Preparing for Ramadan – Heart & Soul (Part 1)
Some of the Salaf said that the month of Rajab is for sowing the seeds of Imaan and Sha’ban is the month for irrigating the crops, while Ramadan is the month for reaping the harvest of Imaan.
We need to sow the seeds of faith now, before and whilst we are in the month of Rajab. When one increases his faith, his certainty increases, and accordingly his actions will increase. Sha’ban is the month of action. We will not be able to take action unless we have strong faith. We need to increase in faith then act upon our faith in these months, so that we can attain the fruits when Ramadan enters upon us. This means that we will enjoy the acts of worship, Allah will make it easy for us and we will get the reward which Allah has promised. But we have to prepare ourselves in advance, before we enter the month of Ramadan.
Reality check, Ramadan is not like a magic wand where you change and become a better person. You have to prepare yourself in advance (before it) so that it will have an effect on your faith during Ramadan, and the effect will remain after Ramadan.
Many of us neglect the month of Rajab and Sha’ban.
We tend to prepare for the month of Ramadan materialistically, but we need to prepare for Ramadan with faith, because the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
“Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward will be forgiven for his previous sins.” [An-Nasaa’i]
He (ﷺ) emphasized the importance of faith. If we do not have faith, how will we fast Ramadan in the way that pleases Allah?
Step by step preparation for Ramadan
#1 – Clear your hearts of worldly occupation
Look into your hearts and see what it is filled with. Most people’s hearts are filled with thinking, preparing, and organizing many things.
Similar to someone being unable to remember Allah when his mouth is busy chewing gum, he will not be able to fill his heart with the Hereafter if his heart is busy with the Dunya. Thus, one needs to clear his heart from worldly occupation so he can think of the Hereafter and its reward. This does not mean you do not eat, drink, work or go out. It means that your heart shouldn’t be attached to the Dunya; it should be attached to the Hereafter. When you clear your heart from worldly occupation, you will enjoy your prayer, your recitation of the Qur’an, and your acts of worship. Accordingly, your prayer and recitation of the Qur’an will have an effect on your faith, thereby increasing it.
The Dunya and the Hereafter cannot be combined in the heart of the believer; one of them will eventually prevail. Choose which one you want your heart to be occupied with. You can fulfill your worldly obligations without your heart being excessively concerned with it.
#2 – Increase in listening to the news about the unseen
We need to listen and think about Allah, the Day of Judgment, Paradise, Hell, the grave, etc. constantly in order to revive our hearts and make it attached to the Hereafter. Learning about Allah is the noblest knowledge which will have an effect on our hearts.
When you read the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ), it will definitely have an effect on your heart and increase your faith. When you read the verses where Allah tells you that He is Merciful, Kind, Al-Jabbar, As-Siteer, At-Taqwa, how He takes care of His Awliyaa – you feel hope in your heart that you will be among those people. This is attained when you read about what Allah said about Himself in the Qur’an.
Many of us do not know what to say when we are asked to talk about Allah. This indicates that our hearts are not filled with the knowledge of Allah.
We are going to be alone in our grave one day, and we will be asked the question “Who is your Lord?” There won’t be a paper to read from, nor anyone to remind us what to say at that moment. Knowledge about Allah is very important. We have to learn about Allah; who Allah is.
The more you increase in knowledge about Allah, the more it will affect your acts of worship. You will perform it with more submission and concentration, and you will enjoy it. You will enjoy your Rukoo and Sujood; unlike the person who does not know Allah. Just as you learn more about Allah and empty your heart of this world, the seed of faith will be firmly fixed in your heart and the tree will grow, extending high in the sky and your good deeds will be accepted by Allah. This is what we hope for.
If you prepare for Ramadan in this way, you will enjoy every moment in Ramadan. You will not want to waste even one minute in something useless in the month of Ramadan.