Keeping the Ramadaan spirit: Preparing for the blessed days of Dhul Hijjah.

For many of us, it is hard to maintain the motivation, determination and vigour experienced in Ramadaan.  With Dhul Hijjah just a few short weeks away, we have 8 simple ways to help us keep the momentum.

Ibn Abbas reported that Prophet (SAW) said, “No good deeds are better than what is done in these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.” (Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 969)

  1. Renew our intentions

We should make our intention to continue our good habits and be consistent in our acts of worship. We are reminded of the hadith “Actions are judged by the intention”.

Our teachers also encourage us to make the intention of going on Hajj, even if we are not by the means (or have not been accredited for Hajj for this year). The wisdom behind this is two-fold: the first being that if we are unable to fulfil this obligation within our lifetime, we pray Allah accepts the intention from us; and the second being that it motivates us to prepare for the journey in our thoughts and actions.

  • Fast regularly

Fasting should not be limited to Ramadaan. It is sunnah to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. It is also Sunnah to fast the middle days (13, 14 and 15th) of the lunar month. Fasting gives us the opportunity to be more constantly aware of Allah.

  • Do Tahajjud

Tahajjud is the night prayers performed after Esha and before Fajr salah, after one has slept for some time. With winter months approaching, and Fajr athaan getting later, this is an excellent time to try and establish the habit.

Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said, “Our Lord Almighty descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of every night, saying: Who is calling upon Me that I may answer him? Who is asking from Me that I may give him? Who is seeking My forgiveness that I may forgive him?” (Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 1145).

Getting up 20 minutes before Fajr athaan to perform two Rakaats will (bi’intnillahi ta’ala) make us of those whom Allah answers their prayers, grants them their requests, and forgives them their transgressions.

  • Engage in congregational worship

With Covid-19 restrictions easing, and masajid resuming their daily prayers, there is ample opportunity to engage in congregational worship. Not only are the rewards amplified when praying in congregation, but the social and emotional support and engagement is hugely beneficial. It builds brother- and sisterhood and creates a platform for spiritual growth.

  • Be generous

The Prophet (SAW) said “The deeds most beloved in the eyes of Allah are those deeds carried out with continuity (regularity) although they may be small” (Source: Sahih al-Muslim). While many of us keep our charity in the hopes of magnifying the blessings associated with disbursing in Ramadaan, we need to try and do it more regularly. Generosity is not limited to financial contributions – we can give of our time, skills, and expertise by volunteering in our community.

  • Do salawaat

Sending salutations and blessings on the Prophet (SAW) is something that can be done anytime, in any place. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Whoever forgets the blessings on me has missed the way to Jannah” (Source: Ibn Maja).

Try and make it a habit to do a few salawaat every day. Sending salawaat can also turn idle time – such as waiting in a queue or sitting in the car in traffic – into productive meaningful time.

  • Connect with the Qur’an

For us to connect with the Qur’an, we need to nurture our relationship with it. This first step is consistency. Start small – listen to Surah Yasin every morning on the way to work, read a page from the Qur’an every evening after Esha or look up the meaning of one ayah daily. The Qur’an is not only a book of guidance for us, but a source of healing in this world, and a protection in the hereafter.

  • Talk to Allah ta’ala

One of the simplest ways for us to build a strong relationship with Allah is for us to talk to Him. Thank Him for the numerous blessings He has granted us. Tell Him about the challenges and difficulties we face. Confide in Him our fears and anxieties. Admit to Him our weaknesses and transgressions and ask Him to guide us and to forgive us. These conversations will help us to gain closeness to Him, and to rely on only Him.

We ask Allah to make it easy for us, to forgive us, to make us of those close to Him and His Beloved (SAW), and to allow us to witness the blessed days of Dhul Hijjah.

Saleemah Jaffer