Preparing for the Month of Ramadhaan



All praise is due to Allah, the Lord and the Cherisher of the Universe. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), his household, companions and the followers of the right guidance till the Day of Judgment.

Islam teaches that every person is born sinless, that there is nothing like inherited or original sin. That every person will be responsible for his/her sins and that sin and righteousness are not transferable. Allah, the Exalted, says:

"Did you (Muhammad) observe him who turned away, he gives a little then hardens (his heart)? What! Has he knowledge of the Unseen so that he can see?  Or is he not acquainted with what is in the books of Moses. And of Abraham who fulfilled his engagements? NAMELY THAT NO BEARER OF BURDENS (SINS) CAN BEAR THE BURDENS (SINS) OF ANOTHER; AND THAT MAN CAN HAVE NOTHING BUT WHAT HE STRIVES FOR; That (the fruit of) his striving will soon come in sight; Then will he be rewarded with a reward complete; That to thy Lord is the final Goal." Q53:33-42.

"Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil it is against his own soul: nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His servants." Q41:46

Allah is Merciful, He knows that human beings are weak and not perfect, He knows that mankind is surrounded by evils of satan and that mankind can fall into errors and sins. Therefore, Islam teaches Muslims many ways of seeking forgiveness of Allah. One way is by sincere repentance as Allah commands:

"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord and for a garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth prepared for the righteous. And those who having done something to be ashamed of or wronged their own souls earnestly bring Allah to mind and ask for forgiveness for their sins and who can forgive sins except Allah? And are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done." Q3:133-135.

Other ways include performance of Umrah, Hajj and fasting, particularly in the month of Ramadan.

Sha'aban, the month before the month of Ramadan, should be used to start preparing for Ramadan. Those of us that missed some days of fasting during last Ramadan, particularly women, should repay the missed days before the beginning of another Ramadan. Those of us who completed last Ramadan can do sunnah of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in this month. He used to fast the first 15 days of Shaban after which he used to abstained from fast till the beginning of Ramadan. In ahadith, we read:

Abu Salamah reported: I asked Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) about the fasting of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). She said: He used to observe fast (at times so continuously) that we said: He has fasted (never to break), and he did not observe fast till we said: He has given up perhaps never to fast, and I never saw him observing (voluntary fasts) more in any other month than that of Sha'ban. (It appeared as if) he observed fast throughout the whole of Sha'ban except a few (days). (Muslim 2581).

The Prophet never fasted in any month more than in the month of Sha'ban. He used to say, "Do those deeds which you can do easily, as Allah will not get tired (of giving rewards) till you get bored and tired (of performing religious deeds) …" (Bukhari 3.191)

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

"When it is the night of Sha'ban observe the prayer during the night and observe the fast during the day for Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, descends to the heaven of the world as the sun sets and says: Is there anyone who seeks forgiveness so that I may forgive him? Is there anyone who seeks sustenance so that I may provide for him? Is there anyone in trouble so that I may relieve him, and so on and so forth till the dawn breaks." (Tirmidhi 1308)

We should plan our schedule very well so as to maximize the benefits of Ramadan like reading the Qur'an, observing Tarawih (prayer after Ishai prayer in Ramadan) and Tahajjud (Prayer in the night), etc.  We should remember that the reward of good deeds in the month of Ramadan is many times of the reward in any other month and that the Qur'an was revealed in the month of Ramadan. Fasting is obligatory on every matured and sane Muslim except those exempted for one reason or the other, this category of people will be discussed latter, insha Allah. Below is a sermon of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on the last day of Shaban to his companions.

A great month, a blessed month, a month containing a night which is better than a thousand months has approached you people. Allah has appointed the observance of fasting during it as an obligatory duty, and the passing of its night in prayer as a voluntary practice. If someone draws near to Allah during it with some good act he will be like one who fulfils an obligatory duty in another month, and he who fulfils an obligatory duty in it will be like one who fulfils seventy obligatory duties in another month. It is the month of endurance and the reward of endurance is Paradise. It is the month of sharing with others, and a month in which the believer's provision is increased. If someone gives one who has been fasting something with which to break his fast it will provide forgiveness of his sins and save him from Hell, and he will have a reward equal to his without his reward being diminished in any respect.

"We remarked to Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) that not all of us have the means to give one who had been fasting something with which to break his fast. He replied, "Allah gives this reward to him who gives one who has been fasting some milk mixed with water, or a date, or a drink of water with which to break his fast. Anyone who gives a full meal to one who has been fasting will be given a drink from my tank (Hawd) by Allah and will not thirst till he enters Paradise. It is a month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle is forgiveness, and whose end is freedom from Hell. If anyone makes things easy for his slave during it, Allah will forgive him and free him from Hell." (Tirmidhi 1965)

May Allah count us among the people that will witness the coming Ramadan and accept all our acts of worship.

Ma salam.