God says in the Quran:
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint.
(Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later.
For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent but he that will give more, of his own free will, it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. (2:183-184)
Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind… (2:185)
God is giving us another opportunity in our life to witness the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a great time of God’s blessings and His mercy. Every Muslim should take full advantage of this time. We should get ready now to welcome this month and receive it with happiness.
Following are some ways to welcome this month:
1. Special Du’a
Pray to God that this month reaches you while you are in the best of health and safety so that you can fast and do all your acts of devotion with ease and enthusiasm.
It is reported by Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to say from the beginning of Rajab in his prayers:
“O Allah bless us in Rajab, bless us in Sha’ban and bless us in Ramadan.” (Ahmad)
When he used to see Ramadan’s crescent, he used to pray:
“O Allah, make this crescent to shine on us with safety, faith, security, Islam and good fortune to do what is beloved and pleasing to our Lord. Our and your Lord is Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi)
2. Thanks and Happiness
When the month comes, then you should be thankful to God and show happiness. The companions of the Prophet used to greet each other on the beginning of Ramadan.
The Prophet said giving the good news of the month to his companions:
“The month of Ramadan has come to you. It is a blessed month. Allah has made obligatory on you to fast during this month. The gates of heaven are opened in this month and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained. In this month there is a night that is better than one thousand months. Whosoever is deprived of its blessings is indeed deprived.” (An-Nasa’i)
3. Planning and Determination
You should make a good plan for the whole month about how you are going to organize your days and evenings during Ramadan. Plan special schedules for your work so that you can pray on time, read the Quran and take Sahur (the meal consumed early in early morning before fajr prayer) and Iftar (breaking the fast at sunset, Maghreb prayer) on time.
Have sincere intention and determination to take full advantage of this time. Also have a full determination and commitment that you will not do any sin or anything wrong during this time. Make sincere repentance and seek the forgiveness of those whom you might have offended. In this way you can benefit much more from your fasting and prayers.
4. Learn about the Rules of Fasting
Fiqh of fasting is very important so that you do not do anything that will spoil your fasts. Learn the way of Prophet Muhammad in fasting. That is the best way. Fast is not spoiled only by eating and drinking during the fast, but also by speaking bad words and doing wrong things.
The Prophet Muhammad said:
“Whosoever does not give up bad words and bad deeds, Allah has no need in that he leaves his food and his drink.” (Al-Bukhari)
5. Charity, Generosity and Kindness
The month of Ramadan is the month of kindness, charity and generosity. Plan to invite your neighbors, co-workers, friends, Muslims and non-Muslims to have Iftar meal with you. Let your non-Muslims friends and neighbors know about this month and its blessings. Be more generous and help the poor and needy. Plan to give your alms and charity at this time and help others as much as you can.
It is reported in a hadith:
“The Prophet – peace be upon him – was the most generous person, but in Ramadan he used to be more generous when Gabriel used to meet him. Gabriel used to see him during Ramadan every night and he used to read the Quran with him. The Prophet –peace be upon him – was then more generous with goodness than the blowing wind.” (Al-Bukhari)