It's that time of year again, Ramadan.
Ramadan, Ramadaan, Ramadhan or Ramazan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims around the world as the month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
Many Muslims have their meal plans and preparations sorted long before the month begins but find it difficult to put together a spiritual plan for the month. We at iloveza.com have put together a little plan which we will be updating with relevant information during the month.
Please note that we are not this information is just a guide and a spiritual leader (mufti / imam) should be consulted on what to read and the benefits thereof.
Sehri / Suhoor (Pre-Dawn Meal)
Plan your day that you wake up early enough to prepare, and eat a healthy meal that will sustain you during the day, as some (depending on which country you are in) will be fasting for up to 18 hours.
Meal preparation can be done the night before, but it is important to set an alarm and wake up to eat this meal before the Fajr Salaah (Pre-Dawn Prayer).
Waking up for Sehri is a Sunnah (practiced by the Prophet Muhammad - Peace Be Upon Him) as narrated by Bukhari, "Eat Suhoor, for in Suhoor there is blessing."
Tahajjud (Obligatory Night Prayer)
If you set your alarm for the correct time, waking up and having a meal with time to spare before the Fajr Salaah will be a breeze.
The Tahajjud Salaah, which is an obligatory prayer, can be performed during this time with anything from 2 to 8 rakaats. Alternatively this prayer can be performed anytime after Taraweeh up until the Fajr Salaah.
Duahs (invocation / supplication) during this time are said to be readily accepted as the this night prayer is the most desirable form of supplication after the mandatory ones.
Be vigilant in standing up [in prayer] at night, for it was the practice of the pious before you. It is a means of gaining proximity to ALLAH Ta'ala, expiation for transgressions and a barrier from sins (Tirmidhi).
For how to perform the Tahajjud Salaah and the duahs to be read CLICK HERE.
It is preferable to perform Fajr Salaah in congregation, either at the local Masjid or with your family at home (families that pray together, stay together).
Additional Morning Duahs or Dhikr can performed after the Fajr Salaah, including Ayatul Kursi, Durood Shareef, Surah Yaseen, and the 4 Quls: Surah Kafiroon, Surah Ikhlas, Suraf Falaq, and Surah Naas.
If there is a programme at the local masjid after Fajr, and there is time before work, attending these can be beneficial.
Some might choose to go to work early to avoid traffic in the evenings and to make it home for Iftar, and other might choose to go later.
If you do have the opportunity of staring work late or working from home, Ishraaq Salaah can be performed 15 minutes after sunrise. This is an obligatory prayer but also very beneficial. The time between Fajr and Ishraaq can be spent reciting the Qur'an.