Ramadan

A Musilma’s Guide to a Rewarding Ramadan

Muslim women have the opportunity to earn a lot of rewards during the blessed month of Ramadan – whether that is by serving your families, completing acts of worship, and mustahabb actions and dhikrs. Praying taraweeh, reciting the Quran and seeking forgiveness a great deal are all amongst the recommended actions of the devoted Muslima in order to increase ones faith and to come closer to Allah.

At-Tirmidhi (682) narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “When the first night of Ramadan comes, the devils and mischievous jinn are chained up, and the gates of Hell are closed, and none of its gates are opened. The gates of Paradise are opened and none of its gates are closed. And a caller cries out: ‘O seeker of good, proceed; O seeker of evil, desist.’ And Allah has people whom He frees (from the Fire), and that happens every day.”

So how does the busy Muslima with an eagerness to do good and righteous deeds during this blessed month ensure that her daily duties don’t get in the way of her earning more rewards?

Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah:

Great reward can be earned by uttering a few words as you work or complete your daily tasks.

  • Tasbeeh (Subhaan Allah – Glory be to Allah);
  • Tahleel (Laa ilaaha ill-Allah – There is no God but Allah);
  • Takbeer (Allahu akbar – Allah is the Greatest);
  • Tahmeed (Alhamdulillah – Praise be to Allah).

The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Every person’s every joint must perform a charity every day the sun comes up, every tasbeehah is a charity, every tahmeedah is a charity, every tahleelah is a charity, every takbeerah is a charity, enjoining what is good is a charity, forbidding what is evil is a charity, and if you do two rak’ahs at duha time (the forenoon), that may be sufficient.” Narrated by Muslim, 720.

Time is of the essence, it is too precious to be wasted

Following on from the points made above, one should not waste time and effort on vain talk and empty amusements. We should instead commit our time to worthy and righteous deeds for the pleasure of Allah and other people.

Even though this post is about obtaining rewards during Ramadan to the optimal level, we can still use these suggestions for our everyday busy lives filled with the hustle and bustle of work whether it is within or outside the home.

Here is a list of the things we can do as Muslim women when we are at work, doing housework and / or when preparing dinner and cooking iftar meals. These are quick things we can do to make the most of our time:

  • Read one page of the Quran in a minute. It is mustahabb for the Muslim to read the Quran a great deal during Ramadan and to strive to complete it, but this is not obligatory – you’re not sinning if you don’t complete the Quran but you would miss out on a great deal of reward.
  • Memorise an ayat of the Quran. As you strive to recite a lot of the Quran in Ramadan, you can also start or continue your memorisation of the Quran – by at least an ayat a day.
  • Call a Family member and maintain the ties of kinship.
  • Read a page or two of a useful book to increase your knowledge of the deen.
  • Console someone or offer sincere advice to someone who needs it. You will be rewarded for guiding someone on the right path, for forbidding evil, enjoining evil and for easing someones struggle.
  • Make personal duas in your own language: i.e. asking for Allah’s blessings and rewards for the housework your are doing; asking for barakat in the possessions you own and the provisions like food that Allah has provided you; praying for goodness upon a Muslim brother or sister who come to mind; praying for your protection and the protection of your family, friends and the ummah against fasad (rottenness, corruption, or depravity) and fitna (temptation, trial; sedition, civil strife, conflict); e.t.c.

We can also recite the following Dhikr and Dua as we complete our daily tasks:

  • Subḥānallāhi wa biḥamdih (سُبْحـانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْـدِهِ) (Glory and praise be to Allah) 100 times:
    • “Whoever recites this one hundred times in the morning and in the evening will not be surpassed on the Day of Resurrection by anyone having done better than this except for someone who had recited it more. ” Al-Bukhari 4/2071.
    • Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Two words are light on the tongue, weigh heavily in the balance, and are loved by the Most Merciful One: Subḥānallāhi wa biḥamdih, Subḥānallāhi ‘l-`Aẓīm سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَبِحَمْدِه، سُبْحانَ اللَّهِ الْعَظِيمِ. Al-Bukhari 7/168, Muslim 4/2072.
  • Lā ilāha illallāhu waḥdahu lā sharīka lah, lahu ‘l-mulku walahu ‘l-ḥamd, wa huwa `alā kulli shay’in qadīr (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone, Who has no partner. His is the dominion and His is the praise and He is Able to do all things) (لا إلهَ إلاّ اللّهُ وحْـدَهُ لا شَـريكَ لهُ، لهُ المُـلْكُ ولهُ الحَمْـد، وهُوَ على كُلّ شَيءٍ قَدير)
    • 10 times in the morning and 10 times in the evening: Allah will write ten Hasanaat (rewards) for whoever recites this ten times in the morning, and forgive him ten misdeeds and give him the reward of freeing ten slaves and protect him from Satan. Whoever recites this ten times in the evening will get this same reward. An-Nasa’i, ‘Amalul-Yawm wal-Laylah (no. 24). Its chain of transmission is sound (Sahih). Albani 1/272.
    • 100 times upon rising in the morning: Whoever recites this one hundred times a day will have the reward of freeing ten slaves. One hundred Hasanaat (rewards) will be written for him and one hundred misdeeds will be washed away. He will be shielded from Satan until the evening. No one will be able to present anything better than this except for someone who has recited more than this. Al-Bukhari 4/95, Muslim 4/2071.
  • Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: For me to say: Subḥānallāh, walḥamdu lillāh, wa lā ilāha illallāh, wallāhu ‘Akbar is dearer to me than all that the sun rises upon (i.e. the whole world) (Glory is to Allah, and praise is to Allah, and there is none worthy of worship but Allah, and Allah is the Most Great) (سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ، وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ، وَلاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ، وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ). Muslim 4/2072. You can say these words at least 18 or so times in 1 minute.
  • Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “O Abdullah bin Qais, should I not point you to one of the treasures of Paradise?” I said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” So he told me to say: Lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata ‘illā billāh. (There is no power and no might except by Allah) (لاَ حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ).
  • Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi, `adada khalqihi, wa rida nafsihi, wa zinatah `arshihi, wa midada kalimatihi. (Allah is free from imperfection and I begin with His praise, as many times as the number of His creatures, in accordance with His Good Pleasure, equal to the weight of His Throne and equal to the ink that may be used in recording the words (for His Praise)) (سبحان الله وبحمده عدد خلقه، ورضا نفسه، وزنة عرشه، ومداد كلماته‏).
    • These words bring many more times the reward for other forms of tasbeeh and dhikr and you can recite them up to 15 times in one minute: Juwairiyah bint Al-Harith (R.A), the Mother of the Believers, reported:The Prophet (ﷺ) came out from my apartment in the morning as I was busy in performing the dawn prayer. He came back in the forenoon and found me sitting there. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Are you still in the same position as I left you.” I replied in the affirmative. Thereupon the Prophet said, “I recited four words three times after I had left you. If these are to be weighed against all you have recited since morning, these will be heavier. These are: Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi, `adada khalqihi, wa rida nafsihi, wa zinatah `arshihi, wa midada kalimatihi.
  • In one minute you can seek the forgiveness of Allah more than 100 times by saying Astaghfirullāh (I seek the forgiveness of Allah) (أَسْـتَغْفِرُ الله) – Allah has made fasting the month of Ramadan and spending its nights in prayer out of faith and in the hope of earning rewards and as a means of seeking forgiveness of our sins. It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said:”The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, he will be forgiven his previous sins.” Sunan an-Nasa’i 2205.
  • Allāhumma ṣalli ʿalā muḥammadin wa-ʾāli muḥammad. (O Allah! send blessings upon Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad) (ٱللَّٰهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ). You can send more than 30 salawat (salutations) upon the Prophet (ﷺ) in one minute.
    • It was narrated that ‘Asim bin ‘Ubaidullah said:“I heard ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amir bin Rabi’ah narrating from his father that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “There is no Muslim who sends peace and blessings upon me, but the angels will send peace and blessings upon him as long as he sends peace and blessings upon me. So let a person do a little of that or a lot.”Sunan Ibn Majah Book 5, Hadith 105.

Some ibadat boosters and motivational quotes to remember:

Ibn Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) said:The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “He who says: ‘Astaghfir ullah-alladhi la ilaha illa Huwal-Haiyul-Qayyumu, wa atubu ilaihi (I seek the forgiveness of Allah, there is no true god except Allah, the Ever-Living, the Self- Subsisting, and I turn to Him in repentance),’ his sins will be forgiven even if he should have run away from the battlefield (while he was engaged in fighting for the Cause of Allah).” Riyad as-Salihin 1874. (أستغفر الله الذي لا إله إلا هو الحي القيوم وأتوب إليه).

Jubair bin Nufair narrated that `Ubadah bin As-Samit narrated to them that, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:“There is not a Muslim upon the earth who calls upon Allah with any supplication, except that Allah grants it to him, or he turns away from him the like of it in evil; as long as he does not supplicate for something sinful, or the severing of the ties of kinship.” So a man from the people said: “What if we should increase (in it)” He (ﷺ) said: “(With) Allah is more.” Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3573

‘Abdullah b. Amr b. al-As reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: When you hear the Mu’adhdhin, repeat what he says, then invoke a blessing on me, for everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah; then beg from Allah al-Wasila for me, which is a rank in Paradise fitting for only one of Allah’s servants, and I hope that I may be that one. If anyone who asks that I be given the Wasila, he will be assured of my intercession. Sahih Muslim 384.

Also, as narrated by Jabir bin `Abdullah: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever, after listening to the Adhan (for the prayer) says, ‘O Allah, the Lord of this complete call and of this prayer, which is going to be established! Give Muhammad Al-Wasila and Al-Fadila and raise him to Al-Maqam-al-Mahmud which You have promised him,’ will be granted my intercession for him on the Day of Resurrection.”

Allahumma rabba hadhhi’l-da’wat il-taammah wa’l-salaat il-qaa’imah, ati Muhammadan al-waseelah wa’l-fadeelah wab’athhu maqaaman mahmoodan alladhi wa’adtahu

اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّ هَذِهِ الدَّعْوَةِ التَّامَّةِ وَالصَّلاَةِ الْقَائِمَةِ، آتِ مُحَمَّدًا الْوَسِيلَةَ وَالْفَضِيلَةَ، وَابْعَثْهُ مَقَامًا مَحْمُودًا الَّذِي وَعَدْتَهُ، حَلَّتْ لَهُ شَفَاعَتِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

Please note: it is agreed that women should not say the adhaan – even when praying alone at home. In this instance a Muslima can only say the above dua if the adhaan was called by a Man.

“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright” [al-Baqarah 2:186]. 

There is a very useful summary of the acts of worship that one can complete in a minute on IslamQA. Please click here to be redirected to the page.

These actions are also among the greatest means of having a peaceful heart, filled with tranquility, happiness and relief. They are also a means of removing stress and anxiety. May Allah increase us in beneficial knowledge and righteousness this Ramadan and May we continue the ibadat we practice in Ramadan throughout the remainder of our lives. 

A Muslima’s Guide to Time Saving Ramadan Kitchen Hacks

As a Muslima, do you often struggle to get in the spiritual zone in Ramadan or to maintain your focus and commitment to rejuvenate yourself with increased Quran recitations, memorisation and overall commitment to your deen?

Ramadan is a month of prayer and reflection but Muslim women can often feel like they missed out on the gains because they were too busy cooking and preparing iftar feasts for their families. Cooking and serving our families is a beautiful act of worship when you place the right intention behind it. But you don’t have to spend hours a day on it when you can utilise your time with other acts of worship.

Here is a compilation of the best time saving tips and ideas for you in the kitchen during Ramadan:

Planning:

  1. Meantally prepare yourself and take 2 days out of the week to spend money and time on planning, shopping and preparing for the week ahead.
  2. Recipes – plan your recipes ahead, make an inventory of what ingredients you already have in stock and prepare a shopping list of the remaining ingredients you’ll need for the week.
  3. Plan one-pot meals like curries, stews, pastas to go with your side dishes and salads. Google search a key ingredient to see what you’ll need for the remaining ingredients.
  4. Always have a clean well-organised kitchen, this allows for a clear stress free mind for when you go in the kitchen to start your iftar prep.

Salads and Vegetables:

  1. Wash your salads and vegetables before storing them away – a tip is to fill a little bucket or a large bowl of warm water with some salt. Put in and soak your salads and veggies for about an hour and then store them away.
  2. For soups, salads and main dishes cut up your veggies once or twice a week and store in the fridge in airtight containers.
  3. Meal prep salads – lasts up to 3 days in the fridge. Simple ingredients like lettuce, cucumber, grated carrots, peppers, sweetcorn, jalapeño and olives can make up your base. You can always mix it up with some pre-cooked pulses, couscous and rice. To take things further, make it your healthy iftar meal by adding some protein. If you have this as a meal prep idea, cook your protein and put it in the fridge or freeze it in advance – this can be chicken breasts, steak cut pieces or chops and salmon (prep the salmon on the day as its really quick to cook). Don’t pre-cut avocado, tomatoes and veggies that will bruise, discolour or weep. They need to be added freshly chopped.
  4. For your salad dressing, there’s these little sauce pots you can buy so that you already have prepped individual sauces at hand. A basic salad dressing recipe is olive oil, honey, lemon, garlic and salt – adjust them to your taste, add a little chilli for a spice kick too.

Utensils:

  1. Slow cookers (crock pots), pressure cookers, rice cookers, food processors, blenders – the endless list of kitchen appliances have much to offer those on a time crunch.
  2. Taking out your long forgotten appliances or investing a little money into some new ones can save you a lot of time in the kitchen.

Pre-make / mix stock items:

  1. Mix up batches of spices for your tried and true recipes and seal in spice jars. Remember to label them and store in a cool, dark spot.
  2. As Ramadan is mostly around the summer months for us, enjoy fresh fruits and fruit salads in the first half of the week and then freeze the not so fresh fruits for smoothies later in the week. You can freeze whole bananas (skin on), pineapples, berries, apples, peach and pear wedges and kiwi etc. Make citrus juices for your smoothies and/fruit salads by squeezing and freezing the juices of limes, lemons, oranges and grapefruits.

Cooking: 

  1. If you are a daily curry / stew maker, blend some base ingredients like ginger and garlic in advance and freeze them in ice cube trays. If you make things like pepper soup on a daily basis in Ramadan, why don’t you also blend in maggi and chilli together with your garlic and ginger, freeze and take the amounts you need on the day, add your onions (and tomato if you want) to your meat or fish of choice. A pressure cooker is a time cruncher for tough to cook meats like oxtails or hard (boiler) chicken.
  2. Tea: If you like to make your own chai, invest in filter tea bags – there’s different types of them on Amazon. Prepare your own bags of cloves, cardamoms, black pepper, cinnamon, star anise & dried ginger (or cut in a fresh piece on the day but don’t put it in the tea bag). Just store your tea bags in a freezer bag to store in a cupboard or put them in a jar and take one out every day for use. If you use tea leaves like green and mint, put them in towards the end of your tea prep and use a different tea bag for them to store away in. These filter bags are sure to make washing up your kettle nice, easy and quick as well. 
  3. If you love to make bread or anything that involves a dough but it requires kneading time, prep a lot and portion them for freezing. Remember to take it out in the morning to defrost on your kitchen counter ready for a fresh bake later in the evening. Use a simple bread recipe so that you can shape the dough into cobs, buns, pizzas or flat breads.
  4. Hard boil some eggs whilst preparing other things to boost your meals or salads, and for your kids’ lunches and snacks.

Iftar get togethers:

Providing it’s safe and within the covid restrictions of your area, plan get together’s with your extended families and friends with each family contributing a different element for the iftar. Tip: don’t forget to portion out left-overs for each family to have for sahur.

May Allah make it easy for us. May we feel fulfilled during the blessed month and continue what we started for years to come – for consistency is like by Allah. Please remember the those who have passed away and the ummah in your duas.