A young man had joined a committee of Rs.50 daily for around a year. When he received the lump sum amount just before the arrival of Ramadan, he purchased food provisions etc. for the entire month for the house. Then, in order to reap the blessings of Ramadan, he came to the global Madani Markaz of Dawat-e-Islami, Faizan-e-Madinah, Bab-ul-Madinah, Karachi, to sit in I’tikaf in 1438 AH, corresponding to 2017 AD.
O devotees of Rasool! This practice of the young man showed us a great way of getting ready for Ramadan. If we also develop a mind-set to reap the blessings of Ramadan from now on, then right now, we have time. As soon as the new crescent moon of Sha’ban-ul-Mu’azzam would be sighted, the blessed Sahabah رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰی عَنْهُم would start paying attention towards getting ready for the blessed month of Ramadan.
Blessed Sahabah and the preparation of Ramadan
Shaykh-e-Tareeqat, Ameer-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat, ‘Allamah Maulana Abu Bilal Muhammad Ilyas ‘Attar Qaadiri دَامَتْ بَرَكَاتُـهُمُ الْعَالِيَـه narrates in his booklet ‘Aqa ka Maheena’ [The Month of My Prophet ﷺ] that Sayyiduna Anas رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰی عَنْهُ states, ‘Upon the very sighting of the moon of Sha’ban, the companions رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰی عَنْهُم would focus their attention towards recitation of the Holy Quran, paying the Zakah of their wealth so that the weak and the poor could also make arrangements for the fasting of the month of Ramadan. The governors would summon the prisoners to carry out the sentence on the convicted and would set those free whom they considered justified. Traders would pay back their debts and collect their dues. (In this way, they would make themselves relieved [from liabilities] before the appearance of the moon of Ramadan) and upon the very sighting of the moon of Ramadan, they (some of them) would observe I’tikaf having performed Ghusl (the ritual bath).’ (Aqa ka Maheena, pp. 5)
Undoubtedly, the way of preparation of the blessed companions رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰی عَنْهُم for Ramadan is something for us to follow. Following their footsteps, we should also prepare for Ramadan-ul-Mubarak in a similar way. We should start reciting the Holy Quran, pay our Zakah, repay our debts, collect our dues from others, and get ourselves ready to sit in I’tikaf for the entire month by freeing ourselves from everything before the arrival of Ramadan.
But unfortunately, people nowadays give more importance to Dunya [this world] than to Deen. That’s why our majority is seen engaged in only worldly matters today. Moreover, they are generally seen in learning about and performing worldly activities only. Whereas, there is a large number who at the first place do not perform any religious activity; and those who do perform, the way of a vast majority among them is as if they are doing it just for the sake of formality and to get rid of it. Their state in observing Siyam is the same as it is for Salah, Zakah and other acts of worship.
Acquire fundamental religious knowledge regarding Siyam
Who is Sawm Fard upon? What are the correct timings of Sahar and Iftar? What are the rulings regarding the intention of Sawm? What things invalidate Sawm, what things make a Sawm Makruh, and due to what reasons, one can leave a Sawm? A large number of people neither have knowledge regarding all these rulings and nor do they make efforts to learn these rulings from anyone.
Therefore, take care of your Siyam from now on. In order to learn about the aforementioned rulings, reading the chapter ‘Faizan-e-Ramadan’ [Blessings of Ramadan] of the first volume of my Shaykh-e-Tareeqat, Ameer-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat’s book ‘Faizan-e-Sunnat’ before the arrival of Ramadan would be extremely beneficial.
Observe the previously missed Siyam
If you have any Qada (missed) Sawm from the previous Ramadan, then observe that Sawm before the arrival of next Ramadan. Sins are prevalent all around nowadays due to the lack of [religious] knowledge and Muslims not being practicing. The curse of sins will anyhow disgrace a person in the grave and the Hereafter, but committing sins in Ramadan have even severer consequences. Therefore, one shall refrain from sins generally throughout the year, but especially in Ramadan, one shall not even go close to them.
Committing sins in Ramadan-ul-Mubarak
It is the admonitory saying of the Holy Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, ‘My Ummah will not be disgraced and humiliated until it keeps fulfilling the right of the month of Ramadan.’ It was humbly asked, ‘Ya Rasoolallah (صَلَّى اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم)! What is meant by them being disgraced and humiliated by abusing the right of Ramadan?’ He صَلَّى اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied, ‘Performing Haraam in this month. Thus, remain fearful in relation to Ramadan because the way reward is increased in this month as compared to the other months, same is the case with sins.’ (Al-Mu’jam-us-Sagheer lit-Tabarani, vol. 9, pp. 60, Hadees 1488)
Performing any of the major sins, whether it is a physical sin or a spiritual sin, is impermissible and Haraam and an action leading towards the Hell. Therefore, in order to protect oneself from being disgraced and humiliated, it is necessary to acquire knowledge regarding all these sins and practicing how to protect oneself from those sins before the arrival of Ramadan.
May Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ forbid, if we did not acquire knowledge regarding it, or we did acquire the knowledge but did not practice how to protect ourselves from those sins, then may it not be the case that we fall prey to committing an impermissible and Haraam action in the month of Ramadan-ul-Mubarak and become subject to facing disgrace and humility. In order to learn about the apparent and spiritual major sins, reading the following books published by Maktaba-tul-Madinah will be very beneficial:
Jahannam mayn lay Jaanay Walay A’maal [Actions Leading to the Hellfire], volume 1 and 2
Baatini Beemariyon ki Ma’loomat [Information regarding Spiritual Diseases]
Analyse your work and other activities’ routine
Analysing your work and other activities’ schedule before the arrival of Ramadan holds a lot of importance. May it not be a case that you are busy in such work that requires a lot of physical effort or is so time consuming that becomes an obstacle in keeping or completing the Sawm. Some people do hard work even in Ramadan and do not observe Sawm due to giving more importance to Dunya [this world] or at times, due to the domestic financial issues. Such people should carefully read the following ruling in Bahar-e-Shari’at, ‘It is not permissible to do any such work in Ramadan that makes a person so weak that he is almost certain to break his Sawm. Therefore, a baker should make bread [Roti] until the afternoon time and then have rest for rest of the day. Same is the ruling for a builder, labourer and those who do hard work. If there is a risk of weakness, then they should reduce their work so that they may observe the Sawm.’ (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 1, pp. 998)
Those who prepare for the future are considered to be wise in this world. Ramadan-ul-Mubarak is also about to arrive among us from Allah Almighty with the bounties of mercies, forgiveness and salvation from the hellfire. Therefore, I plea to all devotees of Rasool to prove to be wise and focus on the Madani pearls that have been mentioned in regards to preparing for Ramadan-ul-Mubarak before the arrival of Ramadan, and be among those who appreciate Ramadan-ul-Mubarak.