It’s about that season when Muslims all over the world observe the annual Ramadan fast which is tagged mandatory. This practice that runs for 29 or 30-days brings Muslims all over the world together, indulging in one spiritual activity or the other to complement the period of Ramadan.
Meanwhile, a lot of things go into preparing oneself for the noble month, both physical and spiritual.
Encomium Weekly consulted an Islamic cleric and Imam, Sheik Abdul Wahab Abiola Ibrahim, the founder of Zaenul-Islam Foundation and Daru-Tahleem
Wal-Irishad Institute of Arabic& Islamic Studies, Ayede-Ifo, Ogun state, on how to prepare for Ramadan and he highlighted the following:
We give glory to Almighty Allah. Alihamdulillahi lazi farada sha-r-Ramadan wainahu yahilu Lana as shara nii ajimin kesiru sawabu fihi was sollatu wa salami ala seyyidina Muhammadi wa ala alihi was as’ a bihi wa kuli Mon ta bi ha udah u jihla illah bada jihi illah yawmi tanad.
We give glory to Almighty Allah,the one that made Ramadan fasting compulsory for all true believers. Particularly, it is mandatory for all true believers to fast in the month of Ramadan so we can benefit and have ever lasting joy, so that we may increase in the fear of Allah, so that our good deeds may increase so that the
month of Ramadan and the fasting may cleanse our body and soul.
Also, so that it may transform us and make us born again in this life due to some sins which have practically turned to be part of us all.
The glorious month and the fasting helps to wash away our sins. We thank Allah who has made Ramadan a blessing for us all. Also, may the peace of Allah continue to be upon our noble prophet Muhammad (SAW), his household and his companions, because Muhammad (SAW) brought the message of Allah to every mankind so that we may know who really our Creator is and the things He has ordered us to do. It is also Muhammad (SAW) Allah sent to us so that we may know fasting in the month of Ramadan is mandatory to all true believers. May the peace of Allah be on him, his household and his companions.
Now, preparing for the month of Ramadan, I will say there is no too much to it than the fact that it is mandatory to all true believers to prepare for fasting in the holy month. This is because the month of Ramadan is only month in which it is mandatory, highly mandatory to fast, and whatever is made compulsory
or mandatory does not welcome any excuse than for it to be done, except for those Allah himself exempted from it. Example of such people are the travellers, the sick people, the old people, women on their periods and also pregnant women who are not healthy enough to fast or a nursing mother.
Before the start of the month of Ramadan, prophet Muhammad (SAW) told us in his hadith that the month of Shaban is that which we should use in preparing ourselves for the month of Ramadan.The prophet himself fasts more in the month of Shaban than in Rajab. He told us that the month of Shaban is a preparatory month for the month of Ramadan. Meaning that we should have started practicing in Shabban what we want to do in Ramadan.
Shabban prepares us for Ramadan. Doing tahajud, fasting, observing nofilat in the midnight, and fervent praying should first be practised in shabban so that we would have gotten used to it before Ramadan arrives.
So, preparing for Ramadan in shabban is the prophet’s sunnah. We should fast, read Quran, give alms, make dua, do tahajud, observe nofilat, give sodaqah in the month of Ramadan more than we do in every other month.
So in order to make these things easier for us, we should start preparing by practicing them in shabban. Part of the preparation is observing and knowing the kind of food to eat during fasting. There are some food that cannot be taken during fasting, so that they won’t disturb our body system.
We should also know our health status, do medical check up and take whatever treatment we need before we start the month of Ramadan.
We should also check our behaviour, our attitude – all the things we know are not in line with what Allah has ordered us to do, we should do away with them.
We should also learn to give alms before Ramadan starts because it not easy to give alms except for those Allah makes it easy for. Repenting is also part of the preparation because the prophet told us that whoever is a true believer should ensure he prepares for Ramadan right from the month of Shabban. He should ensure he repents from his sins,this is also part of the preparation.
We also spend a lot in the month of Ramadan for lectures, on charity and other things, so we should practice all of these things in shabban too so that they would appear easy to us to practise if eventually Ramadan arrives. One of the preparation the prophet (SAW) encouraged us to do is fasting at least 3 times in each month of the Islamic calendar.
Also, there are days we call the holy days which are 13th,14th and 15th of every month of the Islamic calendar, the prophet urge us to fast during these days. Again, the Monday and Thursday fast are good examples of preparation. Meanwhile, some people don’t even know what we call holy days, reason why we call them holy days (13th,14th and 15th of the moon months, not the Gregorian calendar) is because those are the days when the brightness of the moon is at its peak, even in the midnight, everywhere will be so bright, the moon is always full.
These days are referred to as Ay-yawmul’bid, which the Prophet (SAW) said we should fast. If we also view it critically, the moon is a great symbol of the existence of God, so also is the moon light, and whoever fasts on these days (13th, 14th, 15th of each month), it means the person is looking for greatness and light in his living. Prayers are mostly answered on days like these. Believers should also ensure they are physically fit by doing exercises, and whoever needs spiritual solutions too should have prayed for spiritual healing in the month of Shaban to avoid any form of hindrance that could prevent him from fasting in the month of Ramadan. Believers should also do financial budgeting in preparation for the holy month.
Lastly, Ramadan being one of the pillars of Islam, so also is the Hajj, the two of them (Ramadan and Haji) work hand in hand. For those who can afford it, preparing for Hajj is also a part of the preparation for Ramadan. Allah told the Prophet (SAW) that whoever performs his hajj rites well (Hajjun mabroor) has earned himself Al-janat (paradise). To perform the hajj well, you must not mix pleasure with it, do it for the sake of Allah alone. The Prophet also said whoever performs his fasting well in the month of Ramadan will also be granted Al-janat. To perform the fasting well, you must fast, give charity, observe tahajud, recite the holy book, abstain from all sorts of bad things.
Allah said in the holy Quran that “fasting belongs to me and I alone give the reward of fasting”. This made us to believe that fasting and hajj are two compatible things that if done well, one is entitled to a place in paradise.
Some of the similarities of fasting and hajj are spending in the cause of Allah, in terms of going through a lot of stress, doing tahajud and so on.
In suratul Hajj, Allah said prepare for hajj, and the best preparation is the fear of Allah. This is why I say that the fear of Allah which Allah Himself tagged as being great in preparing for Hajj, so also is it for the preparation of Ramadan. Whoever does not prepare his mind for Ramadan, noting that he his doing it for Allah’s sake, such a person might be fasting, starving himself without getting a reward. The Prophet, Muhammad (SAW) said “most people fasting won’t get a reward other than he starved himself”. What the Prophet is trying to communicate is that whoever that is fasting and his tongue is not fasting due to bad words, and his eyes are not closed to bad sight and his body does not abstain from adultery, such a person won’t get any reward for fasting. If you prepare your mind with the fear of Allah, definitely, you will abstain from all He has forbidden you from.
All that we have mentioned are the things to do to prepare for Ramadan and they are all very important.
But the most essential of them all is the fear of Allah. In suratul hajj verse 37, Allah says “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. This have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad SAW) to the Muhsinun (doers of good).”
This means that the fasting we all are observing, starving ourselves has got nothing to do with Almighty Allah. He does not need it. What Allah needs in all we are doing is the fear of Allah which should be the motive of all we are doing. That is why the fear of Allah is paramount in the preparation of Ramadan.
Allah said it in suratul baqorah verse 183 that He has made fasting compulsory for us just as He has done for those before us, so we may fear Him. Whoever does not fear Allah won’t see fasting as anything and he would not abide by the rules guiding fasting. In the same Surah (Baqorah) verse 185, Allah says that the Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan and that the Quran is the guidance for mankind and it also gives explanations to every of human problems. We should ensure to recite and reflect on the holy Quran. Know what Allah says on every issue, what He wants us to do and what He wants us to abstain from. All these and several others are explained in the Quran. So, we should go through it in preparation for the holy month.
Let’s not forget the fast we missed last year, whether you were sick, pregnant, nursing a baby or a woman who was on her period and could not fast for some days and even all the days of the last Ramadan. We should pay them back, observe the fast because it is part of the preparations for the coming Ramadan.
Some women are fond of not observing the fast they missed the previous years. To prepare for this year’s Ramadan, you must observe the ones you missed last year.
May Allah make it easy for us and may He reward us abundantly.
THINGS TO DO TO PREPARE FOR RAMADAN
(1) The fear of Allah:
This is paramount in preparing for Ramadan. A Muslim must know that Ramadan is mandatory for Him and also that he’s fasting, not because he feels like but because Allah has instructed him to do so irrespective of who he is. Every Muslim should prepare his mind with the fear of Allah.
(2) Observe the fast you missed the previous year:
One of the best ways to prepare for Ramadan is to observe the fast one missed last year.
Except if one is too old to fast, whoever misses the fast must pay back irrespective of what made one to miss it.
(3) Recite the holy Quran:
Reciting the Quran is key while fasting, so it is necessary to practise it even while Ramadan is yet to come. This practice moves one closer to God and gets one accustomed to it and prevent difficulty in pronouncing the words.
– AZEEZAT KAREEM and SHUKURAT ALIMI for encomium.ng