In just a few days, we will be welcoming the blessed month, a dear guest that we eagerly await every year, bringing with it blessings and mercy. Like any honored guest, it requires preparation and readiness, both within ourselves and in our homes and schedules. The greater the status of the guest, the more extensive the preparations for its arrival. Thus the article explains the best ways a Muslim can use in preparing for Ramadan.

In the hadith of Tirmidhi: “May his nose be rubbed in the dust, a man for whom Ramadan comes and then goes before he is forgiven,” meaning he has failed and lost if Ramadan arrives and he is not forgiven. It is the month of blessings and mercy, where the gates of paradise are opened, the gates of hellfire are closed, and Allah emancipates His servants from the fire. Hence, it is essential for a Muslim to prepare for its arrival, as preparation for work and readiness for it is a sign of sincere intention and pursuit.

The importance of preparation stems from the significance of the blessed month to Allah and its profound impact on the servant. It is an intensive spiritual course in which Allah nurtures the servant in obedience, love, and satisfaction. The fruit of this course is for the believing servant to attain the quality of the righteous, which Allah sealed with the verse of fasting, stating: ‘[O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous] (Quran, Al-Baqarah: 183).

The goal Allah wants us to reach through fasting is to become righteous, the highest rank a believing servant can achieve. It creates a shield between him and Allah’s anger, displeasure, and punishment, manifested in performing acts of obedience and abstaining from prohibitions, seeking the pleasure of Allah. Taqwa (God-consciousness) is often mentioned after obligations to serve as an incentive for action or before them to serve as an incentive to abandon what contradicts it, as Allah says: [Indeed, the righteous will be in gardens and springs]’ (Quran, Al-Hijr: 45), and He also says: ‘[So fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers]’ (Quran, Al-Baqarah: 24).

Taqwa is only attained by abandoning desires and prohibitions and engaging solely in acts of obedience to Allah.

We all know that Ramadan is a blessed month, where mercy descends, mistakes are forgiven, ranks are raised, and good deeds are multiplied. So how do we seize it?

How do we prepare for Ramadan?

How do we prepare for Ramadan?

Any successful project starts with successful planning, and your success in the upcoming Ramadan is linked to your readiness and planning on how to invest in this blessed month. It is a season that visits us every year and departs, recharging your faith for a whole year and returning you to the straight path. Therefore, you should prepare for it from now to benefit from every second of it.
One of the characteristics of Ramadan is that it naturally encourages you to organize your time. The consistency in the timing of suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and iftar (breaking fast) makes your day more manageable, allowing you to manage your day’s hours flexibly.

The practical steps to prepare for this noble month:

1 – Preparing the Heart and Setting Sincere Intentions

   Prepare your heart as it should be, and invoke sincere intentions with a strong determination to seize this season in obedience to Allah. It is not enough to merely have the intention; enumerate the intentions to multiply the good deeds and rewards. Say to yourself: “I intend to fast Ramadan as it is one of the pillars of Islam, obeying Allah’s command in observing fasting during this blessed month. I intend to fast as it serves as a shield from the Hellfire and a protection and covering for me on the Day of Judgment. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: ‘Fasting is a shield against the Hellfire.’ I intend to fast to enter Paradise through the gate of Ar-Raiyan, which only the fasting will enter. I intend to fast because it is one of the noblest acts of worship, and Allah directly rewards every action except fasting, for it is for Me, and I shall reward for it directly. Fasting embodies sincerity more than other acts of worship as it is a secret between the servant and his Lord, known only to the All-Knowing. In the divine hadith narrated by the Prophet, Allah says: ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for it is for Me, and I shall reward for it. Fasting is a shield, and if one of you is fasting, he should not speak indecently or shout. If someone reviles him or fights with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.’ By the One in Whose hand my soul is, the smell coming from the mouth of a fasting person is better with Allah than the fragrance of musk. The fasting person has two occasions of joy: one when he breaks his fast, and the other when he meets his Lord.’]

Intentions for Atonement

   Say to yourself that you intend to fast as it is an expiation for sins. Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, all his past sins will be forgiven.”

Intentions for Spiritual Elevation

   Declare in your heart that you intend to fast to reach the rank of the righteous. Intend to fast so that your supplications become unstoppable when you break your fast. Make the intention that your fasting mouth’s fragrance is more pleasing to Allah than the scent of musk.

These intentions serve as a guide to align your heart and actions with the spiritual essence of Ramadan. May your preparations be blessed, and may you reap the countless rewards of this sacred month.

2. Increase in Supplication and Urgency During Times of Acceptance

   Increase your supplications and be persistent in seeking Allah’s response, hoping that you will reach Ramadan in good health and well-being. Pray for success in obeying Allah during this month in a manner that pleases Him, as supplication is the weapon of the believer, a shield against affliction, and a catalyst for blessings. Allah says: “And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.'” (Surah Ghafir, 40:60).

3. Fasting Days from Sha’ban

   Follow the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) by fasting some days of Sha’ban as a training and preparation for the upcoming Ramadan. Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast most of Sha’ban, stating: “He used to fast the whole month of Sha’ban, except a little.” (Narrated by Abu Salama)

4. Create a Daily Schedule of Worship

   Establish a daily schedule filled with acts of worship from dawn to dusk. Utilize your time during Ramadan effectively, including Quranic recitation, revision of memorized verses, reading books on the Prophet’s biography or spiritual topics, and delivering reminders and lessons to your family about the significance of the fasting month.

5. Sincere Repentance and Cleansing the Heart

   Engage in sincere repentance, purifying your heart from the filth of sins, adorning it with faith, and committing to righteous deeds.

6. Abundant Seeking of Forgiveness

   Increase your seeking of forgiveness to welcome Ramadan with a clean slate. Allah says: “And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins—and who can forgive sins except Allah?—and they do not persist in what they have done while they know.” (Surah Al-Imran, 3:135-136)

7. Tolerance and Forgiveness

   Adopt a mindset of tolerance and forgiveness, as harboring grudges corrupts the heart, exhausts the soul, and brings sorrow. Allah says: “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.” (Surah Al-Hashr, 59:10)

8. Determination to Change in Ramadan

   Resolve from now to make positive changes during Ramadan, considering it as a divine opportunity bestowed upon the chosen servants. Make it your slogan, “I hasten to you, O my Lord, to seek Your pleasure.” Ibn al-Qayyim said: “If a person is presented with an opportunity for closeness to Allah and obedience, he should be resolute and seize it. Procrastination and delaying are swift in vanishing, especially when one does not trust in his ability and capability to achieve it. Allah punishes those whom He opens a door of goodness to, and they do not seize it, causing a barrier between their hearts and their intentions. After that, it becomes impossible for them to respond.”

9. Do not forget the Night Prayer

Remember the importance of the Night Prayer for its great virtue and impact on believers. Those who maintain the Night Prayer are virtuous and deserving of Allah’s mercy and paradise. Allah has praised the people of Night Prayer among His righteous servants, saying: “[And] those who spend [part of] the night to their Lord prostrating and standing [in prayer].” (Surah Al-Furqan 25:64).

10. Guarding the Tongue and Self-Reflection

Be diligent in guarding your tongue against inappropriate speech, gossip, and slander. Renew the accountability of your own soul.

11. Striving for Good Character

Strive for good character, control your temper, and embody noble virtues. As mentioned in Ahmad’s Musnad: “A person may reach the status of one who fasts and stands in prayer through good conduct.” The Prophet also stated that good character is part of perfect faith, saying: “The believers with the most complete faith are those with the best character.”

12. Effective Preparation

A good preparation ensures your performance in Ramadan in a way that pleases Allah. The balance of trials in Ramadan is in your favor, as Allah weakens the influence of evil with the chaining of the devils. Good prevails over evil during this blessed month. As Imam Ibn Rajab said: “When the devils are chained in the month of Ramadan, and the fires of desires are extinguished through fasting, the tyrant of desires becomes isolated, and the rule of reason prevails with justice. There is no excuse left for the disobedient.”

So, take the initiative in performing acts of obedience, abandoning sinful deeds, and seeking forgiveness for your sins. Be among those accepted by Allah, winners of His pleasure and blessings. Millions have repented during Ramadan, numerous countries have opened up to positive change, and countless souls that were in conflict reconciled during this sacred month. Ramadan is a field for reform and rebirth; therefore, do not deprive yourself of the blessings and spiritual growth this month offers due to laziness, distraction, or neglect.

May Allah assist us in remembering Him, expressing gratitude, and performing excellent worship. May He not make us among the heedless. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds.

By Asmaa Al-Khattaf