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Monday, August 23, 2010

Ramadan. The “Little” Deeds That Count

As we (at MM) were thinking about Ramadan, we thought it would be a good idea to collect a list between us and you about 30 deeds (1/day) that are not the “usual” ones that we kind of all know about. Something other than the norm– little deeds, yet heavy in the scale. Of course, this does not mean we underestimate or ignore the usual good deeds and rituals that are part of Ramadan.

So, here’s the list generated from reader comments so far:

1. Give a gift to a brother (or sister) that you have a “tense” or unfriendly relationship with in order to “reunite” the hearts. Even a small gift. So, think of someone that you believe has been unfair to you or unjust to you or vice-versa (but it is obviously harder when you have to be nice to someone who hasn’t reciprocated that same niceness).
2. Keep a track of your sins. Then for every sin you commit, give $1 in charity. Don’t think it’s ok to sin because of that dollar you’ll give after. Try your best to refrain from the sin but when it happens, for each tally give money. Note that $1 should be much more if you can afford it. Make it $5 or $20 depending on how well off you are. $1 per sin will burden some, and $1000 per sin won’t burden others, so just customize it for yourself, but don’t make it less than a dollar really.
3. Spend some time with someone from the community who is lonely or depressed. Invite them over for iftari or pick them up to pray tarawih together. I know in many communities you have “senior citizens” who are kind of lonely in the sense that their own children live away and don’t spend time with them. You can fill that gap, albeit for a little time.
4. Start Ramadan with assigning a special day during the week where you can have iftaar with your friends. Pray taraweeh together and do qiyamul-layl and also pray tahajud, instead of the usual friends meetings insha’allah.
5. Invite your neighbor over for iftar (especially) if they are non Muslim.
6. Make a firm intention that no matter what on earth happens, every day of Ramadan you will recite salawaat on the Prophet (p.b.u.h) at least 10 times. InshAllah, this way you will show your love for the blessed Prophet (p.b.u.h). Surely, Allah loves those who love His beloved!!
7. Email the editor of your local newspaper about the month of Ramadan. Give them a contact who they can ask questions to, like the local Islamic school principal or an articulate Mosque representative. Similarly e-mail them about Eid.
8. If you’re in public school or university, contact your teacher/ principal/ administration to see if they’ll allow you to do a “Ramadhaan Awareness Day/Week". Sort of like Islamic Awareness Week, but focused on Ramadhaan and being a source of knowledge and benefit for both Muslims and non-Muslims.
9. Many Masaajid and MSA’s are fond of doing “Fast-A-Thons” during Ramadhaan because not only do they help teach others about Ramadhaan, but they can raise money for a local food bank as well.
10. Make a point of being nice(r) to your siblings!
11. Try to distance yourself from people you hang out with whom you know are relatively bad influences, e.g. if they swear, curse, get up to mischief regularly and you’re one of those people who get sucked into doing it also, then try to stay away from them for Ramadhaan (at least). Instead of wasting time with them, seek the company of Muslims who will be of benefit to you.
12. Turn off the TV, and keep it off! Only 30 days a year, we are sure you can survive. But, at the least, make effort to do so for one or two days a week.
13. Cut down on the amount of time you spend on the Internet, either checking your emails or just surfing the ‘net pointlessly.
14. No matter what happens, we will not bad mouth/talk back to our parents, inshaAllah.
15. We will do something nice for our neighbors, like bake/cook something and take it to their doors, especially to the ‘mean’ ones!
16. Go to the Mosque for Fajr and after the prayer, sit in your place and say nothing except what is good. After the sun rises wait until shurook (about 10-15 mins. after sun rise) and then pray 2 rakat. Hadith: “Whoever prays Fajr in jamaa’ah, then sits and remembers Allaah until the sun comes up, then prays two rak’ahs, will have a reward like that of Hajj and ‘Umrah.” (al-Tirmidhi, 480).
17. Smile more often.
18. Go to sleep in a state of wudu. Or even better, always be in a state of wudu.
19. Make wudu before every Salah and ponder over its rewards.
20. Don’t just read Qur’an without understanding it, read accompanying a tafseer. Commit to at least one juz this month that you understand its meaning properly.
21. Take some activities like coloring books or toys to the Masjid to keep the children busy and stop them from running around whilst the adults are praying Taraweh [the Masjid Admins. will love this one! But really, whoever does so is helping increase the khushoo of all those remaining musallies].
22. Don't let the food go to waste after any iftar (whether its at your house or at the Masjid) Take that food and give it to the less fortunate. And yes there are less fortunate Muslims near you!
23. If you don’t live with your parents (marriage, work, college, etc), then make it a point to go online, find something that your mom and dad would like and have it delivered to their house at least once a week (preferably on Fridays)! It’s easy, it’s super thoughtful and how can you not imagine the smile and joy your parents would show upon receiving these “secret packages”. Be not just a good child, be a great child and then pray for yourself and your parents that Allah bestows upon us all His Mercy and Compassion. [If your parents are abroad, there are a bunch of gift-delivery services that you can use. If it's too expensive to do it once a week, how about at least one time?]
24. Make a Ramadan resolution to sponsor at least 1 orphan! (and if you are able to, then however many your heart desires).
25. Donate some of your “good” things for the sake of Allah. Your favorite jilbab or khimar. Or encourage your children to give up their favorite clothes for the poor children in their community.
26. Making Ramadan baskets for new Muslim converts! So many of our new brothers and sisters are probably abandoned by their families and need love and support, especially during this holy month. Maybe put together a basket with a few goodies such as CDs, books, gift cards, cookies, brownies, hijaabs, anything creative. Insha’Allah, it will bring a smile to their face and you will definitely feel the love of brother (and sister) hood!
27. Committing to memorizing just one or two dua’s in the month? Like Syed al-istighfaar and the simple dua for the morning and evening?
28. Help your mother in the kitchen!
29. Re-connect with family members you’ve lost touch with via phone/email/visits.
30. Wake up at least one morning and prepare suhoor for your family.
31. Make dua’a for your parents.
32. Do not have ill feelings against *anyone*. Remove them.
33. Attempt to join the hearts between 2 Muslims.
34. If your Masjid/ Islamic centre has iftaar, then help with the clean-up!

Check out for a list of suggested good deeds you can do in Ramadan by using Ramadan Reminder's Personalized Calendar.

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