While it’s depressing to think that Ramadan will be over in less than two weeks, the blessed month’s last 10 days offer us a final push to do as much good as we can. We cannot let our enthusiasm wan like the moon that marks this special time‘s end.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, used to strive hard (in worship) during the last ten days of Ramadan in a way that he did not strive at any other times (Muslim).
Here are 10 things we can do in Ramadan’s last ten blessed days.
1. Pay Zakat
Many Muslims plan to pay this obligatory pillar of Islam yearly at some point in Ramadan, to benefit from the greater spiritual reward attached to charity during the month. If you haven’t already, do so this month, keeping in mind needy relatives, neighbors, as well as current hot spots of suffering (this year, please consider East Africa, where millions are enduring a famine, many even as they fast).
2. Pay Zakat al-Fitr
Zakat al-Fitr allows needy families to enjoy the Eid holiday. Pay this to your local Masjid or an organization of your choice well before Eid-ul-Fitr in these last 10 days of Ramadan.
3. Up your giving
With news of a possible double-digit recession and a roller coaster stock market, it’s tempting to withhold or limit our giving this year. But don’t let that stop you from being generous. Remember that Allah is al-Razzaq, the Provider, and that that the Prophet reminded us that “charity does not decrease wealth” (Muslim).
4. Attend Tarawih more than you have all month
If you haven’t been able to attend Tarawih prayers most of the month of Ramadan due to work or other commitments, make a special effort to go in these last 10 days. Even if you decide to pray only eight units of prayer in a Masjid that normally offers 20, you will benefit from the sense of community and the blessings of congregational prayer.
To be able to stay awake for Tarawih, try your best to take a short nap after coming home from work or during your lunch hour. Also, try not to overeat during Iftar, making it more likely you will be sluggish and sleepy come Tarawih time.
5. Connect to Laylatul Qadr with more Quran reading
Muslims are encouraged to seek the night of Laylatul Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. This is the night that is described as better than a thousand months (Quran 97:3), and it is the one on which the Quran’s revelation began.
Apart from seeking to do more good than usual, in specific, push yourself to finish reading at least a couple of parts of the Quran, preferably in Arabic and English. Cut or drastically reduce television, Facebook, and socializing time to accomplish this goal.
6. Call your relatives to make Eid plans
Islam puts a premium on maintaining family ties. If you haven’t been able to keep in touch with relatives, use these last 10 days to call or shoot them an email or text about getting together for Eid-al-Fitr.
7. Shop and give
As you shop for Eid or back to school items for yourself or your kids, pick up a few extra clothes or supplies and drop them off at various sites collecting these things for those in need.
8. Make your last fasts really count
If you’ve caught yourself succumbing to un-Ramadan-like habits while fasting, make an extra special effort in these last days of the month to become conscious of these behaviors and stop them before they start. These can range from swearing, backbiting, talking about frivolous things, watching television shows or movies with sexual innuendo or jokes, etc.
9. Set your alarm for Tahajjud
It’s hard getting up for Suhoor, so why make the effort for Tahajjud? This blessed time is one in which Allah is very close, answering prayers and offering forgiveness, in particular (Bukhari). Multiply that by the fact that it’s Ramadan and you’ve got an exceptional opportunity to really connect with God and ask for all that you need or want.
10. Dua, Dua, Dua
Use as many of Ramadan’s last minutes to make plenty of Dua. These include not only the standard supplications recommended for everyday use (e.g. before and after eating, dressing, entering and leaving the home, etc.), and those seeking God’s Mercy and Forgiveness. Truly pour your heart out, asking from the One Who already knows your needs and wants and faces no barriers to fulfilling them. Don’t forget to ask for not only the big things (e.g. Paradise, job security, good family life) but even the smaller ones (e.g. an amazing SAT score or getting the iPod Touch for Eid).
Photo Attribution: Zakaria ElQotbi - http://www.flickr.com/photos/zskdan/2901874980/