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Du’a (supplication) is the strongest weapon of the believers. When we make du’a to Allah, it’s not only a proclamation that Allah is indeed in control, it’s also a confirmation that we know that only Allah can give us what we ask for. It shows humbleness, yet strength and hope. Only people who know not to give up make du’a, so du’a must come with full conviction and tawakkul (trust) in Allah. So, how do we go about it?

1. Stay away from sins as much as possible and repent
Of course, no one is perfect, but that’s never an excuse to carelessly cross the line without remorse. If and when we do commit sins, we must repent sincerely and try not to repeat it. “Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” At-Tirmidhi.
It’s also not wise to make du’a while eating from haram (haram income such as riba/usury, a haram job, or something stolen). This should never be done anyway, but I’m emphasizing it here because it’s pointless to ask Allah for help while purposely, carelessly, and continuously disobeying Him. But of course, there’s still room for change and repentance. Let’s also remember that we should always make sure that what we’re asking for is good, not something forbidden, or something that causes harm to others.

2. Be sincere and pour your heart out
So invoke Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion…” Surah Ghaafir (40:14)
If we’re true to ourselves, we know when we’re truly being sincere when making du’a. Making du’a is not about saying empty words that have no meanings in our hearts. Also, we must always remember that Allah knows us more than we know ourselves, so He knows when we’re not sincere. Pour your heart out, cry to Allah, and mean it from the deepest bottom of your heart. We all know how we become when we really want something. Personally, when I make du’a, I know when my heart isn’t fully into it. It doesn’t stop me from making du’a, rather, I strive to purify my intentions instead of giving up making du’a. Hoping for sincerity doesn’t mean you get off the road of good before attaining it, but you strive harder while staying on the road.

3. Call upon Allah using His Beautiful Names and Attributes
And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them…” Surah Al A’raaf (7:180)
We know ninety-nine names and attributes of Allah, that’s more than plenty to use when calling upon Allah. When we want Allah to have mercy on us, we should remember that He is Ar-Rahmaan (the All-Merciful). When we want Him to hear us out, we should remember that He is As-Samee’ (The All-Hearing). By remembering that Allah possesses these attributes, we affirm that it is easy for Him to answer our du’a. Do NOT ask Allah by saying “if you will or in shaa Allah.” Ask knowing fully that Allah has all the power to make your wishes come true. This… is conviction; when done from the heart.


4. Think good of Allah and have high hope
Have a balance of hope and fear towards Allah. Having too much fear leads to forgetting that Allah is the Most Merciful, but depending on only the love and hope leads to carelessness and forgetting that Allah’s punishment is great. So, with a balance, be highly hopeful that your du’a will be answered. Don’t let doubts take over. It’s easy to think, “Why would Allah answer my du’a when there are many people better than I am who have it harder?” This does cross my mind sometimes before making du’a, but it is very wrong to think like this. Allah’s wisdom is beyond what we could ever possibly imagine, so it’s not our place to decide what’s fair or not fair. Besides, we do not know the unseen.

5. Don't give up
When making du’a, remember to not make it a onetime event. Be as consistent as you would have been when pursuing other things that mean a lot to you, if not better. True dedication can show sincerity and willpower. Maybe Allah is testing your patience and/or waiting for the best time to answer your du’a. By giving up, you never know if your supplication was just about to be answered before you gave up. Besides, asking Allah for help in whatever we do draws us closer to Him. That in of itself is worth the wait. We get more rewards (among many other benefits such as increased love for Allah and peace of mind) by getting closer to Allah, so it’s something we should always look forward to. Think of prophets who made du'a for years and continued making du'a with hope, even when things seemed impossible. You may not be a prophet, but you're praying to the same Creator the Prophets prayed to. Allah is As-Samee' (The All Hearing). We should also avoid being of those who only make du’a when they want something, but disappear once they get what they wanted. Allah should be remembered during both hard and good times. Remember Allah during times of ease and He will remember you during times of hardship.” Ahmad

6. Trust that Allah knows best!
KNOW that Allah will answer when it is BEST for you, or He may protect you from harm because of that du'a. Maybe what you asked for wasn't good for you, so Allah gave you better than you asked! We often count our problems but fail to count our blessings. If we count our blessings, then we would realize how much Allah gives us without us even asking!

May Allah answer our ad’iyah and keep us firm on the straight path. 

AuthorUmm Sumayyah
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Note from the author:
This is a true story told by way of fiction in order to mask people's identity and to cover for forgotten details. The language is also different.
Disclaimer: I know it should have said "burnt" instead of "burned," just in case you wondered.

Someone did care about Djene!
She had silent admirers who thought long and hard for ways to get her out of that nightmare.
You have to understand that in an environment where people are taught to mind their business, it's often very hard to step in, even in obvious unjust situations.
Now the question remains, could they do enough to actually make a difference?

Well, let me take you back to the night when I last spoke to Djene.
Everyone had a great time playing, running, telling stories, and enjoying the breezy night.
I could tell that we were all happy to see Djene have fun because it rarely ever happened.
But, as I said before, I didn't get the chance to speak to Djene in detail about her life and why she was with Khadia.

Fast forward to a few days later, something interesting happened.
It was an early afternoon and sunny outside. It was a very relaxing day for me. There was no school that day and I had the house to myself for a few hours. I was sitting in a rocking chair made of bamboo. As I was rocking back and forth, fresh scent from the beautiful flowers in our garden helped to ease up my mind even more.
I was enjoying my early afternoon with some cold fruity juice and all of a sudden, I saw two men walking swiftly and angrily towards Khadia's house. They were wearing sandals and West African thobes that are commonly worn by men in various parts of West Africa. They did not look like residents in our area and no one seemed to know them. I wasn't the only one curiously staring at them as they walked. They looked like travelers because they were each carrying a small bag that was held with one hand while it hanged on the back.

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They greeted the residents they came across and unexpectantly started talking to Djene who was sitting in front of Khadia's house washing dishes. Khadia wasn't home, but Djene was left in charge of taking care of her baby; as usual. After a while, to everyone's surprise, Djene handed the baby to her neighbor's 'maid' and started walking away with the two men. Her neighbor was Khadia's closest friends, so she must have trusted her maid enough to leave her the baby.

I wasn't yet sure what to think when I saw Djene walking with the two strangers. "Does she know them? What's going on? Where are they taking her? Wait... Are they her family members!?" These are some of the thoughts that gushed through my mind. I was worried, excited, not sure, yet puzzled! I was curious but wasn't sure what to do or say.

Before they completely left, they stopped and started talking to one of the elders (an old lady) of the neighborhood. I couldn't hear what was being said, but the lady seemed happy, and best of all, Djene seemed happy! "Is this it!!???" I thought to myself. I could barely contain my excitement. I looked around me and saw other people also staring while having smiles on their faces. Few more people joined the talk with the two strange men. Before I knew it, greetings were exchanged, the neighbors hugged Djene, and Djene and the men continued walking away.

"WHAT!? What just happened!?" I again thought.
I saw people talking around, but I couldn't hear what they were saying. What I did notice was that they seemed satisfied and happy.
A few hours later, my mother came home. I excitingly told her about what happened and she said, "It's about time that someone came to get that girl. It could have been some family members who just found out about what she was going through here."
A moment later, the older lady who first talked to the two strange men came to our house to speak to my mother, but, she didn't stay for very long. After she left, my mother gave me the summary of what happened that day.

Basically, the two men were distant family members who recently found out about the way Djene was being treated by Khadia. They came from a town very far away from the city we lived in. Djene was supposed to be with Khadia for a period of time to help her with chores around the house and her baby. There were no continuous contacts between Khadia and Djene's family, so, none of her family members knew what was going on.

It was normal in that society for people to entrust their young girls as helpers or servants to other families, even for years. And it goes without saying, the trust is based on their children being treated like decent human beings, paid for their service, and returned to their families after an agreed period of time or after their service is no longer needed. Sadly, because of the limited line of communication at that time, many of these young girls end up getting mistreated and taken as... let's just say it like it is..., slaves.

Getting back to the story, the two men who took Djene away were family members sent to take her back home. Someone who witnessed her mistreatment by Khadia looked for her family for as long and hard as possible and went to inform them.

So, as it turned out, my question was answered; people DID notice!
She wasn't as alone as I thought.
People DID care!
And, they acted!
Alhamdulillah!
The END

AuthorUmm Sumayyah
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What stood up the most to me when sister Majeedah contacted me was when she said, “I want to be able to serve this ummah in all possible ways.” I just knew then that I had to interview her. She’s a blogger, a teacher, and a student. She’s passionate about spreading Islamic knowledge and addressing problems faced by the Muslim youth. Why don’t we talk to her directly?

1. Umm Sumayyah Assalaam ‘alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh sister Majeedah.
Majeedah: Wa'alaikum Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu sister.

2. Umm Sumayyah How are you doing my dear sister?
Majeedah: Alhamdullilah I'm doing good. 

3. Umm Sumayyah It’s a pleasure to interview you today and I sure do hope you feel the same. So, I’d like to start by having you introduce yourself briefly; please.
Majeedah: Firstly, I feel very humbled and honoured to be able to get in touch with Global Muslim Writers, Alhamdullilah.
Ever since my school days, I used to attend a number of Islamic classes, but in the year 2012, I met this beautiful woman who happened to be one of my teachers in those classes. It was through the way she would teach, address the problems we as Muslim teens would face, provide solutions for it and give us opportunities to express our thoughts, I found my inner zeal to work and dedicate myself to the deen of Allah. It was her who encouraged me to put up these feelings of mine into words, start blogging and helped me climb the first step towards my aim, Bi idhnillah. By the grace and mercy of Allah, there was no looking back since then. The more I would learn about the Quran and the Sunnah, the more I would fall in love with it and get addicted to learning more. 

4. Umm Sumayyah Teachers can surely leave a big impact on students. Subhanallah, one can only imagine the reward she may be getting for leaving such a positive impact on you. I love your zeal for learning and spreading what you learn; Allahumma baarik. 
You are a blogger who loves to write about problems faced by the Muslim youth, you’re a teacher, and a big believer in seeking knowledge. Please, tell us a bit more about that.
Majeedah: Yup that's true indeed! May Allah reward her and her family abundantly! 
So, when I experienced the transition from darkness (i.e. not gaining knowledge) to light (i.e. learning and implementing the teachings of Allah and His Rasul), I decided to share this experience with as many people as possible and help them turn their negative emotions into positive ones through the Quran and Sunnah, Bi idhnillah. When I started this journey and interacted with the Muslim youth, I figured they have a desire to live a peaceful and blissful life, without any sorrow and trials but they couldn't figure out which path would lead them to it. I decided to address their problems, its solutions, their desires and needs through the Quran's perspective, and thereby connect each and every aspect of their lives with the Quran. This way they would know Who to approach in their times of trials and needs, In sha Allah.

5. Umm Sumayyah Ameen to the du'a. And what you do is amazing, Allahumma baarik! 
Do you work with the youth face to face or online? Do you do that through classes or other community services?
Majeedah: I prefer a face to face interaction because I believe there are a lot of emotions that can be conveyed through the eyes and the expressions that sometimes our words might lack which is exactly what I do now. When I teach young girls, I try to highlight their problems and its solutions in the light of the Quran and the life of the Prophet (saws) and his companions. Subhan Allah I notice that with every class, the desire in these girls to learn more and to change themselves for the better has only increased. Nevertheless, I also answer the queries of young Muslim girls and ladies through my email to the best of my knowledge.

6. Umm Sumayyah That DOES make sense. 
What makes you passionate about seeking knowledge and Muslim youth problems?
Majeedah: When I started learning about Deen and experienced the difference it created in my life, how it transformed me into a person who is more humble, patient, kind and positive and above all to keep cool in any situation and have unwavering faith in Allah and His plans is what makes me passionate about seeking knowledge. I know for a fact that a majority of Muslim youth feed on negative emotions and have a vague idea of what true happiness and contentment is which is very sad. I believe it is them who are the foundations of Islam and they need to be addressed with kindness and patience and shown how beautiful and comforting their Deen is. 

7. Umm Sumayyah I totally agree. The youths are the present and the future of Islam. Throughout the history of Islam, they have always been the ones firmly holding the banner of Islam through their resilience, courage, and energy that Allah granted them. So we should definitely invest more in them. What goals do you try to achieve when you address Muslim youth problems?
Majeedah: I couldn't agree with you anymore sister Umm Sumayya! Whenever I speak or write about a problem that is commonly faced by the Muslim youth, I give them a solution for it that is mentioned in the Quran and the Hadith. The Quran is a Book for all ages and generations. It has been a solution to the problems faced 1400 years ago and it still is the solution to the problems we face in the 21st century. That's one of the reasons why the Quran is a miracle of Allah swt. I want to be able to make the Muslim youth establish a connection with Allah through His Book - the Quran, In sha Allah.

8. Umm Sumayyah Rightfully so. That’s how it should be. The Qur’an is more than just a book that should be read; it comes with a message. And we can only truly understand Islam once we start connecting with the Book of Allah. 
Do you think there’s a relationship between Muslim youth problems and seeking knowledge? If so, what do you think it is?
Majeedah: Yes. There's a major connection there. As I was saying, seeking knowledge helps us mold our thinking into a positive one. For example, if we're going through any difficulty or a trial, we're going to be patient and positive and endure the trial with complete trust and faith in Allah because we would have learned that Allah is The One who tests those who believe, either with comfort or with difficulty. Each one of us is tested based on our level of faith and tolerance because Allah has promised that He will not burden us with more than what we can bear. And Allah is with those who patiently endure. When we have these things in mind, we'll only be positive and expect our reward from Allah at the end of the trial. On the other hand, lack of this knowledge is going to cause us anxiety, frustration, depression and hurt us emotionally and physically. For every problem there is, whether it be peer pressure or poverty or obesity, you will find its solution in the Book of Allah.

9. Umm Sumayyah I agree with you, but just for clarification, do you think having knowledge necessarily takes away the possibilities of having anxiety, frustration, depression, and the likes? 
Majeedah: These negative emotions are a part of life just like the positive ones. Even Rasulullah (saws) faced sadness when he lost his beloved wife, Khadija (ra), his uncle and his children, when he faced humiliation in Taif or when the Muslims lost many of the Believers in the battle of Uhud! But it was only through the Words of Allah, he found solace and strength to move ahead in life. It was through the implementation of this knowledge and his sincere intentions that made him and his efforts for the Deen victorious! As Allah swt says in Surah Al Imran, verse 139; "Do not lose hope nor be sad. You will surely be victorious if you are true in faith."
So challenges and trials are faced by every human being but it is our choice if we want to give ourselves into them, increasing our sadness and anxiety or rise above by having an unshakable trust in Allah, His plans, and His wisdom. 

10. Umm Sumayyah: Got it! So, in general, why do you think seeking Islamic knowledge is important?
Majeedah: Firstly, there is a Sahih Hadith that states, "Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim" [At Tirmidhi, 74]. Seeking Islamic knowledge is going to make us aware of who our Creator is. Yes, He is the Lord of the Worlds and He is The One who created the entire Universe and everything in it. But apart from that, He is also the Lord who is The Most Kind, The Most Wise, The Most Just and so much more. When we learn about Allah, His Might, and His attributes, it makes us more humble and this characteristic will reflect in our Salah. And when we're cautious of Allah in our prayers, then every other matter in our life in this world and the Akhirah will be settled and be personally taken care of by Allah Himself. What more can one ask for when all his problems in this world are taken care of by The One who runs this world? Subhan Allah!

11. Umm Sumayyah Now THAT was powerful! Jazaki Allahu khayr for mentioning these important points. 
Who wouldn’t want to seek knowledge after reading that? 😊 
What steps do you think a person could take to seek knowledge?
Majeedah: Alhamdullilah! So the most important thing to do is to seek knowledge from the right and authentic sources. In my opinion, one should start small. This will help one be consistent and regular in learning about Islam. After all, the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even though it were little [Sahih Bukhari, vol 8, book 76, hadith 471]. Islamic posts, articles, videos have benefited me to a great extent Alhamdullilah. But it is the Quran that has the power to sink into our hearts and soul. As a student of knowledge, I believe just reading the translation of the Quran may not be that beneficial as supposed to understanding the Quran with its Tafsir. 

12. Umm Sumayyah I’m glad you mentioned Tafsir because I believe we often overlook it, and that goes for both those who speak Arabic and those who don’t. Translation just tells us the meaning of the words and sentences. But, Tafsir elaborates on what exactly was being addressed, the circumstances around what happened, who and what it was speaking about, when it happened, and the lessons to learn about it.
Are there any drawbacks when it comes to seeking Islamic knowledge? Is it an easy road?
Majeedah: True that! I was someone who thought that reading the translation would be good enough to understand the Quran but Subhan Allah when I started Tafsir, it totally blew my mind away and I was so fascinated with the event around which the verses were revealed! 
Coming back to your question, I would be lying if I say "no"! When we do something for the sake of Allah and try to come closer to Him, His Book and His deen, there is someone out there who is not liking it. And he is going to try his best to put you off the right track. And if he cannot get us to sin, he is going to make us do something worse, and that's wasting time. So, whenever there is an urge to do something that Allah dislikes or if it takes us away from the remembrance of Allah or if we simply feel lazy, we know who the culprit is. Drive him away by immediately seeking refuge in Allah and ask for Allah's help against him. Keep making Dua to Allah to help you walk on the path of knowledge and In sha Allah it will be easy. 

13. Umm Sumayyah That is true. Nothing good in life is easy, to begin with, so one can only imagine how much more challenging it can be to seek authentic knowledge that draws us closer to Allah. What would you advise a Muslim who wants to seek knowledge? And what would you advise Muslims in general in relation to seeking knowledge?
Majeedah: As I have mentioned before, it is an obligation upon every Muslim to gain knowledge. Another important thing that I'd like to mention here is the importance of our intentions when we seek knowledge. First and foremost, we need to learn about our deen with the intention to please Allah alone and fulfill our obligations towards Him. Because when we walk on the path of knowledge, Allah makes the path to Jannah easy [Sahih Muslim, 2699]. There may be times when our Iman would be in the highest level and sometimes there might be a dip in oour Iman, whatever be the situation, we must never stop seeking knowledge. It is this knowledge that will help us walk on the straight path and come closer to Allah and His mercy, Bi idhnillah. 

14. Umm Sumayyah I was waiting for the word ‘intention’ and surely, you said it! I like that you also talked about iman going up and down but we should never stop the journey. Once we convince ourselves to stop, that’s when we usually lose the battle; subhanallah. Consistency, even at a slower pace is better than stopping indeed!
Are there any last words you would like to share with us?
Majeedah: Exactly! Consistency is the key. In the end, I would like to say that when Allah tests us, it is only for us to call out to Him, ask Him for relief and it is also a means of purifying our sins. These tests is what makes us stronger, wiser and worthy of Jannah. Every problem we face, has a solution to it. Allah has provided the solution in His Book. It is only up to us how often we pick this Book up and read it. May Allah make us among those who recite the Quran abundantly and consistently and also understand the Quran and implement its teachings in our lives, Ameen!

15. Umm Sumayyah If I say I’m not more inspired to do more after talking to you, I would be lying. This is why I love interviewing others to share their knowledge, tips, and experiences. Not only do I benefit, imagine how many more people who read would benefit. Subhanallah. I’m pretty sure some of our readers would love to know where they can find you. 
Please, share with us the best place they could find you.
Majeedah: You can find me at my blog, which is Revive Faith.
This is where I post my articles. Also, you can get to me on my email for a one on one conversation.

16. Umm Sumayyah BarakahAllahu feeki sister Majeedah for taking the time to talk with me. I truly appreciate all your wonderful and beneficial advice and I’m 100% sure others will too, in shaa Allah. I wish you all the best in your journey to making a difference in the Muslim ummah.
Majeedah: Jazakillah Khair sister Umm Sumayyah for this consideration! I'm totally inspired by your work in the Global Muslim Writers and for providing opportunities for young writers all over the world. May Allah accept from you and me. 

17. Umm Sumayyah Ameen! I guess that makes two of us! I’m just as inspired (if not more) by your work and dedication! Alhamdulillah.
Assalaam ‘alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.
Majeedah:  Wa'alaikum Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu. 

Umm SumayyahNow if that didn't inspire you to seek knowledge, I don't know what will! This interview left me thinking, "What am I doing? I HAVE to start doing more!" That's a good thing. We can be too comfortable sometimes and easily waste previous time that we could have used to benefit ourselves and others around us. But, it's never too late (except after death) to do even the bare minimum. And as Sister Majeedah said, "intentions!" I'm focusing on that word because it speaks volume. May Allah purify our intentions and help us in the path of seeking knowledge for His sake, and implement what we learn. 
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Can you believe that Ramadhan is now over? In fact, it's been over a week. I remember writing an article not long ago about Ramadhan, right before it started. When they say time flies, it is not a joke. It almost seems like a blink of an eye. So, we should always try our best to make the most of it. I thought I was going to, or at least try. I planned out my daily Ramadhan activities and I decided to take a break from my websites and social media. But, did that really help me to remain focused and productive?

Making daily plans
I believe that the best way to make the most of our time is by striving to plan it out as much as possible. So, I made meal plans, activity plans, daily plans, etc. I thought I was getting everything in the right direction. Then, Ramadhan started. I was on top of my daily schedule at the beginning. Within few days, my focus wasn't where I wanted it to be. I was still taking care of my daily Ramadhan goals, but I didn't like that I was a little behind.

Focusing too much on daily goals 
Although it is very important to make plans and strive to stick to those plans, I believe when it comes to worship, intentions should overpower goals. I'll tell you what I mean by that. Because I was too focused on accomplishing my daily goals, when I did fail to live up to it, I felt a bit disappointed. "It's not like I planned out too much or anything," I thought. Looking back now, I wish I would have remained focused on actually doing something extra every day; anything beneficial. Being too focused on my goals made me eventually give up most of it by the middle of Ramadhan. If  I had done even a little, I would have done a lot more by the end of Ramadhan. Now I know better and hope to do better next time, in shaa Allah.

Taking a break from websites and social media
Even though I run three different websites and have social media accounts for all of them, I don't usually spend a lot of time on them, except when I do research or make educational printables. Looking back now, I believe I could have still continued to create educational resources that could have benefitted other people. Not being 'busy' allowed me to slack off much easier than I would have if I had other things planned out. Because of completely stopping, I found it a bit difficult to get back on track. I'm just now starting to slowly get into that 'work' mood. Lesson learned!

Conclusion
I think we should always try our best to plan out our Ramadhan to make the most of it. That being said, we shouldn't stray away from the focus of having a good intention and doing as much as we can while seeking Allah's pleasure. If we fail to live up to our goals, it should still not stop us from at least doing a little bit of those goals at a time. In the end, we would find ourselves doing much more than if we completely stop out of disappointment. I also believe that we should try not to completely stop what we were previously doing (if beneficial); but just find a balance.

If Allah grants us another Ramadhan, there's room for improvement in shaa Allah. May Allah grant us many more months of Ramadhan to come and be successful. Before I leave you, I would like to remind you and myself to fast six days during this month of Shawwal to gain the reward of fasting the whole year, in shaa Allah. May Allah accept it from us.


AuthorUmm Sumayyah
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It wasn't too long ago when we were talking about Ramadhan last year. Now before we know it, another Ramadhan is about to knock on our door once again, in shaa Allah. Witnessing the month of Ramadhan is a blessing, but sadly, we don't always take full advantage of this blessed month. I believe the best way to make the most of it is by first making sure that our intentions are pure, then planning should come next in line. While planning, we should remember not to overwhelm ourselves because small deeds with consistency are much better than doing a lot but giving up later on. That being said, this is also the time we should try to challenge ourselves a bit more than the rest of the year. 


Ibn 'Abbaas (r.a.) said: "The prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel (a.s.) met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Quran, and when he met him, he would be more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (i.e. in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds)." 

Al Bukhari and Muslim

Even the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who did the most when it came to worship still did a bit more during Ramadhan. Challenging ourselves doesn't have to be something extremely difficult. We all know what we can easily handle; so just add a bit of push, one step at a time. If you find yourself gradually able to do a bit more, go for it; just make sure that you can stay consistent at a reasonable pace. 

Now here are ten ways we could challenge ourselves this Ramadhan, in shaa Allah.

1. Improving the obligatory acts of worship

What better way to get closer to Allah than by first doing what He has commanded us to do? Worship is obeying Allah. So, it wouldn't make sense to do extra good deeds while completely ignoring what we were first commanded to do. 

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa salaam) said, "...My slave does not draw closer to Me by anything more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave continues to draw closer to Me by doing naafil (supererogatory) deeds until I love him, and if I love him I will be his hearing with which he hears, his vision with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks..." 
Al Bukhari

While making sure that our obligatory acts of worship are improving, we can also add voluntary acts of worships such as the two units of prayer before Fajr, the four before Dhuhr, two after Dhuhr, two after Maghrib, two after 'Isha, Tahajjud/Qiyyamu Layl (the night prayer), and getting in the habit of saying our morning and evening adhkar (supplications for protection, repenting, sending salutations upon the Prophet peace be upon him, and more).

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2. Going to the masjid for every salah 
If you're a man, try going to the masjid for the five daily prayers as much as possible. This is something Muslim men should strive to do all year-round, but especially during Ramadhan. If it was never a habit for you, why not try it this Ramadhan in shaa Allah? 

The prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa salaam) said, "Whoever walks to [perform] an obligatory prayer in congregation, it is like Hajj [in terms of rewards], and whoever walks to [perform] a voluntary prayer, it is like a voluntary 'Umrah [in terms of rewards].” 
At-Tabarani, Abu Dawud, and Ahmad

3. Reading the Qur'an
Ramadhan is the month within which the Qur'an was revealed. Reading the Qur'an is also an act of worship that Allah loves. So we should take advantage of this time to get closer to Allah by reading His words. To make it even better, we could also try to understand what we read as much as we're able to. Using translation (if needed) and reading the Tafsir (explanation) could help us connect with the Qur'an, in shaa Allah.

"The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion..." 
Al Baqarah 2:185

4. Memorizing the Qur'an
Needless to say, memorizing the Qur'an is a great virtue. Some people have the ability to memorize a full page or more a day, and some people can memorize an ayah (verse) a day. Do whatever you can do. And to make it even better, try memorizing it with the meaning. If that makes you take longer to memorize, it may be much better than memorizing a lot and not connecting with the Qur'an. Whichever way you go about it, do what works best for you, in shaa Allah. 

5. Avoiding sins as much as possible and repenting a lot
We're all human beings, so we do make mistakes and sin at times. But, we shouldn't take 'being human' as an excuse to carelessly sin. Remember, Allah knows our intentions, so we have to be sincere with ourselves. Besides, with Ramadhan being such a blessed month, this is the time to strive to make a change. If you're used to free-mixing, zina (fornication), backbiting, using foul language, clubbing, using riba (usury/interest), smoking, drinking, listening to music, wearing tight clothes, or other frowned upon acts that you may be used to doing, this is the time to strive hard to give it all up. It is true that Allah is Merciful, but He's also severe in punishing. He knows the difference between those who are sincere and those who are just mocking around. Let's try to replace all the bad deeds with acts of worship that Allah loves. 

"And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.Multiplied for him is the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein humiliated.Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them, Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful."Surah Al Furqaan 25:68-70


6. Forgive everyone
This may be difficult at times, but it's worth trying. How about going to sleep every night with a purified heart? You can try to forgive everyone who may have hurt you one way or another. Not only would it benefit you in this world by setting your heart free, it would also benefit you on the Day of Judgement in shaa Allah. 
"And those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive." Surah Ash-Shuraa 42:37
We all want Allah to have mercy on us and forgive us. So, shouldn't we also be merciful to each other?
Abdullah ibn 'Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, "Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you."At-Tirmidhi
7. Giving charity 

Although giving charity throughout the year is very important and rewarding, we should try to do it even more during Ramadhan. Allah loves those who spend and help others for His sake, so giving charity during this month of multiplied rewards is a perfect opportunity to gain the pleasure of Allah. 

"And whatever good you [believers] spend is for yourselves, and you do not spend except seeking the countenance of Allah. And whatever you spend of good - it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged."Al Baqarah 2:272
We should also note that giving charity does not decrease wealth. If that's a fear for anyone, then fear not. You never know if the worldly opportunities that just came to you were as a result of you giving charity maybe months ago. We should have full trust in Allah and give charity for His sake; if we're able to. 

"Charity does not decrease wealth." 

Sahih Muslim

Not everyone is able to help others financially or by feeding them, but that shouldn't discourage us from helping others in ways we're able to.

8. Feed fasting believers
Another way you can challenge yourself this Ramadhaan is by feeding those breaking their fast at iftar. You could organize an iftar and invite family, friends, and neighbors to break their fast. Also, if you know people in your area who may not have families to spend Ramadhan with, this may be a perfect opportunity for you to invite them over. Even if all you can do is share your iftar with one person, do that. Allah looks at our efforts, not how much we can afford to give.

The prophet (s.a.w.) said, "Whoever feeds a person who is breaking his fast will earn the same reward as his (for his fasting) without decreasing anything from the reward of the fasting person."
At-Tirmidhi

9. Volunteering your time 
Ramadhan is not the time to sleep all day because we're hungry. It may be a bit challenging, but we shouldn't give ourselves the excuse to do nothing. So much could be done throughout the day, and it isn't only limited to reading the Qur'an (although that should be a focus). This is also the time to bring alive what we've learned from reading the Qur'an. Islam is about belief and actions, so we must try our best to bring the Qur'an alive through our actions as much as we're able to. We all have different capacities, so we should be our own competitors. 

We can volunteer our time in our local communities by visiting the sick, cleaning our streets, helping to tutor a student, teaching someone how to read the Qur'an or to learn Tajweed, organizing an Islamic study circle (halaqah), and many more! Be creative, think of any service you can offer, and go for it, in shaa Allah! 

10. Doing I'tikaaf
The whole month of Ramadhan is blessed, and the last ten days are even more blessed. Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree) is in one of those nights. Rewards are multiplied because this night is better than a thousand months! Subhanallah!

"The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months." Surah Al Qadr 97:3
The last ten days of Ramadhan is a great opportunity to increase our acts of worship even more. Who wouldn't want to get the reward of a thousand months in just one day? I'm sure we'd all love to benefit from it in shaa Allah. One way to make sure we don't miss this night is by going into I'tikaaf (seclusion in worship).

Abu Huraira (r.a.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam) said, "There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, which Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has enjoined you to fast. In it the gates of heavens are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and every devil is chained up. In it Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months; whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived." 
Sunan An-Nasa'i

So, it is clear that it's a night not to be missed. We should strive as hard as we can to fully benefit from the whole of Ramadhan, especially Laylatul Qadr. 


Ali Ibn Hussain (r.a.) narrated from his father that the prophet (s.a.w.) said, "He who observes the ten days I’tikaf during Ramadhan will obtain the reward of two Hajj & two Umrah." 

Bayhaqi

If you're able to do I'tikaaf in the masjid during these last ten nights, not only would your chances of catching Laylatul Qadr increase by the will of Allah, you would also gain the reward of two (2) Hajj and two (2) 'Umrah! Subhanallah, Allah is very generous! 
Ask your local masjid (or make research) about the virtues and rules of I'tikaaf to learn more about it in shaa Allah.

This list was put together to share some ideas of what we could do to increase our rewards during the month of Ramadhan, but of course, there are many more things we could do. Let's also not forget to make lots of ad'iyah (supplications) to Allah, sincerely, as this is the month when du'as may get answered even more. It is a reminder for all of us (including myself). May Allah allow us to witness the month of Ramadhan and finish it successfully. 


Click HERE to get a free Ramadhan planner printable to help you schedule your Ramadhan activities better, in shaa Alla.


AuthorUmm Sumayyah

Ramadhan Mubarak!



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