Ramadan is around the corner and many of us are excited about making plans for it—setting Qur’an and self-development goals, planning healthy meal recipes for our families, and trying to make the most out of this month. We all know that the Prophet (SAW) is the perfect example for us on how to live our lives so that we please Allah. So why don’t we revisit the life of the Prophet (SAW) so we can see what he did in Ramadan so that we can follow his example?
Listed below are some of the practices of the Prophet (SAW) so that we may incorporate them into our Ramadan plans. Note that some of the practices listed were his regular practices while others were specific to Ramadan:
The Fajr prayer is one of the five daily salawats. By praying the Fajr prayer, we are protected by Allah (SWT) from the shayatin and other influences, but some scholars are of the opinion that only the main Shaytan is chained in Ramadan while the other shayatin are still present.
After the Fajr prayer, the Prophet (SAW) used to say these words of remembrance that he also taught to his wife, Juwairiyah (RA):
“Subhanallahi wa bi hamdihi, ‘adada khaliqihi, wa ridaa nafsihi, wa zinata ‘arshihi, wa midaada kalimaatihi.”
“How Perfect is Allah and all Praises belong to Him, to the extent of the number of His creation, and to the extent of His Pleasure, and to the extent of the weight of His Throne, and to the extent of the ink of His Words.”
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) would then pray two to eight rak’ahs of Duha prayer (in two’s). Duha refers to the time after sunrise to about noon (the time of zawaal).
Since we are already up for Suhur, it is important that we don’t sleep before praying Fajr and saying our morning remembrances (morning adhkar).
Aisha (RA), the mother of the faithful believers narrated: “One night Prophet (SAW) offered the prayer in the mosque and the people followed him. The next night he also offered the prayer and too many people gathered. On the third and the fourth nights more people gathered, but Allah’s Messenger (SAW) did not come out to them. In the morning he said, ‘I saw what you were doing and nothing but
the fear that it (i.e. the prayer) might be made obligatory on you, stopped me from coming to you.’ And that happened in the month of Ramadan.” (Bukhari)
This shows us that the Prophet (SAW) prayed the Taraweeh prayer, and he loved salah (SAW) but it is a Nafl prayer (supererogatory prayer) that is not obligated on us. Rather, it is one of those deeds that help us come closer to Allah (SWT).
The Prophet (SAW), according to some narrations, was described as “a man who gives charity without fear of poverty.” How many of us give charity like this? How many of us live like we have nothing to fear like we believe and trust that Allah has treasures and Allah will give us?
In this hadith, we are being shown an example of how the Prophet (SAW) gave charity in Ramadan—like the wind. The wind blows fast, it cares not upon whom it touches. It provides a fresh breeze for all those who in its path. The Prophet (SAW) was like that for whomever he encountered in Ramadan. You could not meet him (SAW) without feeling that generosity from him and benefiting from it.
Allah gives us in this ayah the reason why fasting has been prescribed to us in the month of Ramadan—so that we may attain taqwa, so that we may become conscious of Allah, mindful of Allah’s Presence and His Gaze on us. This is so that we may conduct ourselves better and protect ourselves from sin. But it also brings us closer to Allah because the more we are conscious of Him, the more we can actively remember Him and praise Him in our hearts and on our tongues.
Mindfulness has become trendy in the past few years in the wellness world because it has emotional and mental health benefits. However, mindfulness is also connected to our spiritual health because it makes us better choices knowing that Allah is watching us. Mindfulness and remembrance also go hand-in-hand because to remember without heart is not a practice of loving dedication to Allah, although dhikr of the tongue is still better than no dhikr at all.
In this hadith, the Prophet (SAW) highlighted so many amazing virtues of dhikr (remembrance) that it makes one eager to remember Allah all the time! Dhikr is called the “best of your actions” and “the purest to your Rabb.” It raises us to high ranks in front of Allah and is more beneficial than spending in charity. Remembering Allah is something we can do no matter what condition we are in: healthy, sick, sitting, lying down, in traffic, stuck in quarantine. The one who does dhikr often will find his heart cleansed, polished, and at peace. Allah mentions in the Qur’an,
We know from other ahadith that the Prophet (SAW) used to sleep after Isha and wake to pray Qiyam (the night prayer) and then sleep again a bit until Fajr came in. He would also often recite long surahs from the Qur’an, but he wouldn’t complete the whole Qur’an in one night. In Ramadan, however, as Aisha (RA) narrates, he would pray Qiyam until morning and even recite the whole Qur’an in one night. How blessed must those nights be! When the Prophet (SAW) stood in prayer, crying for us, his ummah, and seeking forgiveness for us all. We should try to increase the Qiyam that we pray in Ramadan. Whether it’s Taraweeh or just getting up a bit earlier before suhoor and getting few rak’ahs in, we should always try to sacrifice some of our time and our sleep in Ramadan for the sake of Allah (SWT). For the things that difficult for us, Allah always rewards us more as He is Al-Kareem, The Most Generous.
These two hadiths emphasize the fact that Ramadan is indeed the month of the Qur’an. We need to make an effort for the sake of Allah (SWT) to read, study, and most importantly, implement this book in our lives. May Allah (SWT) make it easy for us.
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported:
Most of us our fasting for twelve, sixteen, or eighteen hours a day depending on where we are in the world. So many chances to make du’a! Allah loves to hear from us! He loves it when we ask Him and He does not like it when we do not ask Him.
Allah (SWT) gets angry at someone who does not ask Him the way a human gets angry if someone asks him… When the son of Adam is asked for something, he gets angry, whereas Allah gets angry if He is not asked. What a great difference between the two cases and woe to him who approaches the effect (the created) and stays away from the cause (the Creator)!”
We should also increase our du’as during the time of iftar because Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said:
This is crystal clear encouragement from the Prophet (SAW) to make du’a before iftar. Who would wait for even a second after hearing these words from the Prophet (SAW)? May Allah (SWT) grant us all accepted du’as, ameen.
Many of us may skip suhoor due to late nights or an upset stomach from all the food intake the night before. However, there is a blessing in suhoor so we should try to have even a light meal before dawn as per the instructions of the Prophet (SAW).
Anas bin Malik (RA) narrates that the Prophet (SAW) said:
Along with making du’a before iftar and doing suhoor, we are also told to hasten the fast and not to prolong it the way the other nations before Islam did.
Breaking the fast:
Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah would break the fast with fresh dates before performing Salat. If there were no fresh dates then (he would break the fast) with dried dates, and if there were no dried dates then he would take a few sips of water.” (Hasan)
Du’as for Breaking the Fast:
“O Allah! I fasted for Your sake and I am breaking my fast with the food You have provided.”
“The thirst is gone and the arteries are supple and wet, and reward is complete by the will of Allah.”
Many Muslims neglect the last ten nights as they become tired of fasting and praying Taraweeh. They might get busy with Eid shopping and planning activities and events. The last ten nights of Ramadan, however, should be our busiest nights in terms of worship (in the entire year). The Prophet (SAW) would seclude himself in I’tikaaf in the last ten nights. He would stay away from his wives and family and instead focus only on the worship of Allah (SWT).
We might not be able to do I’tikaaf due to masjid restrictions during Covid, but that doesn’t have to stop us from taking time alone in our rooms to remember Allah. We can set aside anywhere from 30 to a few hours to spend in the worship of Allah (SWT) each night. The goal is to focus on quality over quantity, making our intentions strong to please Allah (SWT), to reach greater depths of intimacy with Him, and to transform our relationship with Him.
Finally, we address the topic of motivation and the pursuit of beneficial things (as opposed to the pursuit of things that have no value). With so many things to do in Ramadan (and so many practices of the Prophet (SAW) to follow and take on, it can seem overwhelming. In the hadith below, the Prophet (SAW) gives us valuable advice on how to overcome this.
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (RA) said:
First, he said to strive for that which will benefit you. To strive for something, we must learn its value and fight our desires to achieve it.
Secondly, he said to seek the help of Allah (SWT). We must not rely on our efforts to reach Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) can put barakah even in the smallest of our efforts. Therefore, we must never stop calling on Him to make it easy for us and to facilitate it for us.
Thirdly, he said not to feel helpless. Helplessness is the biggest killer of motivation and action. A believer does not let anything come between him and Allah. As believers, we need to have husn adh-dhan billah, we need to have the best opinion of Allah (SWT) and expect the absolute from Him.
May Allah (SWT) allow us all to follow the example and the guidance of the Prophet (SAW) when it comes to the actions that we should do in Ramadan—the actions of the heart, tongue, and limbs. May Allah (SWT) instill in us the type of generosity that the Prophet (SAW) had inside and outside of Ramadan. May Allah (SWT) allow us to be mindful of Him and thank Him the way He deserves. May Allah (SWT) shower us with His Forgiveness and Mercy in abundance. Ameen.