How to Welcome the Month of Ramadan
Oye 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. Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also Clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during the month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful. When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way. (Al-Baqarah 2:183-186)
Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is giving us another opportunity in our life to witness the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a great time of Allah's blessings and His mercy. Every Muslims 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 Allah 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 ('ibadat) with ease and enthusiasm. It is reported by Anas bin Malik that the Prophet - 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." (Musnad Ahmad, 2228)
When the Prophet - peace be upon him - 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." (Al-Darmi 1625)
2. Thanks and Happiness
When the month of Ramadan comes, then you should be thankful to Allah and show happiness. The Companions of the Prophet - may Allah be pleased with all of them - used to greet each other on the beginning of Ramadan. The Prophet - peace be upon him - giving the good news of the month to his Companions, used to say, "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." (Musnad Ahmad 8631)
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 Qur'an and take Sahur and Iftar 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 - peace be upon him - 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 1770)
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 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 Zakat and Sadaqat 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 Qur'an with him. The Prophet -peace be upon him - was then more generous with goodness than the blowing wind." (Al-Bukhari, 5)