As Muslims, we strive to be better people. We pray; we fast. We are patient; we help others. We are always in battle trying to overcome the misguidance of Satan. With all that, wouldn't it be nice for us to get some advantage in our mission? Some sort of bonus or promotion would really help re-energize us in fulfilling our purpose? But do such bonuses exist? And if so, how to claim them? What do we need to do?
The Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) says when greeting the month of Ramadan, "This is a month in which He has invited you. You have been, in this month, selected as the recipients of the honors of Allah, the Merciful." When Allah is our host, then we can be certain that there will be a lot of giveaways. The important question is, what are they?
Breathing and Sleeping
We find in the first level that we need to do nothing apart from living. As long as we are breathing, and we need to breathe to live, we are getting the rewards of reciting tasbeehat (praises to Allah).
Ask yourself, how easy would it be to do 1,000 tasbih? 5,000? 50,000? That would take some time, but in Ramadan, we do not have to worry about that. Now, if you happen to count how many breaths you take every day, then one would realize how great this promotion is!
And if breathing was not enough, the necessary and inevitable act of sleeping becomes a source of blessing for us. Sleeping in the month of Ramadan is recorded as an act of worship. Sleeping is considered temporary death, and it is 'dead time' for us that, if we were to be awake, we would use it to worship Allah. In Ramadan, no such worries exist.
So by living during Ramadan normally and naturally, whether sleeping or awake, we are in a constant form of worship.
Reading the Qur'an
The benefits of reciting the whole Qur'an are innumerable, but generally, it is a demanding task. But Allah has made all of us one amazing offer. If we read one verse of the Qur'an during the month of Ramadan, we will receive the rewards of reading the whole Qur'an in other months. With over six thousand verses in the Qur'an, the rewards for reciting it once during this holy month is self-evident. And for those who are able to do so multiple times in Ramadan, then congratulations to them on gaining all these rewards!
But reading verses from the Qur'an is something we do every day in our prayers. We recite at least ten verses in each unit of prayer. Each verse will have the reward of reciting the whole Qur'an. Again, doing something we naturally do – i.e. performing the daily prayers – we are getting tides of rewards.
With that said, we can take advantage of this deal by simply saying Bismillah Hirrahman Nirraheem when we are sitting down, driving, watching TV, and so on. It is a verse of the Qur'an, and the rewards still apply. That also applies to other forms of Dhikr (remembrance of Allah) that is taken from the Qur'an. Truly, a great reward for a very simple act.
Dua Al Mujeer
One of the more special deals is the following three-day limited offer: reciting Du'a Al-Mujeer during the "White Nights" (13, 14, 15) of the month. This supplication usually takes 20-30 minutes. Some of the rewards that one gets from doing this include forgiveness of all sins (even if they were equal to the number of raindrops, leaves, and grains of sand), cure from illness, increase in wealth, release of calamities, and so on.
The total amount of time (combining all three days) this takes is less than the length of a soccer match. Is it worth missing on all these rewards? Definitely not!
The Night of Destiny
It is enough to know that Allah has made the one most important night of the year in this month for us not want to miss staying up in it. The actions one does in this night are better than over a thousand months. The keyword is over. It is a night that Allah decides the destiny and sustenance of people. If we even attempt to comprehend this night, we will fail, as Allah says in the Qur'an, "And what do you know what is the Night of Decree?" (97:3)
But as long as Allah promises us that this night is better than a thousand months (how much better?), it is a great deal for us to work hard on this night and claim all the rewards from it. Again, what a deal!
The Prayers of Every Night
So far, we have seen free giveaways (breathing and sleeping), great promotions, and limited-time offers. There is a lot more that one can make us of during this month, but the final point will be regarding the Deal of the Night.
Allah has made every night have a specific prayer that gets a unique set of rewards. The Prophet and the Imams (peace be upon them all) have emphasized theses prayers and their rewards. The description of these prayers can be found in Mafatih al-Jinan. Below is just a sample of some of the deals and to see what great promotions they are:
- Imam Ali (peace be upon him) says, "He who performs on the seventh night of the month of Ramadan four units of prayers, reciting in each unit Sura Fatiha once and Sura Qadr (sura 97) thirteen times, Allah will build two castles from gold for him in paradise, and he will be safe until the following Ramadan."
- Imam Ali says, "He who performs on the ninth night of the month of Ramadan between Maghrib and Isha six units of prayer, reciting in each unit Sura Fatiha once and Ayat Al-Kursi (2:255) seven times, and after the prayers he recites Salawat fifty times, the angels will raise his deeds as those of the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs, and the righteous."
- Imam Ali says, "He who performs on the eighteenth night of the month of Ramadan four units of prayer, reciting in each unit Sura Fatiha once and Sura Kawthar (sura 108) twenty-five times, he will not leave this world until the angel of death informs him that Allah is pleased with him and not angry."
- Imam Ali says, "He who performs on the twenty fourth night of the month of Ramadan eight units of prayer, reciting in each unit Sura Fatiha once and any sura he wants, it will be as if he went for Hajj and Umrah."
These were just a sample of these Nightly Deals. Truly, some of these deals take fifteen minutes while others would take thirty. Some will take longer, and others shorter. Nevertheless, we waste hours watching TV and browsing the internet. When we think about it, the prayers may take longer than our normal prayers, but not as long as some of the things we do every day. And given the unique rewards we get, they are definitely worth it.
Terms and Conditions
These are all great deals and promotions, and there are a lot more that exist. However, we have to pay attention, as these rewards are conditional on us submitting to Allah and following the path of the Prophet and Ahlul Bayt. We have been given the advantage in this holy month. Apart from all the blessings in the aforementioned actions, the Prophet (in his Ramadan sermon) encourages us to ask Allah to keep the doors of heaven open to us after Ramadan, and to ask Him to keep the doors of Hell locked, and that the devils remain chained after the month. The fact that the blessings of this holy month can be negated afterwards is what we need to take care of and become better Muslims during Ramadan, and afterwards.
For now, the Divine coupons have been distributed, and Ramadan is only few days long. Will we succeed in making the most of the giveaways of Ramadan? Insha'Allah, we will!