Making the most of the holy month of multiplied rewards

Making the most of the holy month of multiplied rewards

You will find Muslims more generous, cordial and giving as it is best month of the year

By Khwaja Mohammed Zubair

Published: Sun 21 Jun 2015, 12:40 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:16 PM

Devotees attending the prayers on the first Friday of Ramadan at Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Mosque in Deira in Dubai on Friday. -Photo by Mukesh Kamal

The blessed month of Ramadan is essentially the month of Quran, voluntary night prayers and the month of generosity. Rewards for any good act or an act of charity in Ramadan are much higher than those done in other months.

Traditionally, in Ramadan, Muslims spend lot of time reciting the Holy Quran and other devotional exercises to seek God’s forgiveness and rewards. While fasting, Muslims may carry on with their businesses and jobs as usual. However, in Muslim countries working hours are shortened to make work a bit comfortable.

Here is a list of special prayers and devotional acts during Ramadan:

> Taraweeh: This nightly congregational salah (prayer) is performed after the Isha prayer. Traditionally, a Hafiz of the Quran, a person who has memorised the whole Quran which is in Arabic, leads the prayer. He recites the Quran in small portions, in proper sequence, every night and completes the recitation of the whole Quran before the end of the month of Ramadan. Every Muslim who attends such prayers regularly gets the opportunity of listening to the whole Quran in a month.

> Ramadan Generosity: During Ramadan blessings are multiplied manifold for those who do good. During this month people are more generous, more cordial, more friendly and more ready than other times of the year to do good work. The poor and the needy receive food, clothing and money from the well-to-do in the community. Many people go to the mosque in the neighbourhood for fast breaking and meals. People in the neighbourhood send fruits, food and drinks to the mosque. The atmosphere is that of a friendly pot luck dinner every evening of the month.

Well-known Muslim philanthropists find themselves surrounded by needy people and Islamic workers for donations. Zakat, a wealth purifying tax, and donations are given at this time of the year since many Muslims wish to take the opportunity of multiplied rewards from Allah during this holy month.

>Laylat al-Qadr:  This is the Night of Decree. The term Al-Qadr has been frequently translated as “the power”. A better translation may be “the value” or “the decree” because Allah says the value of this night is better than one thousand months, a life time of over eighty-three years. This is an extremely virtuous night as the Quran was revealed to mankind on this night.

However, it is not clear which is the exact Laylat al-Qadr night but it is one of the odd number of nights in the last ten nights of the holy month. Some reports by companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) elude it to be the 27th night of Ramadan, but many more sayings point to any of the odd date nights during the last ten days of the holy month. According to authentic teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Muslims are advised to spend the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th nights of Ramadan in worship and doing as many good works.

I’tekaf or Seclusion: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to spend the last ten days and nights of Ramadan in the mosque. Following his footsteps, it is considered a community duty that some people go in I’tekaf (seclusion) in a neighbourhood mosque. The people in I’tekaf spend their time in various forms of Dhikr (remembrance of Allah), such as doing extra salah, supplications, recitation and study of the Quran, reading Hadith, exhorting each other to be good through obeying Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). Since people in I’tekaf are not permitted to go outside the mosque except for emergencies, they sleep in the mosque and use available facilities of the mosque. The food for the people in I’tekaf is provided either by their own families or people in the community. 

There are several reasons why prayer has been given importance in Islam. It is really the first step in the onward progress of man, and yet it is also his highest spiritual ascent. Prayer is also the means of levelling all differences of rank, colour and nationality, and the means of bringing about a cohesion and unity among men which is the necessary basis of a living civilization.

(The writer is a former Khaleej Times staffer)

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