Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allaah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allaah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” [al-Baqarah 2:185]
This blessed month is a great opportunity for goodness, barakah (blessing), worship and obedience towards Allaah.
It is a great month, a noble season, a month in which hasanaat (rewards for good deeds) are multiplied and in which committing sayi’aat (bad deeds) is more serious than at other times. The gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are shut, and the sinners’ repentance to Allaah is accepted. It is a month whose beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness and its end is redemption from the Fire.
It was narrated from some of the salaf that they used to pray to Allaah for six months that they would live until Ramadaan, then they would pray for five months afterwards that He would accept it from them.
SubhanAllaah. How can we prepare ourselves for this beloved month?
Some start to prepare from Sha’baan, and some of them even start before that. Among the best ways of preparing for the month of Ramadaan are:
1 –Sincere repentance
This is obligatory at all times, but because of the approach of a great and blessed month, it is even more important to hasten to repent from sins between you and your Lord, and between you and other people by giving them their rights, so that when the blessed month begins you may busy yourself with acts of worship with a clean heart and peace of mind. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [al-Noor 24:31]
It was narrated from al-Agharr ibn Yasaar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“O people, repent to Allaah for I repent to Him one hundred times each day.” Narrated by Muslim (2702).
2 –Du’aa’ (supplication)
The Muslim should ask his Lord to let him live until Ramadaan with a strong religious commitment and good physical health, and he should ask Him to help him obey Him during the month, and ask Him to accept his good deeds from Him.
3 – Rejoicing at the approach of the blessed month
4 – Discharging the duty of any outstanding obligatory fasts before another Ramadaan begins
5 – Seeking knowledge in order to be able to follow the rulings on fasting and to understand the virtues of Ramadaan.
6 – Hastening to complete any tasks that may distract the Muslim from doing acts of worship.
The Muslim should strive to organize his time in this blessed month so that he will not miss out on a great opportunity to do more good and righteous deeds. For example, a person should try to buy all the things that the family needs before the month begins, and he should buy day-to-day needs at times when the stores are not crowded, and visits to friends and family should be organized in such a way that they do not distract from acts of worship.
7 – Sitting with one’s family members – wife and children – to tell them of the rulings on fasting and encourage the young ones to fast.
8 – Preparing some books which can be read at home or given to the imam of the mosque to read to the people during Ramadaan.
9 – Fasting some of the month of Sha’baan in preparation for fasting Ramadaan.
It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said:
The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast until we said: He will not break his fast, and he used not to fast until we said: He will not fast. And I never saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) complete a month of fasting except Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more in any month than in Sha’baan. [Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1868) and Muslim (1156).]
It was narrated that Usaamah ibn Zayd said:
I said: O Messenger of Allaah, I do not see you fasting in any month as you fast in Sha’baan? He said: “That is a month that people neglect between Rajab and Ramadaan, but it is a month in which people’s deeds are taken up to the Lord of the Worlds and I would like my deeds to be taken up when I am fasting.” [Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (2357); classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i.]
10 – Reading Qur’aan
Salamah ibn Kuhayl said: It was said that Sha’baan was the month of the Qur’aan readers.
When Sha’baan began, ‘Amr ibn Qays would close his shop and free his time for reading Qur’aan.
Abu Bakr al-Balkhi said: The month of Rajab is the month for planting, the month of Sha’baan is the month of irrigating the crops, and the month of Ramadaan is the month of harvesting the crops.
He also said: The likeness of the month of Rajab is that of the wind, the likeness of Sha’baan is that of the clouds and the likeness of Ramadaan is that of the rain; whoever does not plant and sow in Rajab, and does not irrigate in Sha’baan, how can he reap in Ramadaan? Now Rajab has passed, so what will you do in Sha’baan if you are seeking Ramadaan? This is how your Prophet and the early generations of the ummah were in this blessed month, so what will you do?
“And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allaah’s forgiveness, he will find Allaah Oft?Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Nisa’ 4:110]
By taking stock, repenting and seeking forgiveness, this is how we should welcome Ramadaan. “The smart man is the one who takes stock of himself and strives to do that which will benefit him after death, and the helpless one is the one who follows his own whims and desires and engages in wishful thinking, (assuming that Allaah will forgive him regardless of what he does and that he does not need to strive to good deeds).”
Give thanks to Him for the season of goodness and blessing that He has bestowed upon you, and for the means of bounty and various kinds of great blessings for which He has singled you out. Make the most of this blessed time by filling it with acts of worship and forsaking haraam things, so that you may attain a good life in this world and happiness after death.
[Source: Put together by some sisters]