You are about to embark on a remarkable journey, along with a billion other souls across the world, to challenge and push yourself to greater heights. Coming soon is a remarkable season of goodness, intense spirituality and soaring faith, with unimaginable opportunities for reward and virtue. But all of this requires adequate preparation and planning. Don’t let Ramadan this year catch you by surprise. Remember that failing to plan is indeed planning to fail.
Ramadan has come upon you, a blessed month. Allah has obligated for you its fasting. In this month, the heavens’ gates are opened, the gates of Hellfire are closed and the devils are chained. In this month there is a night that is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is truly deprived indeed.
[Sunan al-Nasā’i 2079, Musnad Ahmad 6851, 9133, 8631, authenticated by al-Albani]
This was the Prophetic welcome of Ramadan, with which he would congratulate his Companions and celebrate the arrival of the month of Ramadan. His Companions were known to anticipate and plan for this season for half a year and then miss it for another half.
All of us should formally welcome Ramadan as well. So gather your family, hold a meeting, and get everyone ready. Many Muslim societies have a beautiful practice of decorating or renovating their homes prior to Ramadan, and each of us should also thing of creative ways to send a signal to our families, friends and neighbors that this time is indeed very special.
Here are 7 things you can do to make this Ramadan more powerful.
The Prophet [peace be upon him] stated:
Whoever stands for prayer in Ramadan with faith and anticipation, will have his previous sins forgiven.
[al-Bukhārī and Muslim]
Imām Nawawī [d 676H] states:
Standing in Ramaḍān refers to the Tarāwīḥ prayer. The scholars agree upon the fact that it is a recommended prayer, but differ on whether solitary prayer in one’s house is more virtuous or the congregational form in the masjid. The majority of scholars, including Imām al-Shāfi‘ī and most of his followers, Abū Ḥanīfah, Aḥmad, some of the Mālikī jurists and others, opine that the congregational prayer is more virtuous as this was practiced by ‘Umar and the rest of the Companions, and remains a practice of the Muslim nation and has become an overt symbol of the religion much like the ‘Eid prayer. Imām Mālik, Abū Yūsuf the student of Abū Ḥanīfah, some Shāfi‘ī jurists and others hold the view that solitary prayer in one’s house is preferable due to the Prophetic saying:
The best prayer is the prayer of a person in his house, apart from the obligatory prayers.
The ending of Ramadan is marked by festivities and cheers by all. Even those who don’t pray or fast do celebrate Eid. But why do we reserve our smiles and cheers for the end of Ramadan? This is a month of celebration, from beginning to end, and on each and every day. Farah (joy) is the flavor of this month. [click here to listen] (Based upon the editorial from the current Jumuah magazine)