Preparing For Ramadan in light with the Qur’an and Sunnah of The Messenger of Allah PBUH.
The Month of Ramadan:
Ramadan is the 9th Lunar month in the Islamic Calendar. It is a sacred month for all muslims around the world as they are obligated to abstain from food, water, and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset for the entire month.
In the Qur’an Allah [The Most Exalted] says:
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.”
As the month is fast approaching it is vital that we learn how the Prophet PBUH, the companions and the pious predecessors would prepare for this sacred month, so we can maximise the number of rewards and blessings gained.
Preparing for Ramadan in Sha’ban:
The Prophet PBUH would begin preparations for Ramadan in the month of Sha’ban.
The mother of the believers Sayyidatuna A’isha [Allah is pleased with her] narrates, “The Prophet PBUH would fast the most in the month of Sha’ban.”
One of the wisdoms mentioned by the experts of Hadīth of fasting in Sha’ban is that Sha’ban is a forerunner for Ramadan. Thus its actions should be that of Ramadan so that a person does not find worship nor fasting taxing during the blessed month and makes both his soul and body accustomed to worship and the remembrance of Allah.
Some of the scholars also state that the fasting of Sha’ban is like the Sunnah prayers before the Fard. The believer uses the Sunnah prayers to turn to Allah [The Most Exalted] before the Fard, thus the fasting of Sha’ban is used to perfect the worship in Ramadan.
Sayyiduna Anas [Allah is pleased with him] said, “As soon as Sha’ban entered the muslims would turn towards the Qur’an. They would also take Zakāt out of their wealth and [by it] strengthen the poor and destitute for the fasts of Ramadan”.
From the above statement we learn that it was a habit for the companions to take out Zakāt during the month of Sha’ban. Today we see it is the habit of the people to take out Zakāt from their wealth during the month of Ramadan. Of course, there is no harm in this and in fact great reward. However, the purpose of Zakāt is to benefit the poor, therefore to maximise the benefit to the poor the companions would take out their wealth in Sha’ban so that the poor would be restocked and prepared in time for Ramadan. May Allah allow us to practise this Sunnah of The Companions [Allah is pleased with them all].
Practical steps to prepare for Ramadan:
- Begin to fast more often. If you are unable to fast the entire month of Sha’ban then at least attempt to fast on the Sunnah days [Monday and Thursday]. By doing this, you will be training your soul to abstain from the two animalistic desires of overindulgence at the time of hunger and sexual intercourse. As well as training your soul, it is training of the body as you can develop a new sleep routine making it less difficult during the month of Ramadan.
- Begin to recite Qur’an more often. We are living in a time [unlike the time of the pious predecessors] where people have neglected recitation of the Qur’an throughout the year. Thus, to finish the Qur’an in the month of the Qur’an (Ramadan), it would be a good idea to slowly increase your recitation during the month of Sha’ban. Start with one page and every day gradually increase. By doing this, reciting the Qur’an will become much easier during Ramadan and Insha’Allah you will be able to maintain this habit throughout the year.
- Begin to pray the five daily prayers in congregation more often. Make time in your day to pray as many prayers as possible in congregation during the months leading up to Ramadan. This makes you more familiar to the Masjid environment and will Insha’Allah make it easier to pray in congregation during Ramadan, thus maximising the number of rewards during the blessed month.
May Allah [The Most Exalted] allow us to benefit from this blessed month and allow it to be a means of changing our bad habits, not only in the month but for the entire year.