3 Weeks Before Ramadan
‘Fasting & Quran’ week
- Start making up the qada of the missed fasts from previous Ramadan (s)
- Once you have made up all your Qada fasts, start fasting on Mondays and Thursdays
- Involve your family and friends by encouraging them to fast as well
- Allocate a certain amount of Quran to read every day and ensure that you read this amount regularly
- Get an English translation and a tafsir book to help you understand the Quran and read these regularly
How To Make Tawbha
Tawbah consists of three parts: Knowledge, repentance and determination
Knowledge: If you have knowledge of Islam then you will recognize your sins and understand why they are harmful for you and know what the punishment is if you continue to do those sins. You must also have sincere faith and devotion to Allah, because if you know that something displeases/angers Him then you will feel bad about doing it.
Repentance: Once you understand that the sins you have done are harmful and that you have earned Allah’s displeasure, then you will feel bad about having sinned. You will feel deep regret and remorse, even grief at having committed those sins.
Determination: When you feel so bad about doing those sins, then you will refrain from doing them and be determined never to do them again, especially if you know what the harmful effects and punishment are for those actions.
If you have committed a sin involving taking away someone else’s rights, then you must return those rights and ask forgiveness from that person also. (Adapted from Imam al-Ghazali, Ihya Ulumuddin, translated by Maulana Fazlul Karim, Taj Company, 1982, Vol. 4)
Tips To Help You stay Away From Sins:
- Stay away from the places of sinning
- Keep yourself in the company of those who remember Allah
- Keep your hands busy with useful work and your tongue busy with remembrance of Allah
- Understand the harmful effect of sins and read about the punishment for sinning
- Remind yourself about the rewards for doing good deeds, both in this life and in the hereafter
Any nafl (voluntary) prayers offered after Isha but before Fajr are night Prayers. If one prays ‘Isha without going to sleep, then this prayer is called Qiyam ul-Layl. If one prays after waking up from sleep, then this prayer is called Tahajjud.
Both Qiyam ul-Layl and Tahajjud consist of a minimum of 2 rak’at with no maximum limit, which are preformed in sets of 2 rak’at. The Prophet (pbuh) used to regularly perform 8 rak’at.
There are special night prayers during Ramadan and these are called Taraweeh. Taraweeh is Sunnah al-mu’akkadah which means that it is an emphasised Sunnah i.e. a sunnah that the Prophet (pbuh) never left. It consists of eight or twenty rak’at which are preformed in sets of 2 rak’at. Taraweeh can be performed at home or in the mosque, bus as with any other prayer, praying in congregation carries a greater reward. Three rak’at of witr are prayed after Salatul Taraweeh.
The Following Measures Help In Observing Night Prayers:
- Read up about the merits of Night Prayer. This will motivate you and make you ore determined to perform it.
- Just before you go to sleep, ask Allah to help you wake up for Tahajjud
- Go to bed early
- Nap during the day, if at all possible
- Avoid overeating in the evening
- Make sure that your bed is not too comfortable (otherwise you may not want to get out)
Tawbah nasooha: A real repentance, asking Allah’s forgiveness for one’s sins and intending never to repeat them again.
Khushoo: Humbleness and submission of the heart and mind with concentration in worship
Tasbeeh: Glorifying or Praising Allah such as saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah Is Great), ‘Alhamdulillah’ (All praise to Allah) and ‘Subhanallah’ (Glory to Allah)
Istighfar: Seeking forgiveness from Allah by saying ‘Astagfirullah (I seek forgiveness from Allah)
Qada: The making up of fasts missed for a valid reason during the previous Ramadan.
Tahajjud: Nafl (voluntary) night time prayer
Adhkar: Specific du’s to be said in different situations
Qiyam: Nafl (voluntary) night time prayer
Usamah ibn Zayd (ra) was reported to have said that he asked the Prophet (pbuh) “I have not seen you observe additional fast during any month [other than Ramadan] as you do in Sha’ban?” He (pbuh) replied, “This is a month that people usually forget about between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which people’s deeds are presented to Allah, so I like that my deeds are presented while I am fasting.” (an-Nasa’i)
Sahl reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “There is a gate in paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it, It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.” (Bukhari)