The glorious month of Ramadan is full of blessings and mercy that showers upon Muslims from Allah (SWT). The month is a great opportunity for every Muslim to get closer to Allah. During this month the reward for every voluntary (Nafl) prayer rises to the level of that of obligatory (Farj) prayers and the reward for every obligatory (Farj) prayer rises 70 times of that of normal obligatory prayers. Muslims should prepare themselves mentally, physically and spiritually for the month beforehand, so that they can acquire the maximum blessings and mercy from it. The lines below discuss the way how one should prepare for Ramadan before it arrives.
Seeking knowledge about Ramadan:
One who doesn’t know the provisions of the fast he can’t observe fasting properly. One can prepare himself for Ramadan though knowing the provisions of fasting like things that invalidate the fast, things that don’t invalidate the fasts and requirements for fasting to be valid. This will help him observe fasts correctly and perfectly.
Making a Ramadan plan:
One can explain the endless benefits of the fasting to the households, relatives and friends so that they get a new spirit of fasting. He should make a list of things he would like to achieve during the month like reading the whole Qur’an, reading religious books, making charity, performing Taraweeh prayers. If he doesn’t know how to recite from the Holy Qur’an, he should make preparations for learning the recitation in Ramadan. He can select a teacher who will teach him the Qur’an.
Saying ‘good-by’ to bad habits:
Fasting is not just staying hungry and thirsty, but it must include a strong intention of leaving all bad habits. Abu Hurayra (Ra) narrated that our beloved Prophet (pbuh) said, “Fasting is not leaving food and drink only, rather fasting is leaving ill-speech and obscenity.” (Mustadrak-e-Hakim). A Muslim should make a list of bad habits and make an intention to knock them out one by one before Ramadan. He shouldn’t wait until Ramadan begins. It will help him leaving all sins like backbiting, smoking etc. The habit of watching movies, dramas and dance programmes should be reduced significantly from now. One should not waste valuable time during Ramadan by surfing the facebook, rather he should spend as much time as possible in reading the Holy Qur’an.
Financial preparations for Ramadan:
Offering Iftar (fast-breaking meal) to a Muslim is very rewarding worship. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “If a person gives Iftar to a fasting person in Ramadan, his sins will be forgiven and he will be given as many rewards as has that fasting person without decreasing from the fasting person’s rewards.” (Jame Tirmiji). One can save some money from now so that he can offer Iftar and charity during Ramadan. A wealthy person can prepare himself for Umrah in Ramadan. Because performing an Umrah in Ramadan is like accompanying the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) on Hajj. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “When the month of Ramadan arrives, go for Umrah, because Umrah in Ramadan is like accompanying me on Hajj.” (Sahih Bukhari). If a Muslim makes a financial plan, it will help him enjoy the month yet fulfil his social and moral obligations like giving Iftar and performing Umrah.
Preparations for businessmen:
During Ramadan, the prices of most grocery items go up unusually and remain at the abnormally high level throughout the month. Some corrupt businessmen are responsible for the unexpected hike in prices of essential commodities. These unscrupulous and greedy traders get involved in price manipulation through syndication. They hoard goods, create an artificial crisis of commodities to maximise the profit at the cost of millions of fasting Muslims in the country. Storing (Hoarding) of common and necessary items, in the hope that their prices will increase, is completely Haram (unlawful). Whoever stocks anything that the people will need for forty days, Allah will cut off relation with him. Abdullah Ibn Umar (Ra) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) also said, “One who hoards food items for forty days in anticipation of a rise in their prices has distanced himself from Allah and Allah tires of him and breaks off the connection with him.” (Musnad Ahmad). A hoarder will be punished with a terrible disease.
Umar bin Khattab (Ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Whoever hoards the food (and keeps it from) the Muslims, Allah will afflict him with incurable diseases and bankruptcy.” (Ibn Majah). On the other hand, whoever won’t hoard and operate his business lawfully, he will get Barakat (blessings) from Allah and Allah will stick out his livelihood. It was narrated from Umar bin Khattab (Ra) that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “The importer is blessed with provisions and the hoarder is cursed.” (Ibn Maja). He will be honoured with the association of Prophets in the Day of Judgment. Abu Sayeed (Ra) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “The truthful and honest merchant is associated with the Prophets, the upright and the martyrs.” (Jame Tirmidhi). Lawful business is a great opportunity to achieve Prophet’s association in the Day of Judgment. They should be prepared to run their business honestly and make it a habit.
Making Dua (supplication):
Above all, Muslims should pray to Allah sincerely so that the Almighty let us live until Ramadan with a strong religious commitment and good physical health and enable us to achieve rewards from Him through proper utilisation of this month, in prayers and other worships, to the utmost.
May Allah shower us with blessings and enrich us with His rewards in this life and Hereafter.
The writer is a Khatib, Baitush Shafique Mosque, (near NU), Gazipur