A convert’s quick guide to Ramadan – part 2: Extra Ibadah (Acts of Worship). If you’re a revert and looking for a little guidance to help you get through Ramadan, Jessica is here to help. Here’s Part 1: Fasting. Keep tuned for the last in this three-part series to assist you!
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A Convert’s Quick Guide to Ramadan
Part 2: Extra Ibaadah (Acts of Worship)
The month of Ramadan is a time of increased worship and devotion to our Creator. It’s a month of reflection and remembrance. This article guides you through common forms of ibadah (worship) that people perform during Ramadan.
I’tikaf (Period of Retreat at the Mosque)
During the last 10 days of Ramadan, it is recommended to remain in the mosque for multiple nights for the purpose of worship. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most mosques will probably be unable to host i’tikaf. However, you can attempt to create the experience at home. Consider designating a special worship station in your home. Create a calm and cozy environment where you have everything you need to devote yourself entirely to worship. Items can include a Qur’an, a reflection journal, a book or list of duas, dhikr (remembrance) beads, Islamic books, and appropriate prayer attire.
If you have children, then this is a great opportunity to involve them in worship. Make the space as simple or as decorative as you like. Leave out age-appropriate books, Ramadan-related coloring and activity sheets, prayer mats, prayer clothes, and snacks. View this as an opportunity to share your love of Islam and Allah with your children and welcome them to join you in these last 10 ten days of purposeful worship and reflection.
Lastly, do not feel like you have to devote all day, every day of the last 10 tens days of Ramadan to worship. For many of us, this is just not possible due to, for example, work and family commitments. It’s important to not overwhelm yourself and to find a balance in your extra ibadah.
Create a list of worship goals you’d like to complete during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Some suggested items include: reading, reciting, and listening to Qur’an, praying extra prayers, and making lots of dua either from the heart or read from a prayer book. Simplicity and sincerity are key during this time as your body will already feel fatigued from fasting all day.
Tarawih Prayers (Extra Prayers Performed after Isha During Ramadan)
Tarawih prayers are performed after Isha prayer only during the month of Ramadan. They are usually 8 or 10 ra’akat and can include the recitation of an entire juz, or chapter, of the Qur’an. If you or someone in your household are able to recite verses of Qur’an, then tarawih can be performed at home. For a more detailed Q&A about tarawih, I highly recommend reading through this article on Amaliah.com. Please remember that tarawih prayers are extra acts of worship that are not mandatory for us to complete.
Dua, or prayer, can be performed by anyone, at any time, and in any place without wudhu (ablution). During Ramadan, many people try to increase their duas, whether it’s asking for guidance and forgiveness or praying for people in their lives. Dua can be offered in any language and can come straight from the heart or one can buy a prayer book (such as Fortress of a Muslim) to recite from. Many people choose to write out specific duas to focus on throughout the month of Ramadan.
Another act of worship that can be performed year-round is, dhikr. It is simply the remembrance of Allah. Some common phrases to repeat are Subhan Allah (glorified is Allah), alhamdulillah (all praise is for God), Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest), and La Ilaha Ilallahu (there is no deity but God). You can also repeat Astaghfirullah (O Allah, forgive me). For more forms of tasbih/dhkir, you can buy or find online a prayer book, such as A Fortress of a Muslim. Like dua, this can be performed by anyone, at any time and in almost any place (places that are considered unclean, such as the bathroom, would not be appropriate).
During Ramadan, the reward for good deeds is multiplied. This is an ideal time to strengthen your relationship with Allah, His Prophets and Messengers, fellow believers, and your community. Set the intention to do simple acts such as smiling, warmly greeting everyone you meet, forgiving others, and beautifying your adab (manners). If you are able to give more, then seek out volunteer opportunities in your community or find ways to connect with other Muslims who may be alone during this special month. Before any good deed, always try to reflect on your intention and to become more mindful of doing what is pleasing to Allah. Remember, no good deed is too small or insignificant.
Reading and Reciting Qur’an
Ramadan is also known as the month of Qur’an because this is the month it was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. During Ramadan, people try to read and recite the entire book. The Qur’an is divided into 30 sections, or juz, which can serve as a guide for completing the book in one month.
For converts who cannot read Qur’an in Arabic, you can still benefit from reading a translation and listening to someone recite in Arabic. If you can read the transliteration or if you can read in Arabic, then make a plan for yourself to complete one reading of the entire Qur’an. Even if you fall behind or struggle, know that you surely will be rewarded for your intention. Don’t give up!
Jessica Daqamsseh is a published poet, writer and educator from North Carolina. To learn more about her work, please visit www.jessicadaqamsseh.com or follow her on IG @j.daqamsseh.