The Sweetest Delight of all:)

If you see the way people follow their desires, you will find that basically they can be divided into two groups:

The first group is of those who have made the attainment of pleasures as their goal of life. Hence all their thoughts, their concerns and their efforts revolve around the pursuit of their desires regardless of whether they attain them lawfully or not. This never ending cycle of going from one entertainment to the next, makes them oblivious to the purpose for which they were created. And thus their so called pleasures will end in the pain of loss and regret because they never did what they were supposed to do…

The second type of people also enjoy the pleasures of life but they recognize their true purpose. They realize that Allah put these desires in us so as to test us whether we give preference to Allah’s obedience or do we neglect Him because of being so busy in obeying our own nafs? Therefore these intelligent people are very alert not to become trapped in pleasures, rather they use these desires to win the pleasure of Allah instead of getting away from Him. They enjoy good things too, but not just for the sake of enjoyment… rather they take benefit from these pleasures just so they can be refreshed and energized for doing the good deeds which Allah loves. Thus their desires act as a bridge which leads them to the greater enjoyment of the hereafter.

On the outside you can see both kinds of people enjoying the same things… but their results will be different due to the difference in their intention.

The most interesting aspect of worldly pleasures is that if we make the intention of pleasing Allah then our fulfillment of desires will be rewarded!! Just imagine the power of good intentions… they transform enjoyable acts into rewards! Like eating delicious food, wearing fine clothes, enjoying a loving relationship with your spouse, listening to the beautiful sound of Quran, enjoying the beautiful sights of Allah’s creation. The more you appreciate and give thanks to Allah for these pleasures, the more happiness and satisfaction you will experience. So even a little thing like watching a butterfly fluttering its wings… or the smile on your child’s face… or a warm cup of tea on a cold morning… will cause your heart to be filled with the most extraordinary sweetness… this is just the reward of this temporary world… imagine how much Allah will reward such a person in the hereafter!!

Actually the real secret of happiness is that a person recognizes Allah to be the Most Beloved… and the climax of pleasure is to attain closeness to your most beloved… and the constant struggle of such a believer is to keep doing such things which will cause Allah to love him… therefore the more a person toils for the sake of Allah the greater pleasure he feels.

On the other hand, if a person has the whole world but doesn’t find his beloved… then this emptiness will not just be a cause of distress in this life, rather it will be the greatest source of regret in the next life. There, people will realize the true value of this bond, which they never developed because of their preoccupation with other things.

So the thing to do, is to keep a constant check on your heart… does it feel the sweetness of Allah’s love? Does it enjoy meeting with Allah in salah? Does it yearn to hear Allah’s words? Do you enjoy being alone and spend time with Allah’s book? do you remember Allah when you are among your friends? These feelings will develop just like growing plants… the more you water them on time… the more you take care of their light and shade… the more you keep them free of weeds and harmful insects… the better they will grow… with time and constant care you can nurture your bond with Allah too… it’s worth all the effort and it’s never too late!

Understanding the Reality of Desires!

The two most powerful driving forces in the life of a person are wants and needs. When we want or need something then we don’t need anybody to push us towards it. Therefore, Allah has programmed in us the desire for things which are most essential for our survival in this world. Like our hunger for food and our thirst for water acts as a force to move us towards the fulfillment of these needs. So having desire for worldly things is not something bad, if we keep it within the limits set by Allah.

These desires become a problem when we become so involved in their fulfillment that achieving our pleasures becomes our objective of life… and we forget our real purpose of life. 

Like we see that for the majority of people, having a good life in this world is all that matters. It is like having a good drive in a grand vehicle on a smooth wide road, without any concern for the direction or destination… the drive itself has become the destination. So the more luxurious it is, the more successful they think they are… what an illusion!

But then there are some fortunate people who discover the reality of life… and they understand that the real success is to please Allah. Still they don’t move in that direction as they should… why? what is the hindrance? The reason is that they also get trapped in the illusion of desires because after all they are also human. So what is the solution? How can we ensure that we always keep our goal in mind? How to avoid getting drowned in forgetfulness?

The solution is to keep reminding ourselves that this world is a place to work for our hereafter. And Allah has made paradise for the fulfillment of desires.

If we think about it, the nature of man is such that even if he gets everything of this world, still it cannot satisfy him. Others might envy him, but if you could open his heart and see the emptiness inside, you would be shocked!

It is because Allah made this world a place for the completion of our faith and good deeds and to achieve the character which pleases Allah. And He made Jannah a place where there is no work, no responsibility, no pain, no problem, no sadness, no imperfection, no boredom… Only pleasures and enjoyment and everything which we desire.

The most amazing thing in this world is that if a person understands the deception of desires… and he does sabar… and he sacrifices his pleasures for the sake of Allah and instead of following desires, he occupies himself with the work that Allah loves… then Allah not only rewards him with paradise in the akhirah, but also makes a paradise for him in this world… which is in his heart! Outwardly he might be surrounded in difficulties, but in his heart is an ocean of peace and satisfaction… full of the delight of faith… the joy of Allah’s love… and the constant hope of Allah’s support.

But this can only be achieved by those who can understand the difference between two pains and pleasures. One is the pain and pleasure of this worldly existence… very short lived… and deceptive.

The other is the pain and pleasure of the hereafter… infinitely ever going… and very real.

As someone said: The pain of sacrificing your pleasures for the sake of the hereafter, seems like an ocean, while actually it is just a drop when compared with the ocean of pleasures which will be the result in the hereafter.

Similarly, the delight of fulfilling unlawful desires in this world, is just a drop, as compared to the ocean of pain and regret which will come as a result of it.  

So our test is to choose the lighter pain to avoid the greater one… which one is better to endure…the pain of discipline and hard work, or the pain of loss and regret?

The Language of your Heart!!

Yesterday a friend of mine was discussing with me that although she has learned quite a few duas of the Prophet (s.a.w) and she recites these daily along with the duas from the Quran… but it doesn’t feel like she is connecting with Allah… because she doesn’t understand Arabic and so it is more like reading a script instead of some active communication with Allah. But still she carries on with this practise because she understands that the words of the Prophet (s.a.w) are infinitely better than any words of her own. But how can she make this process more meaningful and satisfying? Should she make duas in her own language instead of Arabic?

The answer which came to my heart was that, dua is not something to read or recite… rather it is to express your feelings to Allah. And obviously the best expression will be in your own language. But we also want to choose the best words to talk to Allah… and those are the words of our Prophet (s.a.w). So we learn them and repeat them… but although we get rewarded for all this effort yet our hearts will remain empty until we feel what we say… so my question is “Why don’t we make Arabic our own language?” So that we can not only understand it but also feel its beauty, appreciate its eloquence, enjoy its flavor…

But really… is it even possible? Of course it is… and it can happen very quickly too!!

But How??

The answer is in one word… and that is “Love”

Our problem is that we think we will have to spend so many years to learn this language and after that maybe we will understand it and so on… but the truth is that if we love something then it becomes our own even when we don’t know anything about it… And when we think of something as our own and we want to be firmly attached to it… then gradually and slowly it penetrates the mind as well.

The example which comes to my mind is of having a baby… when this new person comes into your life, you don’t know anything about him or her, except the feeling of love that fills your whole being and you know that your baby is the most precious to your heart… with this love comes the natural consequence that you pay attention to every little sound the baby makes, every tiny little movement, every expression of his face… this close attention makes you understand the various tones of his crying… and so only a mother can tell whether the child is hungry or needs something else… to those who don’t love the baby to such a degree, the cries are just a noise!

So you can make anything your own, just by loving it… but we love only those people or things which we think of as “Special” or outstanding! So ponder upon Arabic, how special and wonderful it is that Allah chose it for His Quran… Just listen to Quran and let your heart feel the beauty radiating from its words… then your heart will yearn to understand the words which are making you cry even when you dont know what they mean… imagine how your heart will respond when you will understand its meanings!!

So when you feel this love and desire, then the rest of the steps will come as a natural consequence, and whatever you recite will become full of life, because it will come not just from the mouth, but from the heart!!

May Allah make our hearts free from the love of useless things and activities… so that we can fill our hearts with the love of worthy things and may we spend our time in pursuing the best activities that will make our lives worthy and meaningful in both worlds… Ameen

“Sawfa…”

A wise man was on his deathbed and the people close to him asked for one last advice which they could hold on to after his death. He said to them… “Protect yourself from “sawfa

What does the word “sawfa” mean? Actually it is the Arabic word to express our intention that we will do something soon. Apparently it looks like a simple harmless word, but in reality it is a tool by which shaitan keeps us back from doing anything good.

Shaitan has different tricks and traps for different kinds of people. And he studies each one of his targets very closely. When he sees a person who is not being affected by bad ideas… and he observes that this person is full of good intentions then he uses this trick of “sawfa”… the moment something good comes to our mind, the shaitan tells us “sawfa”… very soon you will do it but not now… just a little more rest… or a little snack here and there… a small chat with your friend… some more messages on whatsapp… and then you will do it… no problem.

But the problem is that these little harmless activities take you from one point to the next and then to the next… until you don’t have any more time left to do the stuff which was really the most important task on your list… and then the shaitan will say no problem… tomorrow you will do it… and then the next day and the next.

So eventually this becomes a habit, and you identify yourself as a person who procrastinates… and is in no hurry to complete his tasks… so procrastination becomes your default setting!! With time it even stops bothering you… especially when the shaitan will make yourself appear so much better than the majority who are not even on this path of doing anything for the sake of Allah… so you will willingly take the pill of self-justification to get rid of any pain of regret which might rise in your conscience… so you see this trick of shaitan that he will take you from one bad habit to the next and the next… And even if you realize this error and you want to do taubah… guess what? Shaitan will come to you and say “sawfa“… soon you will do taubah… what’s the hurry! Take it easy… 

So how to get out of this trap? How to stop delaying things?

Well yesterday I came across three tips which look simple but they are most effective if we really want to get rid of procrastination.

  • Think of death… yes this is a most effective reminder which kills the disease of ghaflah… i.e. heedlessness…this casual attitude towards the real purpose of life. One of the wise people suggested a physical reminder… by lying down on the floor and imagining yourself as dead… then think of all the things you should have done… and then realizing that you are still alive and can do all of that… but the time remaining is most uncertain… so you cannot afford to procrastinate. This exercise should be done daily before sleeping… is there any guarantee for living another day? How close we are to the finish line and still we are being so casual?

  • The second tip is to pray all five prayers as soon as the time starts… if you do it daily for a week…you will start thinking of yourself as a person who does things on time… your expectation about yourself will change… and by praying immediately time after time, you will announce to yourself that delaying things is not your default setting!

  • The third tip is to follow the five minute rule… when you have something to do and you don’t feel the energy for it… then give yourself the option to do that thing only for five minutes… just five minutes and that’s it!! So one of two things will happen… either you will be energized by getting into the momentum and you will keep on working even after the five minute starter… or even if you don’t work more, at least you will have the satisfaction that you took one small step, instead of not doing anything at all.

So for example if you memorized one ayat in those five minutes, you will feel so happy that you increased so many new words in your treasure which you didn’t have till now. So next time you will have something to work on. And with time you will have lesser excuses to delay things!

May Allah help us to apply what we learn so that it becomes beneficial for us… may Allah help us to act on all the good intentions we have so that they become treasures for us in this world and the hereafter… And may Allah protect us from this trick of “sawfa”… ameen.  

Precious, but not enough…

The people who are closest to Allah do not think highly of their good deeds… i.e. they do not congratulate themselves on doing anything. Rather they always feel that they have a lot more to do to… so this keeps them going further and further onto the path of achieving excellence. But today I learned something very important which I want to share… and that is the difference between thinking of your good deeds as insufficient… and thinking them as worthless.

The fact is that every righteous action is most precious even if it is very small. Our Prophet (s.a.w) taught us not to belittle any good deed because good deeds save us from the fire and anything that can protect us from the fire and leads us to the gardens of Paradise cannot be worthless… it must be extremely precious. 

But on the other hand we should not become content with our good deeds… because it is like standing amidst a field of diamonds and you just pick one and say well I have enough… whereas you had the option to have as many as you wanted… if you worked hard to achieve them.

The other thing I learned today is that if we are able to do anything good then we must thank Allah for it… and this act of thanking Allah is also a blessing for which we need to thank Him too… and every time you remember something good that you were able to do, then thank Him once more… for the tawfeeq with which you were able to accomplish that task, as well as for the remembrance of it in your heart which is a gift in itself. So if we are really thankful in this way and we practically express this gratitude then it will be an endless chain that will keep us connected to Allah at all times. And it will become a means for getting more and more tawfeeq from Allah to do more and more good deeds. Because we human beings are made in such a way that we love good things and we are never satiated… and this thirst for more and more is an endless passion which is the greatest driving force in the world. And although our whole lives can be spent in its pursuit, yet its satisfaction can only be experienced in the Paradise which Allah created for those who are really passionate for its pleasures… such unimaginable delights which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no heart has felt… lets run towards it as Allah says in Surah Al-Hadid:

 سَابِقُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا كَعَرْضِ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أُعِدَّتْ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ

Race towards forgiveness from your Lord; and a Garden as vast as the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His messengers. That is the grace of Allah; He bestows it on whomever He wills. Allah is the Possessor of Immense Grace.

The reality behind the image

After the festivities of eid are over and we return to our “Normal” life once again, it can be quite a shock to discover that you are not feeling that high level of eman which you enjoyed in Ramadan. Our problem is that we don’t understand the reality of things and often make judgements just by looking at the appearances…

So in Ramadan when we see our performance in worship going up, we think we have become so good… whereas the reality is that Allah allows us to experience that high level of worship so we can taste the joy of it… so that we can develop a yearning to acquire it in reality too…

But we mistakenly assume that we own it… and so when shaitan enters the picture and whispers all sorts of evil thoughts in our hearts… then we begin to make the same old mistakes and it seems as if the whole exercise of Ramadan had no effect on us… we didn’t change at all… and this makes us so sad and then this sadness leads to hopelessness… and then weakness and lethargy… and the same downward spiral which we know so well…

But this time I have learned something which I had never understood before… and that is the fact that our appearance is not our reality… so we should not make judgments on this basis.

It is wrong to compare myself with the image I had in Ramadan… fasting day after day, no shaitan to fight with… no interference from anyone… a quiet calm life… so much tawfeeq from Allah… so much focus and concentration in Quran and salah… my nafs starved and humble… letting me do the best without making any fuss!!

Naturally I cannot remain on that level forever… I will make mistakes… I will fall back into bad habits… but it doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything… rather the lessons learned are lingering around me… they are not entirely lost “yet”.

The test is to develop such a routine that enables me to get those lessons deeply engraved in my heart and soul. If I am able to keep my soul alive with a balanced dose of knowledge and spirituality then in-sha-Allah the effects of Ramadan will become a part of my heart and soul… and they will start being reflected in my character and dealings with people too.

But if I become lost in the whispers of the devil who is determined to make me lose hope in myself… then of course the level of my taqwa and productivity cannot be good.

Yesterday I read something very heartwarming and I will end this article with this quote:

No matter how many steps you have gone away from the straight path… you just need one step back in the right direction to come back into the mercy of Allah.

May Allah enable us to take that one step… so that we can continue on our journey towards His pleasure… Ameen

My New Home!

It was probably the last night of this Ramadan that we have just experienced… and so it was like spending the last few hours in the company of a most beloved guest who is about to leave. The blessing of the last ten nights was coming to an end and the hours and minutes felt like the most precious jewels slipping out of my hands… and the most I could do was try my best to convert them into as many good deeds that I could… but the overwhelming sadness of having wasted countless jewels like these, made me realize that it is such a weakness of human nature that we remain in an illusion of permanence knowing fully well that everything in this world is for a limited time only… and we realize the value of blessings only when we are about to leave them.

But even if you are able to distance yourself from all distractions, and can feel the magnitude of the blessing of Ramadan when it is about to end… then even this is a blessing in itself because it is such a sad reality that the distractions of our digital world have captured most hearts in such a way that we are becoming increasingly devoid of any genuine feeling of love and adoration. So if you cried last night, then you are one of the rarest species of human beings left on this earth!!

Anyway the question that will be ringing bells in the hearts of people, is the same one we ask every year… how are we going to preserve the level of our relationship with Allah and His Book which we achieved in Ramadan?

The answer is obvious in the question itself… we just have to hold on to Allah and His Book the way we have done this whole month… and how are we going to do it with the shaitan waiting to start his activities with full force? By using the shield of Taqwa for which Allah made us go through this month long training. The stronger your shield, the more likely you are to remain steadfast.

But like everything else, we need to plan our strategy against the enemies which are hovering from all sides… the biggest of which is our own self… because we keep on forgetting our true purpose… and to make things worse we are constantly exposing our already weak hearts to the harmful effects of media… leaving it utterly incapable to think for itself… to make good decisions… and to remain firm on them.

It’s like handing your child a new toy on the evening of his final exams… and then expecting him to study!

But for the worldly exams we still have a lot of wisdom because we would rather die than see our children be losers in this mad race of so called success. So we take all measures to see that they remain focused on their studies and jobs and careers…

But when it comes to the real success then we become so easy on ourselves… why? because it is unseen… and our ultimate test is to believe in the unseen. And this is the first requirement of our religion.

The beauty of Ramadan is that it gave us enough insight to “see” the treasures of the unseen Paradise… it made us experience the limitless Love and Mercy of Allah… and now we have to make sure that we don’t lose it. But how will we do it?

It is just like you build yourself a brand new home… or you buy one… obviously it was a long journey of getting enough money and then the long process of getting it built… so now that it is complete and you start living in it… how will you take care of it? because the real responsibility begins from day one… you keep it clean, you treat everything with so much care… you keep the windows and doors locked… because you are afraid of thieves and robbers… and also you don’t want bugs and harmful creatures finding their way inside…

Now your heart is just like a new home after the Ramadan experience… and it is full of treasures of faith and taqwa… and knowledge and a powerful spiritual routine that you build day after day through quran and salah and zikr and duas…

So on one hand you have to keep polishing these things to keep them sparkling and beautiful.

And secondly you have to keep the windows of your heart shut against all harmful things… The eyes and the ears are the windows to your heart. If you keep them open to everything then very soon your home will become dirty and cluttered with useless things. So you have to be very selective of what you see and hear… each and every bit of information that goes to your heart has an effect… so we cannot take it casually. Open your windows only to bring in fresh breeze of knowledge of Quran and Hadith every single day… this will give your heart the oxygen it needs to survive…

Also the real energy we get is when we reflect and ponder on what we learn and we make it a part of our life. This is like food for the soul!

So put your pens to the paper and make a note of all the goals you achieved in this Ramadan… and what kind of routine you built with the Quran and other acts of remembrance… how you improved your attitude and behavior towards people especially your family members!

Now use this as a guide and keep on adding to your good deeds… keep on beautifying your home with new plants and decorative items… keep it fresh and whenever there is some dust storm like an anger outburst or some other mistake then do some extra dusting and sweeping with istighfar and sadaqahJ

Life is a test and we all make mistakes… but the Prophet (s.a.w) taught us that the best sinner is the one who repents immediately and keeps cleaning his record over and over again.

May Allah help us to retain and build upon our taqwa and good deeds… Ameen

“Three days to See…”

This morning when I wrote the date in my Ramadan Journal… I realized that only three days are left of this blessed month… and maybe if we are lucky we will get a fourth one as a bonus too… but who knows… So anyway, as I began to write something like “the last three days of marathon to reach taqwa” to give myself one last push before this month becomes a memory… I remembered a Hadith of the Prophet (s.a.w) in which He said that, “Surely deeds are to be judged according to their ending.” So even if we are most of us feeling like we haven’t quite done the best…we can still end it with flying colours!! And hopefully Allah will be so pleased with our efforts that He will overlook the previous shortcomings too.

But to be able to do it we need to evaluate… and to be able to evaluate we need to have some documented proof of where we started and what we had hoped to achieve… and how far we have reached or missed our targets. But even if you have not written any plans or haven’t tracked your daily progress until now… why not start today!! After all there is always a first time and maybe the barakah of Ramadan might make it into a lifetime habit… because the fact is that writing is most important for self assessment. 

As I was thinking of making a three day plan, to end the month in the best way that I can… and I began to write the title, suddenly these words flashed in my mind… “Three days to see!!”… a memory of no less than 34 years ago… when I was studying in the college and it was in my English class that I learned an essay by Helen Keller, which changed my thinking forever. She wrote about her wish that if she got her eyesight for just three days, what would she like to see… and it filled me with so much amazement that she knew so much about the world without having any sight, any hearing or any ability to speak… the only means of her learning was her sense of touch… and yet she has described in her essay all sorts of things that even I as a seeing person didn’t know about.

The amazing thing was that our teacher, was also visually disabled, so she used an encyclopedia in brail for looking up all the names of people and places mentioned in the essay… it was a lesson of a lifetime… and that is why I can never forget it.

So what has that lesson got to do with my three-day plan? Well these last days of Ramadan are also “three days to see”, in which we can see that if we really become seriously committed to achieving the pleasure of Allah above all other things then how Allah can enable us to do things which otherwise we think we are too weak to do…

Because this essay reminded me that the only reason for our lack of productivity is that we don’t exert ourselves… we give up before even trying… we think we are already doing great and so our hearts don’t have any passion for achieving anything worthwhile… and even those of us who want to do all sorts of things, don’t really achieve what they want, because they assume that just by wishing something, it is going to fall on them like rain… which is not the way things happen… and then they get so pessimistic and start blaming their lack of resources or lack of support or other such excuses that can save them from taking responsibility for their lack of success.

But when you focus on “three days to see” you will be forced to ask yourself, how much more do you have as compared to a blind, deaf and mute person… whose one essay contains information for which we need an encyclopedia… so how did she learn? and why can’t we? Let us start seeing, start learning, and start doing what Allah wants us to do…

(To read the essay by Helen Keller… click here)

Talib-e-Ilm

I just saw a highly inspirational video about the death of a student whose grave turned into a garden of paradise in front of the eyes of the person who was burying his dead body… This is a true story… and it left me in awe of the status of Knowledge in the eyes of Allah… But it also made me think on the word “talib-e-ilm” which is the Arabic term for a student.

Now Arabic being a very explicit language doesn’t just use words randomly… rather each word is highly meaningful and deep…

For example in English, the word “student” is just a word we use for someone who is occupied in gaining knowledge… the exact definition in the dictionary is the following: “A student is someone who is studying in order to enter a particular profession.” This person doesn’t necessarily have a passion for studying… nor does he have to be interested in the knowledge he is trying to get.

But the word “Talib-e-ilm” in itself holds the emotion of “talab”… which is a desire that originates in the heart… a need that is so intense, that it moves a person to go and fulfill it. So a “Talib-e-ilm” has to be a person who is passionate to acquire knowledge about Allah and His Book and His Prophet (s.a.w) and His teachings… He also has the desire to know about the world which Allah created… because it makes him know who Allah is… This person wants so eagerly to know about all these things because he wants to know how to live his life in a way that has been prescribed by Allah… He wants to know what His Book says so that he can follow its message in word and in spirit… He has a desire to know about His Prophet (s.a.w) so that he may follow his most beautiful example… He wants to know what the Prophet (s.a.w) taught us so that he may become successful both in this world and the hereafter. This desire, this need is so great that it makes him run towards the places of knowledge… it makes him love the teachers who teach this… it makes the process of learning into an act of devotion… an act of worship.

So when we read about the status of a talib-e-ilm… we must ask ourselves… what level of “talab” do I have? when I go and learn the deen, what is my real and inner most desire? Is it really a passion to know about my Creator and Master? Do I seriously wish to know my responsibility towards Allah and His Messenger, so that I may fulfill this responsibility… or is it something else that I want? Because I can get the status of a talib-e-ilm only if my talab is for ilm and amal… otherwise I will just be an ordinary student, trying to complete a course in order to get some worldly benefit… some recognition… some material benefits… some kind of job… whatever… May Allah give us the sincere desire for things that are really worth running after… Ameen.

 

We are almost there!!

Here are ten short points that can help us attain the treasures of the “Night of destiny!‼”

1- The Night begins at sunset…
▪ And with the setting of the sun the race begins, and the counter of the good deeds is turned on!! Watch out and focus with all your senses and abilities… right from the azaan of maghrib.

2- Try to spend the whole night in the masjid (if you are not already in aitikaaf), 

Even if it is not possible this year due to the pandemic, we can still make intention that we would have done it if possible. So we will be rewarded for true Niyah in any case!
The masjid is the place where mercy of Allah descends, and the niches are the places of gifts and glad tidings.

As Allah tells in the Quran about Prophet Zakariyyah (a.s.)
☀ {He was called by the angels while he was standing in prayer in the mihrab… that Allah gives good news to you}

3- Do not work without intention:
Breaking the fast and taking a nap during the day or during the night, will also be counted as worship if done with the good intention that it will give strength for worship and dua during the night… and not even a minute will be wasted tonight!

4- Not a moment without dua:
If you are able to do this… then be sure to do so.
In Sahih Muslim:
💫 “In this night, there is a time, in which whatever a believer has the tawfeeq to ask Allah from the matters of the world and the hereafter, Allah gives it to him… and this happens every night.”

And remember the saying of  Sufyan al-Thawri about Laylat al-Qadr: “Supplication on that night is dearer to me than prayer.”

5- Be extremely passionate for this dua:
Allahumma Innaka afuwwun, Tuhibbul afwa, fa’fu anni… 

Ya Allah you are the source of all forgivness, you love to forgive… so forgive me!

Because it is the most important dua for the Lailatul Qadr, and to be pardoned (afuw) is even better than forgiveness (maghfirah).

6- Boycott ‼ ️
All the Pages and channels (of social media), isolate yourself in these nights from your mobile phone,
Because it is an obstacle in the way of receiving the blessings and miracles of this night!

7- The tears flowing from your heart…
. And expressing humbleness and submissiveness, and crying before Allah, and confession of shortcomings. 
▪ And the Prolonging of duas in prostration are all signs of acceptance.
▪ Remember the supplication of the Prophet ﷺ On the day of Arafah in the form of feeding the poor, begging for Allah’s forgiveness, and for His bounties, and Provisions. 

8- Don’t forget your bereaved nation across the globe, in your duas.
▪ Intend to strengthen your resolve to work to support the Ummah with all your abilities.

9- Your kindness (Ehsaan) in the day is the key to success in this night’s worship.
“Ehsaan” includes staying away from Allah’s disobedience, and lots of good deeds, and acts of faith.

10- “Imaan” (faith) and “Ihtisaab” (expectation of reward):
In the hadith:
💫 “Whoever stands in worship, in Laylat al-Qadr, with “Imaan” and “ihtisaab”, will be forgiven for all his previous sins.”

✒ Meaning of “Imaan”:
️ ️ It is to believe in Allah, declaring the truth of Allah’s promise, and having trust in his great reward, and the virtue of standing in prayer.

✒ “Ihtisaab”:
️ ️ i.e. Expecting the reward only from Allah ta’ala, not having any intention of showing off, or any desire for fame or anything other than Allah. 

{Translation of an extract from “Zaad-ul-qulub fi Ramadan”}