We are now in the last 10 nights of blessed Ramadhan. Our pious predecessors used to spend these nights in ibadah, dua and recitation. They used to look for the Laylatul Qadr in this night by exerting themselves in Allah’s remembrance and reflecting on the meanings of the Quran.
To finish (khatam) recitation of 30 juz is obviously a good thing but better is to make an effort to understand the Word of Allah swt as the pious predecessors understood them. It is unfortunate that millions of non Arab muslims learn to “read” but not to “understand” the meaning of the Ayahs. When we attempt to hide our embarrassment by blaming it on our ethnic linguistic backgrounds we make a double mockery of our foolishness. We are already conversing in an alien language (English).
Part of our problem is the growth of the priest class who engage only in religious activities. They are like priests in other world religions. This is an unislamic concept. We know our history. Our Imams were our leaders in every aspect of social, political, military life. We did not have any priests as such who would confine to studying the scripture so that they could make a profession out of it.
Believers will engage in Ramadhan acts of ibadah through nafal salah, recitation, dhikr and dua. It is highly recommended for them to offer the tahajjud salah, or salat ul Layl, to reach His swt Mercy and Hikamah, insha Allah, and to understand the purpose of our lives in light in this temporal world. In the Holy Quran, Allah swt says,
Verily, the rising by night (for Tahajjud prayer) is very hard and most potent and good for governing (the soul), and most suitable for (understanding) the Word (of Allah). 73:6
Prophet Muhammad swm and Noble sahabs ra would stand to pray all night until Allah swt showed Mercy on them and relaxed it to one-third or less or a bit more.
Again, Allah swt says,
Perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. the Zuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, and ‘Isha’ prayers), and recite the Quran in the early dawn (i.e. the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Quran in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night). 17:78
And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Quran in the prayer), as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawafil) for you (O Muhammad SAW). It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaman Mahmuda (a station of praise and glory, i.e. the highest degree in Paradise!). 17:79