'at after Maghrib);
4.  The recitation of the Holy Qur'an. No specific limit has been prescribed, but one should recite as much of it as he can;
5.     Dhikr or Tasbeeh, specially the following recitations:

سُبْـحَــانَ الـلّـهِ وَ بـِحَـمْـدِه سُـبـْـحَـانَ الـلـّهِ الـعَـظِيْــم

سُبـْحـَانَ الـلّـهِ وَالْحَمْدِ لِلّه وَلاَإله إلاّالله وَالله أكْبَر
أسْتَغْفِرُالله مِنْ كُلّ ذَنْبٍ عَظِيْم
اللّهُمّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمّد وَعَلَى آل مُحَمّدٍ، كَمَا صَلّيْتَ عَلَى إبْرَاهِيْمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إبْرَاهِيْمَ إنَّكَ حَمِيْدٌ مَجِيْد.
لاَحَـولَ ولاَ قُوّة إلاّبـالـلـّه الـعَلِيّ الـعَظِيــم

Apart from reciting these words, one hundred times each, at a particular time, they may also be continued frequently throughout the day, even if one is engaged in some light work, when walking and when in bed. 

6.     Prayers and supplications: No particular prayer is prescribed. One can pray for everything he needs both in this world and in the Hereafter. However, the supplications of the Holy Prophet(PBUH) are so comprehensive that they encompass all that a Muslim can need in his life and after his death. It is, therefore, much advisable to pray Allah Almighty in the prophetic words used by the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
There are several books where these prophetic supplications have been compiled. Here is the name of two books which should be kept by every Muslim in his home and be used for praying daily:

A.    Al-hisnul-Hasin by Allamah al-Jazri
B.     Munajahate-Maqbool by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi

7.     Sadaqah (charity): Apart from paying zakah, which is obligatory, one should also pay optional sadaqah in Ramadan according to his best ability. It is reported in authentic ahadith that the Holy Prophet (PBUH).  used to pay special attention in Ramadan to look after the poor and to help them financially. Therefore, a Muslim should give as much money in sadaqah as he can afford. 



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