1- The first duty is fasting: Fasting is a great means to achieve control over the soul. The soul remain the greatest element in the act of devotion towards Allah. However, by nature it tries to elude the truth, fasting therefore is a veritable tool in dissolution of its desires. To this end, the better part of the day should not be preoccupied with sleep, food and drink should be moderate as excesses weigh down the body. Al-halimi said: “It is right for anyone to take from every lawful food the quantity that would weigh down his body, result to sleep, and prevent him from acts of worship. He should take only a measure that quenches his hunger, and make the goal of eating strength for worship. We should reduce our talks and laughter, and move away all forms of vain talks.
2- Attachment to the Mosque: Allah says: (فِي بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تُرْفَعَ وَيُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ فِيهَا بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآَصَالِ) ( [Such niches are] in mosques which Allah has ordered to be raised and that His name be mentioned therein; exalting Him within them in the morning and the evenings. – 24: 36). The Prophet –pbuh- said: “Should I direct you to a thing- by which Allah erases sins and raises positions? They said: Yes, O messenger of Allah, He said: perfecting the ablution in a difficult condition, much walking to the mosques and waiting for prayer after prayer, and that is the strive, and that is the strive.
Go early to the mosque and wait a while in your position after prayer to earn prayers of the angels. The Prophet –pbuh- said: “Angels prays for everyone of you as long he stays in the prayer spot he observed solat provided he has not void his ablution, saying: O Allah forgive him, O Allah grant him mercy.” The muslim woman should preserve a place at home as mosque where in she would go early expecting solat, responding to the Adhan, etc.
3- The Glorious Qur’an: Ramadan is the month of the holy qur’an, it is prophet’s sunnah to engage in the study of the qur’an in the month. The qur’an is a means to heal, guide and lit the hearts. Allah says: (يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُمْ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ) “ O mankind, there has come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers.” (10: 57). The pious predecessors said: “None stays with the qur’an and got up safely; it is either he makes gain or makes loss. Allah says: (وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ القرآن مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَا يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَارًا) “And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.” 17: 82. Interestingly some completes the reading of the qur’an severally, such that some feel proud of the number especially in Ramadan. But what benefit is in recitation done absentmindedly.
Ali – R.A. said: There is no good in a recitation without pondering.” Hassan said: “How could your heart gets soften when your concern is to get to the end of the surah.” Ibn al-Qayyim supports this inclination saying:Nothingis more beneficialfor the heartas to read theQur’anwith reflectionandcontemplation, it is inclusiveof allthe stages in the process of getting closer to Allah … ifpeople knowwhatthe virtue of reading theQur’anwith reflection, they would have committed themselves to it instead of other than it, and to read a verse with reflection is better than completion of the Qur’an withoutreflection andunderstanding. Thus, let Ramadan be the real beginningof right manner to relate withthe Qur’an.
4- Standing in prayer in Ramadan: Standing in prayer is one of the means to give life to the soul. The prophet said: “Standing in prayer at night is responsibility on you, it is the practice of the pious ones before you, and a nearness to Allah- the Exalted, and a repeller of sins, and a cleanser of shortcomings, and a repeller of ailment from the body.”
Prayers at night were mandatory before the legislation of the five dailysolat. When a man experiences the true devotion in prayers at night, it purifies the heart. We should endeavour to stand up for the prayer regardless of the conditions we found ourselves. Wake up early, to observe the night prayer before Fajrperiod and seek forgiveness. The pious says: Nothing in this world seems similar to the bliss of the companions of paradise, except the experiencethose who stand at night gain in communication with Allah.
5- Benefiting from period of honour: Imam Hassan Al-banna said: “O respectable brother, it comes before youeveryday, a period in the morning, in the evening, and a period by the pre-dawn hours, wherein you could elevate your soul to high state and profit yourself in this world and the hereafter… maximize the time, time is like a sword, shun procrastination, nothing is as poisonous as such.”Such period of honour includes- Friday, Ramadan, Umrah in Ramadan, the hajj etc.
6- I’tikaaf: This means staying in the mosque in obedience to Allah. It is desirable at all times in Ramadan and other times. The best period is in the last ten days of Ramadan due to presence of the night of majesty. If one could not use all the ten days, then he should the odd number days. All forms of deviations in words, and company which are not in agreement with the goal of I’tikaaf should be avoided.
7- Supplication: Supplication is a form of worship which is capable to influence the destiny. It is the expression of servitude, humility, and desire for Allah’s blessing. Some recommended periods for supplication include: between Adhaan and Iqaamah, after every solat, the last part of the night, Friday- from when the Imam mounts the minbar till he finishes the solat, last hours of Friday, night of majesty, …during rainfall, at breaking the fast, the traveler, every night in Ramadan, during the prostration position in solat … We should maximize these periods and ask Allah for worldly favours and those of the herafter, by voicing the requests loud enough with full concentration. The prophet said: “Be aware that verily, Allahdo not answer the prayer done absentmindedly.”
8- Charity: Going through the Qur’an one finds many verses that urge Muslims to spend in the way of Allah, and the Messenger of Allah- pbuh- was the most generous especially in Ramadan. Allah says: (خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِمْ بِهَا)“Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase ..” (9: 103)The giver of charity benefits by being purified from miserliness and sins.
Charity posses great virtue in this world and the hereafter, it heals the sick and repel trials, it facilitate things and brings provision, takes way death and removes the wrath of Allah and effect of sins … Allah says: (فَآَتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَى حَقَّهُ وَالْمِسْكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ لِلَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَ اللَّهِ) “So give the relative his right, as well as the needy and the traveler. That is best for those who desire the countenance of Allah, and it is they who will be the successful.” (30: 38)
(الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ) “Those who spend their wealth [in Allah ‘s way] by night and by day, secretly and publicly – they will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.” (2: 274)
Let us make charity every day, even the equivalent of a split of the date fruit, allocate a box at home to facilitate the daily contribution and then give it to those who deserve it at each period.
9- Remembrance of Allah and reflection:Remembrance of Allah is food for the hearts and provision for its life. The prophet said- pbuh- “The similitude of he who remembers his Lord and he who does not is that of life and death.” IbnTaymiyyah said: Remembrance is to the heart as water is to the fish. What would be the situation of the fish when it leaves water, and the mansion of Paradise is built from remembrance, if he withdraws from remembrance, the Angels stop the construction, but if he returns to remembrance they continue to build.” Remembrance should be accompanied with reflection to benefit maximally. Allah says: (إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآَيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ * الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَى جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ) “Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” (3: 190-191)
We have to set for ourselves some selected dhikr which we would be devoted to with our tongues and hearts, and they come with full rewardsin proportion to our efforts.Such as reciting the morning and eveningadhkarand those for other situations in life.
10- Self accountability: After some days in Ramadan, it becomes easy to direct the soul in that condition, we should start to hold it accountable for past actions. Each person should analyse his past actions to determine points of shortcomings and repent sincerely from them.