The Best Way to Start Ramadan

The Best Way to Start Ramadan

“The best way to start Ramadan is the way you ended it last year.”

This statement emphasizes the importance of beginning Ramadan with the same dedication, focus, and commitment that marked the conclusion of the previous year’s Ramadan. It suggests that the passion and spiritual momentum cultivated during the final days of Ramadan should serve as a blueprint for how one approaches the start of the new month of fasting and reflection. By maintaining consistency and carrying forward the positive habits and mindset from the previous year, individuals can set themselves up for a successful and spiritually enriching Ramadan experience.

If you didn’t end Ramadan on a positive note last year, don’t worry. Stay tuned for another short reminder on “How to fix a broken Ramadan?” which will provide guidance on overcoming challenges and making the most of the upcoming month of Ramadan.

The best way to start Ramadan in the following steps:

  1. When you stand to pray, summon the fervor you felt a year ago as Ramadan approached its end. Your heart should overflow with concentration, your body serene, and your soul immersed in the light of prayer. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever prays and finds tranquility in prayer, their sins are forgiven.”
  2. When you make supplication (du`a’), pour out your heart to Allah, feeling as needy and humble as you did last year at the close of Ramadan. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The supplications of a fasting person are answered.”
  3. Let your tears flow freely. Just as dry lands yield little, so too do dry hearts. A wise teacher once said, “Tears flow from hearts as springs flow from fertile soil.” Sit alone with Allah, weep, plead, and seek refuge in Him. “Indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.”
  4. When you remember Allah, do so with the same intensity as you did last year. Know that every mention of His blessed names invokes His remembrance of you. Whether at work, home, mosque, or elsewhere, He mentions you to the angels, who seek His forgiveness and blessings upon you.
  5. Taste the sweetness of the Hereafter, remembering the bitterness of worldly life. Recall how your heart was drawn closer to Him in the last ten days of Ramadan. Rekindle that passion now, considering yourself a stranger or traveler in this world, for it is not your permanent home.
  6. Safeguard your time diligently, as you did last year. As Ibn al-Qayyim stated, “I know of people more careful with their time than bankers are with money.”
  7. Protect your tongue and uphold your character as you did in the last ten days of Ramadan a year ago. Remember the Prophet’s warning about neglecting the outward aspects of fasting, for Allah says, “I have no need for the one who abstains from food and drink.”

Why is it important to prepare for Ramadan?

Preparing for Ramadan is crucial due to the spiritual significance and rigorous practices involved during this holy month. Ramadan entails fasting, completing the Quran, performing Taraweeh prayers, and engaging in supplications and Adkhar. However, undertaking these acts without prior preparation can be challenging. For example, fasting for an entire month requires gradual preparation, such as practicing fasting days during the months of Shaban and Rajab. By acclimating oneself to fasting beforehand, the transition to fasting throughout Ramadan becomes smoother and less exhausting.

Similarly, completing the recitation of the Quran within the month necessitates careful planning and division of the Quranic chapters (Juz). Establishing a structured schedule, such as reciting one Juz per day or two Juz per day, enables individuals to achieve their goal by the end of Ramadan. Practicing and adjusting one’s recitation pace during Rajab and Shaban aids in determining a suitable approach for Quranic completion. Thus, preparing for Ramadan well in advance ensures readiness and facilitates a more fulfilling experience when the month finally arrives.

According to a narration by Abu Hurairah, with the advent of Ramadan, the gates of Heaven are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained. This Hadith highlights the profound spiritual significance of Ramadan and underscores the importance of adequately preparing to maximize its blessings and rewards. Therefore, beginning preparations in the months preceding Ramadan, such as Rajab and Shaban, enables individuals to approach the holy month with readiness and anticipation, ready to immerse themselves fully in its spiritual practices and blessings.

Abu Hurairah narrated:
‏إِذَا دَخَلَ شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ فُتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَغُلِّقَتْ أَبْوَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَسُلْسِلَتِ الشَّيَاطِين

The first night of Ramadan

“When the first night of Ramadan comes, the devils and rebellious jinns are put in chains and the doors of hell are closed, none of them remains open. The doors of heaven are open and none of them remains closed. And a caller calls, ‘O seeker of goodness, come forward, and O seeker of evil, desist. And Allah has many (in this month) who will be freed from Hell.’ This announcement is made every night.” [Reported by al-Tirmidhi, authenticated by Al-Albani]

Ramadan serves as a period of moral and spiritual refinement, aiming to purify our bodies, minds, and souls. It is an annual training program for all believers, offering a unique opportunity to draw closer to Allah and seek His blessings. During this sacred month, we are encouraged to cultivate taqwa (God-consciousness), piety, self-discipline, and patience. Ramadan prompts us to increase our acts of charity and generosity, fostering a spirit of giving and compassion towards others. It is a time for seeking forgiveness from Allah and extending forgiveness to one another. Moreover, Ramadan is an occasion to express gratitude to Allah for His countless gifts and blessings, particularly the gift of iman (faith). Through fasting, prayer, and reflection, Ramadan provides a transformative journey towards spiritual growth and enlightenment.

Here are some important points to keep in mind during the observance of Ramadan:

  1. Intention: Continuously remind yourself that fasting is an act of obedience to Allah. Be sincere in your intention, seeking Allah’s acceptance. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whosoever fasts in Ramadan with faith and seeking Allah’s reward, all his past sins are forgiven.”
  2. Sunnah: Follow the Sunnah in fasting. Take the pre-dawn meal (suhur) and break your fast at sunset. Strive to emulate the fasting practice of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as there is no better way to fast than his.
  3. Avoiding Haram: Keep your body and mind clean. Fasting isn’t just refraining from food and drink; it’s also about avoiding bad words and deeds. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whosoever does not leave bad words and bad actions, Allah does not care if he leaves his food and drink.”
  4. Qur’an: Fasting and revelation are interconnected. Just as prophets before fasted upon receiving divine revelation, spend more time with the Qur’an during Ramadan. Strive to read it daily and aim to complete it at least once during the month.
  5. **Prayer, Dua' and Dhikr:** Maintain regular prayers and observe Tarawih prayers. Engage in extra prayers, remembrance of Allah (dhikr), and supplications (dua’) for yourself and others. Seek forgiveness and repentance, especially during the last ten nights in search of the Night of Qadr.
  6. Zakah, Sadaqah and Generosity: Ramadan fosters a spirit of giving. Be charitable and generous, contributing to the welfare of the poor and needy. Support social and community projects that benefit society as a whole.
  7. Family: Strengthen family bonds during Ramadan. Spend quality time together, especially during suhur and iftar. Pray together and strive for unity and harmony within the family, as Allah’s special mercy descends upon united families.
  8. Good Conduct: Let fasting transform you into a better person. Be kind, courteous, and forgiving. Refrain from backbiting, lying, and other wrongful deeds. Show kindness to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, fostering a positive environment for all.
  9. Reflection: Reflect on your moral and spiritual state, identifying areas for improvement. Plan to rectify any wrongdoings and deficiencies in your religious observance. Consider ways to contribute positively to the ummah and humanity at large.
  10. Be Cheerful: Ramadan is a time of gratitude to Allah, not sorrow. Maintain a cheerful and positive attitude, avoiding fatigue and misery. Embrace the blessings of Ramadan, exchanging greetings and enjoying the spiritual atmosphere.

Ramadan Guide

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