Ramaḍan: It's Easy!
Updated: Jan 8
There are so many optional deeds one can do: optional Ṣalāh (nawāfil), extra recitation (tilāwah), fasts, dhikr, ṣadaqah etc., and each person, according to his/her tastes will like doing some more than others. There’s nothing wrong with that; a look into the lives of the Ṣaḥābah رضي الله عنهم will tell you that they were like that too. Take Ibn Mas‘ud for example. He is reported to have said, “If I fast, I become weak and therefore cannot perform as many [optional] ṣalāhs, while Ṣalāh is more beloved to me.” (Muṣannaf ‘Abdir Razzāq)
Yes, at certain times some nawāfil are more emphasised than others, like reciting the Qur’an and performing Tarāwīḥ/Qiyām at night during Ramadan. However, the idea that you should try and do everything under the sun is flawed and contrary to the Sunnah.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“Indeed Dīn is easy: anyone who tries to contend with the Dīn for superiority will be overwhelmed by it. Therefore, adopt moderation and take glad tidings..." (Al-Bukhārī)
In a nutshell, this means that the religion is easy: there are so many options and pathways to achieve success and progress in spirituality. However, if one tries to make it hard for himself by trying to do *everything*, he won’t be able to keep up with it and it’ll burn him out. Therefore, adopt moderation: do what you can keep up with, and be happy with that because that is what will bring you progress and success.
Again, in Ramadan, try making the most of its blessings by doing more optional deeds along with the fundamentals of Ṣalāh and Fasting, but don’t overburden yourself. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the stories you hear or the checklists. They’re there for general motivation, not a bar set that you *have* to reach. You do what little or large you can.
 عَنِ الثَّوْرِيِّ، عَنْ أَبِي إِسْحَاقَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ يَزِيدَ قَالَ: كَانَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ يُقِلُّ الصِّيَامَ، فَقُلْنَا لَهُ: إِنَّكَ تُقِلُّ الصِّيَامَ قَالَ: «إِنِّي إِذَا صُمْتُ ضَعُفْتُ عَنِ الصَّلَاةِ، وَالصَّلَاةُ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنَ الصِّيَامِ»
 روى البخاري قال: حدثنا عبد السلام بن مطهر، قال: حدثنا عمر بن علي، عن معن بن محمد الغفاري، عن سعيد بن أبي سعيد المقبري، عن أبي هريرة، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: «إن الدين يسر، ولن يشاد الدين أحد إلا غلبه، فسددوا وقاربوا، وأبشروا، واستعينوا بالغدوة والروحة وشيء من الدلجة»