Deenspiration | May 25, 2020 | 0
The Ultimate Guide to Maximising Your I’tikaf (with Sample Daily Schedule)
by Usman Majid
Thinking of performing the I’tikaf (عتكاف) during the final 10 nights of Ramadan this year? Alhamdulillah! You have made the decision to fulfil a great Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).
In this article I have included a comprehensive guide for you to follow to ensure that you get the best out of your experience, including the correct mindset you should adopt before dedicating your time, the types of acts of worship you should be focusing on, and I even lay out an entire day’s worth of worship for you to follow.
Heads up! This is quite a comprehensive guide, so I’ve included some shortcuts for you to skip to each section which you can do by clicking on the quick links below:
What is I’tikaf?
I’tikaf refers to a type of spiritual seclusion (usually at a Masjid) during which a Muslim will isolate themselves from worldly matters and completely dedicate their time to worship, reflection and other spiritual activities for the duration of their stay.
To perform it is to fulfil a great Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ). A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrates that:
“The Prophet (ﷺ) used to practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practice Itikaf after him.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
I’tikaf is performed during the final ten days and nights of Ramadan. In order to adhere to the Sunnah, one must complete of the full 10 days during this time. This is by far the most rewarding and virtuous form of I’tikaf, and also requires that one adheres to its legal Islamic rulings in order for it to be completed correctly.
[Note: We have not outlined the various rules and regulations of I’tikaf in this blog post. Please consult your local scholars or Masjid for this information.]
However, if one is unable to complete 10 full days and nights, they may choose any number of days (during the final 10 days of Ramadan) to perform a type of voluntary (Nafl) I’tikaf. Think of it as a sort of mini-I’tikaf. One may also do this throughout the year. Some scholars are also of the opinion that any moment spent in the Masjid may be considered as I’tikaf, and therefore one should also keep this intention at heart whenever they enter until they depart.
Regardless of the number of days one can manage, I’tikaf is a highly virtuous and rewarding act of worship, and one that we should strive to perform at least once in our lifetime.
Note: While some scholars differ, it is generally accepted that men perform I’tikaf in the Masjid and women may dedicate a room in their home in which they perform their I’tikaf. The tips in this blog (aside from those referring to praying in congregation at the Masjid) apply to both men and women.
The Virtues of I’tikaf
As a type of spiritual retreat, I’tikaf comes with a multitude of benefits and virtues.
During the days spend in I’tikaf, one remains solely focused on the worship of Allah SWT and leaves their worldly concerns behind. This distraction-free environment provides the ultimate opportunity to strengthen one’s relationship with their Lord, to train one’s spirit and gain control of their nafs (inner self / desires), increase in good deeds, obtain Allah’s forgiveness, and engage in acts of worship that one may not usually find the time for.
With the sole purpose being for worship, one is able to live their true purpose as Allah SWT mentions in the Qur’an:
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [Qur’an, Surah Adh-Dhāriyāt – 51:56]
Remaining in the company of the righteous on a daily basis also means that the one performing I’tikaf is able to benefit from the spiritual energy and barakah of their environment. The absence of sin, the purity of the Masjid and the company of the Angels allows one to more easily become inspired towards doing good.
“No people gather together in one of the Houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that sakeenah (tranquility) descends upon them, and mercy envelops them, and the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them amongst those who are with Him.” [Sahih Muslim]
Additionally, the daily presence in the Masjid means that one is also able to take benefit from praying all prayers in congregation. The Prophet ﷺ states in a hadith that:
“Prayer in congregation is superior to prayer alone by twenty seven degrees.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim].
The I’tikaf Mindset
While we have mentioned only some of the virtues of performing I’tikaf, we must also consider the true purpose behind doing so. For this, we must look at the motivations of the Prophet (ﷺ).
A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said that,
“The Prophet (pbuh) would exert his best (in worship) during the last ten days (of Ramadan) more than at other times.” [Muslim]
In another hadith, A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said:
“With the start of the last ten days (of Ramadan), the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to tighten up his loincloth, stay up at night and keep his family awake.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
It is also narrated that originally the Prophet (ﷺ) observed I’tikaf during the first ten days of Ramadan, then the middle ten, and eventually the final ten nights. The reason for this was due to the fact that he (ﷺ) was seeking one night in particular:
Laylatul-Qadr (the Night of Decree).
Allah SWT mentions in the Qur’an that:
“The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.” [Qur’an, Surah al-Qadr – 97:3]
For the believer, this is by far the most sought after night of the entire year such that the Prophet (ﷺ) would leave all other responsibilities and seclude himself in the Masjid, hoping to seek it and worship Allah SWT therein.
Every act of worship and good deed done during this night is greater in virtue and reward than 1000 months – that’s 30,000 days, or roughly 83 years! More than an entire lifetime for most of us.
It is said that the Prophet (ﷺ) was concerned that the nations of the past lived for much longer than we do (e.g. Nuh (as) lived for over 900 years), and they had the chance to worship Allah SWT for much longer and therefore acquire more rewards. However his Ummah only has a life span of less than 100 years; how will we equal their volume of worship?
For us, Allah SWT has blessed us with opportunities such as Laylatul-Qadr such that if our worship is accepted during this night, it’ll be as if we have worshipped an entire lifetime!
Learn more about this blessed night in our blog: Laylatul Qadr – 10 Tips for Success During the Last 10 Nights of Ramadan
Example Acts of Worship to Practice During I’tikaf
Now that you’ve decided to perform the I’tikaf, it’s time to get serious about your game plan for the 10 days (or however many days you plan on staying).
During these 10 days and nights, not only is it essential that you push yourself to worship more, but also intend to establish these acts of worship after Ramadan. Just as Ramadan as a whole is a great training programme for our souls, I’tikaf is a bonus opportunity to perform those acts of worship that we often don’t get the time to do.
The following is a list of acts of worship (‘Ibadaat) that I would recommend doing throughout the 10 days. These can be organised in whichever manner befits you the most. I have also provided a sample daily plan below which you may use as a starting point.
Have a Qur’an Game Plan
Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an, which means that our relationship with the words of Allah SWT should increase dramatically. Furthermore, we know that the Qur’an itself was revealed during the Night of Power (Laylatul-Qadr) which makes it one of the best acts of worship you can perform during the nights of your stay.
“Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree.” [Qur’an, Surah al-Qadr – 97:1]
I would recommend splitting your Qur’an game plan into the following:
- Recitation (in Arabic) – this could be a continuation of your regular schedule throughout Ramadan and should be the staple of your Qur’an game plan. If you can, I encourage you to try to complete the Qur’an at least once.
- Translation (in your native language) – take some time to learn what the Qur’an means. Start off with the short Surahs you recite regularly from the 30th Juz’.
- Tafsir (commentary/exegesis) – pick up a book of tafsir and dive a little deeper into the meanings and context behind those verses. Something which I listen to almost every night in Ramadan before attending Taraweeh prayers is the ‘Ten Minute Taraweeh’ series by Shaykh Sohaib Saeed.
- Memorisation – now that you have 10 days of seclusion, this is the perfect time to catch up on memorising more of the Qur’an than you could before.
- Tajweed practice – if your pronunciation isn’t quite polished, sit with a learned Qur’an reciter and have them teach you.
- Listening – during the times in which you wish to take a break, putting on your headphones and listening to your favourite recitation will still earn you rewards. One of my favourite reciters is Mishary Rashid al-Afasy.
BONUS TIP: Try to recite those Surahs which carry special merits for particular days of the week and times of the day. For example, reciting Surah Al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah (Friday).
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“Whoever recites Surat Al-Kahf on Jumu’ah will have illumination from the light from one Jumu’ah to the next.” (an-Nasa’i, al-Baihaqi, and al-Hakim)
Another example (as related in Tirmidhi) would be the Prophet’s (ﷺ) habit of reciting Surah as-Sajdah (chapter 32) and Surah al-Mulk (chapter 67), the latter of which is also narrated to be a protection from the punishment of the grave.
Perfect Your Salah
Let’s be real; during the hustle and bustle of life we all find it difficult to maintain a solid habit of Salah, whether it’s praying our Fardh (obligatory) prayers on time, or ensuring we pray all of the voluntary prayers as prescribed in the Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ).
While staying in the Masjid for 10 days, there’s no better place to perfect your Salah both in practice and in terms of your Khushoo’ (concentration).
Consider the following:
Umm Habibah Ramilah bint Abu Sufyan (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated she heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying:
“A house will be built in Paradise for every Muslim who offers twelve units of Prayers other than the obligatory ones in day & night, to seek pleasure of Allah.”(Sahih Muslim)
These 12 units are what we call the Sunnah Mu’akkadah (emphasised Sunnah) prayers which the Prophet (ﷺ) would rarely miss, and refer to the following:
- 2 units before Fajr
- 4 units before Dhuhr
- 2 units after Dhuhr
- 2 units after Maghrib
- 2 units after Isha
There are other sunnah prayers which also merit great reward, albeit being less emphasised (Ghayr Mu’akkadah). An example of these are the 4 units before Asr prayer.
“May Allah have Mercy on the one who offers four (Raka’ahs) before ‘Asr prayer.”(Abu Dawud)
Nafl (voluntary) prayers:
Beyond the Fardh (obligatory) and Sunnah (voluntary) prayers, the additional voluntary (also known as supererogatory) prayers are those which we do not technically “need” to perform, but doing so results in great rewards and drawing nearer to Allah SWT. Performing additional voluntary acts of worship develop a Muslim’s Ihsaan (spiritual excellence) and earn Allah’s SWT love.
Allah SWT says in Hadith Qudsi:
“….And My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (voluntary deeds) until I love him” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
These additional Nafl prayers may include (but are not limited to):
- Tahajjud / Qiyam ul-Layl – this is the night prayer performed after Isha and before Fajr, and remains the “secret sauce” for the high levels of spirituality, acceptance of Du’a and close relationship with Allah SWT for Muslims throughout history. The Prophet (ﷺ) was regular in this prayer and found deep comfort in spending the nights before his Lord. In fact, he did this so much that his beloved ankles would swell. If your Masjid is performing additional tahajjud prayers after Taraweeh during Ramadan, this is a great bonus! Join in! Otherwise be sure to perform a few rak’ahs on your own.
- Duha – a voluntary mid-morning prayer (prayed in units of 2 from just after sunrise till just before Dhuhr)
- Ishraaq (see below)
- 2 units after entering the Masjid
- 2 units after performing Wudu
- 2 units for divine guidance (Salaat ul-Istikhara)
- 2 units for when one is in need of something
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported the Prophet (ﷺ) saying to Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him):
“Tell me about the best of your deeds (i.e. one which you deem the most rewarding) since your embracing Islam because I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal (RA) replied: “I do not consider any act of mine more rewarding than that whenever I make ablution at any time of night or day, I perform Prayer for as much as was destined for me to do.” (Sahih al-Bukhari & Muslim)”
Tahajjud / Qiyam ul-Layl
Of the above mentioned Nafl prayers, perhaps the most important for you to perform during these nights (especially when seeking Laylatul-Qadr) is the night vigil (Qiyam ul-Layl).
(Note: Some explain the difference being that Tahajjud specifically entails that one go to sleep and then wake up before Fajr to pray. However in essence, these are both the same prayer.)
The Prophet (pbuh) has also informed us that:
“Whoever stands (in the voluntary night prayer of) Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. And whoever spends the night of Laylatul-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” [An-Nasa’i]
The best time to pray this prayer would be during the last third of the night, and one is encouraged to pour their heart out in supplication to Allah SWT.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“When the last one-third of the night remains, our Lord, the Glorious One descends towards the heaven of the earth & proclaims: Who is that who supplicates for Me, & I grant his supplication? Who is that who begs Me for anything & I grant it to him? And who is that who seeks My forgiveness, & I forgive him?” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim).
BONUS TIP: Try your best to use this time to enhance your prayer by reciting longer sections from the Qur’an, elongating your Ruku’ and Sujood, and really “feeling” every moment in the prayer.
Need help with this? Our popular eBook ’30 Top Tips for Attaining Khushoo’ in Prayer has you covered. It’s PACKED with practical ways in which you can transform your experience, with tips on what to do before, during and after the prayer. Purchase a copy here.
The Prayer of Ishraaq
While the Duha prayer generally refers to any voluntary prayer after sunrise until before Dhuhr, Ishraaq has a slight twist to it. It is the 2 units of prayer that are referred to in the following Hadith in which the Prophet (ﷺ) says:
“Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun rises, then prays two rak‘ahs, will have a reward like that of Hajj and ‘Umrah, complete, complete, complete.” [Tirmidhi]
How incredible is that?! After praying Fajr in congregation at the Masjid, remain at your place and continue to engage in acts of worship such as reciting the Qur’an, reciting dhikr, and so on. Around 10-15 after the sun has risen, stand up to pray 2 units of voluntary prayer and you will receive this immense reward!
Making up Missed Prayers
The majority of scholars are of the opinion that any Fardh (obligatory) prayers that one missed on purpose after reaching the age of puberty must be made up at a later time.
As you will be spending 10 days in the Masjid, this is a great opportunity to make up some additional missed prayers.
Note: if one has many missed prayers to make up for, I would recommend replacing the voluntary (nafl) prayers with their missed Fardh prayers. This is because it is more important to repay our obligatory debts to Allah SWT than to perform voluntary deeds. For example, instead of praying 2 units of Nafl prayer after performing wudu, pray 2 units from a Fajr prayer that you missed in the past. If one wakes up at night to pray (e.g. in the last 3rd of the night) and chooses to pray their missed prayers, this will also count as Tahajjud.
Supercharge Your Du’a
I cannot emphasise this point enough: during these final 10 nights you MUST engage in extra Du’a. The act of making Du’a is so incredibly powerful and beloved to Allah SWT that our scholars mention it actually has the potential to change our destiny (Qadr).
What better night to seek a change in your destiny than the Night of Destiny itself?
A great tip would be to prepare a list of du’as and pull them out whenever you wish to supplicate. Check out this blog featuring the Ultimate Ramadan Du’a List.
This is also a fantastic opportunity to develop a habit of reciting morning and evening du’as. I’d recommend picking up a copy of a book such as Hisnul Muslim (the Fortress of the Muslim) which contains a fantastic range of daily du’as for you to memorise.
Etiquette of Making Du’a
“When one of you prays, let him start with praise of Allah, then let him send blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ , then let him ask whatever he likes after that.” Then another man prayed after that, and he praised Allah and sent blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ . The Prophet ﷺ said: “O worshipper, ask and you will be answered.” [at-Tirmidhi]
By far the best Du’a you can recite during the nights while seeking Laylatul-Qadr is the following which the Prophet (ﷺ) taught to ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her):
اللْهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni
“O Allah, You are al-Afuww (The Eraser of Sins and Pardoner) and you love to pardon, so pardon me.”
If you need some inspiration on what to say in your Du’as, I’d highly recommend taking the time out to watch this excellent series by Imam Omar Suleiman (Yaqeen Institute) called ‘Prayers of the Pious’.
We’ve also created a useful PDF featuring 10 powerful Du’as from the Qur’an and Sunnah:
10 POWERFUL DU'AS FROM THE QUR'AN & SUNNAH
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Dhikr – Food for Your Soul
In between acts of worship such as Salah and reciting Qur’an, the best thing you can do is keep your tongue engaged in the remembrance (Dhikr) of Allah SWT. Doing so will cleanse your soul, strengthen your Iman, raise you in ranks and bring a sense of sakeenah (tranquility) to your heart.
Allah SWT says in the Qur’an:
“Who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!” – [Qur’an, Surah ar-Ra’d – 13:28]
What to Recite
While there are numerous types of Dhikr, I’d recommend splitting your Dhikr into the following:
- The praise of Allah SWT
- Salutations (salawat) upon the Prophet (ﷺ)
- Istighfar (seeking the forgiveness of Allah SWT)
Regarding praise, the Prophet (ﷺ) said,
“The dearest phrases to Allah are four: Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah), Al-Hamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), La ilaha illa-Allah (There is no deity but Allah), Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greater). There is no harm for you in which of them you begin with (while remembering Allah). (Sahih Muslim)
Also incredibly rewarding is the following which the Prophet (ﷺ) taught us:
“There are two statements that are light for the tongue to remember, heavy in the Scales and are dear to the Merciful: SubhanAllahi wa bihamdihi, SubhanAllāhi al-‘Aẓeem (Glory be to Allah, and Praise Him, Glory be to Allah, the Supreme)” [Sahih Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
Regarding Salawat, the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“Whoever sends blessings upon me once, Allah will send blessings upon him tenfold and will erase from him ten misdeeds and raise him ten degrees in status.” [An-Nasa’i]
Some easy and short phrases of Salawat one can say are Sall-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam and Allahumma salli ‘alaa Muhammad.
Regarding seeking repentance, the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“By Allah, I seek forgiveness from Allah and I repent to Him more than seventy times in a day.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
The simplest form of Istighfar would be to repeat “Astaghfirullah… astaghfirullah… astaghfirullah…” among many others which you may find in du’a books.
I’d recommend memorising the master of Istighfar du’as: Sayyidul Istighfar.
اَللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّيْ ، لَا إِلٰـهَ إِلَّا أَنْت خَلَقْتَنِيْ وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ ، وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوْءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَأَبُوْءُ بِذَنْبِيْ فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوْبَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ
Allahumma anta rabbi, la ilaaha illa anta khalaqtani wa ana ‘abduka wa ana ‘alaa ahdika wa wa’dika mastaTa’tu a’tudhubika min-sharri maa sana’tu abu’ulaka bi ni’matika alayya wa abu’u bi-thambi faghfirli fa innahu la yaghfirud-dhunuba illa anta.
O Allah! You are my Rubb. There is no true god except You. You have created me, and I am Your slave, and I hold to Your Covenant as far as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge the favours that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon
The Prophet (ﷺ) said regarding this Du’a:
“He who supplicates in these terms during the day with firm belief in it and dies on the same day (before the evening), he will be one of the dwellers of Jannah; and if anyone supplicates in these terms during the night with firm belief in it and dies before the morning, he will be one of the dwellers of Jannah.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
For more ideas on easy deeds you can perform that are worth MASSIVE rewards, watch the below video:
Learning and Teaching
Another excellent way to spend your time in between personal acts of worship is to engage in some type of learning and teaching. This could be alone or within groups (although try to minimise idle talking!).
It is most likely that your local Masjid will be organising daily halaqas (circles of knowledge) during this period of time, so be sure to join in to take benefit.
If you’d rather sit alone, why not grab a book on the Seerah of the Prophet ﷺ, spirituality, or another Islamic topic?
Sample Daily Plan
Okay, so let’s get practical! Below is a sample daily plan which one may follow during I’tikaf which encompasses all of the above mentioned acts of worship. This may be customised based on one’s own preference and schedule. Don’t worry if you cannot stick with it 100%! After all, it’s difficult to remain completely in worship for 10 full days without short breaks, but if one wishes to strive and push themselves they may follow this example.
Note: This schedule is based on a Ramadan timetable in which Iftar is at 9pm, Fajr prayer is at 3am and sunrise is at 5am.
9 pm – Break fast with dates, water and make a sincere du’a (the du’a of the fasting person at the time of iftar is not rejected!)
9:10 pm – Pray Maghrib salah in congregation (note: the ‘night’ has officially began once Maghrib enters).
9:20 – 9:30 pm – Pray Sunnah (and nafl if you wish) and sit for 5-10 minutes and recite evening du’as and Dhikr.
9:30 – 10:00 pm – Have a reasonable iftar meal (not too heavy) with nutritious foods.
9:45 – 10:00 pm – Spend a few moments to rest and prepare for the night. Sip some light tea or coffee, and perform a fresh wudu. Pray 2 rak’ahs of nafl after performing wudu.
10:00 – 11:00 pm – Recite a few pages of the Qur’an and prepare for Taraweeh.
11:00 – 12:30 am – Pray the full Taraweeh with the Imam (and witr prayer if the Imam prays it).
12:30 – 01:00 am – Have a short break, renew wudu, have a light snack and continue sipping some water. Fill the extra time with Dhikr.
*THE LAST THIRD OF THE NIGHT HAS NOW ENTERED*
01:00 – 1:45 am – Pray 8 rak’ahs of Tahajjud (if your local Masjid is already doing this, join them!)
01:45 – 02:00 am – Sit in seclusion, take out your Du’a list and pour your heart out to Allah SWT.
02:00 – 03:00 am – Eat a healthy suhoor, renew wudu and fill up any empty time with Dhikr.
03:00 – 03:30 am – Sit at the place of congregation and use this time before Salah to recite more Qur’an, make du’a or do Dhikr.
03:30 am – Pray Fajr Salah in congregation.
03:30 – 05:00 am – Sit at your place of prayer, recite morning du’as, and engage in worship and Dhikr until sunrise.
05:00 – 05:15 am – Wait 15 minutes before praying (it is forbidden to pray during sunrise).
05:15 am – Stand and pray 2 rak’ahs of Ishraaq prayer and receive the reward of one Hajj and one Umrah!!
05:30 am – Prepare your bed, recite the various adhkaar before sleepig, and enjoy a well deserved sleep.
11:30 am – Wake up, freshen up, change clothes and perform wudu.
11:45 am – Perform at 2 rak’ahs of Duha prayer (note: you may double up your intention for Duha and the post-wudu nafl)
12:00 – 1:00 pm – Sit within a study circle and practice your Qur’an (recitation / memorisation) with others. This would be a good time to revise the Surahs you regularly recite in prayer and have someone correct you.
1:00 pm – Pray Dhuhr Salah in congregation.
1:15 – 2:00 pm – Open your book of Dhikr and spend the next while engaging in the remembrance of Allah SWT. Pray extra Nafl prayers or make-up prayers if you need to.
(Bonus Tip: Something which I used to do during i’tikaf was to take my tasbeeh beads in my hand and pace slowly up and down the Masjid. This meant that I was keeping my body active whilst also engaging in worship. Sometimes my friends would join me and we would remind each other of Allah SWT.)
2:00 pm – Have a post-Dhuhr nap (this is a Sunnah and you will be rewarded for it!)
4:00 pm – Wake up, get dressed and perform a fresh wudu. Pray 2 rak’ahs of Nafl prayer after performing wudu.
4:15 – 5:00 pm – Spend time memorising some Qur’an (either alone or with a partner).
5:00 – 6:00 pm – Qur’an recitation – spend time catching up with your daily Qur’an recitation (either alone or with a partner).
6:00 – 6:30 pm – Qur’an reflection – spend time reading a translation of the Qur’an to understand what you just recited. If you prefer listening/watching videos, you may use your phone to watch a tafsir video on YouTube.
(Bonus tip: if you get tired from reading and reciting, take this time to plug in your earphones and listen to your favourite Qur’an recitations. Try to choose YouTube videos which are accompanied by subtitles).
6:30 – 7:00 pm – Take a break and prepare for Asr Salah.
7:00 pm – Pray Asr Salah in congregation.
7:30 – 8:30 pm – Join a study circle and learn / teach about Islam. This could be a selection of reminders, stories, hadith, or any other activity. Try to keep idle talk to a minimum!
(If you’d rather be alone, use this time to read a book or watch an Islamic lecture. DO NOT get distracted by funny memes or cat videos!)
8:30 – 9:00 pm – Take a short break, refresh your wudu and prepare for Iftar.
8:55 pm – Sit at the place of breaking your fast and begin making a sincere Du’a. This is a crucial time for Du’as being accepted.
9:00 pm – break your fast, and repeat!
BONUS GOOD DEEDS
Here are some more good deeds you can add into your daily plan:
- Help with iftar/suhoor preparations at the Masjid
- Donate some money to charity every night. I’d recommend using MyTenNights.com to automate your charity
- Help a brother/sister in need at the Masjid
- Make du’a for someone in their absence
- Always be smiling and spread salaams among the worshippers at the Masjid
- Share your food with others!
- Distribute resources (e.g. books) that others may use to learn and worship
May Allah SWT bless you and accept your I’tikaf – Ameen!