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Ramadan Challenge: Rise & Shine at Fajr!

By Zahra Nayyer

We have spent more than half of Ramadan, and by now we’re used to getting up for suhoor, albeit with difficulty, but as soon as we’re done with our prayer, many if not all of us dive back headfirst into our comfortable beds. As I researched on this topic I came to realize that an essential sunnah is being eradicated from our routines by sleeping at Fajr; one which the Companions engaged in even though they too had busy work/life routines.

In the hadith of Sammaak ibn Harb, who said: “I asked Jaabir ibn Samurah, ‘Did you used to sit with the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ?’ He said, ‘Yes, frequently. He would not get up from the place where he had prayed Subh (Fajr prayer) until the sun rose. When the sun rose, he would get up. They used to talk about things that had happened during the Jaahiliyyah (times of ignorance), and they would laugh and smile.’” (Sahih Muslim :1/463)

How many of us can say that we have revived this sunnah today in our routines? Let’s motivate ourselves to stay up after Fajr by looking at some of its amazing benefits first:

Recitation of the Quran at Fajr

“Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:78)

We learn from the explanation of this verse that at the time of Fajr the angels are audience to our recitation and we are among those who are in honourable mention when Allah asks about us from the angels (though He is Most-Aware of what we do) (Ibn Kathir)

The Huge Reward

Al-Tirmidhi narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever prays Fajr in jamaa’ah (congregation), then sits and remembers Allaah until the sun comes up, then prays two rak’ahs, will have a reward like that of Hajj and ‘Umrah.” He said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Complete, complete, complete.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 480)

The word “complete” being mentioned here thrice emphasises the enormity of the reward and that it is a sure thing that a person will receive this much reward if he adopts this sunnah.

Apart from these, there are other benefits as well: it is your one-on-one time with Allah with no interruptions and no worries about the looming work related commitments. Post-Fajr time is a peaceful time where it feels like time has almost slowed down or stood still, till the rising sun signals the start of a new day and you find that you’ve rejuvenated your iman (faith), sought protection from the evils and challenges that lie ahead and spilled your heart out to the One who is All-Hearing, All- Knowing. Staying up after Fajr gives you that head-start you need to be successful not only in this life but in the next one too.

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To reap such awesomeness, there are a few steps we can take to truly benefit from this special time:

The Core Ingredient – “Dua”

We need Allah’s Help in all that we do because it is only with His Help and Mercy we are given the opportunity and the ability to worship Him. So, make a lot of dua for yourself to be able to inculcate the habit of staying on the prayer mat after Fajr and fully benefit from this time.

Managing Sleep

Staying up unnecessarily at night can ruin your chances of availing this time properly. Try sleeping a bit early then you usually do and if possible take a short nap in the afternoon, this will also help in making you feel fresh at Fajr time.

Have a Prayer Corner

Dedicate a corner in your room for this purpose where there are zero distractions. Make sure you have you favorite dua book and copy of the Qur’an next to you so that when you are done with prayer, immediately you can pick them up and start reciting and gaining the rewards.

Make Things Interesting

When it comes to adopting lifelong habits, we tend to slack off when it becomes a routine thing for us. So, instead of always reciting the same duas, azkaar and verses, aim to add new duas to your post-Fajr routine. Explore new Chapters of the Quran by reading the translation or explanation after you recite them. This will motivate you to actively participate in the process and keep your mind alert. Alternatively, you can also keep a small journal where you can pen down a small reflection from the verses you have recited.

Challenge yourself to stay put on the prayer mat after Fajr these last few days of Ramadan!

May Allah grant us all the ability to stay on the prayer mat after Fajr and pray those 2 rak’ahs to reap its numerous benefits for life! Ameen.

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