1. NIYYAH (intention): Remind yourself again and again that you are fasting in obedience to Allah. Be sincere in your intention. You want Allah to accept your fasting. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Whosoever fasts in Ramadan with faith and seeking Allah’s reward, all his past sins will be forgiven.”(Al-Bukhari)
2. SUNNAH: Observe the Sunnah in fasting. Take the sahur meal a little before dawn and end your fast at sunset. Observe all the rules of fasting.
3. WARA’ (avoiding everything haram or makruh): Be conscious to have halal food,halal income, halal relations. Avoid watching bad TV programs, videos, movies, etc., always, but especially during this month. Keep your body and mind very clean. Avoid wasting your time in useless things and pursuits.
4. QURAN: Spend more time with the Qur’an. Read Qur’an every day. Try to finish the whole Qur’an at least one time during this month in your own personal reading. Read some Hadith and the books of seerah.
5. PRAYER, SUPPLICATION, AND REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH: Pray on time and observe all Prayers. Do not ignore the Tarawih Prayers. Make more supererogatory prayers.
Do as much worship as you can. Do more dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and du`aa’(supplication) for yourself and for others.
Make tawbah (repentance) and istighfar(request for Allah’s forgiveness) as much as you can. This is the best time for devotion and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. Seek the Night of Qadar by special devotion during the last 10 nights of this month.
6. ZAKAH, CHARITY, AND GENEROSITY: Be very charitable and generous. Give more and more to help the poor and needy, and to help good social and community projects. Be good to your friends and neighbors also. Let your non-Muslim neighbors and co-workers know that this is your blessed and sacred time.
7. GOOD BEHAVIOR AND RELATIONS WITH OTHERS. Try to be extra kind and courteous during this month. Forget your quarrels and disputes. Reconcile and forgive. Do not get involved in backbiting, lying, cheating, and anything that is wrong. Be very good to Muslims and to all human beings.
8. REFLECTION: Think, reflect, and plan to improve the moral and spiritual condition of your own self and your family. Think about any wrong things and sins you may have been doing and correct yourself. Think about any deficiencies you have in your Islamic observances and plan to change yourself. Think what you can do for the Ummah and for humanity to make this world a better place for everyone.
It is reported in the Bible that the Children of Israel used to fast, but they complained to their prophet that they were not receiving God’s blessings. God was not answering their prayers. It is reported that God revealed to His prophet:
“Why have we fasted, and thou seest it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it?” Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. (Isaiah 58:3-9)
May Allah help us to take full benefit of fasting in this blessed month of Ramadan. May He keep us on the right path and bless us now and always. Ameen!