Rajab is one of the four months, Allah, the All-Wise, chose to be sacred.
Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…[Quran, 9: 36].
This is our God-given alert and reminder that the best Month is entering upon us soon and it’s time to check the state of our hearts, start resisting bad habits and deeds even more and prepare.
Let’s make an intention to benefit from this sacred month and discover 5 areas to start on focusing our Ramadan preparation and practical tips to go along with it, by Allah’s will!
1. Super-start for success.
Reflect on the Basmalah; when you say “Bismillah” at the start of doing something, it really means: “I start this while being accompanied by Allah’s name, and I seek help through the name of Allah and with that I seek His blessings.” Allah is God, the one who is worshipped and beloved, Whom the hearts turn to in both love and fear. He is Ar-Rahmaan, the Most Gracious, and His attribute is encompassing mercy, and He is Ar-Raheem, the Most Merciful, the One who causes His mercy to reach His creation.
Start your Ramadan preparation with an intense, heartfelt:
2. Reform your home.
And Allah has made for you in your homes an abode…[Quran, 16:80] What’s the state of your home and how can you make your house a place of Khayr (goodness) and productivity before Ramadan arrives?
Your home is a place to protect yourself and your family from the Hellfire and your opportunity to make it a breeding place for good deeds for the whole family! Uqbah ibn Amir (RA) asked the Prophetﷺ: How can salvation be achieved? He (ﷺ) replied: Control your tongue, keep to your house, and weep over your sins. [At-Tirmidhi]
Start reforming your home in time for the honoured Guest. The first thing you’ll be asked about on the Day of Judgement and the first thing you should establish in your house is the prayer. Make your house a Qiblah – a place of prayer! The Companions were to pray at home (apart from the Fardh, obligatory-prayers) and with regard to men the Prophetﷺ said: The best of prayer is a man’s prayer in his house– apart from the prescribed prayers. [Al-Bukhari]
You could get new prayer mats or refresh your own, make a new prayer area, play the Adhaan (if you live in a country without a public Adhaan) or select nice, clean clothes for prayer to enhance your Khushoo’.
Is your house a place the angels are writing down bad speech, watching of indecent TV-programs and free mixing and display without the proper covering? Start hanging up Dhikr reminders and play Adhkaar in the house. The Prophetﷺ said:The house in which remembrance of Allah is made and the house in which Allah is not remembered are like the living and the dead. [Muslim]
There are many Sunan (plural of Sunnah) to revive in your home, such as the Sunan of eating, drinking, sleeping, purifying yourself, and getting dressed etc. Make sure to study and practice the supplications of entering and leaving your home and say Salaam when you enter to fill your home with peace and bless its inhabitants! (See:https://ahadith.co.uk/fortressofthemuslim.php)But when you enter the houses, greet one another with a greeting from Allah, blessed and good. [Quran, 24:61]
Extra: to keep Shaitan away: The Prophet Muhammadﷺ said: Allah wrote a document two thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth, which is kept near the Throne, and He revealed two Aayaat of it with which He concluded surah al-Baqarah. If they are recited in a house for three consecutive nights, the Shaitan will not approach it.[Ahmad]
3. Clean your heart.
Do you feel your heart is ill, your Imaan weak and do you feel stressed all the time or even completely lost? Take this life-changing advice about Ramadan byShaykh Al Shanqiti:The best way to prepare for this time is abundance of Istighfaar (seeking forgiveness) because there is no doubt that the sins of a person deprive him of Tawfeeq (ability).And if he constantly makes Istighfaar in his heart then it purifies him. And if he is weak, it makes him strong.And if he is sick, then it heals him.And if he is in trouble, then it gives him protection.
And if he is lost, then it will guide him.And if he is miserable then it will give him tranquillity.And indeed, Istighfaaris the only protection left for us after the Messenger of Allah!But Allah was not going to chastise them while you were among them, nor is Allah going to chastise them while yet they ask for forgiveness. [Qur’an, 8:33]And will give him ease in all his affairs.And He will protect his condition and his strengths.
Aim to say every day from now on hundred times:أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ وَأَتُوْبُ إِلَيْهِ[Al-Bukhari, Muslim]
I seek the forgiveness of Allah and repent to Him
Do Istighfaar right before Fajr (Qur’anic advice), seek forgiveness after getting up from a gathering, praying and reading Qur’an:
سُبْحَانَكَاللَّهُمَّوَبِحَمْدِكَ، أَشْهَدُأَنْلَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ، أَسْتَغْفِرُكَوَأَتُوبُإِلَيْكَ
Glory is to You, O Allah, and praise is to You. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You. I seek Your forgiveness and repent to You. [Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah& etc]
Seek forgiveness in the time between two Sujood in prayer by saying: رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ (O my Lord forgive me).
Pray for others’ forgiveness too and share this supplication that will get you billions of Hasanaat:
O Allah, forgive the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and the believing women, the living
from them and the deceased.And there are many more Sunan of Istighfaar to study and use. O Allah give us Tawfeeq to become ‘Mustaghfir‘, Aameen!
4. Mind your mouth.
The way you use your tongue demonstrates the condition of your heart. The Prophetﷺ said: “The faith of a servant is not upright until his heart is upright, and his heart is not upright until his tongue is upright. A man will not enter Paradise if his neighbour is not secure from his evil.”[Ahmad]
So you can fast, pray and read Qur’an extra to prepare for Ramadan, but if the way you speak isn’t ‘upright’, your heart and so your Imaan (faith) won’t be settled.
The practical way to build your Imaanis to start with way you speak.Focus on your tongue; on the content of your speech, backbiting, slander, useless speech, excessive speech, swearing, verbal abuse etc and beg Allah, the Most High, to purify your tongue. Every day again and again.
5. Morning and evening Qur’an.
When your days feel like a chaotic rush of tasks, interactions and events do you ever look at how you start and end them? Starting and ending your days with the book of Allah, the Most High, brings productivity and calmn to your daily life. Start focusing on at least these Sunnah Qur’an habits so they are set by Ramadan, by Allah’s will!
Recite and read their meaning at least once:
Upon waking: the last tenAyaat of Surah Aal-e-Imraan.
After each prayer: Ayat-ul-Kursi.
Before sleeping: the last twoAyaatof Surah Al-Baqarah and work towards reading Surat-ul-Mulk daily.
There are more Surahs to read as part of the Sunnah, but key is to start with less and build your Qur’an habits up slowly. Ask Allah, the Most High, for Tawfeeq!
Finally, it’s so easy -before Ramadan- to delay praying on time a bit more, to not say your morning and evening Adhkaar because you’re busy a bit more, to not think of Ramadan, just yet… Let this be your motto onwards: “What I can, I must”. Reflect on it, your own way.
Praying you will benefit,
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Khawlah b. Yahya – United Kingdom
Khawlah b. Yahya founded SISTERS’ PROJECT in 2008, a United Kingdom based women’s support organization, the creative community lead in an art gallery and is a writer for different Islamic organizations and academies. She authored the renown How to Live by the Names of Allah Series, published by the Understand Qur’an Academy, as well as the internationally shared Revive a Sunnah Series. She focuses most of her work on how to translate classic Islamic Knowledge to daily life action. She recently released Personal Lessons from the Qur’an, in which daily life action points are based on Qur’anic Ayaat in a way that’s never seen before. You can purchase the E-book on: understandquran.com/product/personal-lessons-from-the-quran/