IT IS THE LAST Ten Nights and you may have barely felt Ramadan. Suddenly, the final stretch is ahead of you and you can’t help but regret all you could have done and wished you could do. There are only ten nights left. How can you make the most of them?
1. Focus on the Now
Instead of lamenting what you’ve missed, focus on what you can reap. Imagine these Last Ten are the month of Ramadan all over again. The excitement you felt when it first entered, the goals you had when you knew it was coming—transfer those emotions and adjust that plan into these final nights.
2. Find Peace in Your Mind and Heart
Your heart needs time to absorb contemplating the greatness of Allah. It needs space to breathe in spirituality and exhale purification. In these last ten, schedule at least ten minutes daily or nightly to sit alone, privately.Reflect on the verse: We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness? [Sûrat Fuṣṣilat, 41:53]. Ask yourself: what are the signs in nature? What are the signs in my own life? Allow the power in that reflection to affect your heart and wake it up from its slumber.
3. Make the du‘a’ of a Desperate, Broken Beggar
Think of Zakariyya. He saw the out-of-season fruit with Mariam and he recognized that as Allah can provide this fruit for Mariam out of season, He can grant him a child even though he’s old and his wife is barren [both ‘out-of-season’]. He had this realization and then, with passion, he went immediately to du¢â’.Look at the du¢â’ he makes. It’s the du¢â’ of a broken person, a needy person, a person begging Allah with the recognition that He is the Only One Who knows the full reality of his situation and the Only One Who can respond:
(This is) a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His slave Zakariyya. When he called out his Lord a call in secret, saying, “My Lord! Indeed my bones have grown feeble, and grey hair has spread on my head, And I have never been unblessed in my invocation to You, O my Lord! And verily, I fear my relatives after me, since my wife is barren. So give me from Yourself an heir, who shall inherit me, and inherit (also) the posterity of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, one with whom You are well pleased! [Sûrat Maryam, 19: 2-6].
Zakariyya outlines his need, pours his emotions into his du¢â’.
Write a du¢â’ list and memorize what is on that list. Then, change your du¢â’ from a passive, “O Allah, help me,” to a pleading, desperate, needy cry of, “O Allah! Help me!! If You don’t help me, who will help me? If You turn me away, who will take me in? If You do not answer me, who will answer me? Don’t turn me away without answering my du¢â’! Don’t let me leave this moment without my du¢â’ fully answered! O Allah, answer me! I have certainty in You! You are Al-Mujîb! Allâhumma, I trust in You and all things are easy for you! Allâhumma, be with me!”As the Ten roll in and whiz by, make duâ’ your #1 priority. Every single night, make every single duâ’ on your duâ’ list. You will Inshâ’Allah definitely catch the greatest of all nights—Laylat Al-Qadr—even if you’re only making duâ’ for ten minutes a night. Inshâ’Allah you will find all of your du¢â’ being answered in the best ways for you.
4. Read the Quran to be Transformed
If you’re already way behind in your Quran goals and you’re mentally hyperventilating when you’re thinking about how much you need to do to catch up, consider my personal experience:
The first time I ever felt Ramadan was when I was sitting in the car with my family, driving to the masjid. I was 16. We were listening to Quran recitation and the reciter began to weep. As his sobs became louder and he went silent from the intensity of his crying, we could hear the followers behind him bawling loudly.
I didn’t know what was being recited; I’m not Arab and didn’t understand Arabic at that time. But it was the first time that listening to the Quran touched my heart. I asked my parents the meaning. My dad told me the verses were talking about the Hereafter. In that moment, I knew I wanted to memorize Sûrat Al-Mu’minûn (pretty big decision considering I hadn’t memorized anything since I was a kid put in Quran class for Juz’ ¢Amma), but I also knew I wanted to understand it because it had affected me to the core.
So that Ramadan, I started working on memorizing the sûrah and memorizing the corresponding meaning. It was my first time, in Ramadan, choosing to work on understanding the words of Allah. From there, my following Ramadans were focused on trying to understand the meaning of the verses. And that understanding quite literally transformed my life.
The way we’re often encouraged to approach the Quran in Ramadan is to finish reciting it cover to cover at least one time. The focus frequently seems to be the amount, sometimes with no understanding. While reciting the entire Quran once or even more is such a blessing and honor and an incredible means of receiving reward, I think we need to approach the Quran by what it truly is: This is a book that is meant to transform us. Inspire us. Guide us. Renew us.As Ramadan comes to an end, don’t just approach the Quran as a book you need to hastily complete to hit a deadline. Read it with the hunger of someone starving for nourishment, the feral desperation of a drowning person who has been pulled up into the air.Open your heart to understanding the Quran in this month; read it in translation, work to understand it. And when you understand it, when you beg Allah to open your heart to it, when your soul is consistently craving it, Inshâ’Allah you will come out of Ramadan with your heart touched and transformed.
5. Give Charity Every Night
Even if it is only $1.00, give something every night. You never know what night may include Laylat Al-Qadr! If a loved one has passed away, make the intention to donate on their behalf. Do not belittle the power of even the smallest of your good deeds. Keep in mind the words of Ibn Al-Qayyim:
Perhaps you might be asleep while the doors of the Heaven is knocking with tens of supplications for you by a poor person you aided or a sad person you made happy or a distressed person you brought relief to. Therefore, never underestimate doing good.
6. Enjoy Qiyam Al-Layl
Nothing in the entire world is sweeter than the taste of your heart connecting to Allah in salah in the last third of the night during the Last Ten Nights of Ramadan.
Our Lord (glorified and exalted be He) descends each night to the earth’s sky when there remains the final third of the night, and He says: ‘Who is saying a prayer to Me that I may answer it? Who is asking something of Me that I may give it him? Who is asking forgiveness of Me that I may forgive him?’ (Bukhâri)
Make time to pray at least two rak¢ahs every night in which you pour out your heart to Allah in sujûd. You can make du¢â’ in your sujûd in any language if you do not speak Arabic. Even if it’s short because of work the next day or because your infant wakes and needs you, make Qiyâm Al-Layl your refuge.
If you’ve gone through 20 days of Ramadan feeling inadequate, like you haven’t done enough, like this was a wasted Ramadan—then the Last Ten Nights are for you!
We may not be deserving of the sweetness of the tears that fall out of love for Him, nor for the feeling of His Mercy which envelops us. But He is ready to give it.
Dear Lord, we haven’t done enough this Ramadan, nor have we prepared for these nights. We aren’t deserving of what we ask You, but we desperately seek it! And You LOVE TO GIVE! You told us in Your Book: Call upon me, I WILL respond to you! Here we are, calling! So please, respond! Let us feel Ramadan in these nights, soften our hearts, bring us near to You, forgive us and answer us! Let us come out successful!