After the appearance of true dawn, do not try to take a short nap; many people do this and they eventually end up missing the fajr salaat altogether. Renew your ablution if you need to offer your rak'atayn al-Fajr. 'Aishah (RA) said:
"The Messenger of Allaah (SalAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) was not so particular about observing any supererogatory prayer as he was in observing the two rak'at before salatul fajr."(Bukhari)
He commanded us thus:
"Do not leave the two rak'at of the fajr even if you are being attacked by a cavalry."(Ahmad) This salaat is best said at home just before you set out for the masjid for the Salaatu Subh.
One of the most difficult prayers for the hypocrites is the Fajr salaat. The Prophet (salAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the 'lsha' prayers and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to crawl."(Bukhari)
So, go to the masjid, walking calmly taking as many steps as possible. The Rasul (salAllaahualayhi wa sallam) said:
"The prayer offered in congregation is twenty five times more superior (in reward) to the prayer offered alone in one's house (or in the workplace), because if one performs ablution and does it perfectly and then proceeds to the mosque with the sole intention of praying, then for each step which he takes towards the mosque, Allaah upgrades him a degree in reward and (forgives) crosses out one sin till he enters the mosque. When he enters the mosque he is considered in prayer as long as he is waiting for the prayer and the angels keep on asking for Allaah's forgiveness for him and they keep on saying: 'O Allaah! Be Merciful to him, O AIlaah! Forgive him, as long as he keeps on sitting at his praying place and does not pass wind." (Bukhari)
If you get to the masjid and the salaat has not yet begun, offer two rakaats of Tahiyyatul Masjid before you sit down. (read from Status & Rulings of Nawaafil for details).
Dhikr & Ishraq
Part of the good deeds of the daytime is performing dhikr (remembrance of Allaah) in your place of prayer until after sunrise. The Prophet (salAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"For the one who observes the dawn prayer (fajr) in congregation, then sits down to remember Allaah till the rising of the sun,' and then observes two rak'ats (after the sun has risen): there is for him ,the reward of a Hajj and Umrah, perfect, perfect, perfect." (Tirmidhi)
Recitation of the Qur'an
"Recite the Qur'an in the early dawn (i.e. the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Qur'an in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night)." (Q 17[lsrai]:78)
Establish a close relationship with the Qur'an this Ramadan. Give top priority to knowing and understanding its contents and message. Recite and study the Qur'an with translation and tafseer regularly and steadily throughout the month. If you do not speak or read Arabic, do this with the aid of the abridged Tafseer ibn Kathir in English.
Also create time to be present at a good tafseer session later in the day. A walkman and an earphone might well be useful tools in a public transport and if you drive your own car, putting your car's player in good shape might well be a good aid to listen to the Qur'an as you set out to work or school.
Do not let your guard down
In this month and beyond, different people and situations will stretch one's patience to its extreme. We must always be on guard and keep ourselves under firm grip. The Prophet (salAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "
Allaah said, 'All the deeds of Adam's sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.' Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire and from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid sexual relation with his wife and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say. I am fasting.' (Bukhari)
Sleep after zuhr
After praying the zuhr prayer in congregation, it is sunnah to take a nap. This will insha Allaah energise the body for the remaining righteous efforts of the day. The sleep should not however make you miss Salatul Asr. Allaah has commanded that we give attention to Asr prayer:
"Guard strictly (five obligatory) As-Salawat (the prayers) especially the middle Salat (i.e. the best prayer 'Asr). And stand before Allaah with obedience. " (Q2 [Baqarah]:238)
The period after Asr is also a time to remember Allaah, Allaah has specifically singled out two periods of the day for His remembrance: the beginning and end of daytime.
"Glorify the Praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting." (Q50[Qaf]:39)
The Prophet (salAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"For whoever says: 'Subhaanallah wa bihamdihi' (Glory be to Allaah and to Him is praise:) one hundred times in the morning and in the late afternoon, no one will come on the Day of Resurrection with anything better than what he has done except for who said the same as he did or increased upon it." (Muslim)
As the Ramadan fast winds to a close, do not forget to pay your zakaatul fitr. It is compulsory on every Muslim. One saa (40 grams) of food grains must be paid by the head of the family on behalf of Muslim members of his household. The zakaah may be paid a day or two before eid but definitely should be paid before setting out for the praying ground on eid day. lbn Umar (RA) narrated that 'the Prophet (salAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) ordered the people to pay zakatul fitr before going to the eid prayer." (Bukhari)
He also said:
"Whoever pays it before the prayer, it is an accepted zakaah, and whoever pays it after the prayer, it is just a kind of charity." (Abu Dawud)
At the end of the twenty-ninth or thirtieth day of Ramadan, give gratitude to Allaah for the favours of the month. May Allaah make your gains from the month remain a permanent trace of your life. (Amin)
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited