”Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?” [Qur’an: Chapter 23, Verse 115]
Are you a young Muslim looking to optimise your days and nights in Ramadan? Would you like to invest in young Muslims to help them attain success in this life and the next through beneficial Ramadan activities? If your answer is yes, read on.
The following activities are meant to help the youth bust the myth of free time often experienced in Ramadan. In such times, they typically engage in idle play, for example, playing games, browsing TV channels, reading novels, chatting mindlessly, surfing the Internet, sleeping for long hours or eating from iftar time for hours on end.
These Ramadan activities will help you get through the month productively, utilising your time well and multiplying your rewards continuously, In sha Allah. You will engage your mind, body and soul. Begin with yourself, but also do not forget to contribute to the well-being of the Ummah. Make every second count because you never know if it could be your last Ramadan.
Assess your spiritual mindset and connection with Allah from day to day. Commit to those acts that make you feel closer to Him from Day 1 and drop those that make you feel disconnected or distant from Him.
Begin the month of Ramadan with the correct intention of increasing your consciousness of Allah through your fasting.
Renew this intention each day as you wake up to a new Ramadan morning. “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 183]
Eat suhoor (the morning meal) before sunrise. Eat healthy meals in moderation for energy and strength. The Messenger(pbuh) said: ”Eat suhoor (predawn meal). Surely, there is a blessing in suhoor.” [Bukhari]
Engage in i’tikaaf (private devotion) in the last 10 days of Ramadan. Aisha related that the Prophet(pbuh) used to practice I’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan until he died and then his wives used to practise I’tikaf after him. [Bukhari].
Engage in earnest and constant remembrance of Allah with your heart, lips, tongue and words. Learn some adhkaar (words of remembrance), especially the ones you should use regularly such as morning and evening remembrances. Memorise them in Arabic and also learn the meanings.
Enggage in Dhikr for Extensive Reward
Make a lot of dua (supplications) in Ramadan. Implore Allah in the early hours of the morning and at all other times when prayers are accepted such as the last third of the night, while prostrating, last hour of Friday and the final hour before breaking your fast. The Prophet(pbuh) said: “Du’a is worship.” [Abu Dawud]
Perform your five daily prayers on time and in congregation. Enter into your prayers in a state of submission and humility. “… Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” [Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 103]
Recite and memorise portions of the Qur’an daily with passion and reflection. Immerse your heart into the recitation and connect with the meanings. Harmonise the flow of your memorisation with good recitation and reflect over the meanings. The companions were known to devote their time to reading the Qur’an during this blessed month. The Prophet used to revise with Jibril and completed a cycle of recitation in Ramadan. It is reported that he did it twice in the last Ramadan before his death.
Repeat the words of this special supplication ”Allahumma innaka ‘affuwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee”. Aisha asked the Prophet(pbuh): “O Messenger of Allah, what is your view if I know when the Night of Al-Qadr is, then what should I say in it?” to which he replied “Say: ‘O Allah, indeed You are Pardoning [Generous]. You love pardon, so pardon me'”
Seek Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power) in the last ten nights of Ramadan.
Travel for Umrah. ”Perform Umrah when Ramadan comes, for Umrah in Ramadan is equal to Hajj (in reward).” [Bukhari]
Perform voluntary prayers. “Whoever stands (in the voluntary night prayer of) Ramadan out of faith and in hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Nasa’i]
Distribute copies of the Qur’an to colleagues, schools and da’wah groups. You can also donate to Qur’an publishing and educational projects.
Get some fresh air and daily dose of exercise. You should take frequent walks to and fro the masjid, corner shops and use the stairs where available so to stay physically and mentally alert.
Prioritise with your personal care and hygiene. Take of your body during the days and nights of fasting. Use miswak, take a bath, change your clothes and keep your living environment clean and tidy. Remember that cleanliness is part of faith.
Make a comprehensive ‘Goals checklist’ to help you focus on what you want to achieve in Ramadan. Be realistic with your goals. Think about where you are right now and where you want to get to by the end of Ramadan.
Seek beneficial knowledge during Ramadan. Read books of tafseer, hadith and life story of the Prophet(pbuh). You should also read books on the essentials of Ramadan, those giving an explanation of its excellence and benefits etc.
Spend some time watching beneficial television programmes such as those on Islam channel, Huda TV, Peace TV and Ramadan TV. They should be programmes that will boost your faith and spur you into action, rather just something to do just to pass time.
Enrol for a Ramadan course or lecture series with your friends. Follow it through to completion, take action on what you learn and share the gems of what you learn with others.
Summarise beneficial Ramadan lectures, videos and resources. Convert them to suitable formats and share with those who may have difficulty accessing relevant information from the masjid, live lectures or online e.g. those who may be hearing or sight impaired.
Translate Ramadan articles and texts from English language into other languages you are proficient at. Spread those translations, so other language speakers could benefit.
Join a da’wah team (like IERA) if there is one close to where you live. Use this opportunity to call those who are not yet Muslim, to Islam. Make it a duty to talk to someone about Islam every day.
Keep in touch with family members and relatives, near or distant. You can send an SMS, make a phone or Skype call, or send a letter or an email. Make it an opportunity to rebuild the ties of kinship.
Invite Muslim brothers/sisters for iftar. Eat together to foster spirit of brotherhood and love, and create empathy for the poor and hungry.
Visit the sick and elderly in your community, especially those without any family living close to them. Take gifts to them and give words of encouragement to put a smile on their face.
Visit the orphans and spend time with them. You can also donate to projects for orphans such as those in areas of education or community development, or adopt an orphan.
Volunteer your time, knowledge and skills at the local masjid or madrassah. Be generous with what you have and open your hands wide. ‘‘If you offer up to God a goodly loan, He will amply repay you for it, and will forgive your sins: for God is ever responsive to gratitude, forbearing.’‘ [Qur’an: Chapter 64, Verse 17]
Write to Muslim prisoners and their families with words of hope and inspiration.
Visit them if you can and give Ramadan reminders as well as advice on improving relationship with Allah. You can equally support charities for prisoners through raising awareness, donations or by volunteering.
Call local Islamic schools and ask if they need volunteers to read to children, assist teachers or any other duties. Invite your friends along and spend time contributing to the education of the younger generation. You will get to observe firsthand how children behave and learn.
Build new habits and crush bad ones.
Evaluate yourself every day. Make time to self reflect and assess your daily activities, from intention, to commitment and practice. Is your heart getting closer to Allah or more distant?
Journal your Ramadan reflections; write down your thoughts, ideas, feelings, personal growth and mindset using a notepad or buy a pre-made one.
Make time for sleep so you can get sufficient rest to keep you alert and focused in all other acts of worship. Whatever you do, take a break at the end of the day and nap during the daytime for renewed energy. Take care so you do not oversleep, missing out on many rewarding acts.
Take a vacation just for Ramadan. Plan ahead so you can take time off work to devote to extra worship. It could be for the entire month or just a few days. You could also target the opportunity of the last ten days of Ramadan as your vacation period.
Budget wisely. Use a simple potting method to allocate money for your personal needs, home essentials and the needy. However, do not spend beyond your means or borrow money to give charity.
Pay your zakat if it is due on your wealth. Nothing purifies wealth like zakat does.
Invest your wealth into an Islamic waqf (endowment).
Donate to the building or renovation of a masjid.
Become a social entrepreneur. Create social value and impact by finding solutions to social problems in your community or other communities in need, using an entrepreneurship model. For example, providing clean water, housing solutions and medical supplies etc. “Whoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Resurrection… And Allah will aid His slave so long as he aids his brother.”[Nawawi]
That perceived leisure time is an opportunity to reap the numerous blessings of Ramadan. The month allows you to be guided in bringing about change within yourself, improve your relationship with others and contribute to your community by taking part in building an Ummah with a high Ramadan spirit.
As you eagerly anticipate the Ramadan moon, browse through the activity list again and choose those with the potential of changing your fasting experience. If you are ready commit to those changes and reap the rewards of the special month, pray to Allah to make you reach Ramadan in good health and sound mind.
What other productive Ramadan activities can the youth engage in? Please share in the comments section below.