Author: Pra Universiti Kampus SMKG Keningau
•8/18/2009 09:37:00 PM












History of Ramadan

Ramadan--the ninth month in the Islamic calendar when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and engage in the spiritual reflection of God--is one of the most easily identifiable aspects of the religion. Fasting, which is typically the avoidance of food and/or drink, is part of most world religions. But fasting in Ramadan is a special part of the Islamic faith, one of its five pillars, and a time when rewards for fasting and worship are bountiful.

A companion once asked the Prophet Muhammad what deed he could do to attain entrance to paradise. The prophet advised him to fast. But this hadith (verified saying of the Prophet Muhammad) goes on to say that just hunger and thirst alone will not yield spiritual enlightenment and reward. The act of sincere prayer and worship must accompany it. With this in mind, here are ten prayers one can recite during Ramadan to become closer to God.

Note: All Arabic prayers are written in transliteration for easy reading.

The Prayer of Fasting Intention

With most things in Islam, like going for the spiritual pilgrimage of Hajj or even praying the five daily prayers, fasting starts with making a du’a, or prayer, for intending to fast, which is called the niyyat. This prayer serves as a notice to God that you intend with your heart and soul to fast during Ramadan for His pleasure. It can be done once before the month begins, or it is recommended to be done every morning at suhoor, the pre-dawn meal before fasting begins.

You basically just state to yourself (as God is your witness) your intention to fast, in whatever language you speak. For example, you can say to yourself, “Oh Allah, I intend to fast today in accordance with your laws and for your benefit. Please accept my fast, forgive my faults, and bring me closer to you.”

Source: “Fasting Rules from Islamic Laws” by Ayatullah Seestani and “Lectures on Fiqh” by Maulana Sadiq Hasan

The Prayer for Breaking the Fast

One of the first prayers I ever learned was the one all Muslims recite when they break their fast. I was barely four (and of course not fasting) when I learned it. And it was my job at iftaar(the fast-breaking meal at sunset) to recite this out loud, after which the fasting members of my family would break their fast with a date. Fasting does not end unless this prayer is recited:

“Allahuma inni laka sumtu wa bika aamantu wa ‘alayka tawakkaltu wa ‘ala rizq-ika aftarthu.”

Oh Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You [and I put my trust in You] and I break my fast with your sustenance.”

Prayer for Forgiveness

Ramadan is a time when Muslims are told through the Qur’an and in hadiths that God will absolve them of their sins if they engage in sincere worship and repentance. The following prayer is a good one to recite during Ramadan to ask for Allah’s forgiveness:

“Allahumma inni as’aluka birahmatika al-lati wasi’at kulli shay’in an taghfira li.”

Oh Allah, I ask You by Your mercy which envelopes all things, that You forgive me.

This is a prayer that Abdullah ibn Amar, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad, used to recite as he was breaking his fast, as reported by Ibn abi Mulaykah.

Taraweeh Prayers

There are infinite prayers that Muslims recite during Ramadan--ones from the Qur’an, ones from hadiths, and others that companions of the Prophets and Islamic scholars recited. But a special type of prayer exclusive to the month of Ramadan aretaraweeh prayers, which are special prayers said at night after breaking fast with physical movements akin to those Muslims do during their five daily prayers.

In taraweeh prayers, a hafiz, or one who has memorized the Qur’an, recites one chapter of the Qur’an each night while followers stand behind and pray along. Over the course of Ramadan, the Qur’an is recited in its entirety, one chapter at a time. As reading the Qur’an (and finishing it, if you can), is highly recommended during Ramadan, attending taraweehprayers is a great way to absorb the virtues of the Qur’an in a congregational setting.

Prayers of Zikr

Zikr, or prayers recited over and over again in the remembrance of God, is often thought to be part of the Sufi Islamic tradition, when in fact it is an integral part of all Muslims’ lives and especially important during Ramadan. A great way to connect with God while doing all the mundane chores of daily life (driving, waiting in line, preparing the evening meal), is to recite over and over these short phrases:

Subhan’allah, an expression used by Muslims to express strong feelings of joy or relief and recalls how everything Muslims have is thanks to Allah.

Alhamdulillah, or "Praise be to God!" (It is a Qur'anic exclamation with a similar meaning as hallelujah.)

Astaghfirullah, which means "I seek forgiveness from God."

Allahu Akbar, or "God is the Greatest."

Prayer for the First 10 Days of Ramadan

Muslims scholars agree that Ramadan is such a holy month that any sort of prayer, whether it is a personal one from your heart or one from the Qur’an or other Islamic sacred texts, will surely be received by Allah and the rewards for those prayers will be numerous. But the Prophet Muhammad did recommend Muslims to recite certain du’as at particular times during Ramadan. For example, during the first 10 days of the months, reciting the following prayer provides extra benefits:

“Rabbigh fir war hum wa anta khair ur rahimeen.”

Oh my Lord and Sustainer please forgive me and be merciful to me. You are the best amongst those who show mercy.

Source: Reported from the Prophet Muhammad from hadith.

Prayer for Second 10 Days of Ramadan

This prayer, which is from the Qur’an, was recommended by the Prophet Muhammad to be recited as much as possible during the second 10 days of Ramadan for maximum rewards and forgiveness of sins. This prayer is special for me, as my father advised me to recite it during the first Ramadan I shared with my husband after our marriage, when I was pregnant with our first child, on bed rest, and unable to attend taraweeh prayers at our mosque in New York City.

“Allahumma innaka afuwun tuhibbul afuwa faafu anna.”

Oh Allah indeed you are the greatest pardoner and you like the act of pardoning. Hence, please forgive us.

Source: Reported from the Prophet Muhammad from hadith.

Prayer for the Third 10 days of Ramadan

This particular prayer was recommended by the Prophet Muhammad to be recited during the last 10 days Ramadan as much as possible. It beseeches God to forgive us, because God is indeed the best at forgiving humans for their mistakes.

“Astaghfirullaha rabbi min kulli zambin wa atabu ilaih.”

I seek forgiveness of all my sins from Allah who is my lord and sustainer and I return back in repentance to him alone.

Source: Reported from the Prophet Muhammad from hadith.

Prayers on Laylat Al Qadr, or Night of Power

As beneficial all prayers are during Ramadan, any prayers recited on Laylat Al Qadr, or “The Night of Power,” receive the most reward. Laylat Al Qadr is one of the holiest nights of Ramadan. It falls on the night of one of the odd days during the last 10 days of Ramadan and is widely believed to fall on the 27thfast of the month. The night is commemorated as when the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Qur’an.

Most mosques try and complete the recitation of the Qur’an on Laylat Al Qadr, and it is recommended for Muslims to attendtaraweeh prayers at their local mosque on this night. Muslims often try to spend the entire night in prayer, reciting surahsfrom the Qur’an and all sorts of prayers and supplications, whether personal or from scripture. The importance of prayer and devotion on this night is unimaginable, as the Qur’an calls this night “better than a thousand months.”

Personal Prayers in Ramadan

The key to praying during Ramadan (or at any other time, for that matter), is praying sincerely with all your heart and soul. Growing up, my parents always advised me to pray for exactly what I wanted, no matter how out there my prayer was, and to especially pray for God’s forgiveness, love, and guidance. When I could not think of a Qur’anic supplication or scriptural prayer, they told me to pray from my heart. This advise is one most Muslims will hear at some point in their lives. It cuts to the heart of prayer across all faiths, for surely God will grant whatever prayer is dearest in our hearts—if God believes that prayer is for our benefit.

The Arifiyya Yahoo newsgroup in 2007 published 30 personal prayers for Ramadan, one to be recited each day. Check out this site ( for these prayers. But better yet, pray for what you really want with all your might. During Ramadan, these prayers have the best chance of being answered.

More on Ramadan

Visit The Beliefnet Guide to Ramadan for more on this holy month.

Want to try fasting? Check out our “Ten Tips for Healthful and Spiritual Fasting

Read Aziz Poonawalla’s blog, “City of Brass” for your insight into the Muslim world.

Learn “Eight Spiritual Lessons from Ramadan” that can translate across all faiths.

Read award-winning writer Shahed Amanullah’s special 30-day Beliefnet blog, “Hungry for Ramadan

Want to learn the basics of Ramadan? Check out our Ramadan Primer.

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