Allah has made the month of Ramadhan a noble one in which opportunities for worship are opened to his fasting devotees, as are the doors of Paradise. Whereas, the gates of Hellfire are shut and the devils are chained.
So it is with immense eagerness that believers welcome this glorious month. It is indeed a privilege for whomever Allah has enabled to live to meet it and experience its bounties.
The Messenger of God (SAWS) used to prepare for the month of Ramaḍān and anticipate its arrival by saying at the start of Rajab, “O Allah, bless us in Rajab and Shaʿbān and enable us to meet Ramaḍān (Allāhumma bārik lanā fī Rajab wa Shaʿbān wa ballighnā Ramaḍān).”
اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان[Narrated by at-Tabarani , Ahmad and Majmaʿ al-zawāʾid: vol.iii, p. 140]
He also used to prepare to meet Ramaḍān during the month of Shaʿbān through becoming abundant in his fasting and standing in prayer.
He used to long for the arrival of Ramaḍān and would say upon sighting its moon, “O Allah, bring upon us the new moon [while we are in a state of] security and faith as well as of peace and Islam. My Lord and your Lord is Allah,”
[Sunan al-Tirmidhī , vol.v/Kitāb al-daʿwāt 49, Bāb 51:h.3451.]
In another transmission he added: “a crescent of virtue and guidance, a crescent of virtue and guidance, a crescent of virtue and guidance.”
[Sunan Abī Dāwūd: vol.5/ Kitāb al-adab 35, Bāb 111: h.5092.]
The Messenger of God (SAWS) used to give his Companions the glad tidings of the arrival of the month of Ramaḍān and encourage them to be abundant in worship in it.
He would say to them, “This month has dawned upon you and in it is a night superior to a thousand months.
Who is deprived of it, has been deprived of the entirety of goodness. And nobody is deprived of it except the destitute (al-maḥrūm).”
[Sunan Ibn Māja : vol.i, Kitāb al-ṣiyām 7/ Bāb 2:h.1644.]
He also said, “The doors of the Heavens open on the first night of the month of Ramaḍān and they do not close until its last night.”
[Majmaʿ al-zawāʾid: vol.iii, p.142.]
It is related on the authority of ʿUbāda b. al-Ṣāmit saying, “The Messenger of God (SAWS) taught us [to say] these words when Ramaḍān arrived:
“O Allah, deliver me soundly to the month of Ramaḍān, deliver [the blessings of] Ramaḍān to me in soundness, and deliver it to me soundly with [my efforts] accepted.”
(Allāhumma sallimnī li-Ramaḍān wa sallim Ramaḍāna
lī wa sallimhu lī mutaqabbalan) .
[Kanz al-ʿummāl : vol. viii/ h.24277]
In another transmission it is reported he (SAWS) said, “O Allah deliver us soundly to Ramaḍān and accept it from us while You have forgiven us, had mercy upon us, and accepted our repentance.”
[Majmaʿ al-zawāʾid: vol.iii, p. 142.]
It is reported on the authority of Salmān al-Fārisī (RA) saying, “The Messenger of God (SAWS) spoke to us on the last day of Shaʿbān saying:
‘O people, a great and blessed month has emerged upon you. In it there is a night that is superior to a thousand months.
A month in which God has made its fast obligatory and its night vigil voluntary.
Who strives to come close [to God] in it through doing a type of good [deed], it is as though he performed an obligatory act outside [of Ramaḍān].
And whoever performs an obligatory act in it, it is as though he performed seventy obligatory acts outside of [Ramaḍān].
It is the month of patience and the reward for patience is Paradise.
It is a month of kindness to others and in it the provision of the believer is increased.
Who arranges for breaking the fast of a believer in it, he is forgiven for his sins and he is freed from the Hellfire, and to him is a similar reward without diminishing the reward [of the fasting person] in any way.
God grants this reward to one who breaks the fast of another person by a bit of milk or a sip of water. And who feeds a fasting person to his fill will be granted drink from my pure spring after which one will never thirst until he enters Paradise.
It is a month whose beginning is mercy (raḥma), whose middle is forgiveness (maghfira) , and whose end is salvation from the Hellfire (ʿitq min al-nār ).’”
[Kanz al-ʿummāl : vol.8/h.23714.]
Hence, if Ramaḍān is filled with so much reward and blessing, then what could be more pressing for us than to strive in welcoming it and preparing for its arrival in a way that is worthy of its rank and the blessings it encompasses?
This is not possible without a determination to restrain one’s ego (nafs) and train it in order to reap the benefits of this season.
An awareness of the distinguishing characteristics of this month as opposed to other months will motivate us in achieving this goal.
-Adapted from www.nursacredsciences.org