Many people misunderstand the genuine meaning of fasting and turn it into an excuse to eat and drink, bake special delicacies, and stay up late watching Netflix shows.
They start planning for it well in advance of Ramadan, fearful they miss out on food or see costs rise. They prepare by purchasing food, making drinks, and reviewing the Netflix lineup to determine which shows to watch and which to skip. They are completely oblivious of the true meaning of Ramadan fasting; they have stripped the month of its worship and piety, leaving it only for their stomachs and eyes.
What is the significance of Ramadan?
Those who consider Ramadan to be significant are aware of the true significance of fasting during the month of Ramadan, therefore they begin to prepare as early as Sha’baan, and some even earlier. The following are some of the greatest ways to prepare for Ramadan:
Ramadan is a month of repentance.
This is required at all times, but with the approaching of a great and blessed month, it is even more important to hasten to repent from sins between you and your Lord, as well as between you and other people by giving them their rights, so that when the blessed month begins, you can engage in acts of worship with a clean heart and mind. (Interpretation of the meaning) Allaah says:
“And all of you, O believers, implore Allaah to pardon you all so that you may succeed.”
“O people, repent to Allaah, for I repent to Him one hundred times each day,” the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, according to al-Agharr ibn Yasaar (may Allaah be pleased with him). Muslim tells his story (2702).
The month of Ramadan is dedicated to Du’aa’ (supplication)
Some of the salaf claimed that they used to pray to Allaah for six months in order to live till Ramadaan, and then for another five months in order for Him to accept it from them.
The Muslim should pray his Lord to allow him to survive till Ramadaan with a strong religious devotion and good physical health, as well as to assist him in obeying Him throughout the month and to accept his good acts.
Ramadan is approaching, and we are ecstatic.
Because Ramadaan is one of the good occasions in which the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, the arrival of Ramadaan is one of the major benefits that Allaah bestows upon His Muslim slave. It is the month of the Qur’aan and pivotal wars in our religion’s history.
(Interpretation of the meaning) Allaah says:
“Say, ‘In Allaah’s Bounty, and in His Mercy (i.e. Islam and the Qur’aan); —let them exult therein.’ That’s preferable than what they’ve accumulated (in terms of riches).”
[Yoonus 10:58] [Yoonus 10:58] [Yoonus 10:
Completing any remaining mandated fasting obligations
It was said that Abu Salamah said, “I heard ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) remark, “I will owe fasts from the previous Ramadaan and I will not be able to make them up until in Sha’baan.”
Al-Bukhaari (1849) and Muslim both narrate this story (1146).
May Allah have pity on Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar, who said:
It is clear from her eagerness to do so in Sha’baan that it is not allowed to wait until the next Ramadaan to make them up.
4/191 Fath al-Baari
Fasting in Ramadan is for Learning
Seeking knowledge so that they can follow the fasting rules and appreciate the benefits of Ramadaan.
Hastening to complete any work that may divert the Muslim’s attention away from his or her religious duties.
Ramadan is a time to spend with your family.
Sitting down with one’s family – wife and children – to inform them of the fasting rules and encourage the younger ones to fast.
Preparing some books to read at home or give to the mosque’s imam to read to the congregation during Ramadaan.
Some of the month of Sha’baan is being fasted in preparation for Ramadaan.
It was said that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah bless her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast until we said: He will not break his fast, and he would not fast until we said: He will not fast. I never saw Allaah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fast for a month other than Ramadaan, and I never saw him fast more in any month than Sha’baan.
Al-Bukhaari (1868) and Muslim both narrate this story (1156).
Usaamah ibn Zayd is reported to have remarked, “I said: O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting in any month as you fast in Sha’baan?” “That is a month that many overlook between Rajab and Ramadaan, but it is a month when people’s deeds are taken up to the Lord of the Worlds, and I would like my works to be taken up when I am fasting,” he explained.
Al-Nasaa’i (2357); al-Albaani classifies it as hasan in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i.
This hadeeth illustrates the value of fasting in Sha’baan, which is a month dedicated to doing good actions (to Allaah). Another reason, according to certain scholars, is that fasting Sha’baan before Ramadaan is similar to Sunnah prayers done before mandatory prayer; they prepare the soul for executing the obligatory action, and the same can be stated of fasting Sha’baan before Ramadaan.
The month of Ramadan is dedicated to the study of the Qur’an.
According to Salamah ibn Kuhayl, Sha’baan is the month of the Quran readers.
‘Amr ibn Qays would close his store and devote his time to reading the Quran when Sha’baan began.
The month of Rajab is for planting, the month of Sha’baan is for irrigating the crops, and the month of Ramadan is for harvesting the crops, according to Abu Bakr al-Balkhi.
He also said: The wind is the likeness of Rajab, the clouds are the likeness of Sha’baan, and the rain is the likeness of Ramadan; whoever does not plant and sow in Rajab, and does not irrigate in Sha’baan, how can he reap in Ramadan? What will you do in Sha’baan if you are looking for Ramadaan now that Rajab has passed? What will you do in this beautiful month, like your Prophet and the early generations of the ummah did?