The companions of the prophet (SAW) used to fast 6 months prior to the next Ramadan in preparation for the new month. Our Muslim populace is so busy these days; oblivious of the fact that Ramadan is upon us.
As we prepare for another month of blessings, let reflect on the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) words;’
A Hadith in preparation for Ramadan
According to the Hadith by Ibn Khuzaymah, the prophet was reported saying; “ O people, there come upon us a great month, a most blessed month, in which lies a month greater in worth than one thousand night(lai lat’ul Kadri). Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) has made compulsory fasting in this month and gas decreed wakefulness at night a Sunnah.
Whosoever draws nearer to Allah “(subhanahu wa ta’ala) in this month, for him is such reward as if he has performed a compulsory deed in any other time of the year.
And whosoever performs a compulsory deed, for him shall be the reward of seventy compulsory deeds in any other time of the year. This moth is indeed a month of patience, and the reward of patience is Jannatul Firdaus. It is a month of sympathy with our fellow men; it is a month where a true believer’s provision increases”.
It is also worthy to note that in the month of Ramadan, Shaitan and his cohorts are in chains; hence the purity of the month is undeniably increased. However, with such a big obstacle like Shaitan removed from our path, how then can we fully prepared to get the Barka of this holy month.
Preparing for Ramadan
- 1- Pay what you owe
In every Ramadan, the grace of Allah (subhanahu wa’ ta’ala) is what allows us to complete the 29 or 30 days of fast. In cases where you were unable to complete your fast, the first thing is to repay those days of fast you missed before the new month of Ramadan starts.
- Fast in the special Days
Fast in the month of Sha’aban, the month before Ramadan, if you cannot fast every day of the month, then fast on Mondays and Thursdays or on the white days 13th, 14th and 15th of every month before and after the month of Ramadan.
- Repent Sincerely
Make it a habit to perform Zikr even if it is just saying (astaghfirullah) on the Tasbih every time you are less busy or after your Salat. You should also enjoy praying the Nafilah and the Tahajjud all in a bid of repenting
Qur’an 66:8 says “O you, who believe, turn to Allah with a sincere repentance in the hope that your Lord will expiate from you your sins”.
- Be happy and show Happiness
Allah prepares the Ramadan for us; Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (SAW) says; “When Ramadan approaches, the doors of Jannah are opened, the doors of hell are locked, and the devil is chained” (Bukhari/Muslim).
This also means that we should remove hatred and filth from our minds to be sincerely happy and rejoice as the month approaches.
- Reflect, Recite, Renew
The three R’s are for every Muslim to look inwards on the characteristics that make you a Muslim. It is said that a Muslim should try to read the entire 114 chapters that make up the Qur’an during the duration of the month of Ramadan.
It is not saying you should become a Hafiz but get a deeper connection with Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) as you read through the holy book. We should also remember to pray, do the Nafilah, recite the Tasbih and perform acts of charity.
- Cut out the Bad Habit
Although there is no direct restrictions on what to or not to during Ramadan, the prophet enjoys us to be good and do well to others.
So instead of spending your time drinking, smoking, and clubbing; spend more time performing the good deeds of Ramadan like being in the mosque, attending Quran classes or helping in voluntary acts to help the poor and needy is a worth a reward.
How to spend Ramadan?
- Keep your salat intact
Aside from prayer the five daily prayers, learn to pray two raka’ats before and after the Salat except for before Magrib. Indulge yourself in theTarawih and Tahajjud especially during the last 10 days of Ramadan when the night that is better than a thousand month will be spotted – Qiyam ul layl.
- Wake up for Suhur and Enjoy Iftar
In the months of Ramadan, there are two meals that are a Muslim must adhere to; the suhur which is the pre-dawn meal usually eaten before the second call of the Fajar prayer or just before the sun breaks the sky.
The Iftar is the second meal eaten after the sun sets or at the first call of Margib. The prophet enjoys that Muslims should eat dates, water and prays the Magrib before settling down for the proper breaking of the fast.
This allows you to perform your prayers comfortably without the distraction of being hungry.
- Mind your Speech
Guard your tongue against lying, cursing, backbiting and slandering for they reduce your reward of fasting. Also, don’t fast without Salat, it is not fasting but killing yourself with hunger.
After 30 days of fasting most young Muslims are eager to return to their normal life but remember that the Barkah of Ramadan is still upon you are you should try to perform the 6 days fast in the month of Shawal.
Although scholars don’t consider it compulsory, it is however important and gives the person who fasts the reward of having fasted a whole year.
Finally, fasting in the month of Ramadan is a way to attain Taqwa (piety) for every Muslim. Ramadan is supposed to change us from been the regular every day Muslim to a Mumin; that is a point where our outer manifestation is same with our inner thought, and then we can say we have attained Taqwa.
One should also continue to seek knowledge concerning what fasting is all about during the month of Ramadan, for it is only through knowledge can we truly be prepared for Ramadan and spend it well too.