Allah (SWT) showers His abundant blessings, mercy, and forgiveness in the month of Ramadan. The Sahabah (ra) used to fast, give to charity and repent abundantly during the month of Sha’ban, in order to prepare for Ramadan.
Here are ten suggestions to help you prepare for Ramadan;
1. Make a Ramadan countdown: Set a digital reminder on your phone or mark the start of Ramadan on your calendar so you can clearly see how many days are left before the start of the holy month and create some excitement amongst your family, Insha Allah.
2. Set Ramadan resolutions: Set some personal goals that you would like to achieve during Ramadan. These goals may help you focus on aspects of your Ibadah (for example, you may want to spend more time reciting the Quran or perform more Nafl and Sunnah Salah’s). At the end Ramadan, you can review your achievements and decide which ones you would like to continue for the rest of the year.
3. Make up for missed or fast voluntarily: If you need to make up any missed fasts, do it in Sha’ban. When Usamah Ibn Zaid (ra) asked the Prophet (saw) why he fasted so frequently in the month of Sha’ban, the Prophet (saw) replied;
“Shabaan is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting” [Al-Nasaai].
4. Eat moderately: It is important to ready your body for fasting. Reduce the number of meals you have per day and limit the size of your meals. Make sure you include plenty of nutritional foods in your diet and drink sufficient water.
5. Increase your knowledge: Learn about the lifestyle of the Messenger of Allah (SWT) and the Sahabah (ra) so that you can incorporate these Sunnah practices into your daily routine. Spend time reading and researching the importance of the last ten days of the holy month and Laylatul Qadr. Listening to Ramadan podcasts and watching videos of well-known scholars is also a good way to spiritually prepare for Ramadan.
6. Repent sincerely: Spend the last few days of Sha’ban repenting for any sins you may have committed. The noble Quran mentions, “And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you (He would have hastened the punishment upon you)! And that Allah is the one who forgives and accepts repentance, the All-Wise” [Surah Al-Noor: 10].
7. Make abundant Dua: Supplication is the best weapon of a Mu’min. Make abundant Dua to Allah (SWT) and ask Him for good health and a strong religious focus during Ramadan. The Messenger of Allah (saw) explained that Dua will be accepted in three situations - when your body starts shaking, when you have fear in your heart and when you have tears in your eyes [Bukhari]. The time of Tahajjud is the best time to supplicate as this is the time when Duas are readily accepted.
8. Improve your character: The Messenger of Allah (saw) narrated, “The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character” [Bukhari]. Make an intention to be more kind, helpful and generous towards people in Ramadan. Consider carrying out one small act of kindness daily and work on improving different aspects of your character every week.
9. Offer voluntary prayers: Get into a routine of offering extra prayers each day. Read Salat al-Tawbah to repent to the Almighty, wake up for Tahajjud and make abundant Thikr during the day.
10. Give charity: The Prophet (saw) said, “Shield yourselves by Hellfire even by giving half a date in charity. If he cannot find it, then with a kind word” [Bukhari]. Try to donate to charity during Sha’ban and Ramadan, as the virtues of giving charity in these months are bountiful. Make a Sadaqaah box for your house, volunteer with a local charity or donate old clothes and shoes to the needy.
Incorporating these habits into our daily lives will make us better prepared for Ramadan and reap as many benefits as possible. We pray the Almighty grant us all the ability to reach the month of Ramadan with good health, Ameen.
While preparing, we should not forget the fortunate, who lack the means to sustain themselves in Ramadan. We are doing all that we can to provide essential relief to the vulnerable and needy across the world but need your help.
Donate towards our Food, Water, Health, Emergency, Orphan Sponsorship or Education fund today and ensure that the underprivileged can survive during this holy month.
Allahumma Balighna Ramadan!