Someone really, really important is coming to visit you. Surely, you would cook, clean, shop, prepare and plan everything for them, well ahead of time. You would make sure they are comfortable and well taken care of. You would ascertain that everything is perfectly ready and adequately in place before they arrive.
Now imagine someone coming to visit you that is even more important than that….more precious, more valuable, more honorable. Wouldn’t you prepare even more and give it the best you got?
Well, the best month of the year, the most blessed and most precious, is coming up. The month that brings the fragrance of Jannah and thesweetness of Imaan….the tears of Taubah and the forgiveness of your Lord. And it’s bringing with it a night that is equivalent in worship and reward, to more than a thousand months.
Wouldn’t you want to prepare for that? Wouldn’t you want to be ready for it with all your heart and soul so that you don’t miss this great opportunity?
They say the more prepared you are for something, the easier it is for you to handle it and the greater the chances that you will be successful at it. And what better opportunity to prepare for something than preparing for the blessed month of Ramadhaan. This is a month of Rahmah and Barakah, a month of taubah and istighfaar,a great opportunity for training oneself… to give up your bad deeds and build on your good ones.
~~~~~~~~~~ So what to do? ~~~~~~~~~~
Prepare yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually for this great month.
Be really excited for this upcoming month and be absolutely determined to do your utmost best and exert yourself for this magnificent month of Forgiveness and Mercy from your Lord. Race with one another and compete with each other for it.
Come on. Be excited. Be energized. Get electrified. Get all pumped up and feel vitalized. After all, this is a time when the gates of Jannah are all open. W..I..D..E open. And all the gates of Jahannum are closed. Yes, alhamdulillaah CLOSED. And here is a chance for you to get all your sins forgiven.
Get invigorated and motivated. Realize that the month of Ramadhaan is a month of amazing ibaadah and intense dua, astounding khushoo’ andremarkable hope, sincere taubah and extraordinary istighfaar. And it is NOT a month of laziness or sleeping, cooking and feasting, or just being plain grouchy and irritable.
Don’t let the thought of the heat or the long day get to you or dampen your spirit. It is only the Shaytaan trying to play with your mind and spoil this wonderful time for you.
Purify your intention
The next thing to do is to purify your niyyah from now: you are going to fast because it is the order of Allaah and NOT because it is culture or your family does so, or even because you want to lose weight. Fasting is a deed absolutely loved by Allaah and you want to please Him.
”O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain Taqwa" [al-Baqarah, 2:183]
The Qur’aan and You
Have full intention from now, to read as much of the Qur’aan as you can. Love the Qur’aan. Build a close relationship with it. Realize that these are the Words of your Lord….Words that will take you to Jannah, your Ultimate Goal.
Don’t just read it with your eyes. Read it with your heart. Let it sink in your soul. Savor the joy and cherish the delight in reading the Book of Allaah.Taste the sweetness of Imaan. Don’t be in a rush to quickly finish the reading. Rather, take your time to ponder over the words and understand the meanings. Don’t think…”when am I going to finish this Surah?” Rather…."when am I going to implement this in my life?" Remember, nothing is sweeter and more pleasurable than the ayaat of the Qur’aan that you can understand.
Lots of Sujood
Prepare yourself to do plenty of sujood….long, drawn out sujood, in Taraweeh and Tahajjud. Feel close to your Rabb when you do that sajdah. Realize that this is most honorable position for you…placing the thing you value most, your head, on the ground, humbled before your Creator. You are the slave and He is the Master. You are the ‘abd and He is your Owner.
Dua, Dua and more Dua
Resolve from today, to make a lot of dua. Make a dua list. Prepare it from now. And when you sit down to break your fast, or when you stand in front of your Creator in Salah, in Taraaweeh or in the middle of the night, or any time during the night or day, spread out those hands and ask Al-Kareem, the Most Generous, the One Who gives to one and to all. Make sincere, heartfelt dua whenever and wherever you can. Don’t let a moment slip by. Anddon’t forget to be thankful to the One Who gave you everything.
Be ready from now to do abundant istighfaar, lots and lots of it. Do it every single day. In the darkness of the night, when the whole world is asleep, have full realization, that this is no ordinary time, no time to waste away sleeping.
Ar-Rahmaan is calling. Wouldn’t you want to respond?
So knock on the door of the Almighty. He is al-Ghafoor, the Oft-Forgiver and you are nothing….just a weak and sinful human being. Bend your head with shame, and cry. Cry like you’ve never cried before. Ask for His forgiveness. Make firm resolve never, ever, to go back to your sins…never, ever to do those bad deeds again. Go ahead…spread out those hands and be sincere and then be certain He will surely respond.
Determination to change for the better
Most importantly, have firm determination from this moment on, to continue all the good deeds and habits that you will develop during Ramadhaan to continue even after Ramadhaan is over. Remember, you are not a good Muslim just during a special month of the year. Rather you are a Muslim throughout the three hundred and sixty five days. Use the upcoming month of taqwa and training to coach and develop your nafs, to cultivate virtuous deeds and actions and to give up your bad ones.
Tell me, are you going to let all that hard work of fasting, waking up in the middle of the night, reading all that Qur’aan, standing up for Taraaweeh and prayers, and all that dua go to waste?