Tips to Get Your Heart, Mind & Soul Ready for Ramadan’s Rewards
Let’s make a bold assumption.
What might that be, you ask? Let’s assume we will be alive to enjoy the great blessings of Ramadan. After all, our end is unknown; therefore, every Ramadan is a gift to us.
Allah rewards us for our intention, even in how to prepare for Ramadan.
We can still earn the reward if we don’t live to see another Ramadan. Let’s make our intention now that we wish to reach it and reap all the rewards that Ramadan offers.
Narrated in a hadith, our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Actions are (judged) by intentions (niyyah), so each man will receive what he has intended for.” [Bukhari & Muslim].
The only thing we have control over is our intention, which is a great blessing from Allah. Just by intending to do a good action, we reap the reward.
When the reminder of death is at the forefront of our minds, it’s never too early.
The companions of the Prophet (peace be upon them) used to prepare for Ramadan 6 months before its arrival.
It is reported that Muʿlā b. Al-Faḍl – Allāh have mercy on him – said:
They (the Salaf) used to supplicate to Allah for six months asking Him to get them to the month of Ramaḍan. They used to supplicate for six months so that Allah accepted [their fasting and other worship in Ramaḍan].
Our understanding of Ramadan is not limited to: “I should do Eid shopping soon” or “I need to prepare food for Iftar,” While these are all elements we attend to in our lives, it’s not why we count down the days to this blessed month.
Learning how to prepare for Ramadan means we’re hoping for spiritual growth. Also, in preparing, we’re trying to increase the chances of acceptance of our worship during this great month and put actions behind our intention.
Ramadan Isn’t Just About Fasting
O you who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you so that you may be God-fearing.”
Fasting during Ramadan is a form of worship prescribed to us. It is an obligation that Allah commanded us to do in the Quran. Thus, it is good for us.
Ramadan is a month of spiritual cleansing and an act of worship. Not only are we commanded to do it, but the entire time we’re fasting, we are in a constant state of worship. Ramadan is not just abstaining from food but forces our whole body and soul to obey Allah. This includes avoiding evil speech (i.e., lying, backbiting, arguing with people, etc.) and avoiding listening to bad things. Our limbs abstain from harming anyone and from intimate relations during fasting hours (Fajr prayer to Maghrib prayer).
Fasting, in general, purifies the soul, but especially so during Ramadan. It cleans us from bad characteristics and habits accumulated during the year. This cleansing happens on an unseen level. When we fast, it causes our veins to shrink, which is the avenue Shaytaan uses to misguide us.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Satan flows through the human being like the flowing of blood.”
Excessive eating and drinking will make us lazy, just like when we eat a big meal and want to sleep—commonly known as having “the itis” or being in a “food coma” (postprandial somnolence). We don’t have the energy to worship Allah like we do when we’re fasting.
Other benefits we gain during Ramadan are:
1)We learn to become grateful
2)We avoid things Allah has forbidden
3)Ability to control our desires
4)We feel compassion and empathy toward people
5)Fasting humiliates and weakens Shaytaan
Why Start Preparing for Ramadan Now?
The best way to benefit from Ramadan is by planning for it! Just like we plan a particular event, we do the same for Ramadan, so things go smoothly. Learning how to prepare for Ramadan is getting our minds and heart ready.
Ramadan is meant to change us and transform our lives. We aren’t meant to be the same person we were before Ramadan started. But this transformation cannot occur if we don’t take the steps that allow us to absorb Ramadan’s blessings. We won’t be able to abstain from all the evils we’re meant to stay away from. We won’t feel like pushing ourselves to read more Quran. Or we won’t try to stop ourselves from racking up sins by scrolling on our phones. It’s too difficult to stop without preparing ourselves first.
In preparing for Ramadan, we want to minimize the risk of our Ramadan not being accepted, as it is a shield against hellfire. This is not a reward we want to take lightly or throw away, and the reward of fasting is the peak of success for a believer. If we are truly sincere and serious about saving ourselves from hellfire, we won’t risk having our worship not accepted.
Instead, we’ll look for opportunities to do our best to get Ramadan’s rewards. Of course, asking Allah for the ability to be this dedicated is our starting point.
Jabir reported: The Prophet, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, fasting is only a shield by which the servant seeks protection from the Hellfire.“
Five Tips to Prepare for Ramadan
Be mindful of Allah
Stop bad habits and start good ones. Try to stop bad habits that are nagging at you. Start with one and work your way through it.
Maybe it’s scrolling on your phone before bed, which makes you delay Fajr or causes you to see things that affect your soul. Consider leaving your phone outside your room and getting an alarm clock.
Is there a series you want to watch on Netflix? How about leaving it and instead starting watching a series on the Sunnah or Life of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.
Learn About Islam
Understanding what Allah wants from us only makes us stronger believers. Most of us are unaware of the things that please and displease Allah. Taking steps to increase your knowledge will motivate you to do better.
For example: sit with your family for 5 minutes and read something about Islam every day. Consider starting with the manners of a Muslim so that you can be more aware of your day-to-day actions.
Start volunteer fasting
Train your body physically. If you still need to complete any missed fasts in the past, make a point of doing it now. Otherwise, consider fasting on Mondays or Thursdays (or both) as the Prophet (peace be upon him) would do. You’ll become more in control of yourself before the month of blessings is upon us.
Attend to Your Quran
As a dedicated Quran service, we notice more students come to us during Ramadan, which causes them to be on a waiting list for the time or teacher they prefer.
Many want to improve their Quran recitation, and some want to memorize Quran. Others decide it’s time to learn to read Quran. These are all amazing but consider starting now.
Ramadan is the month of the Quran, so let it be a time you dramatically increase the attention you give it by starting before Ramadan. Get comfortable learning, improving, and making it a noticeable part of your daily routine.
Increase in Dua
The ability to worship Allah in a manner that is pleasing to Him (accepted) is only by Allah’s Grace upon us. Ask Allah to give you the ability to worship Him correctly. To see the month of Ramadan and benefit from it in its entirety.
Ask Allah for guidance and forgiveness. It is only through His Mercy that we are ever able to do any of this. It’s only with dua that we’d even want to try to prepare for Ramadan.
Ask, ask, and ask!
So, when Ramadan comes, you’ll turn to Allah without thinking twice about it, InshaAllah.
How you prepare for Ramadan can include all the above suggestions or just one. The point is to try to do something. Take steps to prepare yourself so that when Ramadan arrives, you’ll be excited about it. It won’t sneak up on you.
You are ready to embrace it and receive the gifts it offers.
Allahuma Balighna Ramadan! Oh, Allah, allow us to reach Ramadan!