While the entire fasting period of Ramadan is considered sacred, the last ten days are even more blessed, with Muslims trying to attain greater spiritual reward by amplifying their Ibada (worship), good deeds, recitation of the Quran, dua (supplication) and zikr (remembrance of Allah).
Here are some things you should perform in the final leg of this journey.
‘Seek’ Laylatul Qadr
As revealed in the Quran, Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Power) is the blessed night that Islam’s holy book was first revealed. Any prayer performed on this night, such as reciting the Quran or remembering Allah, is better than worshipping for one thousand months. Chapter 97 of the Quran states:
Verily, We have sent it (this Qur'ân) down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) (1) And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is? (2) The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allâh in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months) (3) Therein descend the angels and the Rûh [Jibril (Gabriel)] by Allâh's Permission with all Decrees, (4) (All that night), there is Peace (and Goodness from Allâh to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn. (5)
While the exact date of Laylatul Qadr is unknown, it is believed to fall on one of the odd-numbered nights during the last ten nights of Ramadan (21st, 23rd, etc), and it is believed that whoever prays during that night with faith and conviction will have all their previous sins forgiven.
This is also the night when Allah determines a believer’s fate, i.e. all that will occur to individuals in the future. Muslims are encouraged to actively seek this blessed night, by purifying themselves mentally and spiritually and devoting themselves to prayer through the last ten days. Special congregational prayers called Qiyam Al Layl are also held in the early hours of the morning (midnight-3am) in most mosques as well.Observe Itikaf
During the last ten days of Ramadan, many Muslims commit to Itikaf (seclusion) in the mosque. They detach themselves from the materialistic world and dedicate all their time to praying and getting closer to Allah. A person observing Itikaf does not exit the mosque except for emergencies. Their families or the mosque administration takes care of their food needs. Itikaf of a shorter period of time, like one night, a day or a couple of days, is encouraged as well.Give Zakat Al Fitr
Muslims are obligated to give poor people a set amount of money called Zakat Al Fitr, which is meant to help those less fortunate buy food and new clothes so they too can enjoy the Eid celebrations at the end of Ramadan. The head of the household pays the required amount for the other members of the house. Zakat Al Fitr is required of everyone who fasted, regardless of their age and social status. Most people pay this from the sunset of the last day of Ramadan to the beginning of the Eid prayer, but one can pay it before the last day of Ramadan. Not paying is considered a sin. The set amount is one Sa'a (two handfuls) of dates or the monetary equivalent.Recite special duas
The last few days of the month is when you should increase your prayers. Wake up an hour before Suhoor to ask Allah for anything and everything you want that is halal (permissible) using the duas of the Sunnah and duas in your own language, with sincerity and conviction. They don't have to be long. They can be just one line. If you haven’t before, this is the time to connect with Allah and feel closer to Him.
There are numerous benefits and virtues of reading the Quran. While many Muslims set resolutions to finish the Quran in Ramadan, it is also best to select certain chapters or verses from the Quran and use them regularly in prayers in the last leg of the month. You should also make an effort to reflect on the meaning of the Quran.
Choose the latest surahs you have heard in Tarawih (extra prayers) and read their translation and tafseer (explanations given by Muslim scholars). Reflect on their meaning and how it affects you at a personal level. This is a good way to develop the habit of concentration, even in regular prayers, where many of us tend to be fidgety or easily distracted.
The last ten days of Ramadan is the best time to make your prayers longer, deeper and more meaningful. If you are familiar with longer surahs, read the translation and explanation and then pray reciting these surahs, carefully reflecting on the meaning as you pray. You can also read about the life of the Prophet and follow his teachings closely in the final few days, with the aim of continuing to do so even after Ramadan.
Increase your family time
Through the month, many people end up spending Iftar time at the office with a couple of dates or attending official Iftars, but it is best that you to spend the last few days of Ramadan with your family and reconnect with them. Why not take them to Tarawih or Qiyam Al Layl, so as to reconnect with them and strengthen your faith? This is also the right time to make plans for Eid celebrations!Get ready for Eid
As Ramadan comes to a close, Muslims prepare for the joyous celebration of Eid Al Fitr, which literally translates into The Festival of Ending the Fast. It is a three-day celebration where Muslims wear their best clothes, prepare food and sweets and spend these days visiting family and friends.
On the morning of Eid, a special prayer is held in congregation behind an imam (prayer leader) in mosques or open areas (called Eid Ghas). Eid prayer is not compulsory but is strongly recommended. It is different from the daily prayers that every Muslim is required to perform as it is followed by a khutba (address) after which people get together for meals and enjoy visiting friends, parks or relatives.Eid celebrations
All over the world children are given gifts or cash during the Eid from both family and family friends. These are called Eidiya and this can be any amount that is reasonable depending on the age of the child. The Eidiya can be in the form of homemade sweets and biscuits in the spirit of the Eid.And finally, plan for next year
The final days of Ramadan leaves many in a more contemplative state. It is the perfect time for self-evaluation and setting goals for the future. You must vow to continue the good habits picked up this month until the next Ramadan.