The month of Ramadan is a great opportunity for devout worshippers to utilize their days in reciting the Quran and teaching others and utilizing their nights in feeding the needy, supplicating and praying. The one whose today is exactly like his yesterday without any improvement, is truly deprived.
A Muslim must utilize this blessed month to perform as many good deeds as he can, and should strive to be in better condition during this month than he was before it, and should be keen to become even better after it, as this is how our righteous Salaf were .
Hammad Ibn Salamah said: “Whenever we went to see Sulaymaan At-Taymee during a time during which one can be performing an act of obedience we would find him performing some act of worship. If it was time to pray he would be praying, if it was not he would either performing ablution, visiting a sick person, following a funeral precession or sitting in the mosque awaiting the prayer. People believed that this man could never disobey Allah”
Righteous deeds that the prophet and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, used to perform during this great month were many, and the following are some of these deeds:
Qiyaam (optional night prayers):Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet said: “Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards, all his previous sins will be forgiven”[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]. Ibn Jurayj said: “I accompanied ‘Ataa’ Ibn Abi Rabaah for eighteen years, and he continued to pray two hundred verses from chapter Al-Baqarah without moving at all during his prayer despite him reaching a very old age”
Supplication:The revelation of the verse of supplication immediately after the verses mandating the fast of Ramadan is a clear indication of the importance of this act of worship during this month. Allah Says (what means): “And when My slaves ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me-indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [Quran: 2: 186]. Supplication is the essence of worship and it indicates how much man is in need of his Lord during all situations; it is named “worship” in the text of the Quran as Allah Says (what means): “And your Lord says, Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible” [Quran 40: 60]
I’tikaaf (i.e. residing in the mosque with the intention of worship):Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: “The Prophet used to do I’tikaaf during the last ten days of Ramadan” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “The rectification of the heart revolves around the slave focusing himself to please Allah and fulfill His commands. Moreover, unnecessary talking, eating, drinking and socializing weaken the heart and divert it from its objective. Due to this, Allah has legislated fasting so that the slave abandons unnecessary eating and drinking; and legislated I’tikaaf so that the slave’s heart is focused on Allah alone and is detached from people and is exclusively devoted to Allah”
Generosity and recitation of the Quran: Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, stated: “The Prophet was the most generous of all the people, and he was the most generous during the month of Ramadan when Jibreel met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Quran, and when he met him, he would be more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (i.e. in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds)” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. Ramadan is the month of Quran, and thus one is supposed to exert extra efforts in reciting the Quran. This is how our righteous Salaf used to be; many of them used to finish the entire Quran once every three nights during the optional night prayers, while others used to finish it every seven days. Some of them used to finish it every two days, and yet some would finish it all in a single day. Ibn Rajab said: “The prohibition of not reciting the Quran in less than three days is when one does this continuously, but during virtuous times like the month of Ramadan, or virtuous places like Makkah, one is encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity and recite as much as he can” ‘Abdur-Razzaaq said: “Whenever the month of Ramadan arrived, Imaam Sufyaan concentrated only on reciting the Quran and left other acts of worship”
Performing ‘Umrah: Ibn `Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with them, reported that the Messenger of Allah said to one of the women from the residents of Al-Madeenah: “When Ramadan comes, go and perform ‘Umrah, as doing so is equivalent to performing Hajj” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Refraining from backbiting and other sins: Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.” [Al-Bukhari] Fasting is a great opportunity to give up smoking, evil company, late nights and other sins, as it trains one to stick to the mosque more than any other place.
Feeding the needy and poor: Allah Says (what means): “And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive. [Saying], “We feed you only for the Countenance [i.e. approval] of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude. Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful.” So Allah will protect them from the evil of that Day and give them radiance and happiness. And will reward them for what they patiently endured [with] a garden [in Paradise] and silk [garments].” [Quran 76: 8-12] Zayd Ibn Khaalid Al-Jahni, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “He who gives a fasting person something with which to break his fast will have a reward equal to his (i.e. the fasting person) without his reward being diminished in any respect.” [At-Tirmithi and Ibn Maajah]