Last Ten Night of Ramadan - Tips For A Successful Last Lap

The last ten nights of Ramadan are upon us and just as quickly as Ramadan entered, it's slowly packing its bags, ready to leave. One of the phenomenas of this blessed month is that it truly flies by and just as we get into the groove of fasting and being more in tune with our faith, it slowly makes its exit. Faith itself, is naturally prone to fluctuate in each individual. Our faith can be shaky. It goes up and down. Even in Ramadan, we could start off strong but find that we are consistently losing momentum as the days go on. Or, we could have started at a low point and find ourselves significantly stronger in terms of our spiritual health as time passes. It is very possible too, that you have been at a base line level of pure indifference throughout the course of the month so far and are finding it hard to make tangible changes. Whatever and wherever you lie on the Ramadan spectrum, know that you still have time to turn things around and do better.

Start Small - Build Your Intentions

    One of the most important aspects of our faith is the role our intentions play in the choices we make each and every single day. Many of us are unfortunately stuck on auto-pilot. Our lives have become habitual wake-sleep cycles that are void of any conscious, mindful, and sincere intentions. We wake up, we go to work, we prepare our food, we eat, we sleep. In between, prayer is often an afterthought and nuisance. We live in a time when worship is no longer synonymous with productivity. In fact, the two go hand in hand. One thing to help you increase your Ramadan trajectory this year is to spend a little time focusing on your intentions. What does that mean? It means that instead of allowing yourself to move through your day on auto-pilot, take responsibility and make an effort to be aware of exactly what you're doing and why. Develop and cultivate the habit of introspection with all your tasks. Constantly ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing and for who or what purpose. Taking control of your mind and not letting it disintegrate out of a lack of awareness will help you in the long run, even beyond Ramadan.  

Develop A Powerful Habit - Dhikr (Remembrance of God)

    Something we all take for granted is the power of dhikr. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The similitude of someone who remembers his Lord and someone who does not is like that of the living and the dead.” (Al-Bukhari). Remembering our Creator is not only an act of active worship, it is a means of purifying our hearts, minds, and bodies, of all other stimuli, thoughts, worries, concerns. If we make an effort to remember Allah, He will grant us nearness towards Him in ways we never imagined. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is noted to have also said: “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) Nearness to our Creator is exactly what we need in these last ten days. So what do you have to lose by making an effort to remember Him more throughout your day? Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: He who says, Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdih (Glory and praise be to Allah) one hundred times a day, his sins will be obliterated even if they are equal to the extent of the foam of the sea. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Abu Hurairah also narrated that the Prophet said: “There are two statements that are light on the tongue, heavy on the scales, and beloved to the Most Merciful: Subahana Allahi wa bihamdih Subhana Allahi Al-`Azeem (Glory and praise be to Allah, Glorified is Allah, the Most Great.)” (Al-Bukhari)  

Seek Forgiveness - It's Never Enough

On the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah say:

"Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it." (It was related by at-Tirmidhi and also by Ahmad ibn Hanbal).

We all sin. Mankind was made to be forgetful and the word Insaan itself means 'to forget'. This month is a month of Mercy. The last ten nights are especially great and monumentally important. Seeking forgiveness and engaging in repentance is an act that is loved by Allah. Many times, we find ourselves at an impasse in life. Life is stagnant, our faith is stagnant and not moving. We've reached a place where nothing in our hearts is shifting or moving.

The change we often need in these moments is that of seeking our Lord's Mercy and asking for forgiveness. Be sincere, be real, be honest. Understand that we all slip and make mistakes, big or small. It's God's Mercy alone that will change our hearts and our situations in life. The act of seeking forgiveness has the power to cure hearts and minds, it has the power to heal our souls and improve our lives.

 Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: 

"If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not.” (Abu Dawud).

 

 

Find Laylat al-Qadr

This blessed month is mentioned in the Quran by Allah in Surah Al-Qadr when He says: "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] We are not told exactly when this night falls, but we do know that it's one of the last ten nights of Ramadan. It makes sense too, the most blessed night would fall in the most blessed of times in the most blessed of months. The wife of the Prophet, Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her said that during the last ten nights of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would tighten his belt and work much harder than usual to pray and worship Allah. The Productive Muslim has a great, in depth plan to maximize the last ten nights here. It is on this night that Allah, the Most Merciful, can forgive all our sins. It is on this night that any act of good, any act of worship, is multiplied and magnified by an unimaginable and incomprehensible amount. Even if you donate $5 every night during the last ten nights to a charity of your choice, no matter how small, Allah has the power to multiply it beyond that. Duas are answered, forgiveness is sought and gifted, restless souls are granted solace and peace. The Prophet's dua during the last ten nights was concise, and beautiful: "Allahumma innaka `Afuwwun TuHibbul `Afwa Fa`fu `Annii." meaning "O Allah, you are the Forgiver, You love to forgive, so forgive me."

Ramadan Can Change Your Life

Sheikh Yasir Qadhi relayed a wonderful story that really ought to inspire us to strive to reap the benefits of this month in its entirety: The great companion Talha bin ‘Ubaidullah (radyAllahu ‘anhu) narrated that two men came to the Messenger of Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and became Muslim together. After accepting Islam one of them would strive harder than the other. The one who used to strive harder went out to fight in the way of Allah and was martyred. The other man who accepted Islam at the same time as the martyr lived a year longer, then he also passed away. Later Talha reported that he saw in a dream that he was at the gate of Paradise and he saw those two men that had died. Then through the gates of Paradise someone came out and admitted the one who had died last into Jannah, then he came out again and admitted the one who died first as a martyr. Then he came back to Talha and said: ‘Go back, for your time has not yet come.’” The next morning, Talha told the people of the dream and they were amazed. News of that reached the Messenger of Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and they told him the story. The Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Why are you so amazed at that?” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, the first one was the one who strove harder, and he died a martyr in the cause of Allah, but the other man (who didn't strive as hard and was not a martyr) was admitted to Paradise before him?" The Messenger of Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Did he (the second man) not live for another year?” They said: “Yes.” The Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) asked: “And did not Ramadan come and he fasted, and he offered such and such prayers during that year?” They said: “Yes.” The Messenger of Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “The difference between them is greater than the difference between the heaven and the earth.” (Collected by Ibn Majah)

May Allah make us among those with whom He is pleased. May Allah grant us Layl atul Qadr inshaAllah.

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