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Ramadan Preparations

The blessed month of Ramadan is fast approaching and few weeks away. Allah says [meaning]: "O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain Taqwa" [al-Baqarah, 2:183] Ramadan is no small matter. It is one of the pillars of this Deen of Islam - without it one's Islam would not be complete. In this month, Rasul Allah - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam would intensify his worship of Allah ta'ala. In doing so, he laid the foundation for his Ummah after him to emulate. In our life we see many examples of preparing ourselves for many things of this worldly life like preparation for a wedding or funeral etc We even prepare ourselves for any sale of things that is coming we see brothers planning and preparing to buy or sell things in a certain season. A person preparing for participation in sports practices and warms up right before the game. For many living in Western countries, Ramadan is passed daily with 9 to 5 jobs or school - nights where we may or may not go for Taraweeh. A peak at the TV (may Allah protect us) and the night is over. Back to work where all around us people are eating and drinking from crystal water fountains. Blink. Ramadan is over. How many years have we been fasting Ramadan? 10 or 15 or 40 years? Are we 10 or 15 or 40 times better? Or, does it seem like we have arrived back at square one every time Ramadan comes around? We should have started our preparations by now in different ways so that we can reap the best benefit of the coming blessed month. Few points to prepare ourselves for reaping the benefits of the blessed month of Ramadan: 0. Realize the importance of Ramadan. Turn towards Allah. Make intention that I will change myself and improve my relation with Allah. To really prepare for Ramadan, and realise that the days of Ramadan are limited. They pass by so quickly and before you know it, the end of Ramadan approaches! So increase in doing all kinds of good actions. To grab this opportunity to purify your souls, to change your self and return to obedience as Allah says: Allah does not change a people until they change what is in their own selves (Surah Rad).

Remember that the purpose of your life is to worship Allah; so strive in Ramadan and let this be a portion of your struggle in your life as a whole, protect this time and the life you have been given. The Prophet (pbuh) said: Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death. 1. We should know the Virtues of Ramadan by sitting in Halaqa of Hadith or by reading the books of Fazaail and also the masail of Ramadan by reading books or by contacting an Aalim. We should read out the virtues in our homes, so that the women and children in the home also increase the zeal and enthusiasm for practicing in Ramadan. 2. Voluntary fasts in the month of Shabaan: 'Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa salam, used to fast till one would say that he would never stop fasting, and he would abandon fasting till one would say that he would never fast. I never saw Allah's Messenger fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadan, and did not see him fasting in any month more than in the month of Sha'ban. [Bukhari] 3. Start frequenting the masjid. 4. Start reading the Quran on regular basis. As we all know, Ramadan is the month of the Quran. "Fasting and the Qur'an will come and testify on behalf of the 'Abd on the Day of Resurrection. The Fasting will say: O my lord, I denied him food and desires, so allow me to be a means for him to enter paradise. And the Qu'ran will say: O my Lord, I denied him sleep at night so allow me to be a means for him to enter Paradise. And (he will be entered into paradise) because of those two." - Musnad Ahmad 5. Start spending in charity Zayd ibn Khaalid AlJuhanee (RA) narrates that the Prophet - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - said, "Whoever gives a fasting person (food) to break his or her fast, he (the one feeding) will get the reward equivalent to the (fasting persons) reward - without diminishing anything from the reward of the (fasting person)." Every Nafl act is rewarded as Fard and Every Fard is multiplied 70 times during this month. 6. Dua Rasul Allah - sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam - said, "There are three persons dua' that will be accepted (by Allah). The fasting person, the oppressed one, and the traveler." 7. Turnoff TV Month Every parent knows that when they want their child to do well in their studies they tell them, "no TV." If this is for Dunya, then how about someone who wants to excel in Ramadan?

8. Laylat-ul-Baraah A`isha, the Mother of the Believers (radi Allahu `anha may Allah be pleased with her), said: One night, I did not find the Prophet in his bed, so I went out searching for him and found him at al-Baqi cemetery with his head raised towards the sky. He said: O A`isha! Were you afraid that Allah and His messenger would treat you unfairly? I said, No, I thought you had gone to spend the night with one of your [other] wives. He said: Allah Almighty descends to the lowest heaven on the night of mid-Shaban and forgives more people than the number of hairs on the hides of the sheep of Bani Kalb. [al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Ahmed] Muadh ibn Jabal (ra) narrated that the Prophet said: On the night of mid-Shaban, Allah looks at His creation and forgives all of them except for the polytheist and the quarrelsome. [at-Tabarani, declared authentic by Ibn Hibban] `Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah honor his countenance) narrated that the Prophet said: Perform the night vigil prayers on the night of mid-Shaban and fast its day [i.e. the day preceding it] for Allah descends to the lowest heaven at sunset of that night and says: Is there no one asking for forgiveness that I may forgive him? Is there no one asking for sustenance that I may grant him sustenance? Is there no one under trial that I may relieve him? Is there not such and suchis there not such-and-such? And so forth until the beak of dawn. [Ibn Majah]