Planning for Ramadan: Five Ways to Prepare for Ramadan

A Moment with Our Prophet, Muhammad (S)

By Imam Zijad Delic

Day 203: Planning for Ramadan: Five Ways to Prepare for Ramadan

Narrated by Abu Huraira (r) that the Prophet (S) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and evil deeds while fasting, then Allah is not in need of his/her leaving food and drink.” (Bukhari)

مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ

Source: Bukhari

Transliteration: “Man Lam Yada’ Qawlaz Zuri Wal ‘Amala Bihi, Falaysa Lillahi Hajatun Fi An Yada’a Ta’amahu Wa Sharabah.”

In Ramadan, every act carries many folds and that is why we have to prepare for it to achieve Ramada’s full rewards!

There are some acts that carry more weight than others and this post will mention some of them, Insha Allah so that we focus on doing them during these blessed days of Sha’ban and enter the month of Ramadan ready and prepared.

To be prepared for the month of Ramadan, Muslims should practice these voluntary actions before the month of Ramadan so that they get accustomed to these acts so to maximize the high thawab season of Ramadan.

Here are five ways to prepare ourselves for the blessed month of Ramadan, by doing voluntary acts that will strengthen out pursuit and the will to get the best of the opportunities the month of Ramadan offers to us:

  1. Fasting Voluntary Siyam

What better way of preparing ourselves to fast for 29 or 30 consecutive days in Ramadan than to fast the voluntary fasts before it.

Muhammad (S) fasted in the month of Sha’ban and encouraged the companions (r) as narrated by Usamah ibn Zayd (r) that he said: “O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as you fast during Sha’ban.” The Prophet (S) said, “It is a month people neglect between the months of Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are raised to the Lord of the worlds and I like for my deeds to be raised while I am fasting.” (Nasa’i)

عن أُسَامَة بْن زَيْد قَالَ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَمْ أَرَكَ تَصُومُ شَهْرًا مِنْ الشُّهُورِ مَا تَصُومُ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ قَالَ ذَلِكَ شَهْرٌ يَغْفُلُ النَّاسُ عَنْهُ بَيْنَ رَجَبٍ وَرَمَضَانَ وَهُوَ شَهْرٌ تُرْفَعُ فِيهِ الْأَعْمَالُ إِلَى رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ فَأُحِبُّ أَنْ يُرْفَعَ عَمَلِي وَأَنَا صَائِمٌ

Imam Al-Nawawi (r) said: “It is part of the Sunnah to fast in the month of Sha’ban.” (al-Majmū’ Sharḥ al-Muhadhab)

The Prophet (S) also fasted and encouraged the companions to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, as narrated by Usamah ibn Zayd (r) that his client said that he went along with Usamah to Wadi al-Qura in pursuit of his camels. Osama ibn Zayd (r) would fast on Monday and Thursday. His client said to him: Why do you fast on Monday and Thursday, while you are an old man? He said: The Prophet of Allah (S) used to fast on Monday and Thursday and when he (S) was asked about it, he (S) said: ‘The deeds/actions of the servants (of Allah) are presented (to Allah) on Monday and Thursday.’” (Abu Dawud)

عَنْ أُسَامَةَ بْنِ زَيْدٍ أَنَّهُ انْطَلَقَ مَعَ أُسَامَةَ إِلَى وَادِي الْقُرَى فِي طَلَبِ مَالٍ لَهُ فَكَانَ يَصُومُ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَيَوْمَ الْخَمِيسِ فَقَالَ لَهُ مَوْلاَهُ لِمَ تَصُومُ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَيَوْمَ الْخَمِيسِ وَأَنْتَ شَيْخٌ كَبِيرٌ فَقَالَ إِنَّ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم كَانَ يَصُومُ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَيَوْمَ الْخَمِيسِ وَسُئِلَ عَنْ ذَلِكَ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ أَعْمَالَ الْعِبَادِ تُعْرَضُ يَوْمَ الاِثْنَيْنِ وَيَوْمَ الْخَمِيسِ

‘Aisha (r) also narrated that the Prophet (S) was eager to fast on Monday and Thursday.” (Tirmizi)

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَتَحَرَّى صَوْمَ الِاثْنَيْنِ وَالْخَمِيسِ

Our role model, Mostafa (S) also encouraged the companions (r), if they were eager to fast more, to fast the white days (13, 14 & the 15th of each Islamic month). Abu Dharr (r) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “O Abu Dharr, if you are going to fast three days of the month, then fast on the 13th, 14th, and 15th days.” (Tirmizi)

عن أبي ذر قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ إِذَا صُمْتَ مِنْ الشَّهْرِ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ فَصُمْ ثَلَاثَ عَشْرَةَ وَأَرْبَعَ عَشْرَةَ وَخَمْسَ عَشْرَةَ

  1. Reciting the Qur’an Regularly

Ramadan was the month in which the Qur’an was revealed; it is the month of the Qur’an!

And thus, we should devote much of this blessed month reciting the Qur’an and getting closer to this manual of guidance (hidayah).

Allah, the exalted, says: “The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for mankind, clear proofs for the guidance, the Criterion; so whoever amongst you witnesses this month, let him/her fast it.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:185)

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ

We should set ourselves realistic targets for how much we should begin to recite each day for e.g. we will recite 1 or 2 pages a day, half a juz (chapter), or 1 juz etc.

At the beginning, we should recite as much as we can manage and then build up gradually.

The best way to develop the habit of recitation in the month of Ramadan is, to do it consistently before the month of Ramadan and when the month of Ramadan starts, the daily recitation of the Qur’an, even if it is a whole Juz’ a day, it will be much more easier and natural.

  1. Praying Voluntary (Nafil) Prayers

In Ramadan every voluntary prayer carries the reward of a Fard prayer in normal times and there is nothing more rewarding than a Fard prayer so one can imagine the immense rewards that are available in Ramadan for every voluntary prayer we pray.

The Prophet (S) said: “Whoever draws near to Allah during it (Ramadan) with a single characteristic from the characteristics of (voluntary) goodness, he/she is like whoever performs an obligatory act in other times. And whoever performs an obligatory act during it, he/she is like whoever performed seventy obligatory acts in other times.” (Ibn Khuzaymah, Bayhaqi)

So, to seize the opportunity of Ramadan and its blessings in full, we should do our voluntary prayers more often before the month of Ramadan and when we enter it, regular or extra prayers during this blessed month, will not be a burden but an enjoyable spiritual act.

  1. Repenting Sincerely and Making Du’as Frequently

Ramadan is the month where we can gain mercy and forgiveness from Allah for our mistakes and shortcomings.

We should know that Allah is most merciful and most forgiving and loves to forgive.

Many of us do not spend as much time as we should by doing Istigfar and Du’a.

Even if we do so, we rush our Du’a and often our hearts and minds are not present as we supplicate to Him.

Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an: ” When My servants ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about Me, (tell them of Muhammad (S)) that I am truly near. I respond to the prayer of every supplicant when they call upon Me. So let them respond ˹with obedience˺ to Me and believe in Me, perhaps they will be guided ˹to the Right Path.’” (Qur’an 2:186)

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

Thus, we should get into habit of asking from Allah to forgive us and accept our Du’as now so that in Ramadan we continue doing it daily.

One who enters the month of Ramadan and does not get out of Ramadan with the forgiveness of Allah, is indeed in a great loss!

  1. Controlling the Tongue and Improving Character & Manners Consistently

Ramadan is a time of behavioral modification!

It is the time when we must control our whims and desires (nafs) as well as our tongues.

It was narrated by Abu Huraira (r) that the Prophet (S) said: “Verily, fasting is not only from eating and drinking. Rather, fasting is from vanity and obscenity. If someone abuses you or acts foolishly against you, then say: Indeed, I am fasting.” (Ibn Hibban)

إِنَّ الصِّيَامَ لَيْسَ مِنَ الأَكْلِ وَالشُّرْبِ فَقَطْ إِنَّمَا الصِّيَامُ مِنَ اللَّغُوِ وَالرَّفَثِ فَإِنْ سَابَّكَ أَحَدٌ أَوْ جَهِلَ عَلَيْكَ فَقُلْ إِنِّي صَائِمٌ

Abu Huraira (r) also narrated that the Prophet (S) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and evil deeds while fasting, then Allah is not in need of his/her leaving food and drink.” (Bukhari)

مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ

Jabir (r) said: “When you fast, then let your hearing, seeing, and tongue fast as well from falsehood and sins, and avoid harming your servants. Rather, you must have dignity and tranquility on the day of your fasting. Do not make days you do not fast and days you fast as if they were the same.” (Muṣannaf Ibn Abī Shaybah)

إذَا صُمْتَ فَلْيَصُمْ سَمْعُكَ وَبَصَرُكَ وَلِسَانُكَ عَنِ الْكَذِبِ وَالْمَآثِمِ وَدَعْ أَذَى الْخَادِمِ وَلْيَكُنْ عَلَيْكَ وَقَارٌ وَسَكِينَةٌ يَوْمَ صِيَامِكَ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ يَوْمَ فِطْرِكَ وَيَوْمَ صِيَامِكَ سَوَاءً

Abu Darda (r) narrated that the Prophet (S) said: “Nothing is heavier on the scale of the believer on the Day of Resurrection than good character. Verily, Allah hates the vulgar, obscene person.” (Tirmizi)

عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ مَا شَيْءٌ أَثْقَلُ فِي مِيزَانِ الْمُؤْمِنِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ خُلُقٍ حَسَنٍ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَيُبْغِضُ الْفَاحِشَ

These are just several of the voluntary actions that we could do before the month of Ramadan to prepare ourselves for this great month of opportunities.

Some others could be added to the list of good deeds which we could do before the month of Ramadan to prepare ourselves for it, such as being generous and charitable, eating moderately, reviving some Sunan in our lives, etc.

Ya Rabb! Guide us to plan for the month of Ramadan before it starts! Enlighten us with knowledge of what the Prophet (S) and the companions (r) did to prepare and strengthen our resolve to make this Ramadan the best Ramadan in our lives, the lives of our families and the community!

Allahumma Amin!