With the sighting of the moon of Sha’ban, one can feel the month of Ramadan approaching. Hearts begin to fill with joy and anticipation, and why shouldn’t they? Indeed, an honorable guest is about to arrive, bringing much mercy, blessings and privilege.
How many people were worshiping with us last Ramadan? Alas! They are no longer in this world, no longer in the mosques; today, they lay in their graves.
Today, how many are unable to fast due to old age, a physical or mental illness or some other cause?
Therefore, those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of this blessed month should welcome Ramadan with love and gratitude. One should start preparing enthusiastically for it and should respond wholeheartedly to the call to excel in good deeds.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
“[When the month of Ramadan arrives] a caller cries out: O seeker of good, proceed. O seeker of evil, desist.” [Sunan at-Tirmidhi: 682]
Things to Do Before Ramadan:
– Fast in the first half of the month of Sha’ban, especially to make up the missed fasts of the previous Ramadan. However, after the 15th Sha’ban refrain from fasting to conserve your body’s energies in preparation for Ramadan.
– Read books or listen to lectures to educate yourself about the rulings on Ramadan so that you can fast and worship with the proper etiquette and conditions.
– Speak to your family, friends and neighbors about Ramadan to help them mentally prepare for it.
– Spread the knowledge about Ramadan by distributing booklets, cassettes and CDs, or by giving them as gifts.
– Clean your house thoroughly and organize your belongings. For example, arrange for a cassette or MP3 player to listen to the Qur’an while working around the house, acquire du’a books, etc.
– Complete all important tasks such as buying your monthly groceries, Eid clothes for family members, servants, and other dependents, and Eid gifts for relatives and friends so that your worship in Ramadan is not interrupted.
– Set aside money and other items you intend to give in charity, and decide beforehand what needs to be given to whom, how much and when.
– Make a to-do-list of everyday household chores.
– Set goals for different acts of worship and allocate specific times for them. Acts of worship include, but are not limited to, recitation of the Qur’an, its memorization, voluntary prayers (nawafil), remembrance (dhikr), supplications (du’as), and charity.
– For ease, schedule various acts of worship around prayer times:
Fajr – Sunrise: Fajr prayer, recitation of Qur’an, morning supplications and reading beneficial literature.
Sunrise – Dhuhr: Voluntary Ishraq prayers (after sunrise – mid morning), listening or conducting Qur’an review sessions (Dawr of the Qur’an), Dhuhr prayer, and daily routine work.
Dhuhr – ‘Asr: Afternoon nap, other work, and ‘Asr prayer.
‘Asr – Maghrib: Preparation for Iftaar, evening supplications, and dhikr.
Maghrib – ‘Isha: Iftar, Maghrib prayer, dinner, and preparing for Taraweeh.
‘Isha: ‘Isha prayer and Taraweeh.
Night: Sleeping for a part of the night.
Before Dawn: Tahajjud, seeking forgiveness (istighfar) and preparation for Sahoor.
Remember! These are a few numbered days. Therefore:
Spend most of your time in worship and performing good deeds.
Minimize the time spent on fulfilling personal needs.
Avoid all unimportant and useless activities.
[Book: Shahrul Ramadan – the Month of Ramadan by Dr. Farhat Hashmi]