As Ramadan has arrived this is the time to exceed beyond one’s normal deeds with more voluntary acts, increasing them in a gradual manner. Then whoever can perform itikaf (confinement of oneself to the mosque) they spend all of their time in good deeds until the end of Ramadan, while those who cannot, exert themselves to spend their days performing good deeds and their nights in prayer. After celebrating Eid Al-Fitr, the six fasts of Shawwal should be performed and good deeds should remain part of our routines until the following Ramadan.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) would perform various good deeds in Ramadan. Some of the deeds that have been mentioned in association with fasting and Ramadan will now be mentioned, all of which are highly recommended acts of worship to be performed.
Allah the Most High combined fasting with eight other deeds when He described the successful believers: “The believers whose lives Allah has purchased are those who repent to Allah, who worship Him, who praise Him, who fast (or go out in Allah’s Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (people) what is good and forbid (people) from what is bad, and who observe the limits set by Allah. And give glad tidings to the believers.” (Qur’an, 9:112)
Ramadan is also the month of Qur’an as Allah the Most High said: “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).” (Qur’an, 2:185)
Abdullah ibn Amr (May Allah bless him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Fasting and the Qur’an will intercede for a slave on the Day of Judgment, the fasts will say, ‘my Lord I prevented him (or her) from food and desires so let me intercede,’ and the Qur’an will say, ‘I prevented him (or her) from sleeping at night so let me intercede,’ then they will intercede.” (Ahmed) It was said that the salaf would spend the days of Ramadan reading the Qur’an and the importance of studying the Qur’an cannot be emphasized enough. A single ayah recited with contemplation (tadabbur) may be better than reciting many ayaat (verses) of the Qur’an without contemplation. Scholars differed regarding whether it is better to recite more or recite less with contemplation.
Although as isolated deeds they both may be equal, the latter will benefit you for the rest of your life and thus the effects of understanding the Qur’an will elevate you further in the Hereafter. Abu Jumrah once said to Abdullah ibn Masud ‘I am fast in my recitation and perhaps I would recite the Qur’an once or even twice in a single night’, Abdullah (may Allah bless him) replied ‘For me to recite one surah is more pleasing to me than if I did that which you do, if you do so then make sure that you recite so that your ears hear what you recite and your heart pays attention.’ (Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Zaad Al-Maad, Maktabah Al-Risalah)
Ibn Abbas (may Allah bless him) narrated: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was the most generous of people and he was the most generous in the month of Ramadan, when Jibreel would meet him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur’an.” (Sahih Bukhari, Muslim)
This Hadith emphasizes the need to be generous in giving all kinds of charity in Ramadan, in addition to studying the Qur’an. It is also important to feed others, especially those with less. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever gives a fasting person (food or drink to break their fast), they will have similar to the reward of the one who fasted, without any decrease for the one who fasted.” (Ahmed, Tirmidhi)
It is upon us all to fear Allah, and direct our best efforts in and out of the month of Ramadan toward obeying Him. Allah the Most High commanded us: “So keep your duty to Allah and fear Him as much as you can; listen and obey; and spend in charity that is better for yourselves. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, then they are the successful ones.” (Qur’an, 64:16)
No one is burdened with more than they can take, however it is through the performance of good deeds and the attainment of taqwa that we will earn the reward prepared for the muttaqin.