As we begin our preparations to welcome the holy month of Ramadan, it is important to prepare ourselves as did the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ – who would prepare for Ramadan months in advance.
Simply to maximise on the benefits and rewards of this blessed month and crucial to this is to prepare beforehand to avoid wasting even one precious moment of this gift.
As we all know, fasting is more than just abstaining from food but also from impure speech and lustful desires. Fasting pushes us to be more aware of our actions, to be patient and moral, thereby increasing our taqwa (God-consciousness).
By Allah’s Will, it is possible to have the best Ramadan ever with the right planning and effort.
It can be achieved by setting your goals for the month and working towards it from now – we have put together 5 manageable ways to prepare for Ramadan:
1. Fast Voluntarily
Now is the time to complete any fasts you may have missed last Ramadan.
Usamah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any other month like you fast in Shabaan.’ He said, ‘That is a month to which people do not pay attention, between Rajab and Ramadan, and it is a month in which deeds are lifted up to the Lord of the Worlds. I like for my deeds to be lifted up when I am fasting.’” (Narrated by al-Nasaai)
The best way to prepare for fasting for a whole month is to start fasting often, in order to gain control over your actions, stomach and desires.
Fast Mondays and Thursdays:
Abu Hurairah reported that the most the Prophet ﷺ would fast would be Monday and Thursday. He was asked about that, and he said:
“The deeds of people are presented to Allah on every Monday and Thursday. Allah forgives every Muslim except for those who are deserting each other.” (Hasan)
Fast on the 13th, 14th and 15th of each Islamic month:
Abu Tharr Al-Ghefari said: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘Oh Abu Dharr! If you fast three days of every month, then fast the 13th, 14th and 15th (these are called Al-Ayaam Al-Beedh, the White Days).’” (Sahih)
The Prophet ﷺ said, “(Allah said), ‘Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me, and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’ Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.” (Bukhari)
2. Getting into the habit of reciting Qur’an
Ramadan is the month of the Holy Quran. It is during this month that the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through Angel Jibreel (AS).
Start now to get into the habit of reciting and reflecting on portions of the Qur’an – take the time to understand the Qur’an, even if it’s one page – start somewhere. Challenge yourself to increase the time spent with the Qur’an on a daily basis. Every single time you read the Qur’an, you will uncover more depths of meaning and benefit in this world and the hereafter.
Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) related that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Indeed the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.” (Muslim)
3. Repent and Raise your hands in Dua
It is narrated that the companions will supplicate for six months to allow them to reach Ramadan safely. After Ramadan, they would continue to pray for another six months, asking Allah to accept their acts of worship that were performed throughout the holy month.
We can recite the following dua:
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي رَجَب، وَشَعْبَانَ، وَبَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَانَ
Allahumma barik lana fi Rajab wa Sha’ban wa ballighna Ramadan
“O Allah make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us and let us reach the month of Ramadan.” (Musnad Imam Ahmad)
After all, it is His blessings that we long for during Ramadan – Now is the time to turn to Him and ask from the Most Giving. Reward guaranteed – Allah Willing.
Ramadan is the ideal time to make amends with our actions and deeds. It is an opportunity for us to reset and re-evaluate our lives.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
Allahumma innaka `Afuwwun TuHibbul `Afwa Fa`fu `Annii.
‘O Allah, you are the Forgiver, You love to forgive, so forgive me.’
4. Follow the Sunnah and Perform extra Prayers
Learn more about the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and follow him by emulating his actions.
“Say, [Oh Muhammad], If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 3:31)
Choose a salaah that you want to do consistently, such as waking up for tahajjud or performing extra nafl salaahs. Hopefully, this will help make it a habit, not only during Ramadan but long after too.
For those missed salaah, create a spreadsheet and begin to make up for them one by one. There’s no better time to start than now!
5. Give Charity
In this month of giving, charity is a most beloved act in the eyes of Allah (swt). We are always reminded to be generous and because Ramadan is the time of spiritual cleansing, it is an opportunity to be rewarded for our charitable activities.
The Messenger ﷺ said,
“Allah is in the aid of His servant as long as His aide is in the assistance of others.” (Muslim)
“Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He will multiply it for him and he will have a noble reward?” (Qur’an 57:11)
In a hadith from Abu Hurairah (may Allah blesses him), that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) says,
مَا نَقَصَتْ صَدَقَةٌ مِنْ مَالٍ وَمَا زَادَ اللَّهُ عَبْدًا بِعَفْوٍ إِلاَّ عِزًّا وَمَا تَوَاضَعَ أَحَدٌ لِلَّهِ إِلاَّ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ
“Charity does not decrease wealth, no one forgives another but that Allah increases his honor, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah but that Allah raises his status” [Sahih Muslim]
We pray: Almighty Allah grant us good health to reach the month of Ramadan and give us the opportunity to reap the blessings of this sacred month.