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The Last Ten Days of Ramadan

October 30, 2005

 

Is it just me or did this Ramadan just fly by? It seemed that it just
started yesterday, and now… it’s coming to an end, the days passing
by like sand slipping through one’s fingers. Just this realization is
enough to make one feel overwhelmed when one considers how inadequate,
insufficient, and flawed our deeds have been this month. Certainly,
each one of us looks back and laments that we could have done more…
one more page of Qur’an, one more two-rak’ah nafl prayer, one more
utterance of Subhanallah.

To borrow a sports analogy then, this is the fourth quarter, everything
that’s happened in the first three quarters is over. No one can change
it, so why lament over it and become so constricted that it prevents
one from getting in the game in the fourth quarter at least. Ordinary
athletes become legends for what they’re able to accomplish in the
fourth quarter: who can ever forget Paxson’s 3-pointer in Game 6 of the
’93 Finals, Jordan’s beautiful jumper in Game 6 of the ’98 Finals, Joe
Montana finding Dwight Clark in the endzone… the list goes on. If
you’re not an obsessive sports fan like I am, the point from these
examples is that in each case, the so-called hero was pretty ordinary
in the first three quarters… but when crunch time came around, when
the game was on the line, when it was time for someone to step up and
be “the man” in the crucial moment(s), these guys stepped up.

The last ten days of Ramadan are essentially the same thing… these
are days when ordinary people become heroes in the eyes of Allah by
gaining the single most precious thing that any human being could ever
hope to achieve: freedom from the Hell-fire. They’re able to do this
because they stand up during crunch time. The following is some advice
for myself and anyone who wishes to read it (especially from someone
without a fist-length beard… ) and use it. Much of this we have
already discussed in the two previous Ramadan posts, so keep that in
mind as well, in addition to some of these specific things:

1. Considering that these are the days of freedom from the Hell-fire,
one ought to spend some time alone and read what the Qur’an and Hadith
have to say about the punishments of the next world, the scene on the
Day of Judgment, and other such things. The Makkan surahs are excellent
places to start; the surahs in the 27th, 29th, and 30th juz are also
filled with graphic and detailed descriptions of some of these scenes.
I thought about listing some of these verses/hadith, but I personally
dislike the ever-prevalent “fire and brimstone” khutbah/speeches that
people give these days. I’ve always felt that since the believer relies
on the two “wings” of fear and hope, the hope part should be cultivated
and fostered by public discussions, weekly khutbahs, etc. However, the
fear part is just as important, and I feel that this is best developed
on an individual level by reading and pondering over such verses and
hadith during one’s own time. Read these descriptions and try to
imagine them in the canvas of your mind. The recent use of CGI effects
in movies (think Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings) might give one a
place to start in what to be thinking about. Regardless, one ought to
try and visualize these scenes to evoke a sense of awe and fear about
such a Day.

2. This above is necessary because it will develop within a person a
true fear of the torments of the otherworld. Seeing as it’s a
personalized fear, it is even more precious to the individual. Having
gained this, one may now truly detest such punishments and earnestly
desire to free one’s self from such a fate. One will truly feel
inspired to ask Allah for freedom from the Fire through various du’as.
Any du’a will do, no matter the language, especially if it comes from
one’s heart and is filled with sincerity. However, some recommended
du’as are the famous du’a of Prophet Ibrahim (`alayhi al-salaam) that
appears in Surah Baqarah (2:201): Rabbana aatina fi’l-dunya hasanat wa fi’l-aakhirati hasanat waqinaa `adhaab al-naar
(Our Lord, grant us goodness in this world and goodness in the
hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the Fire). Another one,
which one might have heard during the 4 rak’ah break of taraweeh (well,
the Arabs usually don’t read this du’a…) is more simple: Allahumma ajirni (ajirnaa if making it in a group) min al-naar (O Allah, save me (us) from the Fire).

3. Continuously ask Allah that whatever deeds one has done this month,
despite one’s inadquecies and such deeds marred by our own
imperfections, that He, through Divine Mercy and Compassion,
nonetheless accepts such deeds. This is key, to not only do good, but
to continously ask Allah to accept such good deeds. The Friend of God,
Prophet Ibrahim, after he had built the Ka’bah with his son, Prophet
Isma`il, immediately supplicated to Allah that He accept this act.
Consider that Allah had commanded him to build the Ka’bah in the first
place, Ibrahim was a Prophet, etc… yet, he begs Allah to accept it
from him. If a Prophet was apt to ask Allah for acceptance of his
deeds, we too must follow this paradigm and continuously ask that He
accept our works as well.

4. Especially on the last night, the night before Eid… there’s no
taraweeh this night (sadly..), but this is the night when the most
forgiveness is handed out (according to one hadith). Use a portion of
this evening and night to ask for forgiveness and whatever else one’s
heart desires. Consider this the last 10 seconds of 4th quarter, and
Inshallah if one’s du’as are heard this night, one has emerged as a
hero. So while most people are using this evening to get pimped out for
Eid (I recently found out that guys actually go and get their eyebrows
done… ), use the last 10 seconds to hit a buzzer-beater, Inshallah.
Besides, you should’ve picked out your Eid outfit a month ago, slacker.

5. This point has been mentioned before, but it’s worth repeating: go
to as many “khatms” (completions of the Qur’an) of taraweeh as you can.
The blessings that are associated with the occasion that the Qur’an is
completed in are far too many to ennumerate. If one hasn’t had an
opportunity to go to as many taraweehs or pray extra qiyam, etc… make
up for it by at least taking part in as many khatms possible.
Especially the khatm du’a.

6. On the topic of Laylat al-Qadr: much can be said about this night,
its significance, etc., but I’m quite sure most people have heard of
its significance over the years. One crucial point is that one must
recognize that the 27th night isn’t the guaranteed night for the Night
of Power. Yes, it’s the majority opinion, but remember that it can be
any of the last ten odd nights, or any of the last ten nights (one
opinion), or any night in Ramadan (another opinion), or any night of
the year (derived from a statement of `Abdullah b. Mas`ud (may God be
pleased with him)). The point is, one should not wager everything on
the 27th night and only do worship this night. Allocate a small portion
of each night (even if it’s just 15-20 minutes) to do something.
Quantity is great, but quality is even better. If one cannot stay up
the whole night or do “x” number of nafl, etc., put forth sincerity and
do something. 2 rak’ahs is better than 0 rak’ahs.

7. A key sunnah of the Prophet (salallahu `alayhi wa sallam) was to
literally retreat to the masjid and cloister himself there for the last
ten days of Ramadan in a practice known as `itikaaf. There’s much to be
said about turning away from the world for a short while (especially
during these ten days) and developing a deeper connection to God.
Certainly, it’s very difficult for most people (especially if you have
to lead taraweeh…) to spend all 10 days in the masjid (for men) or at
home (for women). However, again, quality always outweighs quantity, so
even if one cannot do all ten days, then do whatever is possible. Even
if a full day is too difficult, then make intention for a few hours
(for example between Asr and Maghrib) as `itikaaf. One of my teachers
said that each night when a person goes to the masjid for Isha and
Taraweeh, make the intention for `itikaaf as well, so one gets double
benefit from such a thing. Again, those who can do more should do more,
but one should at least try to do something for not only following a
Prophetic practice, but also for the connection with the Divine and
discipline that it will hopefully evoke in a person.

8. As these days are coming to an end, one should set aside some time
to sit down, reflect on what went right this month, and develop certain
“Ramadan Resolutions” for the rest of the year. Alhamdulillah, many
people were able to develop praiseworthy habits during this month. One
must remember that Iblis is certainly ticked off at this and realizes
he has a lot of work to do in Shawwal. Making such resolutions will
hopefully give each individual a list of goals to work on during the
rest of the year, so that the spirit and progress gained during this
month isn’t thrown away and that Loser doesn’t succeed.

9. Reflect on the sins that one has committed in the past. This is
because as much as these last ten days are to be used for gaining
Allah’s pleasure, they’re also a time wherein one can use the deeds
that one is ashamed of for a worthy purpose. The Qur’an says that “…
whosoever repents, has faith, and does righteous actions, then God will
exchange/convert their evil sins for good actions.” The great saint,
Ibn `Ata’illah al-Sikandari said: “It may be that a wrongful sin that
evokes sincere repentance is better than an obedient action that evokes
self-righteousness.” This is because if a person feels remorse after
such a sin and uses that as motivation to improve his condition, then
the sin itself was a mercy for it helped one to come closer to Allah.

10. Above all, end this month with a good opinion of Allah. The famous
Hadith Qudsi states that “I am as My Servant thinks of Me”, meaning
that if one has a good opinion of Allah–His Mercy, Compassion,
Love–and is hopeful that He will forgive him/her, despite one’s
inadequecies because one has tried and put forth the most sincere
effort possible, then hopefully this is how God will treat one person.
However, extended hopes that are not backed up with the necessary
effort is more dangerous than no hope. Nonetheless, it’s vital that as
this month is coming to an end, that one end this month with hope and a
good opinion of his or her Lord. If I learned anything from the White
Sox win this year (and I actually did learn quite a bit, I’ll write a
post on this later…) it’s this: “Don’t stop believin'”. Don’t ever
stop believin’ in the Mercy of your Lord, in the Compassion of your
Lord, in the vast Forgiveness of your Lord. Don’t ever stop believin’
that He will overlook our pathetic-ness and recompense us with rewards
that we never imagined. Don’t ever stop believin’ that we have hope for
salvation. Don’t ever stop believin’ that your Prophet loves you. Only
the disbeliving folk stop believin’…

… in short, if you’re a believer,
don’t stop believin’.

Currently reading: Surah al-Mulk,
Surah al-Qalam, Surah al-Haaqqah, Surah al-Ma`aarij, Surah Nuh, Surah
al-Jinn, Surah al-Muzammil, Surah al-Muddathir, Surah al-Qiyaamah

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33 Comments
  1. simple duas: http://www.makedua.com
    yes! i’m first to comment! whoo hoo!

  2. how wonderful it is that the purpose of fastingis that very word of salvation from fire everlastingwell-posted.peace,IJB

  3. i keep benefitting from your Ramadan posts. may Allah reward you for it insha’Allah. Ameen.

  4. Yea, I was one of the late blooming hijabis. started when I was 21. but alhumdulillah.
    we finished the Qur’an last night. I can’t believe Ramadan is almost over. I just want to ball my eyes out. Asalamy alaikum.

  5. this is the first post ive read in a month or two..

    short and sweet.

    i like this.

  6. i take that back.. it was only short cuz i read every other paragraph.

  7. mashallah, good stuff. i like this short post

  8. Anonymous permalink

    You could have written this post like John Clayton’s 1st and 10. it would have been awesome.

  9. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I’ll leave the props and come back and finish reading it.

  10. Jazaakallah Khair Kamran! Masha Allah, these are really good points!

  11. Thank you KamKam…may Allah make your tail bushier…

  12. Lol, the sports analogies are awesome bro. Great post, MashAllah.

  13. ve shall keep it truckin’ bhai saab.

  14. Anonymous permalink

    Good luck on your khatm tomorrow.

  15. i think everyone noticed the time compression…
    salaamalaikumwarahmatullahiwabarakatu….
    “until an hour passes in the time it takes a palm leaf to burn…”  ominous. take care bro.

  16. now, why don’t you like widowed props?

  17. Wow.
    JazakAllah Khayr KR

  18. Amazing. Like always.
    And I agree completley with the individual punishment study. It seems more effective because some of us are terrified of snakes while others fear the fire. I mean of course, everything is just as frightening but there’s always that one thing that hits home. Anyway, Jazak’Allah. May Allah reward you immensley. Ameen.

  19. just spent 2 nights with Shaykh Husain (wanted to do more, but the dunya beckoned my call)…ask anyone there about the dua’ Saturday night…wow, SubhanAllah…if you’re reading this and its Sunday night (or any night in these last 10 nights), GO TO ICC Masjid! 

  20. another excellent post.  jazaakumullahu khair.  i learn something new everytime i read your stuff.

  21. remember this sinful one in these last blessed nights….nice post…as always…

  22. “anyone who wishes to read it (especially from someone without a fist-length beard… ) and use it. ”
    lol, I was just about to say that I’m not gonna listen to any of this cause you don’t have a fist-length beard.

  23. Good stuff KR.

  24. salaam, nice post, very beneficial mashAllah.  and I actually got the sports references.. most that is.  good analogies.

  25. salaam,
    nice post
    ws

  26. Anonymous permalink

    Nice kutbah

  27. Anonymous permalink

    very good advice and yes Ramadan did pass by so quickly it makes you wonder if i did do enough but like you said this is the fourth quarter cant malent ove the last three
    thanks for your comment i never thought about regrets utltimately benefitting me but obviously thats the only use they can possibly serve
    salam

  28. Anonymous permalink

    man i was damuslimrgifted
    but watever  allah is cool
    man i came to the second jummah last firday and that was a hit kutbah allah allah allah allah

  29. it’s true…Ramadan has passed in what seems like a blink of an eye. I don’t remember anything! Which makes me wonder if my Ibadah was worth anything…eep! This was such a good post..so good in fact that I copied it for future personal reference (hope you don’t mind). I’ll tell everyone a wise “old” man once said this…and they’ll all be “wow, so awesome…who IS the old man you speak of?” I’ll say, “I…don’t…know”. And then we’ll have a whole new coversation about “old wise men” and how there aren’t many of those around anymore…and then there will be silence. And then someone will want to go home.Sorry, I think I’ve hit a new level of annoying babble. 😛

  30. Salaams, excellent post as always. :] 

  31. EID MUBARAK!!

  32. Anonymous permalink

    HAVE A BLESSED EID !!!
    SALAAM, WAA’IL

  33. wsnice post….very inspiringok im lying..i didnt read itits your amazing tagline which these props are for…lol

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