When the holy month of Ramadan arrives, everyone in the Muslim Ummah feels a delightful uplift in faith. They feel less inclined towards sins and wasteful pursuits and more towards keen, soulful worship and contemplation of the Qur’an.

They change their routines according to the new schedule of eating, sleeping, and standing in prayer and look forward to great rewards in the Hereafter for their month-long ritual of abstinence and piety.

It is interesting to note the diversity that prevails in our Ummah regarding worship during Ramadan, which arises from everyone’s unique circumstances. The office-going executive might not be able to pray long, soulful Qiyam Al-Layl every night before Suhoor because of having to get enough sleep for his strenuous weekday work hours, but can zealously attend Taraweeh with the Imam after Isha to get the same reward.

School and college-going youngsters might find it difficult to tear themselves away from studies, but they might read some Qur’an every day before Iftar. The elderly grandmother might spend long morning hours reading the Qur’an and revising her memorization, whilst the young housewife who is inundated with housework for the rest of the day might attend a ladies’ morning Halaqah at a neighborhood home to study one Juz of the Qur’an daily.

This lovely diversity lends extra beauty to the flexibility of our Deen, Islam, which caters to each individual according to what he or she is capable of. Let us take a quick look at three of the main Ramadan activities that authentic Ahadith attribute to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

More generous than the fast wind
Narrated Ibn Abbas: “The Prophet was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel visited him, and Jibreel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet used to recite the Qur’an to Jibreel, and when Jibreel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare).” (Al-Bukhari, 3/31, no. 126)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to be so generous in Ramadan that this action of his was particularly notable to onlookers. Imagine for a minute what fast winds achieve: they feel good, firstly, in addition to filling our hearts with excitement about imminent rain.

They assist in pollination that brings forth vegetation in the land (fruit, grains, cereals, and vegetables) that we eat. Now use this simile to imagine what the Prophet must have been like during Ramadan – a generous man spreading the wealth, goodwill, hope, and happiness everywhere with his big-hearted spending for the sake of Allah!

Reviewing the Qur’an with Jibreel
Archangel Jibreel would visit the Prophet (peace be upon him) every night in Ramadan to listen to the Qur’an. The Prophet (peace be upon him) would recite the Qur’an to him, i.e. the entire Qur’an that had been revealed to him till then. In a way, he used to “revise” or “review” the Qur’an with the Archangel.

Ten-day secluded worship
“The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) would go into seclusion for (the last) 10 days during the month of Ramadan, but the year in which he passed away he went into seclusion for 20 days.” (Al-Bukhari)

For a man who was always busy leading the Ummah in all its affairs and attending to his family and companions, it is indeed poignant to note that he withdrew in seclusion every year to be close to His Lord. So much so that he did not communicate, or spend time, with his family except for meeting their basic needs.

Narrated Ayesha: “Allah’s Messenger used to practice I’tikaf in the last 10 nights of Ramadan and used to say, ‘Look for the Night of Qadr in the last 10 nights of the month of Ramadan’.” (Al-Bukhari)

Lessons for us
By keeping in mind these three specific Sunnah of our dear Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we can devise an action plan for our worship during the holy month that incorporates, if not in entirety, their spirit, and essence in our schedule.

We can try to give charity every day, even if it is little. We should review the Qur’an for our angels, the Kiraman Katibeen (Honorable Scribes), to record in our book of deeds on a daily basis, and in the last 10 days seclude ourselves socially from our family and friends for devoted worship and prayer to Allah. By this, we will earn a reward of following the Sunnah and emulating our Prophet’s actions during Ramadan, Insha Allah.