[Okay, I’m just putting up the remaining information so I had to think of a fancy title.]
Here we go:
1) Actions Specific to the Last Ten of Ramadan
a) The Sunan that they are both referring to (about bathing between Maghrib and Isha) has been discussed here. There seems to be a dispute over its authenticity of this narration.
b) Women are NOT allowed to wear perfumes in front of non-Mahram men and especially not when going to the masjid.
Please read the following two fatwas (read the ahadeeth carefully):
2) Innovations During the Last Ten Days
Check out this article.
3) Laylatul Qadr and the dua to be said therein
Please read this (it seems to be a compilation of many articles. Unfortunately, they didn’t credit the authors!).
Also, here’s a nice article on the meaning of the famous dua that is said during Laylatul Qadr.
4) Tips for Qiyam Al-Layl in these last 10 nights
a) If you aren’t going to the masjid, then try to pray with a mushaf.
Why? So that you can lengthen your prayers.
b) For those going to the masjids, please don’t waste time.
I) By not staying silent in rukoo and sujood.
You can repeat the rukoo (bowing) duas. If all you know is “Subhana Rabi Al-Adheem”, then keep saying that until the Imam raises his head.
Scholars differed over whether you can do dua in a language other than Arabic in sujood (prostration).
Many of the fatwas that I checked said yes. Someone asked my Imam and he said “What can you do if you don’t know Arabic?” That seems quite obvious especially as we are closest to Allah at this time.
However, if you take the opinion that you cannot do dua in a language other than Arabic, fine. Just keep repeating whatever duas you know until the Imam raises his head.
II) By not staying silent in between the prayers or by chatting.
Try to just do as much adkhar (remembrance) as you can. Say “Subhan Allah”, “Alhamdulillah”, “Astaghfirullah”, etc. Don’t just sit there and stare at the carpet.
III) If you go to the masjid early, then take your mushaf with you.
You can read some Quran while you wait for the prayer to start.
c) If the Imam is giving a lecture and you don’t understand what he’s saying (because it’s in Arabic), then please don’t use this time to catch up with your old friends.
Those of us who CAN understand Arabic would like to listen to the Imam. [This happens every year in my masjid.]
d) Please don’t go to the masjid with a sulky face. Take your smiley face with you.
Smiley face + Kind words = Is from the Sunnah + May cause someone to pray FOR you.
Sulky face + Rude words = Is NOT from the Sunnah + May cause someone to pray AGAINST you.
Brothers and Sisters, knowing the fiqh of prayer is not sufficient to be a righteous person. Having good manners is required as well.
I’ll put up some resources for itikaf in another post, insha-Allah.